Grace

Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Michael Lichter

Originally Published In The January 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

“Grace”, A 80″ Pan/Shovel bobber, built from a 58 Rigid, by Xavier Muriel, in Austin, Los Angeles. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD on 7/30/18. ©2018 Michael Lichter.

Imagine having a dream of playing live music for a living. As a kid, you practice your ass off; when everyone else is out having fun, you’re earning your chops. Later in life you sacrifice everything including your friends and family and even your home to move halfway across the country for a shot at making it. Then it happens, you do…. You tour the world with your band, for over a decade you get to live the dream. Now imagine what it would take for you to walk away. This is the story of the man whom our readers have voted as the Cycle Source Magazine 2019 Builder of the year; Xavier Muriel. While he lived on the Buckcherry tour bus playing more than 200 shows each year, his secret passion and a love for custom motorcycles grew. You see, there are long hours between shows, and filling those hours with plans of the perfect motorcycle became Xavier’s obsession. He had achieved what few men could dream of in a lifetime, he had become an honest to God Rockstar, but his second love was starting to pull him away from the bright lights and would bring him back to the garage. He came off the road for the final time, hung up a shingle for Providence Cycle Worx in his hometown of Austin Texas, and went to work on a new life. For three years now the question from everyone and I’m sure in his own head has been, could he do it a second time. Could X take the passion he has for motorcycles and bring it to the world on a national stage? I would say, as of this month, we can assure you that answer is yes.

“Grace”, A 80″ Pan/Shovel bobber, built from a 58 Rigid, by Xavier Muriel, in Austin, Los Angeles. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD on 7/30/18. ©2018 Michael Lichter.

While there have been a few bikes since Xavier made that decision produced out of Providence Cycle Worx, the one we are focusing on here has been on a whirlwind tour that has scored him a great deal of accolades the greatest of which has been Easyriders Bike Of The Year. I sat down with Muriel in his shop just outside of Austin’s city limits, and we talked about the humble beginnings of Grace. It all started with a ’53 Pan  Shovel motor built by Paul Cox. It was one of the last to come out of Indian Larry’s original shop. It belonged to a former band mate who was also a moto nut who has as crazy a collection as Xavier does. Anyway, the motor was in storage for like five years, and knowing he had a chance at building a bike for Lichter’s “Passion Built” exhibit in Sturgis in 2018, Muriel struck a deal with Keith, and this would be his foundation.

“Grace”, A 80″ Pan/Shovel bobber, built from a 58 Rigid, by Xavier Muriel, in Austin, Los Angeles. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD on 7/30/18. ©2018 Michael Lichter.

For a minute, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to build, a bobber, a chopper… He knew he wanted it to be rideable, I mean after all these are the two hooligans that ran across the country with Billy Lane on a freshly built Choppers Inc. custom. As it would happen, Mr. Jeff Cochran had a ’58 hardtail that would make its way into the picture. Now usually this would be extreme sacrilege for any cycle purist since it was the first year swing arm frame, but the hardtail had already been achieved so no harm in putting it to good chopper use. Now that he had a direction all he needed was a plan. Around Biketoberfest, Michael had made the invite for Passion Built, and from February to the end of July, Muriel put his nose to the grindstone to come up with a bike that could prove his legitimate place in a room full of 27 of the most talented builders in the world. While the terms of the show would have people who didn’t build professionally, it was for sure not an amateur show. X knew he’d have to step up his game, and that’s precisely what he did.

“Grace”, A 80″ Pan/Shovel bobber, built from a 58 Rigid, by Xavier Muriel, in Austin, Los Angeles. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD on 7/30/18. ©2018 Michael Lichter.

Like most builders, he prides himself on making as much of the bike as he can with his own hands, and that would mean a lot of trial and error. Don’t get me wrong, he would have loved to just throw a ton of high dollar parts at it, but until bike building starts to pay as good as platinum records, he might have to stick with making parts for his builds. Seriously though, his passion for this is what drives him. Each build gives him the chance to learn more, pick up skills to take it a little further, make something he hadn’t before. As you can see in some of the pictures of this bike, he even continued to upgrade it after the initial photo shoot. He came back and machined his own custom grips. He made the floorboard mounts, the ignition cover, the custom license plate / taillight mount. The oil filter mount that locates the remote filter in between the open belt pulleys, also made in the 400 square foot shop where he now applies his trade. As Xavier continues to build up his tools he reminds himself that there is always a way, the old guys didn’t have a lot of the stuff out there today, so he finds work arounds when he doesn’t have the latest and greatest tool to achieve his desired result. He heavily modified the sick ass pipes that Paul Cox made, and a lot of the stainless doodads are made in house, polished there too.

