Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Majik Mikes Designs - Mike Rabideau 1983 Shovelhead

Photo by: Gabriella Brossman

I met Mike Rabideau in Milwuakee at Hood Bush back in 2013, and he couldn't of been any nicer of a dude. Over the years the likeliness of seeing him at every show I go to is pretty high and he always has a big smile on his face. I pretty sure, I have hung out with Mike at more shows then any other person. Mike's not just an avid show goer, he's actually an extremely talented bike builder as well. His style is different than other's and when you see one of his bikes parked on the street or in a show, you instantly know it's one of his designs. Some of the stories about how much fabrication goes into his builds are absolutely insane but with one look at his bikes you can tell his heart and soul goes into each and every one. I'm glad to call Mike a friend of mine over the years and I am so stoked he is coming out from Milwuakee to show off his latest build at Fuel Cleveland on May 28th. I had the chance to sit down with him the other day and ask him a few questions. This is what came of it, enjoy!

-Mikey Revolt

Photo by: Gabriella Brossman

Mike Rabideau, where do you call home?

I live in Racine,WI… between Milwaukee and Chicago.

Can you tell us a little history about yourself and your shop?

Well…I’m just a regular guy tryin’ to make it through life like the rest of you. I have a job, bills, and bullshit that I have to deal with…. I just build bikes in between. I’ve always been into motorcycles and BMX since a young age. I converted a two car garage into a shop with a couple lifts and all the basic tools needed to do this kind of work. I’ve always been into art, whether it was drawings, paintings or sculptures, I was always making something from nothing. It almost seemed inevitable that someday I would build bikes as functioning art. 

Photo by: Gabriella Brossman

What bike do you plan on bringing to Fuel Cleveland and can you tell us a little about it?

This year I’m bringing a ’83 Shovelhead. I built this bike last year as an Invited Builder for the Hotbike Tour 2015. I used a VL frame, RL frontend, Mag driven, fully polished Shovelhead, Baker Six Speed Trans, Custom Tins and subtle paintjob by Kendall. It’s a complete ground up build with all the stress you can imagine knowing I had to ride this on the tour when it was done.

The love and passion you have for motorcycles seams to really show in your builds and I know you put a ton of hours into each bike. Where does that love and passion come from and what is the longest amount of time you have ever spent building a bike?

Oh man…let’s not talk about the hours! As far as the passion behind the builds, I would just have to say it’s naturally my OCD. I just want it to look good and work right and try and avoid all potential problems from the get go. I’ve built enough bikes to know what works and what doesn’t work, so I just try to carry that into the next. If you do it right the first time… you won’t have to go back and fix or redo something. As far as the longest build time I would say about two years….that was in the earlier years. I’ve found faster ways of doing things since then. 

Photo by: Gabriella Brossman

What you find most challenging when it comes to building? Motors, the design, or fabrication?

I guess I would say the motor work rather than fab or design. I can see the design in my head with what I’m trying to do. The fab work is the fun part because you’re actually making something from just a thought. The motor work is more critical, and involves tools I don’t have…which is even more the challenging part.

Photo by: Brian Rovinski

What has been your all-time favorite bike you have ever built or owned and why?

I would have to say my favorite build was the Trike I built in 2014. I built that knowing it was out of my comfort zone… the challenge and outcome was unreal. I built that as an Invited Builder for the HotBike Tour 2014 and just wanted to do something different than everybody else. Showing up with a third wheel was a little odd, but it paid off. I actually won a trip to the Motor Bike Expo in Verona, Italy after winning the build off that year. I’d have to say that was definitely a fun experience. 

Who or what inspires your style when it comes to designing your bike?

Good question…There’s so many cool builders out there and I love all kinds of bikes but if I had to name some builder that inspire me and designs it would be guys like, Nash Mororcycles, Jesse Rooke, Scott “T Bones” Jones, Masa w/Luck MC, Mad Jap, Dave Polgreen, Chris Graves, Jeff Cochran, Jeff Wright and Paul Wideman. I like clean bikes with finished parts. As much as I like seeing the old survivor crusty old bikes, I’m more into building short clean bikes with clean lines and style, nothing over the top with all the extra gadgets and detailed work that sometimes gives an overkill kind of look. 

Photo by: Gabriella Brossman

You go to a lot of shows, I swear I see you almost at every show I go to. What’s your favorite show out of all them and why?

