She lives faster than you will ever ride. French born, loving the energy of big cities like Paris, London, New York, and Los angeles and trying them all. She rides since the age of 19, right now makes a living as a Hollywood make up artist, can teach you a lot about bikes, has owned more than most of you will ever see in a life time in your garage (from a 1954 BSA to a stroked custom hardball, from an industrial looking Exile to a Honda Cafe Racer and many more between). And when she orders a new one, she knows exactly what she wants and how it should handle her everyday hard riding. For her, no bullshit candy bike. Well it was time for a new machine and she wanted to come back to her first riding experience in the “Rockers” world. Something looking like a modern day Café Racer, synonymous with tight/light/fast/highly manoeuvrable, but one that had a distinctive So Cal feel to fit into her current Hollywood lifestyle.
Melanie met Brandon, owner of Brawny Built, a shop known for building very cool Sportster based choppers and whose references include quite a few bikes built for the “infamous” So Cal Sinners. Although Melanie has never been a Sportster Girl, (because she is not so girlie…), Brandon convinced her that he could put the Sport back into a Sportster, and equipped her bike with a Buell front end, and with wheels and brakes adapted to fit the racer handling . Some of the work on this project was completely new territory for Brandon. For example, he went through a sequence of multiple trials and errors before getting the custom swing arm, tail section and mono-shock to where they are now for correct behavior on any kind of terrain. Aluminum gas tank and exhaust were custom fabricated following Melanie instructions, and Brandon installed the foot controls in the rear, a must location to get the true Café Racer riding posture. Other pieces include the Bates replica headlight, a Magura clutch and Grimeca front brake master cylinder. With her intense riding on this bike, I bet Melanie does her part in the rebirth of the Cafe Racer scene in California. Brawny Built (pictures by Steve Kelly)