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Contributors Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles,

Alan Stulberg of Revival Cycles and Greg Hageman of

Hageman Motorcycles.

Also Tim Rogers of Spirit of the Seventies in the UK,

Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts in Taiwan, and the

legendary Wrenchmonkees crew in Copenhagen:

Nicholas Bech and Per Nielsen.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a

career as a custom motorcycle builder?

Pollock: Like anything else, start with the basics by

working on bikes at a shop. It’s tough to start out

just “building custom bikes” when the basic

engineering, parts location, tuning—not to mention

making a bike ridable and safe—is where a bike build

really should start.

Web Surfer by Richard Pollock of Mule

Motorcycles.Full Size

It’s much more romantic to

call yourself a custom

motorcycle builder than a

mechanic, but don’t skip

over the basics—there’s a

huge time investment up

front that you need to be

willing to make. Also, the

current design trend of just

removing parts, wrapping

the pipes and painting

everything flat black is kind

of a cheat. Designing parts

that have to function and

actually be installed back

ONTO the bike. That’s what separates the men from

the boys.

Hageman: My advice for new builders: as long as you

have the passion, and understand it’s no easy road,

you can do it. I’ve been building for years and still

just get by. There are so many other things to do to

achieve success besides just building bikes—

promotion is huge and media coverage is a must to


Rogers: I’ll never forget a successful photographer

preaching a dispiriting sermon to us at art college

back in the 90s. “Look around, most of you won’t

make it,” was the upbeat message. If you’ve got time

on your side, a desire to learn, an aptitude, and most

importantly, passion, you have every chance of

having a fulfilling career.

Spirit of the Seventies ‘S7’ custom motorcycleFull


If you want to work with others find the best, be

proactive, be polite, and be persistent. If you already

have a successful career, a young family and a fat

mortgage, stay where you are and commission a bike

from the guys who need your business!

Yeh: Stay hungry, keep studying, stay up to date, and

know what’s happening and what today’s standard of

quality and technology is, so that you know where

you stand. Also

understand yourself,

your strengths and

weaknesses—make the

most of your strengths

and figure out how to

hide your weaknesses.

Stulberg: Even though I

ultimately committed to

taking this hobby/

passion seriously and not

going back to a ‘real’ job,

I can’t say it was a

pondered decision

between some other direction and THIS. For me (and

Stefan, my partner in Revival), it was simply an

inevitability that we accepted as something we had to


Nobody knew, especially us, that we’d actually end