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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fuel Cleveland Fundraiser at The Spitfire This Friday - Thousands In Raffle Prizes, Free Event

This Friday, April 3rd, 2015 at the Spitfire Saloon in Cleveland (1539 W. 117th St., Cleveland, Ohio 44107) we are holding a Fuel Cleveland Fundraiser. It is a free event, come on out for good times and cheap drinks, and buy raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes being raffled off all evening. Raffle tickets are for sale at the event, 1 for $3, 2 for $5, and 5 for $10. Win prizes from the following great companies who donated goods to help support the show, with the grand prize being a Lincoln Electric Power MIG 180!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Todd Muller

What can I say about Todd Muller other than that he is "the Ohio wizard of Triumphs". You would think a man that surrounds himself with something at work all day would go home and just relax, kick his feet up, and forget about his day job but not Todd. His passion is clearly motorcycles and he shows particularly a lot of love towards Triumphs. As an employee at Lowbrow Customs, he surrounds himself with motorcycle parts and bikes everyday, just to go home and work countless hours in his own garage to build his own bikes from the ground up. I think I have seen 6 or 7 of his Triumph builds in the last few years and each and everyone of them has it's own distinct style and grace. He pays particular attention to details and keeps things classy. Almost as if Triumph were to have a factory chopper or bobber style that is absolutely amazing, he would be the one to design them. I could literally sit and listen to his stories for days. With his plethora of knowledge when it comes to all different types of motorcycles, I feel like I learn something new every time I talk to him. I am so excited Todd is displaying one of his immaculate Triumph builds for Fuel Cleveland, I just don't know which one yet ahahaha. It's a surprise I guess. Make sure to say hi to him and check out his bike on May 9th, you won't be disappointed.

-Mikey Revolt

I have been into bikes since I was very young. I always wanted one of the Indian branded dirt bikes from back in the 70's, but my mom wasn't having it. A few years later my best friend got a Chaparral dirt bike we took turns riding the wheels off of that thing since I still had no bike of my own. When I was in my teens, several of my buddies were into racing motocross and we would go to all of the amateur races in our area on a regular basis. I honestly do not know how they would be able to race on Sunday after camping out and drinking an entire keg of beer the night before.

While living in southern CA I got my first Triumph. It was only a 250 single but I loved that thing. When it had some mysterious electrical issue, I took it to a local British Harley shop to have it repaired. Long story short, they moved away and took my bike and a bunch of other bikes with them. After that I picked up a 500 BSA and a book I swore I would never take another bike to a shop after getting my Triumph ripped off. Needless to say that bike eventually needed some stuff fixed so I did it myself, that where it all started, my interest in working on British bikes.

I met my awesome wife in Pacific Beach at the boardwalk. She was attending law school in San Diego and I was a beach bum. I eventually graduated from living on the beach to living in a '59 GMC school bus. I had my bus parked on the hill in Encinitas and was buying and selling Triumphs working in a makeshift shed. It only had a roof on one side but it does not rain much in SoCal.

A few years later and several more bikes later all while on tour with the Dead I decided I was going to go to MMI to get certified to work on Harleys. At that time, I had bought my friend's '68 XLH so he could buy a gold dredge. There was gold in the creek where we lived in Oregon but it turned out to be a better deal for me as my friend never found much gold. I ended up riding that bike for over 10 years.

After I got out of school, I lived in Phoenix, AZ for an extra year because I could not afford to move. Finally, I got a job here in Ohio because my wife was originally from here. I have worked at a couple of different H-D dealerships and the Easyriders store here in Cleveland. At first I was pretty stoked to be fixing bikes and getting paid for it but after 15-20 years of that I was pretty burned out on the modern Harley scene and I always liked vintage stuff way more. 

Nowadays, I pretty much only work on pre-70's Triumphs and 650's both stock bikes and bobbers. I build several bobbers every year but I did just buy a '67 XLH because I missed my old bike so much. I met Tyler, who owns Lowbrow, when I bought a 650 pre-unit he had for sale on eBay. We hit it off pretty good and I used to stop by his place pretty regularly and help him with bikes he would drag home. I ended up bugging the shit out of him enough to give me a job and have now been with Lowbrow for 4 years. I do not really miss the Harley shops at all.

