Often referred to as one of the most outlandish forms of motorsports, vintage motorcycle sidecar racing exists today as a close-knit community of dedicated enthusiasts. The thrill of a two-person team throttling around the track on a heavily modified machine keeps the spirit of vintage racing alive in more ways than one. Just one look at these rigs excites even the most seasoned motorcyclist.
In our rapidly changing world, it might shock some to know that it’s somehow still legal to roll down a highway on a motorcycle this intense. What you’re looking at is an extended 1949 Harley-Davidson FL chopper from Tony Provenzano, a personal friend of ours who builds bikes under the name Choppers to the Grave.
Again and again, the Harley Sportster proves itself to be one of the most versatile and customizable motorcycles out there. It’s the most popular base model for bikes throughout our publication, so much so that we have to set a limit per issue. For someone as tall as Pittsburgh’s Ed Jankoski, the smaller Sportster model wouldn’t seem like the right fit for his chopper build. That is until you sit on the bike.
Having eight-thousand pounds of steel crush your legs is something that would almost certainly stop the average biker from ever ripping down the highway on a chopper again. As gruesome as you can imagine, this happened to local rider Shawn Holbrook a couple of years ago. The news of the incident scared the hell out of his friends and sent waves of concern through the local motorcycle community. Don’t worry, there’s good news.
There’s no place like home. That phrase resonates deeply with those who had to move away from Western Pennsylvania. Spending time in another city or country opens up an interesting perspective of where you were born and brings light to memories that were previously buried in your subconscious.
There’s something about steampunk design that seems to fit well with Pittsburgh’s history. The retro-futuristic industrial style was glorified during the twentieth century through science fiction and fantasy and often represented with the likes of gears, brass, and Victorian-era influences. Although the stories were typically set in the wild west, the gritty mechanical theme just feels like a possible parallel universe of the Steel City.
There are certain motorcycles that everyone just seems to love. This is one of them. Nick Miller’s 1955 panhead was built to characterize a specific period of choppers built in the 1960s. It’s the type of bike that people can see themselves riding. There’s nothing overly flashy about it. No wild paint or crazy weld work.
The garage is where many of us spend our free time. It’s important to have a space that allows us to be creative and try new things. The thought of working with motorcycles day and night might seem exhausting to some, but for gearheads, the chase of speed and precision is all part of the fun. This idea resonates with our contributing writer, Ryan Zapko. As a pilot and someone who has been flying since age seventeen, it only makes sense that wrenching on motorcycles would be the perfect thrill outside of the cockpit.
The last time we checked in with Ryan and Nathan Cipoletti they had put together their first chopper from the frame up, a slick black 1975 Harley-Davidson FX. Since then, they’ve been quite busy collecting more pieces and building or modifying numerous choppers in their spare time.
If you’re from Pittsburgh or Cleveland, you’ve probably seen this Sportster before. It’s been all over the internet and has bounced around to different owners before making a home with Erin Fitzgerald in the Steel City. In a lot of ways, Erin and Lucerne are a great fit together.
Although chromophobia, the abnormal aversion and fear of color, perfectly characterizes this chopper masterpiece, its builder could not be further from the theme. Born in Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania, to a father already established as a creator of 1960s and 70s choppers, Tyler Elliott has been wrenching, fabricating, and customizing since his earliest memories.
Over time, as more restorations and custom builds start popping up, certain classic bikes seem to gain an appreciation. The popularity of the Honda CB line has remained solid throughout the years, cementing them in history as some of the most stylish, reliable bikes ever produced. The first CB models were born over sixty years ago, and when Honda moved forward with the CB350 in 1972, the four-cylinder, 347cc four-stroke was the smallest multi-cylinder motorcycles ever put into full-scale production.