It’s a odd story of an oddball bike. In 2012 I received a call from Bud in Austin TX. Bud’s shop was legendary for old bike kooks and I had traded vintage bikes & parts with him for 30 years. (Sadly, he died & his shop is but a sweet memory these days.) He called me and said, “I got a dirt cheap bike for you. It has got great bones, starts, runs and is ugly as hell….” I had to see for myself.
The bike had been a beauty in the 1980’s. Apparently, a carb cough backfire had caused a fire that burned down the bike and it’s owner’s million dollar barn. The owner who was a rancher, pushed it out back to sit with the rest of his old broken tractor collection.
I bought the bike sight unseen over the phone. The list of ball-busting I received for buying this junker is too long. Fueled with spite for all the haters, I got the bike running. I was riding it with a single tank and three wires. My plan was to make a chopper out of it and then sell it. Instead, I ended up falling for it. After years of riding pretty bikes, fresh show-off builds etc., the Burner grew on me quick.
In the past few years I’ve turned it into a finely tuned road bike. I’ve rebuilt everything while leaving it ugly. I built a hot engine trans geared for high-speed travel. I ride it 300+ days a year. It’s become my shop bike for getting parts, so I added my 99-year-old grandmother’s bicycle basket to the front end. Being an engine and bike builder who rides a junker instead of something fancy that shows off my work is probably not a good idea. But well after 30+ years of building bikes, I ride what turns me on and keeps me young.
My long-trip bikes sit idly while the barn burner serves as my magic carpet on all my cross country trips, 3-4 day camping trips and so many rides I’ve lost count. My riding buddies laugh seeing me on this smoky, leaky, choo-choo but that doesn’t matter. Having fun and enjoying every mile and every stop with your friends, whatever you may be riding is what counts!
Hi Bond Modified