Lisa, the model, www.lisaangeline.com, called me
before the shoot.
“What’s up with the green bikes on Bikernet?” I didn’t have a
good answer. I asked her, “Are your peaches sweet?”
Now days when you read an article about a bike build it
reads like a service manual documenting how this was machined
and that was bored out and this was raked and so it goes--dull.
Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate that, but you hardly ever
read about the personal and emotional experiences of the
process and the joy of riding the completed scoot. Maybe it’s all
that, “I am bad ass,” or maybe those typical pictures of bikers
with their arms crossed and brow furrowed doesn’t seem to fit
with emotional expression or male bonding. Or maybe that just
doesn’t translate into the written form. Trying to explain what
riding or a particular ride is all about is a hard thing to do.
So, I will get to the geeky, grease monkey stuff, but first the
stuff that really matters.
There are very few times in life when you have an
experience that you can’t really describe with words. You know,
those moments when you smile so big your face hurts, laugh so
hard you feel like you just did a thousand sit-ups, or just well up
with a big lump in your throat, but not because you are
bummed, but because you are so freaking happy you, just can’t
”But isn’t there a code about green bikes,” Lisa
asked being persistent? I told her to ask the builder, Caleb.
I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of those kinds of
experiences in my life, yeah, yeah, a lot of them involved the
opposite sex, but a lot of those moments had something to do
with a motorcycle. I live for those moments, when everything
gets quiet and all is right with the world. That’s what motivates
me to ride, the trek to overcome duality with the bike, the road,
the sky, and life.
It’s 5am on a Sat morning. I crack open the garage door,
fire up the Pan after a few squirts and make the short hop over
to Rey’s diner in Santa Monica to hook up with Matt and Dean
and a few other brave souls to make the ride up the Pacific Coast
Hwy to Ventura. Not a big deal you say? Well, for me, it was a
moment I waited for, for almost 12 weeks. The sun was coming
up, very few cars on the road and the weather was just perfect.
As we rolled up over the hill just on the north side of Malibu,
Matt hammered on the throttle and so did I. I pulled up along
side him, he looked over at me, gave me that thumbs up thing,
and had a grin from ear to ear. That was IT, that was all the
reward I ever needed. Nothing else mattered, all was right with
It would all be worth it, if that moment was final, but it just
keeps getting better. Matt calls me every so often to tell me
about these amazing rides he experienced, and he describes all
the wonderful details of the road, locations, air, and the feel of
the bike. It’s a beautiful thing. Bikes come and go, but those
moments never die.
Ok, now on to the blood and guts section of our film.
Matt moved from London to LA in 2006 and we soon
became friends after he called me to use a ramp to unload a
bike. As editor and publisher of DiCE magazine, Matt Davis has
not only seen his share of motorcycles he’s owned quite a few,
but according to him, he never owned a bike that really felt like
HIS. At the time he owned a really clean Shovel and a killer
Trump, but soon they were sold and his mind was rolling on to
The author/builder, green bike criminal, Caleb. Lisa didn’t
ask him about the green flake. I think she had a crush on him.
I had a mystery 1972 Shovelhead motor sitting in my shop
that I was planning on using for a personal project. Along with
the motor I had a Morris Magneto, I found at a swap meet, and
a ‘78 ratchet top tranny. After some coffee one day goofing
around the shop, Matt said, “ I want to use all those bits for a
bike you are going to build.” I was a little surprised, but soon got
really amped about it.
“Yeah, lets build a bike with those bits mate.”
So it began. Over many beers, coffee and more beers, we
brainstormed the build. Matt had a really clear idea of what he
wanted. He was looking for something Frisco and something
inspired by the Brat trend in Japan. I scratched my head a few
times, but I was all for it. I hate to use these over-used terms
but here it goes, in true old school tradition, most everything on
this bike we searched for at swap meets, bartered, traded,
rebuilt, or hand made. Matt did a ton of legwork, pulling many
parts together from friends, women, and hobos.
Kurt at Ventura Motorworks came through with a clean juice
drum, oil tank, and 3-finger clutch. While I was sorting out the
motor, tranny, and lacing up the Akront wheels that Dean, co-
editor of DiCE, provided, Matt scored what seemed to be a
beautiful unmolested 1950 wishbone frame. Upon further
inspection, the frame was bent bad, so Matt hauled it over to Dr.
