Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fuel Cleveland 2017 Date Announced


We have decided to move Fuel Cleveland from May to the end of July. Saturday July 29th, 2017 is what we came up with and feel will work best for everyone! Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details about the show in the coming months. Till then, cheers!

-Mikey Revolt

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fuel Cleveland 2016 Weekend Need To Know Addresses



All the info you will need for the weekend's festivities! 

Fuel Cleveland 
Saturday May 28th 2016
12-8 pm


Biltwell Inc. Pre-party.
Friday May 27th 2016



Show Class Magazine Official After Party
Saturday May 28th 2016
8pm to last call


Lowbrow Customs 12th Anniversary & Grand Opening Celebration
Sunday May 29th 2016
11am-4pm





Friday, May 20, 2016

Scott Takes - Underground Art Studios



I remember the first time I saw one of Scott's pieces of artwork. I was at Born Free 6 and there was a tank art display with a dozen or so tanks in it. I instantly gravitated towards Scott's who's was in the left corner of the little structure the tanks were being housed in. His tank was a perfect and on point portrait of the late Larry Pierce. I remember taking a photo of it and posting it on social media right away. People instantly pointed out that's Scott's work from Underground Art Studios and from then on I have been a big fan. I was extremely happy to see Scott accepted our invitation for Fuel Cleveland and his tank he has made for the show is incredible. Be sure to come see it on May 28th! I still don't know a ton about Scott personally other then his art work so I sat down with him the other day, asked him some questions and tried to get to know him a little better. This is what came of it, enjoy.


- Mikey Revolt



Tell us a little about you, your history and your shop.

I was Born and raised in Iowa. I took all the art classes provided before my junior year in high school, so my art teacher rewarded me with an independent study. I was able to do whatever I wanted, and get credit for it in Art. This led to the purchase of an airbrush and the start of my commission work. I graduated High School with a good base for production, but wanted to learn more about design. I choose a quick 2 year degree in commercial art and I freelanced a wide variety of design for a few years. Logo and advertising design, murals, and even some interior design. I traveled some and worked in other cities, but I was happy to admit that Iowa is my comfortable. I started airbrushing some high end apparel and custom denim jackets that really took off. I was doing a lot of commissions, hand painted leathers, and some portrait work. I started supplying a pretty large volume of these to a couple of high roller retailers in Malibu, California until the place was burned up in the crazy forest fires that devastated much of that area. All of my samples, the contacts there, and quite a bit of money was lost in that deal.

I was pretty bummed about these guys loosing everything they had worked for, but their big fancy house in Malibu was insured and I was a broke and hungry artist...

I started building things to paint with wood and canvas and airbrushing portraits and illustrations on them, selling them to friends and commercial clients. The jobs became enough for me to buy my first Harley and the desire to paint motorcycles and moto art was coming full circle.. I started painting on motorcycles and I love it. I have trusting and loyal clients, like minded people and extremely talented builders call on me for challenging design opportunities. Everyday is different. From the engineer building a weekend warrior in his garage to the well known fabrication guru hammering out the details on his Born Free build, I love them all.

My studio is my second home. I painted out of my basement for many years, as came the name, Underground Art Studios. Also, I collaborate with many talented people like fabricators, welders, guys that do fiberglass, bodywork, pinstripers, and other painters. I am impressed with the talents of so many people that are outstanding at what they do, but few know about them...so, I considered them all to be Underground Artists. Now, my studio is in a 40 x 40 shop in downtown Cedar Rapids. I love it! It is mostly made up of recycled, up-cycled equipment or should I say, other people's junk? I paint out of a walk-in cooler. It's a low overhead situation, and it allows me to accept projects with lower budgets.

I work with good people in my studio. I subcontract work to Tyler Chekal, who is graced with some outstanding talents and drive, this guy inspires me. Often times, I will sub out bodywork or prep and finish work to him. He has a great eye for design too, and can always give me advice on solid production techniques on bigger jobs, unique applications etc. Heather Slater is also a staple to Underground Art Studios. Heather has been with me for a long time, and she knows how I work. Heather can assist in the computer aided illustration, or mock ups. This will help the communication stay consistent between design and finished product.

