Article and Photos by: Chris Callen
Kendall Lutchman is someone that you might have started to hear more about lately. This young dude from the Chicago
suburbs has been quietly going about the business of building some of the baddest shit out there. His signature Schwinn neck plates are a dead give-a-way that his hand was involved. Another, of course, is the unmistakable blend of chopper and seventies’ bicycle. He’s been hauling away awards at most of the shows he attends, and after he took home the “Best Bike” trophy at Vintage Torque Fest, we nailed him down for a photo shoot.
Now the bike you see here is not the bike that won that award but an earlier one from his career. All the way back, when Kendall and h i s roommate at the time, Kyle Fiocchi, were just starting to seriously entertain the idea of getting into this bike thing, they came across a frame that would be the beginning of Space Truckin’. But this wasn’t where Kendall started customizing; at this point he was knee deep already. For a long time, cars were his thing. He even admits his passion for customizing them started with model cars when he was young. As he got a little older, he customized BMX bikes and made Schwinn choppers from every bike he could get his hands on. His brother painted cars and it was just natural that he would eventually pick up on that too. Once he got his license, he would dive head first into the world of mini trucks. But it was at a garage where he scored a job doing restorations that he would get bitten by the custom bike bug. He and some buddies would start to build bikes in that garage and between that and hanging with cats like Warren Heir of JR’s, he was in.
When a friend of Kendall and Kyle’s who owned a towing company came to them about a bike he had in impound for like four years, the wheels started to turn. The owner was on his fifth DUI and was never going to get the old Shovelhead dresser out of the yard. They decided to buy it and take it back to the shop. There they would tear out the motor and sell pretty much everything else as a roller. Around that same time, they found an old Paughco frame that this dude had used as a mock-up frame. They got it, tweaked it a little bit and dropped the motor in. It was right then that they made a commitment to building the bike; from there it was full-on. Luckily the motor didn’t need much. They reworked the top end without even taking the jugs off, got the black paint off the motor and left it at that. It ended up that the previous owner had hopped it up a good bit and it actually runs like a sonofabitch.
From there, they scored a ratchet top tranny and a Karata belt drive from Craig’s List, did some cosmetic stuff like cut the rocker boxes, and then hit the road. The first trip was a blast from Chicago to New York for the Invitational. He and Kyle took turns riding Space Truckin’ the whole way and did the trip in one shot, straight thru.
It’s been a few years now since Kendall finished that bike and in spite of the accolades he gets around the country, he holds fast to his philosophy which is that this has never been about having a great big shop or being a bike builder. To him, it’s just making a living doing what he loves. He’s blown away that people are recognizing what he does but the real deal is riding the hell out of bikes and wrenching on them to go at it all over again. Kendall and his buddies are that group of kids that we keep telling you about that are living it hard and fast, and they do all of it together. He went on to tell me how Warren was a big help in everything they were doing through the build on Space Truckin’ as well. He always had the parts they needed and was more than willing to kick in. And that’s the way it should be! So check him out at an upcoming show. Most of the time we’re lucky enough to have him with us at the Limpnickie Lot so stop by and see that Triumph he just did; man, what a bike!
space truckin’ tech sheet
Owner: James Deadrick
City: Winthrop Harbor, IL
Fabrication By: Kendall Lutchman
Time: Not Very Long
Value: Not Very Much
Year: 1982 Model: Shovelhead
Displacement: Big Pistons: Yeah Heads: Torqued Cam(s): Yep
Carb: S&S Super E Air Cleaner: S&S Exhaust: Kendall Primary: Karata
Make: HD Ratchet Top
Shifting: 4 Speed
Year: Early Paughco w/ HD Cast Neck and Drop Out
Make: Paughco Rake: Stock Stretch: Stock
Extension: 4 Under
Triple Trees: JR’s Cycle Products
Front Wheel: JR’s Cycle Products
Tire: Cheng Shin Brakes: Never Rear Wheel: HD Size: 16”
Tire: Cheng Shin
Painter: CKendall Type: Metal Color: N/A Chroming: N/A molding: None
Bars: Stainless 7/8
Hand Controls: HD Gas Tank(s): Kendall Front Fender: Nope
Rear Fender: F*&ked Up
Foot Controls: HD
Oil Tank: Chris Calvary
Speedo: Only At The Beach
Mirrors: Only For Bike Week
photographer: Chris Callen
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