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Monday, April 11, 2016

Special'79 Fabrication - Jason Roche

Photo by: Mike Deutsch

A few years back, while at the Gypsy Run, I stumbled upon this black and blue Ironhead that had this alien like hood scoop over it's headlight. All I could remember is how peculiar and different it was and unlike anything I had ever seen on a bike, let alone on an Ironhead. As my eyes ventured farther into the bike, I realized the tank and tail section were completely custom as well, even more pieces to the puzzle of an elaborate chopper done with real class. As I snapped a few photos, I began to ask myself who built this amazing bike that had such an intricate and unique style. Asking around the camp I found out it was built by the man they call Jay Roche of Special'79 Fabrication. Since that day I have become pretty good friends with Jay, running into him at tons of different shows and motorcycle events. It was a no-brainer to ask Jay what he was up to this year on the building table and boy, does he have something cool up his sleeves for Fuel Cleveland this year. I asked Jay to write a little about himself and this is what came of it, enjoy!

-Mikey Revolt

The Roche Coach, photo by Josh Calvi

I grew up in a small country town called Sterling, MA with nothing to do but ride your dirtbike and play sports. Well, the sports thing was easy but seeing how my mother was a RN and had worked at times in the emergency room of different hospitals, the motorcycle thing was off the table. It wasn’t until she took me to the RMV to apply for my learners permit that I secretly applied for my motorcycle permit instead of my car permit. She wasn’t happy with that sly move at all, but she got over it seeing how she didn’t feel like driving me to my full-time summer employment every morning. Enter my first motorcycle, a 1977 Honda CB400F Super Sport. That first feeling of total freedom to come and go (within reason) got me totally hooked on two wheels.

Photo by: Gregg Greenwood

I’m inspired by smart, simple design so that’s been my main goal whenever I start a build for a customer or myself. I aim for people to look at a bike that I’ve had my hands on and be able to understand how something comes apart and goes back together. Function with attention to aesthetics.

My favorite bike has to be the Buell powered, foot clutch/hand shift, de-raked rigid frame hauler that I built a couple years ago. It was the first bike I ever built that I was totally happy with every part I made for the bike the first time around. I had a lot of friends parts in on the mix too which made it fun to mix with my fab bits and pieces. It was also my first foot clutch bike so it was like relearning to ride a motorcycle the first few rides. I sold the bike to fund some other builds and I totally regret it… although it did help me build my 94 FXR so I can’t be too upset.

The bike I’m building to bring to Fuel Cleveland started out as a hot rodded Buell S2 motor that was sitting around from a bike I had purchased to part out. I want to build a super comfy/functional everyday ripper with a neutral riding position that will be a mix of custom fabricated parts along with some neat off the shelf bits. The chassis is a leftover mid 90’s Sportster frame that is getting some attention to the tail section to allow for a fabricated tracker/cafe unit to bolt down. Comfortable, go fast, stop fast, and try to be easy on the eyes while doing so. Let's see if I can pull this off.

Photos by: Gregg Greenwood

I’m pretty lucky to have purchased a building with my friend Joe @skanadesign less than a year ago. We were both looking for a larger shop space and initially looked to rent some space together and quickly realized it was either absolute fire hazard shitholes or 25,000 sq ft spaces that were available. While dealing with our smaller shop spaces, we started looking at properties with the idea to have some extra space to include a tight community moto enthusiast wrenching spot and possibly a small storefront/showroom for some of my metalwork and his woodwork. After looking at a few places, his father ran across a foreclosed building that had been lost in the whirlwind of failed businesses and dissolving banks. We were the first people to go look at it after it resurfaced on the Google machine and with some really good advice from some pretty smart people we bit the bullet. It's totally scary, but we have our shops up and running with the shared motorcycle building/wrenching/fabrication spot underway. Our storefront build out will happen this spring/summer under the name New Tradition Company. We want to focus on a mix of handmade items from talented craftsman, artwork, and cool camping/riding gear and parts for moto adventures. We’ll definitely have a spot to enjoy a good pour over coffee while you come in and hang out too. And that’s just phase one.

-Jay Roche

You can keep up with Jay and Special'79 Fabrication on Instagram at @jayroche79 or check out his website spcl79fabrication.bigcartel.com Also, don't forget to check out Jay's crazy cool Buell S2 tracker he's bringing to Fuel Cleveland on May 28th. He is getting close to the end of fabrication stages on this build. Here are a few updated progress photos.

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