What do you specialize in or what is your favorite technique?

Airbrush is my specialty. I find that coming up with new ways to use the airbrush is my technique. I have designed and painted a few cut outs of aluminum that I am excited about. When my schedule allows I will do more of those. You may have seen them in the Michael Lichter show in Sturgis, or the Dave Mann show in California.

When did art find you or did you find art?

Graffiti. I saw it, I knew it was done with a can of spray paint, so the more intense work I saw, the more attracted to it I became. The more I wanted to break down the production, and create my own pieces on paper that I could figure out what to paint first, second, and so forth to get the best end result. I love the production of something, knowing why you are putting it there, and how much, and so on...painting with a purpose.

Who or what inspires you and your style?

People, the owners of a machine or buyer of a piece of art inspire design. Motorcycles, themselves often tell you what they want on them if you pay attention. Tradition, depth, realism, motorcycle builders, tattoo artists.

Do you feel like you have found your style or are you still searching?

I have not found it, but I am not searching either. I am constantly breaking down the production of many styles, and recreating them in different scales. I just don’t see myself as an artist that has this one style that is what makes me unique. I think my style is diverse…it's more safe. I can do more if I am open to other peoples ideas. I have done lots of photo realistic paintings. Portraits, automobiles, naked ladies, pinups, memorials, I simply need to stay working, keep everything I put out in some form of high quality, and make a little money for my family. 


 
What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to painting?

I have too many ideas. I sometimes struggle to choose what is my favorite idea for the project.

Where did your love for motorcycles come from?

College, sunday afternoon, going to some dragon boat races on the Mississippi with my gal. Couple showed up at her house on a rigid, cone shovel chopper with straight drag pipes. The bike, a timeless, classic chopper...I watched, listened, and witnessed a sense of freedom that I had never been so close to. I paid attention. I got mine now. I will have it forever, to share.

What was the first motorcycle you have ever owned? 

What was special about it and/or not so special about it haha. It was a 1200 Sportster. It was owned by a factory sponsored motocross rider. The dealership is Metro Suzuki / Harley-Davidson. He never rode it. It was flawless. My brother and I talked him out of it. It lead me to my Panhead. 

When did you start mixing art with motorcycles?

I rode to a big party on Memorial Day in Stone City, Iowa. The streets were lined with Harley's. The live music had me in good spirits, and I was lit. I decided to split the crowd. I wondered into the street and went from taking in the view of the mass number of motorcycles lining both sides of the street, to studying the details of the machines individually. The glaring reality of the fact that the few bikes that had any hand painted art on them was clearly a booze induced experiment. I wanted to try to put my artwork on bikes.

What’s one of your all time favorite paint jobs you have ever done?

There are so many. But the most memorable was Miss Behavin' built by Billy Lane. This was about 2002. I just came off a 580 square foot mural I painted to commemorate the 100 anniversary of Harley-Davidson. I got paid, bought a trailer, put my '94 Nostalgia Special in it and drove through a blizzard to get to bike week in Daytona. No plans, no traveling partners, no time frame. One goal. Meet Billy Lane and thank him for putting some style into the motorcycle market again. This guy was no one hit wonder. He has the same illness I have. Lots of ideas. We met in an alley off Main Street. He had a 10 x10 booth set up with a handful of leaking shovels parked around it. The bikes were dripping with style. Every single one of them. I was so happy to see where the market was going next! Not stock. He had just received the Easyrider's Builder of the Year award when I met him. I knew it was only the beginning of what he could do. I complimented Billy on many of the hand made details in the builds, the addition of car parts used as decor and the choice of using shovel head power plants!!! All the crazy shit he was doing...I loved it all! He said, "you must be some sort of artist?" I said, "well, ya, I am an artist of sort." I gave him some shit about having a sticker of a pinup on the blue long bike. He said "what are you saying? Can you paint that on there?" I said, "sure I can." My first pinup was painted on Miss Behavin' for the first ever episode of Biker Build Off. I owe Billy for not only giving me an opportunity to paint a very well publicized motorcycle, but for introducing me to many talented people in this industry. 



