Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

Vicious cycles

Montgomery crafts own bike to start a downtown custom motorcycle legacy

June 15, 2006

The workshop nestled behind DC Custom Crafted Cycle's Main Street storefront was silent Friday evening.

Normally the garage would have been filled with sounds of shop owner Matt Montgomery shaping a part or tweaking a piece of his almost-complete chopper dominating the center of the room.

For the moment, all he could do was look over the machine because a much-needed piece hadn't arrived at his shop.

While Montgomery measured for a fitting, Andrew Walker ---- a burly Australian expatriate who does spot metal work on the chopper ---- walked in and examined Montgomery's progress.

"It's going to breathe fire pretty soon," Walker said.

The machine is rough. Its parts have yet to be chromed and the finish still needs to be applied. Until then, the bike looks mean and earthy.

Once Montgomery adds all the parts, he'll tear it down and begin the finishing stages ---- chroming and painting ---- then put it back together again.

It'll bear his style, which he sees as a blend of classical motorcycle design melded with what has become the cutting edge in motorcycle technology.

"At first it could look like a '60s-style bike but as you look closely, it will look a little futuristic," Montgomery said.

Like the classic choppers of the '60s, Montgomery's bike will have an elongated front wheel and fat back tire. It will also have a modern paint job, powerful engine and most important to Montgomery ---- he and his wife, Tina Lencioni's, personalities.

When finished, it will be a showpiece of his and his shop's work ---- a faithful combination of what Montgomery sees as both old and new school. Also by crafting the chopper to fit two people, it showcases his flexibility as a custom creator.

Up until taking on the project, Montgomery's shop had specialized in selling biking accessories. He said he had plans to start creating his own custom bikes at some point in the future, but several months ago he decided to sell he and his wife's old bike and jump in.

He sacrificed his bike for his art and said he's still feeling the effects of it.

"I'm Jonesing to ride again," Montgomery said.

Originally he said he wanted to have the bike ready for a dice run June 25 to raise money for the Eudora Statue Project, but scarcity of parts and the trial and error of creating a bike have pushed the completion date back.

In total, Montgomery and Lencioni had to agree on and find 540 pieces to make the bike their own.

Montgomery said trying to come to terms on the look and style with his wife wasn't hard. They both have pretty much the same personalities and tastes, Montgomery said.

When finished, the value of the bike could top out in the $30,000 to $35,000 range.

"That's just a rough estimate," Montgomery said.

Once reassembled, Montgomery envisions the bike painted yellow with a high tech finish and eventually adorned with iconic skulls and daggers.

"Kind of a mellow evil," Montgomery said.

It'd be a mellow evil that will frequent charity rides, Montgomery said.

The bike will represent a shift in Montgomery's company and a birth in his art. Already DC has another bike in the middle of the customization process for a customer in Lawrence.

Eventually Montgomery said he sees the customization part of his business taking off more.

"It's an outlet for your own artistic style," Montgomery said.

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