Funkmaster

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Chad Murphy

Originally Published In The January 2011 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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Limpnickie Lot in Sturgis this year was off the hook. Not only did we have the new “Johnny Chop Memorial Hill Climb” but several new members were in town for the big digs. As I sat there looking around at the chaos that is an average week at a rally with the lot, a bright yellow and purple metallic Shovelhead came flying by with a young dude dressed in skate clothes on it doing rear wheel brake slides like it was a pedal bike. Oh yeah, that was the scene man and the bike, you guessed it, this month’s cover that you’re looking at right here. Dale is his name and the shop he built is called Mad Jap Kustoms. His style suggests that he’s from a different generation but his story tells us of a cat that grew up in the traditions that make this thing real. Originally from Vancouver, Dale is a 3rd generation Japanese immigrant to Canada. His father hung around all the MC club guys back when you couldn’t be in a club if you were Japanese but all his buddies were in and they used to call him “The Mad Jap.” This was the environment Dale grew up in. This influence became clear to him as he got a little older and started to travel to regional events with his BMX career and there would be like 15 one-percenters with him for support. He says that was the kind of thing that just sticks with you and the lessons of respect and how T things should be are still with him to this day.

His old man was a truck driver so this left Dale with great flexibility to develop his own independence as well. He remembers traveling what would have been an hour and a half car ride, by BMX bike to hit a skate park as a kid, and this included some highway travel. It would prove to be good practice later on as he began to travel all over Western Canada and the United States for BMX events and later still, when he turned to road racing. He told me about his first fast street bike, of course like most of us, it came from a decision involving how much money he had to spend; not much was the bottom line. He saw a fully polished GSXR 750 and it was just within his price range. In about two weeks from the time he bought it, he was doing stand up wheelies and racing on the street. Dale was so fast that his friends told him he needed to take it to the track before he killed himself. In his first race, he managed to pass 40 other beginner racers and lapped the entire pack in seven laps giving him the victory. He was onto something; he was a natural at it and he loved it. Racing, he said, is something that just consumes you, and that’s what it did to his life. He began to eat, breathe and live life at the track.

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At around the ten year mark, he got to the level where he had to consider what the next step in his career would be. He decided that it was getting too corporate and just wasn’t fun anymore, so he quit. It would be nearly a year before he’d get the itch to even ride a bike again. When he did, he just couldn’t find one that he wanted; one like he remembered from his dad and their friends. He would visit shops and explain what he was looking for. The shop owners would come back and ask him why he wanted midcontrols because they were gay, or they’d tell him how much cooler a 300 series rear tire would be rather than the 130 he wanted to go with. So frustrating was the prospect that he eventually gave up and decided to just build his own. The next two bikes he came up with lasted only long enough to get finished and take their first show or two before someone would buy them. This was when Dale finally hung his shingle. Mad Jap would begin as an underground operation in 2006 and he was picking up speed like crazy. The same type of all consuming passion as he found in racing was happening in building bikes but it was different. He had found something inside himself that just drove him to do more. Like many of us, his father was his biggest fan and sadly, just six months before he established the company legitimately, his dad passed away. Of course, when it came time to officially name the shop, he did it in a way that would honor his father.

Mad Jap was up and running but the hard times were far from being over. In 2008, Dale was hit by a car and left paralyzed. His back was broken in three places, his pelvis in four and his left leg was severely disfigured. He spent two weeks in intensive care in a coma and came home months later unable to walk, unable to build a bike. At the time, he had deposits on six bike builds that he had to refund and nearly lost everything in the process of rehabilitating himself. He got to the point where he had sold everything and was at the end of his rope. Sitting around in a funk, he realized that he had to build another bike, he had no choice. The prospect of doing the work from a wheelchair was hard enough, propping himself up at the lathe or the mill was another thing entirely, but doing it all with no idea what was going to happen to his future, well that is the thing heroes are made from. As he was nearing the end of that build, another customer came in with a deposit. It would give Dale enough funds to keep going with Funk Master and keep the doors open. Another came after that, and after Funk Master made its first showing, more orders came in and they never stopped ever since. The only downside it seemed he had to deal with from those days was when he went to turn in the wheelchair, once he no longer needed it. The company refused to take it back and charged him for its replacement. Apparently, overspray from his metallic paint and the wear of it being in the shop just didn’t fit their needs as well as it did his.

So what about this bike you ask? Well baby, there’s not a whole lot that is left to say except DAMN! This thing is king pimp from front to back. There are all kinds of tasty little details to feast your eyes on like the speed drilled brackets and mounts, crazy combinations of different metals and applications of them. There are influences from hot rods, skate boarding, BMX and the wickedest old school flavors. It is beautifully intricate and simple at the same time, and is the height of what I believe our generation is striving for. Dale has enough experience with racing that his bikes are built with function at the forefront of what he does and you can tell from the parts and application on Funk Master. This isn’t a trailer queen even though it is a show winner. Trust me, I’ve seen it in action, this bike will get down and dirty with the best of ‘em.

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Funk Master Tech Sheet

Owner: Sheldon Bower

City: Calgary Alberta Canada

Fabrication By: Mad Jap Kustoms

Year: 2009

Model: Mad Jap Hardtail

Time: 4 Months

Value: ?

ENGINE

Year: 1972

Model: Shovel

Builder: HD

Ignition: Electronic

Displacement: 74”

Pistons: Stock HD

Heads: Stock HD

Cam(s): Stock HD

Carb: Super B w/ a TJ

Air Cleaner: 1929 Ford Horn

Exhaust: Mad Jap

Primary:

TRANSMISSION

Year: 2000

Make: Swap Meet Special

Shifting: 6 Speed

FRAME

Year: 2009

Make: Mad Jap

Rake: 30

Stretch: 0

FRONT END

Type: Springer

Builder:

Extension: 4 Under

WHEELS

Front Wheel: 40 Spoke Spool

Size: 21”

Tire: Avon Speedmaster

Brakes: What’s That?

Rear Wheel: 40 Spoke

Size: 16”

Tire:

Brakes: Some Times They Work

PAINT

Painter: Mad Jap

Color: Purple and a Pinch of Gold

Type: House Of Kolor

Graphics: Gold Leafing and One Shot

Molding: Ya Mean On My Car??

Chroming: We Won’t Go There…

ACCESSORIES

Bars: I Copied A Set I Saw Online

Risers: Paughco

Hand Controls: Jaybrake

Gas Tank(s): Indian Larry

Front Fender: Are Gay!!

Rear Fender: Cut Up Fat Front Swap Meet

Seat: My Attempt At It

Foot Controls: Mad Jap

Mirrors: They’re Hangin’ Out With The Front Brake

Oil Tank: Good Friend Phil

Headlight: 4.5 Spot

Taillight: Nope

Speedo: I’m A Boxer Kinda Guy

Photography By: Chad Murphy

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