Where is one place you would like to ride to and haven’t had the chance to yet? 

The California coast. I have been to Born Free, but with 3 kids, my wife gets stuck at home so I fly in and fly out. 

If you could only own one bike for the rest of your life what would it be and why? 

My Heritage Softail Nostalgia Special. Because I overpaid for a used motorcycle that was made to replicate something of value. I will own that one forever to always remind me to be mindful of my goals, because I will achieve them. 

Who’s one person you looked up to when you were a kid? Did you get to meet them or know them in any point of your life? 

Evel Knievel and yes, I met him!





Is there any life mottos or codes you live by?
People will see what you did. Not what you are going to do. Be humble and kind.

Are you a pizza delivery or make pizza at home kind of guy? 

My wife, Michelle, and our kids make the best pizza at home. 



Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank? 

Family first, I come from a family of 8 kids, and my parents, brothers, and sisters help make me who I am. Thank you to my wife who is an amazing woman, with talents that far surpass anything I could ever do, so I have to work pretty hard to not look like a total loser. My 3 great kids, for hanging out at the shop. Also Jeff Cochran, Tim Anding, Paul Wideman, Billy Lane, Indian Larry, John Parham, Jeff Wright, Casey Fleming, Kevin Baas, Josh Rinas, Heather Slater, Tyler Chekal, and Fuel Cleveland! Also, all of my loyal customers, for believing in my work.

Where can people follow you and see more of your work?

Facebook: Underground Art Studios

Instagram: scott_takes_underground

Underground Art Studios

Some more of Scott's work:
  

















Monday, May 16, 2016

Curt Morgan



The word "ramble" means to walk or go from one place to another place without a specific goal, purpose, or direction. Curt Morgan has "ramble" in his social media handle but I feel he does have purpose in everything he does. The storytelling and the documentation of beauty that pours from Curt and his camera lens has a true purpose in my eyes. He has captured so many people's attention over the last year on his travels and shared his adventures with his heart and mind open for everyone to see. From meeting strangers on the road who became friends, to probably seeing some of the coolest roads this country has to offer, Curt's stories deserve to be shared for years to come. I was lucky enough to even meet him on the road in Mexico last year. He seriously is one of the nicest and most humble guys – one of the good ones.  When putting Fuel Cleveland together this year Curt was at the top of my list to invite. Curt is trying to make the trek from Portland to Cleveland to attend the show on May 28th. I couldn't be more excited to see his smiling face again! Here are a handful a questions I asked him the other day to help share his story a little more to anyone that may not know him, enjoy.

-Mikey Revolt

Curt Morgan, where do you call home?

It’s going to sound cheesy, enough so that even I have to hold back laughing, but it’s been true since birth – the road is my home. I was born, even born on it, en route to the hospital in Pocatello, ID. Since that day I’ve lived in 12 states and 24 homes. But as the short story goes, for initial introductions, I just say I’m from Boston, because that is where I most recently, and still, claim residence.

What is your preferred camera choice, are you a Canon or Nikon guy and why?
Canon guy, for no other reason than that is what I started with.



Who or what inspires you and your work?

This is a tough one, because there is so much. But I like to think that we should give more credit to ourselves. My inspiration initially comes from my own wants, and then I just do it. Then through diving into something I begin to come across so many people that are on a similar path. It see it being similar to how you never really notice a particular car are the road, until you own one yourself.

Do you try and portray any meaning or convey any messages in your work?

I shoot what I see, with no real restrictions. There is so much that will never make it to social media. I’m a documentary photographer and, in some ways, a stock photographer. Some photos I take have (seemingly) no meaning, while others tell an incredible story.

Can you talk about your first experience or first memory of motorcycles and why they are important in your life?

I remember always noticing motorcycles, every time I saw one, and watching/listening until I couldn’t anymore. They weren’t a part of my (immediate) family growing up, but one of my earliest memories was asking my mom where uncle Randy was. (He is my dad's brother, and we don’t hear from him often, but he is such a cool salt of the earth kind of dude, off the grid and building houses in Colorado.) She replied “I don’t know...somewhere on his motorcycle.” I didn’t have a response, but I remember smiling and putting that idea in my pocket.



