So Josh and I got going on our Smoke Out 16 invite build Ironhead chopper. We will be handcrafting pretty much any and all parts for this build, which starts with this stainless chopper frame. Josh has done a great job machining the stainless into the neck, and axle cups, as I started bending the stainless tubing to start this chopper frame. Should be a good documentary on this killer build-up, keep coming back to check it out up til its debut....
We've gotten to a somewhat
mock up stage, playing around with different options....
After taking Josh's Sporty to the Smoke Out 15 this year, and coming home with the Top 3 Pro Class win. They've asked us back for the next years Smoke Out 16 event....
We couldn't turn it down, so we've began collecting our parts! The main part of the build will start with a '72 Ironhead, along with us custom building a stainless frame/front end. Plus countless other in-house parts that we'll machine and make out of our shop.
The Horse Magazine will be doing an article in the magazine up til the show Jun 19/20th 2015, which will showcase Us and the other 3 builders.
For years, Steven Robinson's Honda motorcycle was a painful reminder of his 2010 death in a traffic accident.
Today, the restored bike stands as a gleaming tribute to a beloved brother and a life cut tragically short.
"It just amazes me to see it sitting there," said Dennis Robinson, growing emotional as he looked at his brother's motorcycle outside TBC Hot Rods and Bikes on Russell Street.
Dennis Robinson, 54, said he grew up idolizing his older brother, relying on him for advice and guidance when they were growing up in a military family in Fayetteville and around the world.
Steven loved to build things and was always thinking of others. Dennis' last memory of his brother came shortly before his death, when Steven was repairing a screened-in porch at his mother's house.
"He was my hero. He taught me integrity," Dennis said. "He gave me my work ethic. He was just somebody that I relied on an awful lot for how to live."
While Dennis took up surfing as a hobby, Steven favored motorcycles. For years, his ride of choice was a 1978 Honda CB 750.
Steven would ride the motorcycle on the roads around Hickory, where he lived and worked for a fiber optics manufacturing company. Eventually, he traded up to a Harley-Davidson, but he could not part with the Honda. He kept the bike in the garage of his home.
Steven Robinson was riding the Harley on July 1, 2010, when he was killed in a traffic accident near Hickory. Dennis said a truck crossed the center line and struck his brother head-on. Steven Robinson was 53.
The family, including Steven Robinson's wife, Jackie, and their two grown children, were devastated. Dennis said his brother was two years away from retirement and planned to spend his time traveling the country in an RV, working on Habitat for Humanity projects.
"His faith in God was phenomenal," Dennis said. "He affected the lives of a lot of people in a positive way."
Steven left behind his old Honda. After his brother's death, Dennis said, Jackie found the motorcycle to be too painful a reminder. She asked Dennis to take it.
Dennis, who does not ride, brought the bike to his Fayetteville home. For a couple of years, it stood covered under a tarp in his backyard.
Finally, Dennis decided it was time to let the bike go. He listed it for sale on the online sales site Craigslist.
To Dennis' surprise, one of the first people to call was an old friend, Tim Bradham. The two grew up near each other and shared a love of race cars.
Bradham owns TBC Hot Rods and Bikes and thought the Honda might make a good investment - put a little money into it, fix it up, sell it. He did not know until he responded to the ad that his old friend Dennis had placed it.
And he didn't know the story behind the bike.
After talking to Dennis, and hearing how devastated he was over the loss of his brother, Bradham's plans changed. He decided to restore the motorcycle as a tribute to Steven Robinson.
"I didn't know about his brother," Bradham said. "After he told me, I said, 'I'll make it a tribute bike.' I said, 'I'll call it the Steven Project,' and that's what we stuck with."
Bradham started work on the motorcycle more than a year ago, tinkering on it between jobs, often on his own time. Josh Cipra helped with some of the fabrication and mechanical work, and Robbie Lynch painted it. Miguel Flores of Moto-Tech Performance supplied some parts.
Bradham said the long-unused motorcycle had to be almost completely rebuilt. Little is left of the bike that was parked in Steven Robinson's garage when he died.
The rebuilt motorcycle looks like new. "The Steven Project" is written in script on the gas tank.
Bradham debuted the motorcycle at the end of August in the Bull City Rumble, a vintage motorcycle and scooter rally in Durham.
A plaque showed what the bike looked like before the renovation and explained a little about the inspiration for fixing it up:
"Steven Robinson was a great guy with a big heart," it reads in part. "By day, he was an electronics guru, but in his off time he loved to ride and construct things with his hands."