I do not work on any customer bikes but I am in my garage every night after work and on weekends doing my own thing rebuilding Triumph engines and building custom bikes. I just love motorcycles and the thrill I get every time I fire up one of the bikes I have built from scratch and putting these vintage bikes back on the road!


Keep up to date on Todd's newest builds on Lowbrow Customs' Chop Cult feeds and you can always bother Todd at work on www.Lowbrowcustoms.com!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pat Patterson Led Sled Customs

Photo by Jack McIntyre

Pat Patterson, owner and creator of Led Sled Customs started everything in the basement of the old neighborhood candy store back in 2003. Now with a larger spot based out of Dayton, Ohio he is building one of a kind masterpieces that are stunning the motorcycle community. He has been building bikes and fabricating parts for over a decade now and I don't see him ever quitting. Pat pushes the envelope when it comes to innovation, functionality, and esthetics. He just has a different outlook on motorcycles in general and it's refreshing to see. When you see one of Pat's bikes, immediately you know it's a Led Sled Customs build. Led Sled Customs has been featured in too many magazines to mention and has won even more awards that I would be here for days rattling them off. He wears his Ohio badge proud and I am so excited to have him showcasing one of his innovated builds at Fuel Cleveland on May 9th.

Photo by Michael Lichter

Pat is bringing the bike he built for The Horse Backstreet Choppers Chop-Off in 2013. It's an EVO Sportster built from the ground up and features a kick-only, and a magneto set-up. The entire bike was built in-house at Led Sled and features many one-off parts from their product line. Led Sled Customs specializes in custom Sportster parts and builds. Their vast product line puts an emphasis on parts for garage builders. All of their parts are made in-house and to order for everything from Ironheads to the current Sportster models. Although, some parts, like their fenders and springer front ends, are available to fit almost any motorcycle out there.

-Mikey Revolt

Photo by Michael Lichter
Photo by Michael Lichter

Photo by Jack McIntyre

Photo by Michael Lichter

One of Pat's newest builds seen at Mama Tried this year.                       Photo by Mikey Revolt

     Photo by Mikey Revolt

Make sure to check out Pat's amazing Evo Chop at the show May 9th and if you want to see more of his bikes and or get a few parts for yourself go to www.ledsledcustoms.com

Photo by Michael Lichter

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Richard "Horsebites" Minino

Richard Minino aka "Horsebites" is an extremely talented artist that has been making huge moves in the art world of motorcycle and van enthusiast communities over the past few years. There's not a magazine, t-shirt, or even a social media post, nowadays, that doesn't have some of Richard's beautiful designs part of it in some way or another. Hell, I even got my first t-shirt designed by him because he is so damn good. When I asked him to paint a helmet for Fuel Cleveland, I was expecting a "maybe" reply due to how busy he has been but he was all over it and accepted the invitation as fast as you can eat Cheeze Wiz out of can. Richard also is one half of a clothing company called The VNM, if you haven't heard of them yet, I promise you will thank me later. I am excited to see what Richard comes up with for his Biltwell helmet design for the show, I know he's going to kill it. Here's a little fun we had the other day via emails back and forth, I don't know why we didn't use AIM (does that still exist ahah) or even a phone call like real human beings but the interview still came out great, enjoy!

-Mikey Revolt

Richard Minino, where do you call home?

R: I live in sunny Orlando, Florida. Born and raised.

Where did you get the nickname "Horsebites" from?

R: It's actually because of one of my favorite bands D.I. from southern California. They have an album called "Horse Bites Dog Cries" and I when I signed up for a Yahoo mail account I named it after that. So when I started doing jobs for bands pretty regularly one their managers kept forgetting my name and would just say "hey Horsebites" when he would email me. I thought it was funny but then it clicked and I thought ok I can roll with that. It has meaning to me.

What's a typical day in the life of Richard Minino look like?

R: Since I work from home my typical day is pretty boring. After getting up and sending my wife off to work in the real world I eat breakfast and then make the long trek to my office room. I usually do mundane stuff like answer emails and stuff but then I get to drawing. It mainly depends on the day and who needs what.