What was the first motorcycle you ever rode? How was that experience?

It must have been a Kawasaki 100 or something, around the age of 12. One day I was riding my BMX on some dirt jumps with friends in Iowa, and a few of them had brought their small off road motorcycles. They threw me on one, and while have no experience, and being overly excited to ride, I whiskey throttled the sumbitch into a tree. I cut my leg open pretty good and you could see the bone. My white socks had turned to red and I poured blood out of my shoe when I got home. To this day, I don’t recall if I ever told my mom...I didn’t want to go to the hospital, and it healed well enough on it’s own.



Tell us a little about your cross country trip and why you decided to travel America on two wheels?

I went to school in Boston for photography, which wasn’t cheap. I’m paying for it now and many years to come, and although my debt is quite large due to this I wouldn’t take it back for anything. It drove me to “do something crazy”, and give an idea the old college try, in an attempt to make something of my degree. So I hit the road for a year, after planning and saving for three. I went for broke and that happened in Portland, OR far more true that I intended for it to be, but I was just having too much fun that I didn’t want to get off the road until I absolutely had to. I have an awesome support system here, and all over the country, so I’m getting back on my wheels and planning to do it all again soon.



Where was one of the craziest places you got to go to while on that cross country trip?

Nothing too “crazy”, because it’s nowhere many, many other people haven’t been, but some really cool places come to mind, that were some of my favorite to visit.

In upstate NY there is a waterfall called Eternal Flame Falls, where there is a natural gas leak coming out of a small crack in the rock behind the water, that got lit one day. They say if it’s extinguished when you go there just toss a match. Look it up, it’s crazy! I also really enjoyed White Sands National Park, Wind River Canyon in WY, Yellowstone, and Acadia National Park in Maine.



Who was your favorite person you have ever met on the road, and what is their story?

Man, this is a tough one, especially because it even dates back to the day I was born...and I’m sorry to say that I can’t answer this. Even limiting this answer to my more recent motorcycle travels I’ve met so many people that played a very large role in what made that ride so memorable. From my first road friend, Sean in NC, who just wanted to share the road for a few days, to Tommy in MI, a young lad who hit the road towards the end of my year long trip, directly inspired by yours truly. Both of them, and so many in between, I now call family. And I’m just getting started!



Can you share one of the craziest moments you have ever witnessed and/or got to snap photos of?

My personal favorite was riding through Yellowstone and coming across a lone Bison wandering down the road. I pulled up ahead of him and watched him walk by just feet from me, and snapped a photo. People said I was crazy, and that they are dangerous animals, and maybe I am crazy, but I just didn’t sense that about this one. I felt like we made a connection, that maybe he was something of my spirit animal. Along with a wolf, bear, and many others, I’ve always wanted to see a Bison in the wild.



I know your bike had to of given you some troubles on the road, what’s a good breakdown story or memory?

My bike was nothing but on its best behavior the entire time. I had a few electrical issues, and six flat tires in a year, but that’s it. I got a new bike, for this trip, for a reason- I wanted to ride, not wrench. But I did get hit in WV, where not even locals have cell service, and that’s a pretty good story.

After riding through this crazy mountain pass, in Jefferson National Forest, with too many switchbacks to keep count, I got into the valley and this woman turned left without signaling, and clocked me. She hit me on the right and I went down on my left. I got up and checked everything out, I seemed fine enough so I put my bike under the microscope.

My right peg must have gone into her wheel and ripped it off its mount, rendering the rear brake useless because it could now swing freely. My front exhaust pipe was crushed, but also punctured and still able to release exhaust. From sliding on my left side my shifter was bent all the way into my primary, and my clutch housing was smashed, leaving my clutch hanging from it’s cable, but if I held it in place it could still pivot and was usable. My sissy bar was bent and nearly falling off, and this came to be my only immediate concern, everything else left it still rideable.

So when a tow truck came, and I declined that service, I said I’d follow them to the shop 3 miles away to bend my sissy bar back in place. After that I continued the 5 or so miles to my destination- a cabin my parents had rented for me to treat me, because they are so proud of me and what I was doing. These cabins were so cool, all pre civil war and all so secluded from the other. They had a fireplace, loft bedroom, and a jacuzzi. So I decided to sleep this one off, and soak my increasingly sore body in the hot tub, before working out these repairs.

