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Nobody More Surprised Than Us!

KickStartTV was recently awarded an Emmy Award in 2009 by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Heartland Chapter) for Multimedia - General Programming. We figure that 's kinda like a "best show" sorta thing. Anyway, we're gonna get a cool statue we can bungee to one of our choppers and ride around like Marlon Brando in the Wild One! Is this a great country or what? Our thanks to all the folks at BroadbandVideo, Inc. who made it happen for us. Without their cool studio and great production staff we'd still be filling out coupons on the back of cereal boxes. This doesn't mean we're gonna sell out or anything - check out the show every Tuesday at 7pm Denver Time for FREE as always. (Image on the left is presented in violation of many copyrights). Press Release 7/20/2009
  Well, here's the deal. We got sick of seeing endless biker shows that were either about dysfunctional families, beat-the-clock bike builds or strange hero worship of builders-turned-rock-star. It's a motorcycle people - and while some of the people who put them together are pretty colorful, the vast majority are work-a-day citizens who have a strange itch that's unfulfilled by anything except building motorcycles. There's never been a study done on this so there isn't some catchy medical phrase, there's no known cure except to keep doing it and (as far as we know) nobody has ever died from building a bike. They may have perished later ON that bike - but the assembly process never took anybody out.

And that's what we're about - the assembly process. The guys who build bikes like we do are referred to as shade tree mechanics. We often don't have a fancy garage (or any garage at all, for that matter), the right tools, any cool mechanical doodads to help us grind, shape and cut metal. Most of us count ourselves lucky if we have an air compressor, and that's considered by many the most basic of tools. But basic is where we're at - the most basic level of building, no matter what tools are at your disposal is important to us. It's our unique methodology that sets us apart. It took me a while to figure out what we all had in common, and you'd think this was a simple thing - it's the fact that we really don't plan these bikes other than the most rudimentary drawings or parts lists. We don't spend weeks doing CAD renderings, airbrushing examples of the finished product from different angles or even assembling everything that will eventually be used in the build.

We throw a frame on a lift and step back and listen.

We listen to the frame talk to us. We listen to eBay "bing" that we won something. We listen to our buddies mention that they know somebody who has and engine for sale, or engine parts, or even just a set of engine cases - because it really doesn't matter how much we try to turn the bike in a certain direction, often times we end up with something completely different then even the most vague ideas that we started with. This is because to us building a bike is a work of art - it's a process to be savored, not hurried through like some sadistic "beat-the-clock" where if you don't get it done on time they'll launch the hounds of hell on you and you'll be driven from the shop never to return!

Sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night and write stuff down that doesn't make much sense in the light of day, sometimes we daydream off at work about some kind of drive train made out of a combination of jap parts, harley parts and stuff you grind out of sheet stock. Sometimes we suffer setbacks so devastating that most normal men would give up is a huff of despair - frames crack, engine numbers don't match 45 year old paperwork, things won't turn over, things won't hold oil and things tend to smoke a lot in our world. We're bikers to a man because we build these things to ride. That's the prize at the end - to have your one moment in the sun where you pull up to a line of bikes, park and realize there's nothing in that line up that looks anything like yours. Then the looky-loos and wannabees come gathering around - sniffing like dogs - trying to find out the secret you can never tell "How'd you get that to fit there?"

It's not that we don't know how we got it there - hell, we were the ones who ground it to fit, but how did we know it would fit and work? Well, that's a bit more involved process. We learned to listen to what the bike said. We learned to speak it's language. We learned what bike wanted to be a panhead, and what bike wanted to be a big-inch evo and what bike wanted to be a wild color and what bike wanted to be left as rusty sheet metal. Because they told us - the bikes did. Late at night when everybody else was asleep we heard a voice in our heads that said "It should be green" and the next day an entire set of sheet metal (a lovely green, mind you) showed up on eBay in a misspelled listing and you were the only person who bid on it. You knew that would happen because the bike told you so.

Or maybe you found a note tacked up at a swap meet that said "sheet metal for sale - ugly green crap, cheep!" Or you were cruising Craigs List and there was a wreck that still had a lot of the green sheet metal left. It doesn't matter how you got the stuff - it just matters that you got what the bike wanted and put it on the way it wanted to be put on. Maybe you built the whole thing in a beery weekend with the help of six of your friends and some friends named Jack and Bud, or maybe you toted the parts around the country for the last eight years in grease stained cardboard boxes with things written on the side like "Trans parts and rear end" and "some unknown parts" - you waited until the time was right, the money was right and the world was right for you to put your bike together.

This show is devoted to you - the guy who sits up late at night to bid on parts he really can't afford, or the woman who was pissed for a while about the whole thing but now secretly can't wait for it to be done so the two of you can go riding - and bring a blanket. This show is to the dogs who sleep in the corner while their masters repeatedly turn bolts, this show is to the kids who bring the neighbor kids in to see "Dad's chopper!". This show is to all the people in America and abroad who are obsessed with the idea that something that came out a factory just isn't for them - it has to be something different, it has to something special, it has to be made by their own hands, in their own way and time and it has to be a motorcycle, their motorcycle - unlike anything anybody else will ever own.

Some people will immediately understand what I'm talking about, and others will shrug their shoulder and click off to another page, and some will have the curiosity to enter our word and begin to learn about what we do, why we do it and what the words "Choppers Rule" really mean.

Warren Fuller - 2008


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