John who worked his magic massaging the old iron straight
Seemed to run okay, for a green bike.
After some begging and bribing, Matt was able to talk Jeff
Worms out of an axed Sporty tank and Sporty front-end that Jeff
shaved and polished. Jeff reluctantly gave up the tank and I
dropped in the tunnel and tabs and mounted it. Later, Scott
Craig would add the rib and work his magic paint can to top it
off, with a bitchin’ green metal flake make over.
The seat, handlebars, and fender were scored from Eddie at
West Eagle. Matt took a little off the bars, and I took some off
the fender and tucked it in real tight like. The bars sat on a
smooth set of solid brass risers from Gabe of Afterhours
My good friends at Biltwell sent over one of their pipe kits
and one late night me and Matt cut and burnt some medal to
make sure this stroked out shovel had plenty of space to sing.
She’s sorta tough looking. What the hell does she
care about the color of a motorcycle?
I bent up some round bar for the motor mount and
headlight mount. Sorting out the left side controls on the open
belt came down to fabricating a ¼ plate and some old donor
controls to insure Matt’s foot placement matched the right side
set of old FXR controls.
This build was much more than collaboration between
friends, it was a quest between like-minded people to find those
moments in life where all is right with the world. And, yeah,
sometimes, you just can’t describe in words what those big
grins are all about.
”It’s the web site,” Lisa said. “Too many green bikes are bad
luck.” She was making me nervous. We have another green bike
in the wings.
Click on the Cadillac for more info about the
photo master, Peter Linney.
GRAND CALEB TECH SHEET
Owner: Matt Davis
City: Santa Monica
C Phone: 310-717-6436
Website: www.dicemagazine.com www.crocustoms.com
Model: Lisa, www.lisaangeline.com
Suppose she thought she could bribe me.
What kind of bike?
Fabrication: Caleb Owens “cro customs inc.”
Time: 12 weeks
Assembly: Caleb Owens, Matt Davis
Clutch: 3 finger H-D
Type: H-D Shovelhead Stroker
What’s green doing there?
Pistons: S&S Forged
Camshaft: Andrews A/B
Lifters: Hydraulic S&S
Carburetor/Injection: S&S E
Air Cleaner: Velocity Stack
Ignition: Morris Magneto
Exhaust: Cro Customs inc.
Mufflers: Ear muffs
In 1970 I installed a juice brake on a rigid, hit the
brakes, the backing plate shifted and bit off the brake line. My
bike wasn’t green either.
”So whatta ya gonna do about the green bikes on Bikernet,”
Lisa persisted? “Want some of this?”
Swing Arm: none
Shocks: spring seat
Even dreaded green grips.
At least there’s some classic brass.
Year: late model
Triple Trees: H-D
Modifications: lower legs shaved and polished by Jeff
Rim: Akront aluminium
Hub: ¾” spool
Builder: Caleb Owens
Finish: polished with stainless spokes
Tire: Avon Speedmaster
Brake: Juice Drum
Builder: Caleb Owens
Finish: polished aluminium
Fender: ribbed aluminium
Tire: 450 Firestone
Hub: H-D Star
Handlebars: Stainless Attack Bars from West Eagle
Risers: Sold Brass from Afterhours Choppers
Headlights: Old hand held lamp circa ‘50s, custom mount
Taillights: 1950s Turner Microphone
Turn Signals F/R: none
Speedometer: wind in your face
Electrics: 3-wires, no battery
Seat: West Eagle
Even green on the belt and plug wires?
Oil Tank: H-D
Fuel Tank(s): Narrowed sporty
tank by Jeff Worms, Rib added by Scott Craig, tunnel, tabs, and
mounted by Cro
Maybe metalflake makes a difference to the green
Colors: Green metal flake
The Painter: Scott Craig
At least he didn’t paint the rear fender green. Hope that
Chrome: Superior Chrome Inglewood CA
Powder Coating: T. Markus
I don’t know if Lisa was trying to make me jealous
or get Caleb’s attention.