I was recently accused of building "not another bobber?....ughh" by some trend humper, when he saw a picture of a shitty little honda that I cut the rear frame section off of. He would have prefered that I left the frame alone and built it into a sweet cafe bike that my mom would be proud of... I assured him that it wasn't a bobber, and that it would in fact be impossible to turn a honda into a "bobber". That led to all kinds of anarchy. I tried to educate him, but he was obviously more knowledgeable about motorcycles than I am, and so I retreated to my honda project with a lonely teardrop streaming down my cheek, and a lump in my throat. I got skooled bitches, cafe bikes are the new mini truck and bobbers are for square pegs. How dare I challenge progress, and build a bobber out of a CB360? Here's the problem... you cant build a bobber out of a honda, or a sportster, or a dyna, or a softail, or a yamaha, or a shovelhead... I know ignorance is in the majority, but that doesn't make it truth. So I will attempt to edumacate anyone who gives a shit... Bobbers are early "Cut Down" motorcycles from prewar(WW2) to mid 50's, and dare I say, of American decent, with fenders cut or removed, and many other parts removed to reduce weight. End of story. Nothing wrong with applying the same reasoning to a modern bike of any make, and it may be a custom Honda, or a modified sportster, but it wont be a "Bobber, or Bob Job, or Cut Down". Here are a few....
When Big Daddy Roth died, we lost an immense part of our subculture being. They broke the plaster mold when he was born, and if you're reading this you've probably been inspired by him or his works, even if you hadn't realized it. I had mixed feelings about Roth in his later years. He walked away from the culture that he helped create, and felt like he had wasted his youth according to his biography. I couldn't understand how anyone could be so removed from something that was such a part of who they were for so long. He had re-married and found religion, and to him, the two worlds didn't fit together. It wasn't until a resurgence in the traditional hot rod scene came about that he popped back up and made appearances at shows and started creating again. Thats when I met him, sometime in the early 90's at the first Rat Fink reunion to be held at Mooneyes in Santa Fe Springs. I was a huge fan of his work, having been turned on to Rat Fink by my father who was a fan in the 60's, and his creations like The Beatnik Bandit and the Outlaw forever changed the way I looked at cars. He was also very supportive of the younger generation of artists and hot rodders, and even gave a young painter his name, The Harpoon. We all knew it was an honor to have Roth at the shows, and be part of the tiny but quickly growing scene again, but it wasn't until he passed away in 2001, that I realized what a loss it would be without him here. I hope I never take his art for granted, and I can understand him more now than I did back then. I made this piece in honor of Roth, for a tribute show in '01. RIP
Scanned from 1978 Kodak print. My 4 year old son goes for a ride with dad. Radical Jim Davis front section frame and a 100% chrome plated engine featuring hex cut cyclinders, Sifton cams, Mikuni 38mm carb and .060 overbore pistons. The bikes name is lettered in goldleaf on the top of the Bob Munroe "rocket tank". The build of Hellbound began when I purchased an XLCH engine from a wrecked bike we had originally built at my chopper shop. The motor was 100% chrome plated and had low miles when wrecked but the fins on both heads and barrels were broken. I found a set of stock heads and barrels at a cycle salvage shop another friend owned. Arlen offered to hex cut the barrels and remove the lower three fins before sending them out to the chrome shop. You can't see it in the photos but this was something we were doing to Sportsters in 1976. We also cut the rocker boxes into two parts and rerouted the top end oil lines. Countersinking the rocker box allens also also made the engine appear smoother. One of the design themes we followed was make everything smaller or eliminate it if possible. For example, we cut off the first 1 inch of the rubber handlebar grips and shortened the stock clutch lever removing the ball end and about 1 inch of the lever itself. Magnetos meant no batteries and spool 21 inch front wheels meant no brake lever,cable or brake drum. We even trimmed the license plates which really pissed off the CHP. I bought a stock frame from another friend and had Jim Davis, Arlen's frame builder, install one of his latest gooseneck front sections. The radical 45 degree rake was Arlen's idea and his 6 inch over stock springer barely made the bike level with the short struts used to replace the shocks.
The night I assembled the engine Arlen came over to help. He had done the work on the barrels himself and then had them chromed. I had them bored .060 over and fitted forged pistons. Arlen held the barrel while I compressed each ring using my thumbnails, squeezing the ring with both hands. One by one we worked the barrel down over all three rings. Then he worked on one side of the motor installing the magneto, oil lines etc. while I installed the clutch, primary chain etc. Together we fitted the manifold, o-rings and carb. It was after 2AM when we finished the motor and Arlen had a 90 minute drive back to the bay area.
The first paint job was black with gold and silver leaf scroll work. I rode the bike to work daily and had to fill the 1.75 gallon tank each afternoon or or I wouldn't make it home from work the following day. On a weekend run with friends I let a guy ride while I drove the chase truck. He ran out of road on a curve and laid the bike down causing major damage to the paint and chrome on the springer. A rebuild followed and I changed the color to cobalt blue pearl as shown in the photos with this story.
I rode the bike the following summer and fall, then entered it in the famous Oakland Roadster Show that winter with the understanding Arlen would pick up the bike after the show and put it in his shop for sale. After the show it was common practice to start the bikes and ride them out of the building. Turns out that Arlen's employee was drunk and decided to do burnouts in the parking lot showing off. He flipped the bike end over end and wrecked it a second time. I had already purchased a 1978 XLCR which I was riding, so had wheels while rebuilding and repainting Hellbound for the third and final time. Shit happens, I was always building a bike while riding the one I just finished and the rebuilds went quickly each time.
We were all riding and building in our garages, helping each other with the work. I was the paint guy, others did the welding or machining. Some, like Bob Munroe and Jim Davis were fabrication guys and could make anything. We rode on weekends, often on overnight runs with groups of 40 or more bikes. Sleeping on the ground and holding "safety meetings" in what ever tavern we came across. Bowling Alleys were always good for biscuits and gravy to "grease up" for the drinking that was to follow. When we rode on the highways the CHP usually shadowed the group and radioed ahead. Local cops met us at the city limits and watched us until we left their town. Occasionally the last bike in the pack got pulled over and issued a bullshit citation for something. New guys had to ride in the back. During the chopper boom of the 70's almost everyone worked on their own bike. Chopper shops like mine and Arlen's sold parts only, no installation work preformed, this was common at the time.
“Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ―Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
we are now carrying Willis Bolts in the store from BCM. I use these on all my top end breather motors. They look clean as hell and work great. I also have some small CV carb brackets coming soon that work great with these...check the Willis Bolts out HERE
Just finished this bad mofo for Eli, if you see him riding, make sure to give him the one fingered salute as he goes by! He loves that.... one of the best riding sportsters I've built and it's a 4 speed chain drive.... Have fun buddy...
this is where I will be tattooing from now on. If you want to get tattooed send me an email HERE
I am only taking appointments at this time, Saturdays usually.
11930 Ventura Bl
Studio City, Ca