The next day I rode 3 hours back through the mountain pass I came, with no rear brake, crushed leaking exhaust, clutch hanging by its cable, and shifter bent all the way in. It was rideable enough, and got me where I needed to get it fixed. Shenandoah Harley was awesome! They didn’t charge me for service, and they found all the parts I needed as take off parts. It was a $250 repair vs a $900 one.

Is there a place you haven’t rode to yet that you have to go to before you kick the bucket?
Iceland and New Zealand.



If you could only own one bike for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

A purpose built Evo chopper, designed to crush miles with style and comfort.

Do you have any life mottos or codes that you live by?
"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."

- Charles Bukowski



Are you a bowl of ice-cream or waffle cone with ice-cream kinda guy?
Gotta go with the bowl. Cons of having a mustache and beard.

Is there anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
So many...too many to list here. You all know who you are. So I’ll keep it simple and thank my folks for knockin' boots and raising me right!

How can people keep up with you, your travels and your work?
Instagram is really the only social media I use. It’s a digital business card. So check out my ramblings and get in touch @RambleOnPhoto




Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Stacey Hagel


I think what I love about art so much, is that it's so universal and can be interpreted and visualized in so many different ways. Back in July of 2015, I was fortunate enough to be invited out to showcase some of my work in Vancouver for a show called Spit-n-shine. Upon arrival to The Shop Vancouver, who was putting on the show. Kat and I were welcomed with open arms by Tj, Andrew and KC who went leaps and bounds the entire weekend to entertain us and show us around town.  While hanging with Andrew he told me a little about his now finance Stacey Hagel and her art talents before I actually met her. As soon as she walked in to The Shop, I immediately brought it up and she shied away but eventually showed me some things on her phone. I was blown away on how intricate and beautiful her work was. As the weekend progressed, and we hung out with more of their crew, I started noticing her art on everyone's helmets, gas tanks, and even boots. When putting Fuel Cleveland together this year, Stacey was one of the first artists on our list for the soul fact she has this fresh outlook on integrating art with motorcycles. I'm also excited to say Stacey and Andrew will be attending the show on May 28th and I can't wait to see them again. Here is a small interview we did the other day so everyone can get to know Stacey a little better, enjoy.


-Mikey Revolt


Stacey Hagel, where do you call home?

S: Although I’ve been living in Vancouver British Columbia for the past five years, just outside of Calgary Alberta is where I grew up and where my family lives. This is where home base is.

Tell us a little about yourself, and your background in art/what you do for a living.

S: At an early age, I can remember asking for a carving knife for my birthday. I literally spent the whole summer whittling and building forts out of rocks, sticks and moss; pretty much anything in sight. I kind of had the attitude of why would I buy it when I can probably just make it myself.

After high school, I decided to give art school a try. I thought I would fully embrace in the “artist life” and further develop my skills. Ha, not so much!! I was completely wrong. After a few years of being told by a professor I had no talent, I became your classic art school dropout. For about three years I rarely picked up a pencil. As I stepped away from my sketchbook, I ended up picking up a film camera. I was eager to learn something new and creative so I ended up taking a night class where I developed my own film and learnt the ways of an enlarger.

After some time had passed I decided to give school another shot, but instead of art I moved towards design. This is also where I started to fall in love with art all over again. With a fresh new approach I was picking up pencils, paintbrushes, charcoal, chalk, pastels pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I graduated from Emily Carr with a Bachelors of Design in Interaction Design. This lead me to my current career as an Interaction Designer specializing in User Experience and User Interface design. The last few years I’ve been working in the health design field; learning and designing interactive web and mobile interfaces that are tailored to chronic diseases. To continue to challenge myself and my design skills I do freelance work in other creative fields outside of health design.

Who or what influences your styles and ideas when it comes your designs?

S: I get a lot of inspiration from my surroundings. Although,I find myself always drawn to ancient Egyptian art whether it’s from their sculptures, architecture and paintings. In my work you will notice that Mehndi designs are also very prominent.

You are very intricate and immaculate when it comes tiny details in your work, do you feel like the small pieces take more time then the larger ones or is all relative to the time and design you are doing?

S: The small details probably take about the same amount of time, but they are what I enjoy the most. Small details make the biggest impact and for me are what takes a piece from looking great to making something look spectacular, polished and unique.

What’s your all time favorite piece you have ever created?

S: Oooooo, probably a skate deck design I did up for a new snowboard, skate and surf company a few years back. To my disappointment, it was never released, haha classic! So it’s just been sitting in my sketchbook for the last few years.



Are there any new techniques or skills you have been working on or learning lately?

S: Lately, I’ve been mainly focusing on the art of engraving. I’ve been etching for a while now, but finally got to a point where I felt like I was outgrowing my tools and was looking for a different final result. I ended up moving away from my dremel for a while to try an airgraver. The final result is something completely different that surprised even myself. It’s all I think about lately and what I youtube constantly haha. I keep plugging away trying to get more hours under my belt and see how far I can push this new tool.

What do you find most challenging about art?

S: What I find most challenging about art is knowing when to walk away. Whether it’s from a painting, a drawing, or from a commissioned piece. Knowing when to walk away or keep going full force is something I’ve had to learn the hard way and am constantly still working on.



When did motorcycles come into your life? What was your first bike?

S: Motorcycles came into my life about 7-8 years ago. I started off as a passenger on the back of my boyfriend's, now fiance's bike. Every time I jumped on the back, it would completely clear our mind. Fresh air blowing on my face, and this indescribable feeling of connection between the three of us. It’s as if we would all become in sync with one another and moved as one unit. I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines, so it was only a matter of time before I wanted get behind the bars. My first bike, Janette, was a forest green 1980 Yamaha XS400. She was a crusty old bitch. Often left me sitting on the curb calling the better half, while he laughed hysterically on the other end.

The roads in Vancouver are unreal and I can't wait to go back and explore more, what are some of your favorite places to go for a ride up there that you would recommend?

S: For a quick escape from the city, I like to rip the Lower Marine Rd. to Horseshoe Bay. However, the topper of all roads is the “Sea to Sky”; then cut off up to Squamish Valley Rd. to hit some dirt and be completely surrounded by the forest greens, waterfalls and wildlife .



When did you start combining them together, art and motorcycles?

S: I'm a very visual person so when I don’t understand the complexity of something I often have to draw it out. As I started to take more interest and curiosity in motorcycles, I started to draw and paint them to better understand its complex components. Taking note of each motorcycles different lines and curves and how all its components connect with one another, I started to see motorcycles more sculpturally rather than engine type or brand. As my perspective of motorcycles changed, I became more comfortable leaving my mark on them. This changed my perspective on what my canvas could be. I moved towards wearables, painting on helmets, leather burning on boots and gloves and now of course, hand engraving on steel, aluminum and glass.

Where’s one place on your bucket list you must see?

S: Egypt.

What’s your ultimate dream machine?

S: My ultimate dream machine would consist of converting an old school bus into a house on wheels, with a garage component in the back with just enough room for two bikes. This ultimate dream machine would travel on whatever road it can make it on. When it can’t, the bikes come out and the adventure continues.



What other hobbies or skills do you have that most people wouldn’t know about you?

S: Well I’ve dabbled in a lot of different mediums over the years and all of them have had some sort of impact on where I’m at now. I also do a lot of leather burning, painting, typography, photography, sculpting, drawing… list goes on. But not art related I love spending time in our garden.

Whats some advice you would give to yourself if you could go back in time to when you were 13?

S: I would probably encourage my 13 year old self to pick up the pencil more often and loosen up a bit. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Not everything you create has to be spectacular or complete.

Is there any life mottos or codes that you live by?

S: Live a life that feels right to me, not one that looks right to everyone else.

Are you food truck or sit down restaurant kinda gal?

S: I go where the food is good.

Is there anyone you want to give a shout out to or thank?

