229 Bishop N, Alexandria, Ontario, Canada K0C 1A0 (613) 525-0066 e-mail: lee@americancycleservice.com

Friday 15 July 2011

CTV story on Lee and Eric

Lee and Eric were recently featured in a story on CTV news (click on photo for link to video):

CTV Maximum Motorcycles

Sunday 10 July 2011

Fork stop / headlight mount

We wrestled with how to make a clean and distinctive fork stops and headlight mount for Rob's panhead. Rob is running 41mm Hydraglide legs in a set of super-narrow Mullins Chaindrive triple trees. Initially, we had drilled the lower triple tree and had made up a set of stainless bullets for the fork stops, but then (in typical fashion) Lee was staring at the bike late one night and came up with the idea of doing a combined fork stop / headlight mount.

Lower triple tree drilled and tapped, and the fork stop block tacked in place to the frame headstock:

Headlight mount tacked to fork stop bullets:

Finished welding and given a rough polishing (piece was done entirely in stainless, like most of Lee's fabricated parts):

... and the finished piece. Frame still needs to get painted, and the piece will get a final polishing on the wheel, but it turned out nice, clean, simple, and unique.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Liberty Vintage

Since I posted the blog entry from Grant at FMA below, I figured that I should also post this beautiful short film about vintage mechanic Adam Cramer, with some interesting comments about de-industrialization and the loss of the "can-do" attitude that created this country. It covers a similar theme to Matthew Crawford's recent Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. I love the scene where you can see him using vacuum gauges to balance the four carbs on a CB750 (or similar). How many people even know how to do that anymore?

Handmade Portraits: Liberty Vintage Motorcycles from Etsy on Vimeo.

Skill, Craft, Pride, Cost, and the decline of the minds of youth and America

A while back, Grant from Freedom Machinery and Accessories posted this on his blog, and I thought it was useful food for thought on craftmanship, quality, and our consumer culture in North America:

So we don't have the time to preach much here and it's not really our thing, but i saw a comment elsewhere that prometed me to get riled up a bit about people's (mostly American's) lack of valuing hardwork and skilled labor. I know everyone is not a millionaire and can't afford to buy the best of the best all the time or even hardly ever, but does that mean you have to poo-poo a nice well made product?
As a small biz owner (FMA) that does our best to make and sell the best American Made product we can, my ears perk when someone verbally shuns/or discredits a nice product in favor of a cheap, massed produced alternative. It's one thing to just not buy it but to make a stink about the more expensive item made with pride in small quantites that will far outlast the cheap alternative is beyond me. For the record this wasn't born from anything to do with FMA.
I know it is big biz to make a ton of stuff for cheap in a third world country and fill the shelves at walmart and sell it at a low price, but do you want to be forced to buy everything only at walmart or an equivelant? sure it serves it's purpose, but come on!  While in Japan this last time i became more aware of their goods and the general public's style and put-togetherness, not to mention those that were/are "into" something.
There is an abundance of quality handmade goods in Japan from leather, to jewelry, to cloths, that are all killer! Sure it all costs a decent price, but people (even the general public) over there see the value in that item and spend the money for it. It was weird to see people on the train with like a really nice cast key hook hanging from there handtooled belt next to another handtooled wallet. I knew each item probably cost $300 each too! But these things are "for life" items and will be around far longer than some Hanna Montana wallet from the aforementioned discount store.
Let me be clear that i don't have money to blow on crazy expensive stuff, but something like a wallet i would send some coin on because i will use it for the next 15+ years.
This sort of idea comes into play a lot in America in fab/bike/hot rod shops. I worked in many and we would get tire kickers that would want killer one-off, tig welded, fab work done for assembly line mig welded prices. They couldn't comprehend the combination of the amount of work, tools, and skill and then put a price on it. Would they want to do their job for a much discounted rate? no, so why should someone that has a skill making something with their hands not be able to charge what it should be worth without someone (who has probably made nothing of value with their hands) complaining about the price when they wouldn't be a customer anyway? Don't like it, don't buy it no matter if it is metalwork, a pair of pants, custom boots, an oil painting, etc...
i just heard today on NPR that the government is possibly cutting funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS. Great, hopefully america will eventually die from diabeties and obesity, as they sit in front of American Idol and learn nothing. We don't need to teach people about art, music, and culture because thats boring, huh? Football and TMZ is more important. I know i am getting off track here, but i come from a family of musicians, artists, and craftsmen and think all of these things are important to building people's minds. I also noticed in Japan a lack of sweat pants, flip flops, and anything related to being "white trash" or anything that shares that same mentality, what a concept. (insert your smart allec remark about why i should move there if i don't like it here).