The plaque goes on to tell how Steven lost his life before he could fulfill his dream of retiring and doing volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity.
Dennis Robinson was at the Bull City Rumble to see people's reactions to the restored bike and its story.
"It was amazing. People walking by would spend an unusual time looking at it," he said. "I watched people walking away wiping tears."
The motorcycle will be kept permanently at Bradham's shop, along with the plaque explaining the reason for its renovation.
Dennis, fighting back tears as he discussed the restoration at Bradham's shop, said he has trouble coming up with the words to express his feelings.
Although his brother is gone, it is as if a bit of his spirit lives on in a newly restored Honda motorcycle.
"I know how my brother would have felt if he were here to see this," Dennis said. "He would be totally blown away."
Somehow it seems only fair that the first bike Barnett’s Magazine Online profiles from Jack Cofano’s photo galleries from recent Smoke Out, known for its brand diversity, should be a non-Harley (although there will be plenty of those to come). Yeah, it’s not only a Triumph, but a modern day version instead of the usually expected classic vertical twin from Old Blighty. Nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned anyway as Smoke Out produces some of the most unusual and interesting bikes in a world of ‘same old’ customs.
Tim Bradham of TBC Hot Rods & Bikes in Fayetteville, North Carolina, is the man to point a finger at if for some stupid reason you hate anything non-Harley. Tim’s been turning out a bunch of Harley customs along with race cars and hot rods to die for so he’s got an open mind and I can only hope you do to. Getting back to the Triumph aspect, most bobber/chopper Triumphs are built from the older 650/750cc Meriden machines, but this little baby was built from a late model reincarnated Triumph which is a bit unusual as it’s not as easy to build around the physically larger twin. Most builders scratch their heads and try to figure out what to do and then go find an old classic version.
Not Tim, though, who could see where he wanted to go with the 2005 Triumph Bonneville and dove in headfirst until he had a charming bobber that can not only cut it at the Smoke Out, but turns out to be a fun, rideable and reliable bobber for the street. Not only that, but it’s an affordable custom too with used late model Triumphs being priced pretty damn decently.
Using the resources and the people at his shop, Tim, along with Josh Cipra, fabbed up the hardtail conversion to set the bobber tone for this build. If the front end looks surprisingly familiar to youBarnett’s Magazine Online readers, that’s because it’s from a Sportster along with the front brake too. Tim stuck with the Triumph rear brake and a set of laced wheels in rideable sizes that are not only nice and tidy, but look right. No ridiculously fat or twisted spokes, just the straight old kind I’d choose myself.
The Bonneville engine provides ample power as is for a bobber ride, but Tim livened things up a bit both in power and looks. The stock black engine finish was fine as is and it helps to diminish the physical size of 790cc twin. Tim got rid of the big stock air box for a set of always stylish small K&N filter pods and really knocked it out of the park with the gorgeous GT40-style bundle of snakes 2-into-1 stainless exhaust that ends in a perfectly proportioned megaphone. Nice stuff Tim. Like any Harley, the Triumph twin responds nicely to intake and exhaust mods that make it quite a bit peppier (and considerably louder) in the real world without affecting day-to-day reliability.
Tim had TBC’s in-house painter, Robbie Lynch, paint the tins gloss black that contrasted nicely with the flat black finish chosen for the frame. A dash of British flag graphics on the tank provides the only obvious bling and that seems like one thing any Brit bike has to have. A wide Biltwell sprung saddle featuring a diamond pattern cover sits comfortably from the mini-apes which look appropriately aggressive, but not over the top. You could sit on this bike for a long time with this combo while the pretty damn smooth counterbalanced twin does its best to make sure not to intrude with a passel of needless vibrations. All in all, this bike is a hit with me as it hits all the right notes for me personally without being a pain in the ass to live with.
If that sounds like a winning formula to you too, check out Tim’s website and blog for more info atwww.tbcworks.com. While you’re there be sure to check out the Harleys and hot rods too.
People are often too quick in their rush to judgment mode when it comes to deciding whether seeing one bike from a builder means that all they’re about. Case in point, a recent Barnett’s article of the day focused on a late model Triumph bobber built on the affordable and rideable angle by TBC Hot Rods & Bikes in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The writer got a few email and Facebook messages wondering why Barnett’s Magazine Onlinewould ever showcase anything but a Harley? I surmise that the whole point of the article was missed by a few and that was that the Smoke Out is its own animal and around here, we really appreciate that even though we love our Harleys. So, what we’re gonna do here is feature another TBC bike, this one a very, very nice Sportster hot rod bobber just to show that TBC can kick ass in any category.