My favorite show, eh…well, each show has its own vibe and unique way of doing things, so it’s hard to say which one is actually my favorite. Obviously Born Free is one of the show’s to get to, you see some of the best bikes from around the world and it’s in Southern California so what’s not to like. Oily Soul has been a fun time every year. Detroit’s just one of those lawless cities so we all road hard through those streets. Mama Tried is on the top of the list for me though. It’s local for me and I get to see a lot of my friends that come to town. This year’s show topped last year by integrating the races on Friday night. The show is well organized and thought out with a diverse selection of bikes in the show….and its Milwaukee…Home of Harley Davidson!

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

Well…I already have a bike I will own for the rest of my life. It was my uncle Mark’s ’76 Shovelhead. He had a bad crash on it in 2010 which caused him never to ride again. He gave me what was left and I rebuilt it and ride it as my daily rider. He owned the bike for 25 yrs. and for him to give it to me means a lot and I could never see me getting rid of it. Otherwise….give me a Knucklehead and I promise to keep it!

What is your all-time favorite place you have rode to and plan on going back anytime soon?


I’d have to say when I rode across Up State New York through the mountains with my dad. That was a memorable ride I’d like to do again. Another one is the HotBike Tour…that’s a good ride with some good people. Every night was a party and it’s just a rolling show from city to city. 

Photo by: Scott Nelson

What’s one of the craziest memories or stories from a run or trip on your motorcycle?

Damn….I have some good ones, bad ones and sad ones, but one of the most memorable runs had to be the Hood Bush Run a few years back in Milwaukee. We all met at The Valley and rode north to the party spot north of Milwaukee. I know you were at that one Mikey. I have pictures of you taking pictures as we took over 3 lanes of highway. It was a perfect day just smashing down the highway with cars pulling over just to get out of the way. That was a fun one for sure.

Any big plans or new builds you are currently working on?

I don’t have any big plans other than a few shows I want to go to. As far as builds…I’m just working on a swing arm Shovelhead right now. It’s just a short little tight bike that I plan on ripping around next year. I’m not trying to stress myself with these builds anymore, so I’ll work on it at my own pace and just have fun with it again. I already have most of the work done so I know what it’s going to look. I just have to tighten it up and get it welded up. Maybe I’ll just shoot to have it done for Fuel next year?? We’ll see…

Photo by: Scott Nelson

What was 13 year old Mikey like, and if you could go back in time, what words of advice or wisdom would you tell yourself?

Wow…you want to go there? Well…I was pretty much a trouble maker at 13. I won’t get into details, but if I could go back and give myself some advice I would just tell myself that Karma’s a Bitch! Everything I did I feel came back to bite me in the ass later on. With that said….I would have made a lot of different decisions back then, but fuck it…that’s what makes me who I am today.

What are some other things you enjoy doing or hobbies the people may not know about you?

When I’m not traveling for work or in the garage you will probably find me in my basement playing records. I’ve been a DJ for the past 20 years and used to play out at raves in the late 90’s early 2000’s. I never sold my equipment and I still play a few times a month. It goes back to the art thing…mixing records is a form of art itself… I guess you could consider me an “old school” DJ, because I actually still play vinyl and not Cd’s. My chopper friends would call me DJ Majik Mike. That’s where the name Majik Mike came from.

Photo by: Brian Rovinski

Are you a sushi and saki or a burger and beer kinda guy?

I’m a burger and beer kinda guy. Why make things complicated.

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

Man…where to start…well I’d have to thank the people and companies that do support me. Building a complete bike from start to finish is a tough task and I’ve always had help along the way. There’s too many to name but I’d have to say thanks to Dan Vice, Terry the Polisher, Chris Graves, Cheater Carl, Kevin Klemick, Herman the German, Adam Nisiewicz, Jeff Holt, Bobby Middleton, Ken Taylor, Dean Jones, my family and the whole Milwaukee crew…and of course you too Mikey. I’ve had many companies back me like Harley Davidson, Lowbrow, Biltwell, HotBike, Baker Transmission, Throwback Motorcycle Parts, Speed Dealer, Efab, Pierce Street Seat Company, Morris Magneto, Bare Knuckle Choppers, MidStates and Kira America that I have to say Thanks to also!

Make sure to come out to Fuel Cleveland on May 28th to see Mike's '83 Shovel and if You want to keep up with Mike and his work give him a follow on Instagram @majikmikesdesigns or his website majikmikesdesigns.blogspot.com

Photo by: Gabriella Brossman

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