“Grace”, A 80″ Pan/Shovel bobber, built from a 58 Rigid, by Xavier Muriel, in Austin, Los Angeles. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Sturgis, SD on 7/30/18. ©2018 Michael Lichter.

One of the coolest parts on the bike was one he didn’t even make. The fuel tank was made by Bill Dodge at Bling’s Cycle, a design Xavier was in love with and fit the build perfectly. The Paul Cox aired seat isn’t a bad addition either and of course, the crowning jewel, the X on the air cleaner and pushrod tubes. When it came to the paint Muriel would turn to the same man who has painted a number of his prizes drum kits that have been on international tours; Buck Wild. Buck’s work is continuously in this magazine, and this paint was no slouch, but you might be surprised to hear that it isn’t what Xavier had planned it to be in the beginning. Originally he wanted a silver frame with silver base and some panel work. It was Buck who told him to ditch that idea and just powder coat the frame black. From there Buck took the reins and knocked it out of the park. Like I said in the beginning, this bike has been on a year-long whirlwind tour and racked up awards from coast to coast out of the Rats Hole, Golden Bolt, Cycle Source Shows and won Best of Show at Easyriders Austin getting him to the invitational where it took the big win. The biggest success, I think, has been the exhibit of its prowess as a motorcycle.

Xavier Muriel at a stop on a ride to Cape Canaveral during Daytona Beach Bike Week, FL. USA. Monday, March 11, 2019. Photography ©2019 Michael Lichter.

You see, Xavier is my brother, so I get to share a little of what is in his mind, and he is one of those sickos who thinks a motorcycle is for riding, and he has ridden the hell out of Grace. Yeah, this incredible show winning beauty has been seen ripping through the hills of Sturgis, The Streets of LA during Golden Bolt and across the Island during the Lone Star Rally for the In Motion Shake Down Ride. It isn’t afraid of putting it to the test, like a few others who follow that same simple creed, half the fun is in the ride. Knowing that my man is in his shop right now as I sit here writing this, just an inch away from finishing his next beautiful creation and oblivious to the fact that you have all awarded him, builder of the year, I’d like to be the first to congratulate him for proving the doubters wrong. Estoy orgulloso de ti mi hermano!

“Grace”, A 80″ Pan/Shovel bobber, built from a 58 Rigid, by Xavier Muriel, in Austin, Los Angeles. Photographed by Michael Lichter in Charlotte, SC, USA on 1/24/19. ©2019 Michael Lichter.

GRACE TECH SHEET

Owner: Xavier Muriel

City/State: Austin, TX

Builder: Providence Cycle Worx (PCW)

Year: 1953

Model: Bobber

Value: $45,000

Time: 7 Months

Engine

Year: 1953

Model: PanShovel

Builder: Paul Cox

Ignition: Morris G5

Displacement: 74cu

Pistons: Stock

Heads: Heavily Modified Stock

Carb: S&S Super E

Cam: Mild Andrews

Air Cleaner: Engraved Vitron

Exhaust: PCW / Paul Cox

Primary: Tech Cycle 2”

Transmission

Year:

Make: Baker DD6 with N1 Drum

Shifting: Jockey

Frame

Year: 1958

Model: H-D/SpeedKing Hardtail

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock

Forks

Builder: Harley-Davidson

Type: 39mm Narrow Glide

Triple Trees:

Extension: -2”

Wheels

Front Wheel: Paughco 40 Spoke Star Hub

Size: 21”

Tire: Metzeler 880

Front Brake: None

Rear Wheel: Midwest 40 Spoke

Size: 18”

Tire: Podium

Rear Brake: Billet Proof Dual Caliper

Paint

Painter: Buck Wild

Color: Red/Gold/Black

Chroming: C&D Plating San Antonio Texas

Accessories

Bars: Buttera’s Metal Worx

Risers: Indian Larry Brass

Hand Controls: PM Hand Master Cylinder

Foot Controls: Providence Cycle Worx

Gas Tank(S): Bling’s Cycle

Oil Tank: CDC

Front Fender: None

Rear Fender: RWD

Seat: Bare Bones Leather

Headlight: Original Bates

Taillight: No School Choppers

Speedo: None

Photographer: Michael Lichter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *