Everybody in the industry debating a lot about the ways to attract youngsters into motorcycling and possibly into the profession. But nobody’s talking about those who abandoned the sport (of course, wife, children, mortgage, climbing the professional ladder or all of the above are the most often mentioned reasons) and who re-enter it at mid life, as a rider or even as a custom builder. Quantitatively, not enough of them to insure the future of our industry, but comebacks always very interesting to observe to know what these returners want to ride…and build.
An interesting example is Mike McFadden who, at the age of 45, decides to be again a Garage Builder, old school style, meaning challenging his own skills in building bikes without any outside help, doing everything by hand or with very simple tools, never sub-contracting any fabrication job, any welding, any body and paint work, even doing his own seat upholstery!
With little money and an enormous dedication to building bikes the pure and traditional way, Mike ends up producing customs that many top builders and their crews wish they had built. An example is this superb old school racer built from a Yamaha 1980 XS 650 platform. After replacing the frame backbone, the bike was stretched 5″. Then, Mike hand fabricated the entire steel tail section now holding and hiding the battery and all electricals. The exhaust system was conceived to be as discreet as possible to avoid visual distraction from the overall bike lines. Although the pipes exit below the frame, they are hidden in a one-piece stainless steel box. Mike was proud tot ell me that the system sounds like coming from a 50’s Gasser… To reinforce the minimalistic look of the Yamaha, a pair of Invader wheels were mounted and dressed with Pirelli Scorpion tires. Paint was left simple as it always should be on this type of bikes. Just PPG bBlack mixed with vanilla shake & white paint to break color monotony.
The bike is so cool that it is currently on loan to the Yamaha Corporation and being shown in the Progressive International Bike Show across the United States. Eventually Mike hope to get it out to Bonneville and open her up to see what she can do. He is also trying to find a way to get his creation to Europe for an entry into the 2013 AMD World Championship Of Bike Building to be held May 10 to 12 in Essen, Germany . Any sponsor among my readers? You an contact Mike McFadden at M&M Customs 270-925-5607 (Kentucky) or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org (photography copyright Jack McIntyre courtesy to Cyril Huze)