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Monday, May 9, 2016

Steve Sheldon - Troy Fab

We strive to bring different guys from all over the country to Fuel Cleveland and show off their talents one motorcycle at a time. Steve Sheldon has a shop in Connecticut where he builds amazing one off, immaculate designed two wheel machines. When Steve said he was able to come out and showcase one of his bikes at Fuel Cleveland on May 28th, we were more than trilled. I don't know Steve all that well, other then seeing his crazy cool parts he makes on others bikes and some of his brilliant bikes floating around the inter webs. So, I sat down with him via the internets and asked him a handful of questions to try and pick his brain a little. This is what came of it, enjoy!

Words by -Mikey Revolt

Photos by -Patrick Noonan Photography

Steve Sheldon, where do you rest your head at night?

S: Greene, Rhode Island born and raised here. A small town on the Connecticut border.

Where does the name Troy in Troy Fabrication come from?

S: I named the company after my son. Troy was born 3 months premature and my wife wanted to stay home with him until his motor skills caught up with his age. She left her career in the dental field to take care of Troy. That is when I bought a welder and started taking on small jobs to supplement our income.

Tell us a little history about yourself and your shop.

S: After starting Troy Fabrication, I decided to keep investing the money I was earning, back into the company. I picked up a lathe, Bridgeport, tig welder etc, until I had a complete machine shop capable of doing about anything. That `s when I started building my bike realized there were parts needed that no one was making. I designed a weld on chain tensioner and offered them up on several motorcycle forums and they were selling well. I put a model A taillight on my bike and didn't like the hokey sheet metal piece that bolted on the back, so I designed a aluminum taillight cover and started selling them. Nobody was selling bungs at that time either so I started making kits up to make oil tanks. I built the Triumph (that I am bringing to Fuel Cleveland) next and discovered more parts that needed to be designed that no one was making. I opened up a jock shop on the Jockey Journal, an eBay store, started a store on Chopcult in the Chop Market section, I was selling parts on the Horse Back Street Choppers forum, and a bunch of others. Eventually, Tyler from Lowbrow Customs started selling some of my parts on his website. Then, Lucas from Factory Metal Works helped me out by selling parts on his sight. Jay and Truth over at Choppahead, were kind enough to give a me a shelf in their retail store and sell my parts on their website. Now I have 6 dealers selling my parts worldwide. Being only one person, I ended up having to sub parts out to keep up with the orders and this did not fare well with me. I wanted to control my own destiny, so I picked a CNC Bridgeport and brought all parts back in-house.

My wife takes care of all the packaging, shipping and marketing. She also does all the sand blasting and runs the Bridgeport for me while I am at work. Troy has been hanging in the shop for years now. He cuts stock and works on the lathe and Bridgeport.

My daughter Adrienne is 4 and she has a small 4 wheeler that shuttles parts from the shop to the house for me. It has become a total family business here at the Troy Fab Compound.

What bike are you planning on bringing to showcase at Fuel Cleveland, and can you tell us a little about it?

S: 1970 Triumph built from a basket case and swap meet parts. I narrowed and frisco'd a standard Triumph tank, made the oil tank and fabricated as many parts as I could. I painted and powder coated everything in-house. I rebuilt the motor at my shop using the Wes White video and the Triumph parts manuals. Jay from Choppaheads played a huge roll in answering all my questions and getting me all the parts I needed.

What is your favorite kind of bike/motor to work on?

S: I like Triumph's because they look so nice and simple when they are done.

What’s your history with motorcycles and what got you into them/building them?

S: My Father bought a Honda QA-50 for my brother and me to share when I was 8. I just kept getting bigger bikes as I got older.

As far as building bikes, I went to a yard sale one day down the road from my house. I met a neighbor who was building a custom motorcycle in his garage with his son. His son was stationed in Iraq and could only work on the bike when he came back stateside. I offered my assistance to help out with the build. I would go over there a few nights a week and weekends to work on the bike with his father. After the bike was completed I decided that I wanted to build one of my own.

Over the years what do you say is the hardest or most challenging thing about building for you?

S: Finding the time to work on my bike. My builds always take the back seat to making parts.

Where does your style of building come from or is there anything or anyone you look for inspiration?

S: Choppaheads, Factory Metal Works and Angry Monkey Cycles are all making beautiful Triumphs.

Inspiration comes from guys like Mike over at 47 Industries. His work ethic and craftsmanship is top notch. Mike works 24/7 and his shop is always open. Austin Martin Originals, who like me, holds down a full time job and works nights and weekends building bikes. Jay Roche from Special79 has unbelievable skills and has never been afraid to share them. Derik Seiber is killing it with the custom the parts he`s been making. Instagram is full of inspiring people to follow, just too many to list.

Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

S: Back roads of Connecticut.

Tell us about one of your all time favorite memories while riding.

S: When I bought my first Harley, I was invited to ride up to Laconia with a local motorcycle club. These guys invited me and one of my friends as guest of the club and they treated us like members. There were hang arounds and prospects doing all kinds of things for the club, but we were off limits and all they let us do was party. They let us ride at the back of the pack and I got my first dose of hardcore biking. I remember on the way up all you could smell was oil burning and the cloud of smoke coming from the pack. When we got there, are faces were black from this. These guys all had old Harley’s that they wrenched on themselves.

We camped out and headed into town and just checked out the scene. This was back when cops were few and far between. The main drag was out of control, to say the least. On the way back it was pouring out. The pack just cruised at about 65-70 mph. I remember holding my hand in front of my face, while getting blasted from the rain for about 2 hours. That was my first dose of hanging out with real bikers.

Is there a place you have never been to in the world and you must go to before you kick the bucket?

S: Nope, pretty much a hermit. I have everything I need right at home.

Your welding game is pretty damn strong, any tips of the trade you would like to share?

S: I tell everyone to go to Youtube and check out all the free videos available to get started. After that, just lay down as many beads as you can. Keep experimenting with all the different techniques available on line.

What’s something else you are into or enjoy doing?

S: Just spending time with my family,

Dream machine, do you have one already or is it something that you are looking forward to building or owning?

S: Harley Davidson WLA Flathead.

Any big projects or things in the works you would like to share?

S: Ramping up on sheet metal tools in the shop. I am on a personal quest to learn as much as I can about working with sheet metal.

Since you are from New England, which clam chowder do you prefer, the white or the red kind? ahaha

S: White Chowda, salt, peppa, vinaga and ketchup on my clam cakes and fries.

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

S: Everyone over at Fuel Cleveland for the invite. My wife and family for their total support. Lowbrow Customs, Factory Metal Works, Choppaheads, Seven Sins Choppers, Throttle Addiction and Licks Custom Cycles for believing in my parts enough to sell them. Patrick Noonan Photography for making my parts and Bikes look so good. Walter Yehle for teaching me machining skills. Steve Jordan for teaching me machining, sheet metal, and painting skills. Gilbert Dion for welding and fabrication knowledge.

You can keep up with Steve and his work at troyfab.com or on his IG @troyfab

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