Article And Photos By: Xavier Muriel
Originally Published In The March 2017 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Happy New Year Friends and chopper lovers…. I hope your New Year is off to a fantastic start. I was fortunate enough to spend the holidays in Texas with my family; something I haven’t been able to do in 10 years. What a treat! It was rather strange wearing shorts in 75-degree weather on Christmas Day; yeah global warming isn’t real. I always think to myself “ it would be nice to see the change of seasons” -then I jump on Instagram and see my buddies shoveling 3 feet of snow just to get out of their driveway and I think “F**k that”…the South it is! I caught the annual David Mann Chopper Fest in Ventura Ca. in December. There was an amazing turn out of bikes, both in the show and outside in the parking lot. There were great classes this year and almost every style imaginable was represented. There were some that I couldn’t quite wrap H my head around but hey that’s the beauty of a show like this. It’s a free for all, and what’s not one man’s cup of tea might be another’s. I’m always floored at the limits some of these guys push their builds to. There are limitless hours spent on fabrication and others have engine detail work that is mind blowing. One of the real beauties of this industry is the everchanging design aspect of the builds. Yeah, the fads come and go but the true “cool” builds never go out of style. I once heard a very famous clothing designer say “Fashion is how your clothes wear you, but style is how you wear your clothes”. I kinda feel the same way about bikes. You can always tell the guys who have spent countless hours creating lines and flow to their machines, where each piece somehow melts into the next one seamlessly. Then there are others that threw the kitchen sink at it and hoped for the best. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud anyone who creates something out of nothing, we all just have our own likes I guess.
Chopper Fest, like so many gatherings, is a place to run into old friends and hopefully make some new ones. I had the distinct pleasure of running into Mondo of Denvers Choppers. If you don’t know who Mondo is well then just shame on you… I suggest you google the name. Mondo is considered by many in the industry to be one of the God Fathers of chopperdom. He has been chopping, designing and building iconic bikes longer than some of us have been alive. All my mentors regard him as Chopper Royalty and by right, they should. You’ll never meet a more kind and gentle soul. He embodies what we are all searching to find in these machines. I first met him through Billy Lane when they came to a show in the Nevada area, and we have remained friends ever since. He’s never short on stories (you know how I love them) ideas or a long talk about bikes, where they were and where he sees them headed. He graced me with a Denvers Chopper poster that he signed for me. It is an inspirational piece that now hangs proudly in my garage. It will always remind me that they came from nowhere and used what they had to build works of art, that will always be cool and stand the test of time. While I was in Texas I visited my buddy Matt Jackson of Jacksons Choppers. Matt is a young gun making headway in the biz. He’s been an invited builder 2 years in a row to Born Free in So Cal in June 2017. By the time you read this Matt will be moving into a new facility. He’s building old school choppers with some Texas flare. Be sure to check him out www.jacksonschoppers.com. Well my brothers and sisters I hope your New Year continues to blossom and as always… Be kind to one another and ride safe… God Bless… Xavier.