Rolling Thunder 25th Anniversary Coast Guard Tribute Bike. Preview.

During the 25th Anniversary of Rolling Thunder in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day, four custom motorcycles by four builders Mike Tomas, Billy Lane, Brigitte Bourget,Dar Holdsworth) will be unveiled. Each bike is built around a specific theme, a branch of the military. After showing you Billy Lane’s bike at the beginning stage of the fabrication process, here is a preview of the almost completed creation by Mike Tomas from Kiwi Indian Motorcycle Company.

His Coast Guard tribute bike is based upon a 1945 Indian Chief and Mike tells me that he will ride it to the Rolling Thunder Anniversary event for the unveiling. He intends to leave California on May 5th riding to Washington DC via North Carolina. A friend riding his 1937 Bobber Chief will be with him. He was on his death bed 2 years ago and make a remarkable recovery so this ride is a big deal for him. The daily rides will be 200-250 miles every day, using mainly back roads. 

The 4 theme bikes will be unveiled in Washington DC on May 26th during Memorial Day Weekend whose main event is an annual motorcycle Demonstration Run that attracts over 450,000 motorcycles and one million attendees.. I remind you that the major function of Rolling Thunder®, Inc. is to publicize POW-MIA issues, to educate the public that many American Prisoners of War were left behind after all previous wars and to help correct the past and to protect future Veterans from being left behind should they become Prisoners of War-Missing In Action. They are also committed to helping American Veterans from all wars. To follow…

15 Responses to “Rolling Thunder 25th Anniversary Coast Guard Tribute Bike. Preview.”

  1. 1 Rodent Apr 6th, 2012 at 8:55 am

    It doen’ matter if Mike is a nice guy which he is or not. The important thing is Mike Tomas is a master builder.

  2. 2 Brutus Apr 6th, 2012 at 9:59 am

    It’s very nice, but it’s always the same assembled bike with a different paint job. I hope the 3 other builders do something really custom. Billy Lane for sure.

  3. 3 Dave Blevins Apr 6th, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I think all the bikes will be nice, but this will likely be my favorite one. Nice job Mike.

  4. 4 CafeSportyTC Apr 6th, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I like it , it gets the CafeSportyTC seal of approval!

  5. 5 Dar-Brass Balls Cycles Apr 6th, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Mike, nice authentic build as always. For those who don’t know, Mike designs, restores & builds most of the parts to his bikes, including the motors. It may look like another bike with a theme paint job to some… But frankly I’ve always admired what Kiwi Mike does… He does not have the luxury of getting a motor from S&S, a tranny from Baker, a primary from BDL or front end from MeanStreet like I do. Look closely at the composition of components on this bike and you will see real hand craftsmanship. The rear suspension. The leaf spring front end. The pogo seat… All fashioned by Mike. As for me… I’m running a bit behind on our NAVY bike, but should finish in time to ride along I hope. Best to Billy & Bridgette too.

  6. 6 Moore Sensible Products Apr 7th, 2012 at 6:35 am

    It’s awfully nice to see someone act with grace and humility in today’s “me first” world. I wish you all the best.

  7. 7 Seymour Apr 7th, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Man oh man do I want a Kiwi Indian!

  8. 8 Darin Maltsberger - Instructor @ MTI Apr 7th, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Cool bike. Mike always does an awesome job with authentic components that are his specialty and his signature. Someday, when I get my act together, I want an Indian with Kiwi components on it. Great bike, nice look, classic craftsmanship. Keep on inspiring all of us.

  9. 9 Matt Olsen Apr 7th, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Good Job Mate,
    The bike looks great, I love the leaf spring front end with the high mounted horn.

  10. 10 Bubba Apr 7th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I am “the friend” and proud to call kiwi my mate. This will be our second cross country run together on antique motorcycles. Mike’s skill and ability as a master builder is appreciated by many but understood by few. To watch him create something from nothing is a thing to behold. There is no other builder that can say they actually “make” their parts. This is a special machine for a terrific cause. I am proud to be a small part of the event.

  11. 11 Mike Tomas Kiwi Indian MC Co Apr 7th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    It is truly an honor to have been asked to represent a branch of our countries protectors.
    Dar, Billy and Brigitte are very talented builders and will build awesome bikes that will be far more custom than this one and represent their branches and POW MIA well. Jay too.
    I’m a historical type guy/builder and I wanted the bike to reflect the WWII era style. WWII era bikes were very utilitarian in design and beautiful styling was never their primary goal. The fenders are wide and a bit ugly but that’s what makes it beautiful in its own way.
    Rodent: I find life more rewarding to be a nice and sincere person.
    Dar: I certainly hope you can ride along.
    We have our route drawn out which we will publish on our website shortly.
    Everyone is welcome to join in and be involved at any point of the ride. Its a leisurely ride each day on secondary roads to visit with folks and see the countryside from coast to coast. We will also be on American Iron mag “Kickstart Ride” May 17-18 ending at the Denton NC Antique MC meet.
    One of the great things about building bikes is each person can express ones own personalities/ideas/talents, etc in each build while creating it with ones own hands. Whether taking a total pile of old junk and turning it into a masterpiece (restoration), making a complete new ground up custom, rebuilding ones own engine, doing ones
    own servicing, sketching out paint work or whatever it be, there is nothing more fulfilling than being involved in it yourself.
    And to top it off it allows us all to come in contact with so many wonderful people. The Coast Guard folks are all awesome. Thanks to everyone.
    Semper Paratus (always ready)!!! Mike Tomas

  12. 12 Murray Foley Apr 7th, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Awesome effort,great cause,and Indian’s rule

  13. 13 Wiz Apr 9th, 2012 at 4:27 am

    Hey Mikey, Iffin’ yer gonna be in the Sioux Falls, SD area on yer travels ya got a free bed ‘n breakfast at Freebird! Maybe I’ll give ya a run fer yer money with my 1940 Harley Flathead! Relive the ‘ol Indian vs Harley scenario! Wiz [Remember, we met at the end of the Legends ride one year]

  14. 14 Markus May 5th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    As both an Indian enthusiast and an Ex Coastie… all I can say is…


    Awesome, Mike.

  15. 15 Mike Ruhlin Jul 4th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    It was truly an honor for me to meet Mike, Carol and his friend, (sorry I forgot his name) at “The Wall” in DC this past Memorial Day. My friend Karl and I helped him get the bike down next to “The Wall” for some important photos. Thank you Mike for your efforts and tribute to the Coast Guard. I served twenty years in the guard along with four in the Air Force and will always be grateful that I switched. You respect for those that serve was truly evident during your presentation speech. I hope that I was of some assistance when I yelled “KIWI” when you hit the emotional rough spot but I wanted to help distract your emotions so that you could continue. Thanks again for a most memorable trip. I hope that we get to meet again someday and perhaps go for a ride together.

    Your new friend
    AEC Mike Ruhlin USCG-RET

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Cyril Huze