Stardust

Article By: Jimmy Frizzell

Photos By: Markus Cuff

Originally Published In The August 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Feature 1a

You can take all the shortcuts or you can engulf yourself in the process but in the end you’re the only one that knows what it took to get there. The customer only knows so much, and the goal is in the end game. Some would believe that it really doesn’t matter what it takes to get there because the end game is the only game worth winning. The customer is the life blood of any shop, they keep the lights on and the beer cold but there will be no tougher customer to please than yourself, you can’t lie your way past a deadline and there is no shortcut that will go unknown. When you build yourself the bike of your dreams, there can be no short cuts, there can be no purer result. Andrew Ursich is that unwavering tough customer and only on his second bike build he pushed the limits of simplicity way past the breaking point. Andrew’s shop is his own personal 900 square foot playground hidden away in Long Beach, California. A small get away meant to cater to his life long four wheeled obsession of classic cars, but one day the shop took a sharp turn towards the chopper dark side when in 2013 Ryan McQuiston, a gear head in the shop next door, introduced Ursich to a little 1980 Ironhead in dire need of an overhaul. Andrew engulfed himself in the Sportster; learning all he could about the bike and the art of bike building. A full time port mechanic by trade he spent every waking minute after work perfecting his creation and in only seven short months “Brass Monkey” was born. The super clean brass and chrome bobber took the circuit by storm and caught the eyes of many publications but most importantly earned him an invite to the much celebrated 2015 Ink n Iron Kustom Culture Festival.

Andrew was no fool and knew that an invite of this caliber was not to be taken lightly, in his mind if he was going to show off his talents he was going big and was going to stop at nothing to make an impression on every one in attendance. He would spend the next few months researching and collecting any info he could get his hands on in order to prepare to build the bike that had been locked inside his gearhead obsessed mind for as long as he could possibly remember. The build would start with a call to Paughco to have a custom Knuckle frame built with a 40 degree rake and 2” stretch. Upon arrival, all the unnecessary tabs and brackets were skillfully removed in the spirit of Andrew’s “less is more” mantra. He got his hands on a 30-year old girder front end that was swiftly hacked and extended with extra side bars added with the intention of eventually be engraved to compliment the rest of the build. A classic 21” 40 spoke spool was acquired for the front end while a 16” narrow glide front hub was altered using a Kustomtech hydraulic drum for the rear. Andrew claims to have hit over 20 swap meets during the build in hopes of unearthing that fabled chopper buried treasure but coming up virtually empty handed and with a disciplined mental schedule working in conjunction with a heavy daily work load the internet proved to be a bountiful harvest of mechanical splendor. Andrew is the first to declare his dislike of the retro rust movement and feels if you’re going to go so far to build something from nothing then you build it clean, build it right, and make it the best damn build possible. He wanted to incorporate his love of Californian hotrod body styles and classic clean lines, so the skillful talents of Herman from Engrave It Inc. was entrusted with all the plating and engraving. One of the first obstacles both Herman and Andrew had to tackle was the delicate single down tube. The frame was mocked into a jig so that the piece could be removed, engraved and plated. Either side of the tube was left in bare metal and then welded back into the frame. There it would remain only protected by a thin layer of tape as the rest of the build continued around it. As a result, even with the S&S motor being test fitted several times not even a single scratch to the narrow piece of art was to be had. The motor itself, before permanently being placed next to the baker 4 speed in the streamlined virgin frame, fell victim to Herman’s talents and was torn down for engraving plating and detailing adding to the endless supply of detail in harmony with the springer.

Feature 1b

Ursich with the help Feliciano “Peewee” Zarate did all the bodywork in house, molding the gas and oil tanks and fender into an endless highway of perfect body lines. Thick wall 1 1/8” tubing was custom bent into handle bars by Andrew and packed with Exile Cycles internals with the cable ran directly into the frame while the center piece holding the bars together was machined to match the pegs and grips. The exhaust was built with the intention to compliment the dual intake of the carburetor. The same ports, already found in the intake, were inserted into the pipe which was skillfully bent and welded as a 2 into1 continuous piece designed to follow the frame and also give some homage to the fender breathers of the old school Buicks. The infinite detail from paint to bolts is a strategic dance of gold and chrome and resembles that of a seasoned builder. In this case skill and foresight far overshadows years of experience. The Knucklehead now known as “Stardust” is exactly what had haunted Andrew Ursich’s mind for all those years and after emptying his life savings it is in fact exactly what the customer had in mind. Ursich’s custom chopper took First in show at Ink and Iron, Easyrider’s Bike of the Year, and Best in Show as well as Best Paint at the David Mann show where he was invited to compete in this year’s Artistry in Iron in Las Vegas, where he is already well on his way building another custom bike this time around a 1949 Panther motor. If this is only the beginning for Andrew Ursich, there may be no stopping him. He is absolutely the definition of the term “hit the ground running”. He may be one his toughest customers, but if Stardust is the result, then it’s safe to say the customer is always right.

Feature 1c

Stardust Tech Sheet

Owner: Andrew Ursich

City: Long Beach, CA

Fabrication By: Andrew Ursich

Year: 2015

Model: Ursich Custom

Value: $50K

Time: 5 Months

ENGINE

Year: 2015

Model: Kucklehead

Builder: S&S

Ignition: Morris Magneto

Displacement: 90 ci

Pistons: S&S

Heads: S&S

Cam(s): S&S

Carb: S&S Super E

Air Cleaner: Custom Dual Inlet

Exhaust: Custom 2 Into 1 Side Exit

Primary: Tech Cycles Open Chain

Transmission

Year: 2015

Make: Baker Drivetrain

Make: Jockey Shift 4 Speed

FRAME

Year: 2015

Model: Paughco

Rake: 40 Degree

Stretch: 32

Front end

Type: Girder

Builder: Andrew Ursich

Extension: 12”

WHEELS

Front Wheel: 40 Spoke Spool Hub

Size: 21”

Front Tire: Firestone

Front brake: None

Rear Wheel: 40 Spoke Spool Hub

Size: 16”

Rear Tire: Firestone

Rear Brake: Kustomtech Hydraulic Drum

PAINT

Painter: Danny D

Color: Blue

Type: Candy

Graphics: Pinstriping & Gold Leaf

Molding: Andrew Ursich

Engraving: Engrave It Inc

ACCESSORIES

Bars: Andrew Ursich

Hand controls: JC Manufacturing Inc

Fuel tank: Cleveland Cycle Werks

Rear fender: Spun By asbox

Seat: California Upholstery

Controls: JC Manufacturing Inc

Oil Tank: Andrew Ursich

Headlight: 50’s GM Spotlight

Taillight: After Hours Choppers

Mirror: Indian Larry Motorcycles

Speedo: None

Photographer: Markus Cuff

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