I think we should do more to help and protect small buisness, skilled crafts, music, the arts. I learned to weld because i couldn't afford to pay someone to do it for me. Poverty is not much of an excuse in my book because i have made a lot out of little to work with and feel as if there isn't enough time in life to to, make, see, and experiance all the things i want (that i know of at this time!). I studied photograghy because i couldn't draw, my brother got all that skill and one of my sisters is getting her masters in photography! Amazing, i love it! even though i have shot dozens of covers and had stuff in books and magazines world wide, she is blowing me out of the water!
Create, build, organize, just do something besides complain or gossip.
Be passionate about something, no matter what is cool or not cool for that matter. Do it because you love it, they way you want it.   Not satified with something, do it better or at least try!
Who cares what we do in SoCal, who cares what the midwest is doing, east coast, etc, surround yourself with people you can learn from. Learning is one of the coolest things EVER and you can do it everyday! And for those that know it all, it's what you learn after you know it all that really counts.

I know i am way off on a tangent on top of a soapbox, but i guess i needed to get it out. I am not even going to edit or spell check this thing, hope it makes some sense...Talk is cheap, do something.

what are you doing? what would you like to do? 

Monday 4 July 2011

Born Free 3

By all accounts, the Born Free 3 show out in California was the show of the season for vintage and home-built choppers. We've been following the pics and stories that have been appearing on Chop Cult and some of the other blogs, and there were some tasty bikes and a pretty cool vibe. Not to mention the cool 1942 Knucklehead chopper that Garage Company built for the show, which was then raffled off for $25!

Check out this vid from the crew at Us Vs. Them:

Pics of some of the bikes, courtesy of Chop Cult

Saturday 2 July 2011

The Greasebag Jamboree

Oh it’s on like donkey kong.
Greasebag. 2011. It's motherfucking back.
Mark your calenders and start cranking on your garage projects so they’re ready in time. Rob is going to be riding down with his Panhead, and Lee might make the trip as well.

You can find details here, but I have summarized it below:

Greasebag Jamboree (Chop Cult)
They also have a Facebook Page:
Greasebag Jamboree (Facebook)

The greasebag is now going to be a 3-day, Fri-Sat-Sun event.
Dice Magazine pre-party Friday night in Boston!
Damn straight, the Dice boys are coming out to celebrate with us and throw down the first ever Boston Dice Party. It's going to be at the Baseball Tavern on Boylston. Booze, bands, bikes, babes.... all the b's are covered. We'll have drink deals and a hook up for hotel rooms across the street at the HoJo's for all you out-of-towners and drunkards that won't be able to ride home after showing your alcoholic prowess. We're teaming up on this one with the Rippin’est Town Rally to throw down large. Huge party. Get stoked and start preparing your liver.
The bands are booked:
Allstonians and Ska-Prest are ska, For The Worse and Revilers are punk, and the Egos are garage rock.
The baseball tavern is a 4-story club. A roof deck, a 2nd floor lounge, the first floor main bar, and the basement. The bands will be in the basement. There will be a reasonable cover charge to get into the basement (somewhere between $5-$9), but there will be no cover charge in the main bar and the floors above. There will be a dj downstairs doing music between sets.
There is a HoJo directly across the street from the club. If you're coming from out of town and just want to roll out of the bar into shelter, we've got a great group rate for the night.
If you mention "scooter rally" when you book, you'll get a room for $135. I know that might seem pricey, but that's a really good deal for a room in downtown boston. Get 4 of your buds and split it - totally doable, and it's literally right across the street from the bar. The joint is old school class with a swimming pool, Tiki bar, Chinese restaurant & parking that is visible from most rooms
Saturday: Ride New England backroads from MA to NH. Camp. Drink. Terrorize the locals. Pass out.
Sunday: Ride to Acme Choppers in Laconia for the bike show and party. Eat, drink, get stupid.

Bike Show: Nothing is changing here, same as it ever was. 13 winners, no classes, no categories, no best of show, no people's choice. The best 13 bikes bring home the glory - end of story.
The greasebag is no longer during bike week.
Yeah, we’re done with that shit. 
The last weekend in July will be the new date for the greasebag moving forward. Better weather, less douchery. Win-win for us. No traffic, no overpriced everything. Plenty of killer roads to ride and less bro-dudes to deal with.

Admission is still free. There will be a $15 fee for camping saturday night, but the flip side is free food and beer. That's right,
free food and beer.