July 29, 2019
Mike at OldStf in Yuba City, CA is well-known in the custom bike building world as a humble, talented and hard working guy that puts out clever bikes and parts from his home shop on a regular basis. Like a lot of men, beside him is an intelligent, ass-kicking woman who isn’t afraid to do things on her own.
When Suzy decided to throw her hat in the ring and enter the People’s Champ competition, her and Mike both knew what she was in for. She’s obviously been around bikes and the shop of course, but before starting this project had never TIG-welded, used a mill or built a complete bike. She leaned on Mike for mentoring, but being the strong-willed, self-motivated type, Suzy insisted on doing everything herself. Mike’s take on the whole thing? “She went into this completely blind, with no preconceived notions, adherence to conventions or muscle memory doing things a certain way” he says. This means she was free to think about this bike with very little reference to how certain things had been done before and she was completely unchained to make anything she wanted. And make, she did. She handmade the wheels and that wild front end that you might have confused for a rigid–there’s actually internal telescoping you can see on the inside of the legs for the axle to travel up and down. She did all the bodywork and paint herself. Things like the one-piece exhaust and trans mount? That’s the sort of bit most people would expect from a seasoned builder, not someone on their first bike. From the repurposed Packard headlight to the multi colored oil lines or the hinged gas tank mount, this machine is full of surprises.
When the votes got counted up, Suzy wasn’t picked as the Champ for 2019, but she absolutely knocked out her goal of building a really unique and well-crafted chopper that her whole family can be proud of.