On Tour With The International Motorcycle Show
Article And Photos By: Chris Callen
Originally Published In The February 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
As winter is nearly covering most of our beautiful riding states in the north and projects abound. Even the holidays can’t slow down the wild dreams of the obsessive builder and the madness they live with waiting for the chance to chase down the next project bike. In an effort to bring more of the knowledge of our friends and associates from the custom industry to those ready to embark on new builds this season, we struck a deal with the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows to bring our Grease & Gears Garage to all seven of their shows across the country. As I write this, we have just pulled out of the third show, in Minneapolis, and I feel like the work we are doing here is good. Looking back at the past month we’ve already has so much great talent on the stage, and we aren’t even to the halfway point. Names like Chris Richardson and Michael Barragan at the Long Beach Show, who brought this thing to a new level. We kicked off our War Pony project with a GSXR front end we scored right in the same neighborhood just days earlier. We had a handful of parts, including a neat little fairing from LAFCO and some shocks from Legends. It was exciting to get it going, but I was also a little freaked out since this was the first of seven shows and by the last one we have to ride the bike off stage.
We did the long haul back across the country to get to the Jacob Javits Center for round two of the IMS. Evan Favaro and Nick Beaulieu gave us some great insight into everything from hand shaping a fuel tank to making performance exhaust canisters from stainless steel. Vander finished up New York City for us with a killer piece on making a custom seat from scratch, and we left Manhattan on top of the world. During our drive from the west coast, we managed to drop in on Will Ramsey to get some help with our front-end dilemma. Will helped us machine a new neck stem from stainless so we could properly mount the front end by this show. It worked, and with a quick BBQ Black spray job thrown on, it was starting to look bad ass.
We had such a great line up in MN with Cory Ness and Brian Klock teaching design concepts, Dana Menefee showing us proper rake & trail and Kevin Baas building a battery box with CAD technology and CNC plasma cutting. It was a solid weekend, and our War Pony was really starting to take shape with the new Ride Wright Fat Daddy spoke wheels installed… What’ that… Spokes on an FXR? Yup! Like I said, this is not going to be your typical FXR. I’m thrilled to say that it’s keeping true to that. By the time the guys from No-Mar threw the Pirelli Scorpion ATs on those wicked Ride Wright Wheels, the bike was getting sick. We did some modification to the FLH front fender that we are using in the rear, and by the close of Minneapolis, it rolled out on its own wheels! As if this wasn’t enough for us to get our kicks with, our tech writer Daniel Donley is set up just across from us in Flo’s Chop Shop where he does daily segments on routine maintenance for everyone that stops by. In an up close and personal manner, Daniel has reached so many people who are curious about the way to get started in maintaining their bike. It’s an excellent thing for Progressive to do for the public and we send them mad props for it.
Jeff Najar is heading up another year of the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder bike shows, and each stop has impressive
bikes, awards from editors of different magazines, including ours, and even the much-fabled Tortilla awards, I’m not gonna tell you about these, even you’ll just have to come to a show and find out. Anyway, The Ultimate Builder is giving out some mad cash, and by the time we reach the championships in Chicago I think the combined purse will be well over $50,000. To find out more go to www.motorcycleshows.com
All in all, the IMS Tour is a fantastic place for the average moto nut from all walks of life to come and spend a weekend. The big manufacturers are all there, even H-D and Indian, all the top parts companies, you can have a chance at meeting people like the Ness Family, Donnie Smith, or Brian Klock. There’s always a ton happening at the Progressive Parlor where the Grease & Gears Garage Stage is set up. So, make some plans, head out to one of the four stops that are left and see what I’m talking about. Until then, get out in the garage man, Daytona will be here before you know it!