What got you into making your drawings and doodles go from paper to helmets, bikes, t-shirts and I believe I have even seen you do a few huge murals!?

R: From being into all of that stuff I guess it's just natural progression. I started by painting a few of my own helmets and then some for friends. I learned a bunch so far and I feel like I'm still barely scratching the surface. Sometimes I think I'm progressing and then I see the pros work and it puts me right back to the beginning. Regardless if it doesn't turn out the way I wanted it to I still have a blast doing all of that stuff. It's a really cool feeling to see my art on something that has function. When it comes to mural work that's really new for me. Those don't come very often but I really like doing those. The feeling I get when riding by and seeing one of those is awesome. It's really challenging for me to do those but it feels refreshing. Hopefully I can do a crap ton more this year.

How long have you been creating art?

R: Ever since I can remember. My mom used to paint so she would just put art supplies in front of me since I was a baby. It helped me make friends in school because what middle schooler doesn't want some ninja kicking some other dudes head off on their text book? I didn't think I would ever be doing art for a living though. Even after going to school for design I still didn't think I would get a good job. I thought if I was lucky I would design some crappy brochures or something. I'm definitely grateful for doing what I do and if it stops some day and I have to go back to delivering pizzas then so be it. The ride was fun.

What is the coolest thing you have ever painted or had the opportunity to put some of your work on?

R: It's hard to say but I think it's the XS650 Tracy style body I did for Geoff at Return of the Cafe Racers from Australia. That was the first time I figured out the proper method to do my art and have it cleared over without a chemical reaction. After that I felt like I grabbed it by the balls. Then I washed my hands. I'm also really proud of the last mural I did at Rise Above Tattoo in Orlando. It screams Florida.

When did The VNM become a major part of your life?

R: Well it started with my buddy Yardley and I. We actually work together doing design and illustration work. We always wanted to make our own stuff because we were doing so much work for other companies. We used to go to the same shows together when we were younger so we were around most of the same stuff and draw from a lot of the same influences. When he was living in Brooklyn we started VNM just as a side thing. Luckily, we can actually call it our side thing still because it's just not realistic for companies to expect to make money from clothing. We're happy that it pays for itself and we don't depend on it for income. I think that's why we are so invested in it still because we can have fun with it and not stress out about it. Yardley's got a wild brain and thinks of most of the stuff that makes you choke on your drink. We're always making ourselves crack up over some of the stuff we put out. I hope it keeps going because it's one of the only things that keeps me sane.

You told me once you guys make shit that you want to make and if others hate it oh well. It's all about creating things you love. Has that proved to be one of the reasons you have been so successful?

R: Doing what you want is crucial. I think trying to please a broad amount of people to make more money is the ticket to death. I definitely think it's something that most companies are overly concerned about. I see so many companies trying to dance sort of close to the edge of without trying to make any one upset. Fuck that. With the way things are now, everyone gets offended by everything and they don't even know why they are offended most of the time. They just feel like they should be offended. I love exercising our right to say and do what we want. I think people gravitate towards the honesty in that and don't take themselves or us too seriously. If they're offended then who gives a shit? Just don't buy it. We don't need to hear why you think you're owed an apology. Ok, I'm sweating.

When you start creating a piece, does it all come from your head to paper or do you draw inspiration from things you see?

R: It's definitely a mix of both. Sometimes it'll just pop in my head and I have to sketch it immediately, other times I'm just stuck and I can't think of anything at all. I know it sounds corny but I have to go on a ride or just get out to clear my head. I can seriously be bummed that I'm in a mental block and just stepping away helps a ton. It gets a little easier as time goes by because I can channel that creativity easier. Before I would just blindly think of stuff but that's just part of the process I guess. I try not to think about it too much.

Do you take advantage of the technology world we live in when you make some of your art? What processes do you love or hate?

R: I think that someone who does this for a living would probably consider me an idiot for my process. I'm just stuck in my ways and this is what's comfortable to me. I draw everything by hand and then scan it in and color it in. Most people draw on a wacom tablet direct to the computer. It's like when you're in a band and you plug directly into the mixing board and bypass the amp. That sound sucks. I love seeing a physical drawing and seeing the imperfections in it. It's just how I am.

Who's your biggest inspiration and motivators in your life?

R: I really love Jim Phillips (Santa Cruz) and Pushead. I also love all the old Disney animators and my late father. My dad had an incredible work ethic and loved what he did. He was a printer and so was his father. His attention to detail was nuts and taught me to be patient with things and that eventually I'll get it right with time and practice.

What is your all time favorite bike you have ever owned?

R: Hmm, that's actually a really hard question to answer. I've only had 4 bikes and they were all my favorite when I got them ha. I do have to say though on my '59 Triumph. I did my own paint on the tank and I'm pretty proud of that one. I have pretty big plans for my new jammer so time will tell on that.

Did you find motorcycles or did they find you?

R: I definitely found them. My parents always hated the idea that I rode a motorcycle because my dad's friend died on a motorcycle, but my thought process was always "hell, I could die doing anything". Once you get heavily into bikes, it sort of takes over. It's awesome to have something to constantly build and change too. I can't imagine what else I'd be doing in my spare time now. I'd probably be more productive ha.

Any life mottos or codes you live by?

R: I don't think so. I just try to be real and not try to dick over my friends and family. Other than that I just try not to take anything to seriously.

What's one place if you could drop everything, jump on your bike and just go and be gone for a few weeks, where would it be and why?

R: I'd love to go cross country one day. I've done it a few times in a van but a motorcycle would be rad as hell. I guess just end up in Cali and hang out by the beach, say hi to some friends, eat some tacos and head home. It's so hard to find the time to even go away for the weekend. I guess it's good that business is busy but damn sometimes I'm just hurting for it.

Any life goals or things you are currently in the works and or achieving?

Just to keep on keeping on. I love what I'm doing now and I don't want to stop. I want to eventually get really good with painting bikes and cars and to keep having people interested in my craft. Other than that I'm just enjoying the ride now trying not to take anything for granted.

All time favorite wrestler? Do you think you and Yardley would make a killer tag team and beat that wrestler in a cage match?

R: Actually Yardley is more of the wrestling freak. He loves watching men rub against each other. If Yardley and I were ever a tag team in a cage match we'd be just like Nacho and El Skeleto. I'd probably swing him around by his ankles knocking out bitches like Jose Canseco while he's gaining powers by eating mystic eagles eggs.

Anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?

R: My dogs. I love my dogs. Their breath smells like rotten tuna and I swear one of them said "eat butt" while he was burping the other day.

Be sure to grab some of Richard's amazing artwork some shirt form to keep your back warm at www.TheVNM.com He also does custom one off paint and design work so be sure to hit him up on the contact section on their site. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jim Kavalec 1952 BMW R51/3

I had the pleasure of finally meeting Jim Kavalec for the first time the other day. I have always seen him in passing on these brilliant vintage BMW's you rarely see ridden now a days at different local events in the area. He even brings his dog in a trusty sidecar to some, it's a really cool sight to see.  I've always kicked myself for not just going up to him and saying hi. When I learned Jesse invited him to Fuel I got extremely excited. Not only was Jim gracious enough to offer putting in this beautiful all orginal 1952 BMW in Fuel Cleveland but he brought it out to The Gasbox compound the other day, to allow me to take a few photos for this feature and share some history on the bike. Jim is one of the nicest dudes you will ever meet, like minded fellow with the love and passion for these old Beemers. You could just hear the excitement in his voice every time he spoke about the little details on this R51/3. You don't want to miss this bike on May 9th, it's a rare one for sure, with some really amazing history.

-Mikey Revolt

My names Jim Kavalec, I grew up in a west side suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio and I was introduced to motorcycles by my older brother. The first bike I ever rode on was a Suzuki TS90 that was my brothers, he taught me how to ride and I was hooked. My passion for skateboarding and music led me to Huntington Beach, California for a while when I was younger so I bounced back and forth for about 5-6 yrs. I didn’t really have a car so when I officially came back home I packed up everything I could and took a train home. I immediately bought my brothers CB750 for $500.00 and used that for transportation, my real first bike I ever owned. Now I currently have several bikes, mostly old BMW's in my possession.

This bike was purchased locally on a "too good to be true" craigslist ad. To the best of my knowledge I am the 2nd person to be named ever on the title. The bike was brought back from Germany by its previous "caretaker". I was told by his daughter in law, that the guy who owned it used the bike to get around Ft. Carson. The bike had no license plate brackets and Ft. Carson stickers (no holes from previous license plate) on the front and back, therefore I believe it was never plated. She told me the bike was rebuilt so her father in law was able to see it run before he died. When I was loading up the bike I found documentation supporting a rebuild by a very well known old BMW mechanic. I also discovered an original tool kit, with old spark plugs, with the original tools in the gas tank compartment. The bike didn't run when I got it, so I had to put in a little TLC, cleaned the carbs, did a tune up, and added a new wiring harness. The paint is all original and I haven't done any real changes to the bike. I purchased it with 28,519 original kilometers and the bike currently has 33,361 kilometers. Some of my mileage was put on a week long southern California skateboarding escapade.
One never really owns anything and life is always changing, so I consider myself the current "caretaker". I enjoy traveling by motorcycle and hope to do a lot more in the near future.


Numbers Matching
Numbers Matching Casings

To quote my favorite two wheeled stuntman Scott Town - "Live Life Every Day!"

Original Title
Original Title paper work
How Jim found the original tool kit in the gas tank, when he purchased the bike.

Make sure to come see this all original BMW R51/3 in person on May 9th!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fuel Fundraiser Party @ The Spitfire Saloon in Cleveland 4/3/15

Lowbrow Customs, Gasbox, and Forever the Chaos Life are putting together a little fund-raising party at The Spitfire Saloon on Friday, April 3rd, 2015 to help raise a bit of cash needed to put on Fuel Cleveland. There is no cover charge. We are going to be selling raffle tickets for a couple dollars each, and will raffle off prizes all evening long, while drinking heavily, listening to the killer jukebox, and playing chopper movies on the bar's video screens. The sales of these raffle tickets is how this event will raise some needed money that pays for things such as rental of lighting, tables & chairs, outside staff for the event, and paying Cliff something for the use of his warehouse. Stay tuned for the list of chopper companies donating parts, accessories and apparel for the raffle!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Warren Heir Jr. "Pabst Powered" '76 Shovelhead

Warren Heir is an extremely talented bike builder with some rich family history in the motorcycle community.  He is also one of two great guys that put on a show you may have heard of called Mama Tried. At this year's show he had on display an amazing Pabst themed Shovelhead that he had literally finished a week or so before the show. Naturally, I was drawn to it. It was love at first sight for the sole fact that Pabst is my go-to beer and my love for Shovelheads is so strong. The best of both worlds for me, truly. Being a themed bike you would have your doubts because of what the 90's did with overblowing crazy elaborate themes for "choppers" but this bike was done so tastefully. Warren's attention to details and yet keeping the bike simple, really made this bike something special. It was a no-brainer to invite Warren and his crazy cool "Pabst Powered" bike to Fuel Cleveland. It will be on display and attracting like minded eyes on May 9th! Makes me want to drink a beer and ride motorcycles right now! Not sure that is a such a good idea, not really something you should do at the same time. haha

-Mikey Revolt

"I was raised in my parent's Harley shop, Warrens Cycle based in Illinois which started back in 1981. My dad still runs the shop to this day. He builds my motors and transmissions for me. I started building bikes little over 15 years ago. It all started with a 1965 Panhead that I helped my dad restore. I really didn't build my first bike on my own until after college though. I was tired of having to wait for my Dad to weld for me so I just decided to do it myself one day and the rest is history." - Warren 

"Mama Tried came about when Scott told me we should do a bike show. I told him to get bent and that I hated bike shows!! After a few years of him poking me he was able to talk me into it. We wanted to put on a show where everyone was welcome and that featured bikes of different styles could all be under one roof, not just choppers or race bikes. We both love all bikes! No matter what shape or style."

- Warren

To see more of Warren's beautiful bike builds make sure to keep up with his blog www.jrscycleproducts.blogspot.com There is over 7 years of goodness on there. Check it out!!!