Oftentimes, there’s a lot going on with people under the surface. Similarly, there’s a lot more to a bike than just the bike. As someone with no plans to get involved with two wheels, Jon “Wes” Harrison never planned on building this Triumph Bonneville but was always being pestered to get into motorcycles by his good friend, Mark Marino. They served together on the police force for nearly two decades before Harrison was dealt the heartbreaking shock of losing his friend to suicide. The loss was indescribable, leaving Harrison with grief so heavy that he eventually had to leave his job.
Throughout the years, our publication has inherently gone through every type of Sportster there is. From cafe racers to stretched choppers, there’s no shortage in Pittsburgh. The XL train keeps chugging along in issue Number 10 but with another twist—this Sporty is set up for desert racing.
Every community has its local motocross racers. They’re the ones who spend most of their time in the garage preparing their bike for the weekend. It might seem a little weird to our peers to disappear on Saturday and Sundays, but this way of life was all that many of us knew growing up.
Certain things in life are impossible to ignore. Whenever a custom-built BSA bobber is brought up, there’s a one-hundred percent chance we’re going to check it out. These intriguing motorcycles were manufactured by the Birmingham Small Arms Company in England throughout the 1900s and have always been considered classics in my lifetime.
It would be foolish to highlight the stylish panhead chopper from Nick Miller in our last issue without a follow-up feature of one of his other notable machines, the 1979 Harley-Davidson FXE with the appropriate nickname of “Milwaukee Vibrator.” Carrying a perfect balance between elegance and grit, the bike embodies everything that people love about choppers.
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.