S: A BIG THANK YOU has to go out to you, Mikey Revolt! We had the opportunity to meet last summer over here in Vancouver and right from the get-go we were both so hyped on each other's works. You reaching out to me on this opportunity to make my mark on a tank with nothing but excitement and support, which in-turn has really made me push myself outside of my comfort zone on this piece.

Where can people keep up with you and your artwork?

S: I keep Instagram up to date mostly with what I am currently working on @_sbcreative


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Fuel Cleveland 2016 list of Bike Builders and Owners


We are extremely excited to finally announce the entire list of bike builders and owners that will be showcasing their bikes at Fuel Cleveland on May 28th. We strive to curate this show with a diverse and wide range of motorcycles. We look at everything from history of a bike to the fabrication and craftsmanship of the builders. What's in the show you ask? Well I will hint that there will be your favorite Shovels, Pans and Knuckle head choppers. Along with BMWs, Triumphs and even a 2 stroke Suzuki. We love motorcycles of all kinds and try our hardest to put together a little something for everyone. We even have a few amazing survivors in the mix. So, bring the family out for a great time and check out some of the coolest motorcycles this country has to offer. We hope to see everyone at Rays MTB!

Fuel Cleveland goes from 12-8pm and is free to everyone to attend thanks to our sponsors.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Steve Sheldon - Troy Fab



We strive to bring different guys from all over the country to Fuel Cleveland and show off their talents one motorcycle at a time. Steve Sheldon has a shop in Connecticut where he builds amazing one off, immaculate designed two wheel machines. When Steve said he was able to come out and showcase one of his bikes at Fuel Cleveland on May 28th, we were more than trilled. I don't know Steve all that well, other then seeing his crazy cool parts he makes on others bikes and some of his brilliant bikes floating around the inter webs. So, I sat down with him via the internets and asked him a handful of questions to try and pick his brain a little. This is what came of it, enjoy!


Words by -Mikey Revolt

Photos by -Patrick Noonan Photography

Steve Sheldon, where do you rest your head at night?

S: Greene, Rhode Island born and raised here. A small town on the Connecticut border.

Where does the name Troy in Troy Fabrication come from?

S: I named the company after my son. Troy was born 3 months premature and my wife wanted to stay home with him until his motor skills caught up with his age. She left her career in the dental field to take care of Troy. That is when I bought a welder and started taking on small jobs to supplement our income.



Tell us a little history about yourself and your shop.

S: After starting Troy Fabrication, I decided to keep investing the money I was earning, back into the company. I picked up a lathe, Bridgeport, tig welder etc, until I had a complete machine shop capable of doing about anything. That `s when I started building my bike realized there were parts needed that no one was making. I designed a weld on chain tensioner and offered them up on several motorcycle forums and they were selling well. I put a model A taillight on my bike and didn't like the hokey sheet metal piece that bolted on the back, so I designed a aluminum taillight cover and started selling them. Nobody was selling bungs at that time either so I started making kits up to make oil tanks. I built the Triumph (that I am bringing to Fuel Cleveland) next and discovered more parts that needed to be designed that no one was making. I opened up a jock shop on the Jockey Journal, an eBay store, started a store on Chopcult in the Chop Market section, I was selling parts on the Horse Back Street Choppers forum, and a bunch of others. Eventually, Tyler from Lowbrow Customs started selling some of my parts on his website. Then, Lucas from Factory Metal Works helped me out by selling parts on his sight. Jay and Truth over at Choppahead, were kind enough to give a me a shelf in their retail store and sell my parts on their website. Now I have 6 dealers selling my parts worldwide. Being only one person, I ended up having to sub parts out to keep up with the orders and this did not fare well with me. I wanted to control my own destiny, so I picked a CNC Bridgeport and brought all parts back in-house.

My wife takes care of all the packaging, shipping and marketing. She also does all the sand blasting and runs the Bridgeport for me while I am at work. Troy has been hanging in the shop for years now. He cuts stock and works on the lathe and Bridgeport.

My daughter Adrienne is 4 and she has a small 4 wheeler that shuttles parts from the shop to the house for me. It has become a total family business here at the Troy Fab Compound.



What bike are you planning on bringing to showcase at Fuel Cleveland, and can you tell us a little about it?