There’s actually a bit of a back story to get out of the way first and that involves TBC head honcho, Tim Bradham, and a guy, Josh Cipra, who works with him when he’s not busy doing military things. Apparently Josh has been a big help to Tim at TBC so Tim gave Josh a Sporty he had as thanks along with a promise to help him get this build done. Sounds very agreeable all the way around to me at least and obviously to them too so work started in earnest.
First off, they welded a TBC hardtail rear end where those stock one-inch (or less?) travel Sporty shocks formerly resided. That’s a game changer just by itself, but there was definitely a lot more work to come. Josh saved the Sportster’s fork legs until they were slim, trim, and shiny and lowered the front end until it looked right to his eyes. Josh picked a spool hub laced to a 21-inch rim with anAvon Speedmaster MKII ribbed front tire surrounding it. Yeah, there’s no mention of a front brake as that’s not the way Josh rolls I guess, but the whole front end does look classically cool.
Out back there’s a 16-inch Harley mag that looks like an old Halibrand spoker wheel off the front of a late ‘60s Willys gasser. The silver spoke finish and the polished lip really have that vintage rail look while the Shinko Classic 240 cruiser tire looks pretty damn reminiscent of an old square tread Goodyear, but with modern rubber compounds. The simple, but effective rolling stock definitely gives me the lovely aesthetic feel of an old dragster.
The 1200cc Evo Sporty mill also has a bit of that vintage drag look too with its clean patinaed castings and black cylinders showing off the lovely pushrod tube architecture that makes a Harley a Harley to me. Josh brightened things up a bit performance wise with a 38mm Mikuni carb wearing an in-your-face, Josh-built velocity stack. They may not make sense in the real world, but they sure look cool and don’t give a crap what anyone thinks about sensibility. Velocity stacks look tough.
Where the boys took an unexpected departure was in the left-side 2-into-2 exhausts that wrap around each other before exiting downward surrounded by a smart and different two-piece end clamp that allows the exhaust to float. The end bracket keeps everything from vibrating out of hand and gets away from having to have some sort of frame mount attachment. An interesting take on a tough problem.
The end result of the left side exhaust is the total opening up of the right side exposing all the lovely mechanical bits. Especially important is the open final drive chain that lends its stark mechanical beauty and really looks appropriately butch more than any four-inch open belt primary might have done. Plus keeping the stock primary along with that tucked in exhaust keeps this hot rod bike looking slim, lean, and mean.
There are some other tidbits on this bike that have to be mentioned like the vertical cylinder oil tank made from an aluminum ball cut in half with rolled flat aluminum separating and giving a decent amount of oil volume at the same time. The not-worked –over welding looks fantastic and the cap is beyond cool. Looks like it was once part of the chain drive. Josh fabbed up the mid-controls and I can’t help but like their aluminum simplicity especially since they look like they really work well. Last, but not least is the shock sprung saddle that hides all the mechanical linkage pretty much in a side view, but a peek under the saddle that Josh covered himself sure is pretty.
Josh and Tim had the frame powder coated candy green for durability by Eastover Coatings while the fuel tank and the headlight shell were painted by TBC in-house painter, Robbie Lynch, to which he added his version of tasteful, but not over the top, Old School graphics. At first I was slightly taken aback by the raw aluminum finish they left on the Lowbrow Customs ribbed fender like they forgot to paint it or something, but I quickly came on board with the natural metallic contrast. I’m sure there was some discussion on this, but they made the right choice in the end.
Actually a lot of right choices were made everywhere you look on this bike. It looks tough, pretty, rideable, fun and whatever else you can think of. I’ve only got one tiny, tiny criticism and that is to can the funky neon green fuel lines. They keep catching my eye on a Sportster that has a perfect hot rod stance, beautiful lines, and a selection of finishes that harmonize together like an old Beach Boys tune.
So anyway, this whole article should appease those Brit bike haters and show some of the diversity that TBC Hot Rods & Bikes can do. Be sure to check out their website http://www.tbcworks.com/and really see what TBC diversity is about and hold the two-wheeled prejudices. Choice is a lovely thing.