S: 1970 Triumph built from a basket case and swap meet parts. I narrowed and frisco'd a standard Triumph tank, made the oil tank and fabricated as many parts as I could. I painted and powder coated everything in-house. I rebuilt the motor at my shop using the Wes White video and the Triumph parts manuals. Jay from Choppaheads played a huge roll in answering all my questions and getting me all the parts I needed.

What is your favorite kind of bike/motor to work on?

S: I like Triumph's because they look so nice and simple when they are done.

What’s your history with motorcycles and what got you into them/building them?

S: My Father bought a Honda QA-50 for my brother and me to share when I was 8. I just kept getting bigger bikes as I got older.

As far as building bikes, I went to a yard sale one day down the road from my house. I met a neighbor who was building a custom motorcycle in his garage with his son. His son was stationed in Iraq and could only work on the bike when he came back stateside. I offered my assistance to help out with the build. I would go over there a few nights a week and weekends to work on the bike with his father. After the bike was completed I decided that I wanted to build one of my own.

Over the years what do you say is the hardest or most challenging thing about building for you?

S: Finding the time to work on my bike. My builds always take the back seat to making parts.

Where does your style of building come from or is there anything or anyone you look for inspiration?

S: Choppaheads, Factory Metal Works and Angry Monkey Cycles are all making beautiful Triumphs.

Inspiration comes from guys like Mike over at 47 Industries. His work ethic and craftsmanship is top notch. Mike works 24/7 and his shop is always open. Austin Martin Originals, who like me, holds down a full time job and works nights and weekends building bikes. Jay Roche from Special79 has unbelievable skills and has never been afraid to share them. Derik Seiber is killing it with the custom the parts he`s been making. Instagram is full of inspiring people to follow, just too many to list.



Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

S: Back roads of Connecticut.

Tell us about one of your all time favorite memories while riding.

S: When I bought my first Harley, I was invited to ride up to Laconia with a local motorcycle club. These guys invited me and one of my friends as guest of the club and they treated us like members. There were hang arounds and prospects doing all kinds of things for the club, but we were off limits and all they let us do was party. They let us ride at the back of the pack and I got my first dose of hardcore biking. I remember on the way up all you could smell was oil burning and the cloud of smoke coming from the pack. When we got there, are faces were black from this. These guys all had old Harley’s that they wrenched on themselves.

We camped out and headed into town and just checked out the scene. This was back when cops were few and far between. The main drag was out of control, to say the least. On the way back it was pouring out. The pack just cruised at about 65-70 mph. I remember holding my hand in front of my face, while getting blasted from the rain for about 2 hours. That was my first dose of hanging out with real bikers.


Is there a place you have never been to in the world and you must go to before you kick the bucket?

S: Nope, pretty much a hermit. I have everything I need right at home.



Your welding game is pretty damn strong, any tips of the trade you would like to share?

S: I tell everyone to go to Youtube and check out all the free videos available to get started. After that, just lay down as many beads as you can. Keep experimenting with all the different techniques available on line.

What’s something else you are into or enjoy doing?

S: Just spending time with my family,

Dream machine, do you have one already or is it something that you are looking forward to building or owning?

S: Harley Davidson WLA Flathead.



Any big projects or things in the works you would like to share?

S: Ramping up on sheet metal tools in the shop. I am on a personal quest to learn as much as I can about working with sheet metal.

Since you are from New England, which clam chowder do you prefer, the white or the red kind? ahaha

S: White Chowda, salt, peppa, vinaga and ketchup on my clam cakes and fries.

Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank?

S: Everyone over at Fuel Cleveland for the invite. My wife and family for their total support. Lowbrow Customs, Factory Metal Works, Choppaheads, Seven Sins Choppers, Throttle Addiction and Licks Custom Cycles for believing in my parts enough to sell them. Patrick Noonan Photography for making my parts and Bikes look so good. Walter Yehle for teaching me machining skills. Steve Jordan for teaching me machining, sheet metal, and painting skills. Gilbert Dion for welding and fabrication knowledge.

You can keep up with Steve and his work at troyfab.com or on his IG @troyfab