Our love for two-wheeled machines knows no bounds. But that's not to say that our passion doesn't spill over into four-wheeled territory. More than several occasions I have found myself admiring the reportage coming from Petrolicious, a four person team that produces engaging videos for classic car enthusiasts in a fresh, well-designed and high quality fashion. When I landed on their Facebook page this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see a video about Los Angeles based photographer Josh Withers, and a 1972 BMW R75/5 that he was commissioned to build. Check out the video below for the full story.
The following excerpt is from Issue Ten, featuring an incredible build from our buddies at Choppahead Kustom Cycles.
Raise your glasses to the previous generation, as Jay & Truth of Choppahead do every day. Inspired, mentored, and schooled by greater builders and greater men than you or I, east-coast build shop Choppahead is turning heads and paying homage to a time gone by. They're rolling out undeniable classics — beautiful and expertly built vintage Triumphs — it seems every other week. Their recent pre-unit is no exception. And as a further nod to our collective motorcycle roots, they decided to show us what it's made of, finding air and ripping this hard-tail old school machine through the dusty woods & farmlands of New England just for this article. Get to know Boston's best. For the full story get Issue Ten here.
Cam Elkins, the Australian behind Stories of Bike, has been at it documenting the very special relationship between man and machine. Captured are stories, history, inspiration, and the motives that make these individuals ride their beloved vintage/custom motorcycles. Stories of Bike accomplishes something exquisite one episode after another, and even if you don’t ride, you’ll feel compelled to seek what these featured riders have found.
Each episode portrays the internal motives that move one to make their bike look one way, sound another, and feel authentic to the core that it can truly be called their own. This is the love these people have for vintage bikes, and by bikers in this community,
When regarding ones machine to this level, it’s a sublime feeling to get behind the bars and slide that back tire around a dirt corner or swerve between cars on congested city streets or even simply ride across a bridge suspended from everything below. Stories of Bike showcases this freedom, love, and expression of motorcycle lifestyle- The people that are fueled up on more than just life, but their 35+ year old machines.
Episode Five - Origins
Stories of Bike has recently released their fifth episode in an on going series. The footage is stunning, music alluring, and all around a magnificent exhibit of an emerging culture. Included here on our ‘Features’ page you will have the delight of not only watching Elkins latest episode five, but viewing some of the gorgeous stills that went into making the episode. Sit-back and enjoy, and I promise you can’t just watch one episode. We will be updating this page with new releases of Stories of Bike when they come out so stay tuned.
A year ago Issue One was launched, and I followed the magazine from the get go when it was just a Facebook page gaining interest. If you’ve read Iron & Air, you can agree that they have well exceeded their goal, and created a magazine that offers more to the vintage and custom moto-world than we all could've asked for, and Issue Ten is no exception. As an admirer of I&A’s work, a vintage motorcycle enthusiast, and currently studying journalism and photography in college, it was a dream come true when I met the publisher, Brett Houle, at a car and bike show last year in June. Through persistence and a year of multiple encounters with Iron & Air, here I stand as the Editorial Intern proud to be sharing the accomplishments of their latest efforts – Issue Ten.
It has been my absolute pleasure to be apart of the tail end of this Issue, and involved in bringing the hungry readers the latest and greatest from Iron & Air. Issue Ten has more content than ever, including the captivating 44-page spread of motorcycle event coverage from around the world. This Issue will take you from Europe to Australia, and Africa back to the States, giving you moto-crazed readers the next best thing to a first hand experience. Events included are Scram Africa, Mods Vs. Rockers Chicago, Throttle Roll, Wheels and Waves, Born Free, and many more. After we take you around the globe, get your fix of badass builds from Choppahead’s latest pre-unit Triumph to Espresso Racer’s BMW R80, aptly named "Mobster". Then, get lost in the breathtaking photographs from Lanakila MacNaughton’s Women’s Motorcycle Exhibition. Wipe away the drool, then get ready for moto-artist Makoto Endo, and his unbelievable motorcycle portraits painted with just a chopstick and ink. Endo gives a new meaning to the two words simplistic and intricate, and this Issue gives you the inside, exclusive interview with the talented artist himself.
When violent storms thundered down and rocked the valleys the Sioux believed it to be the thunder god, Haokah. Using the wind as a drum-stick, he beat his mighty drum and vented his pent up anger and rage.
Now, new gods thunder through the same valleys in Colorado’s mountains. Using the wind as fuel they beat a different drum and vent pure joy and raw power.
Meet the lord of them all…Matt Rambow.
A native of Sweden, he spent his early days wrenching on motors in his parent’s basement (often clogging the floor drains with oil) and was part of a restoration club that focused on classic American cars. He mastered the many phases of the restoration process and learned how to build old iron into better-than-new condition.
The last restoration he did funded a season of skiing in Colorado where the Rocky Mountains grew on him and he realized he had found a new home. So it was back to Sweden, sell off all his possessions and move to Vail, where he opened a small shop and continued to work on old cars.
He tells us, ”It was during this time that I had an opportunity to take my first ride on a Norton Commando. I was absolutely taken by the feel of the bike - how well it handled and the incredible sound of the powerful twin engine took me by surprise. This was without a doubt the greatest machine I had ever experienced.”
A new path had revealed itself. Working on cars took up too much space and a complete rebuild was time consuming. ”I liked the idea of being able to tear down a bike in a day and getting after it. Time and space was so much better with the bikes.”
In 1994 he finished his first Norton Commando on which he spared no expense; first-class materials, top-quality work and complete attention to detail became the trademarks that Rambow would inject into every bike. What may have seemed like risky business to some - taking old British iron and building it into a high level, expensive machine - didn’t phase Matt. He was fueled by a passion that would trump fear and doubt.
CNW is Born
As he moved forward, his business grew and so did his reputation. He became known for being honest, straightforward and for creating some of the most impressive Commandos in the restoration scene. In the fall of 1997, Rambow formed Colorado Norton Works in the small town of Dolores, Colorado where today, they build anywhere from six to nine Commandos a year.
The average bike represents approximately 250 hours of work. “When we build the bikes, each and every nut and bolt is considered....literally. Not overlooking anything or taking any shortcuts.” One look around at the immaculate shop and you realize he’s not kidding. “Yeah, I’m one of those anal s.o.b’s that just can’t work unless the shop looks like that,” Matt confesses, in his soft-spoken, laid-back manner that plays juxtaposition to the intense focus of a man bent on creating perfection.
Not only do they use only the best possible parts, they’re inventing and developing their own modification and upgrade components. For instance, working with Brembo, they’ve created a bolt up kit that replaces the weak original Norton brake system for something that works better than anything else on the market.
For accuracy, reliability and performance they designed a complete electronics instrument package that replaces the original mechanical gauges. For safety, an oil tank modification was created that remedies the shortcomings of the original Norton tank that sometimes led to spillage of hot oil onto the rear tire at high speed.
Elaborating on his inventions, Matt says “Since the very beginning I have developed upgrades and mods for these bikes. That is part of what the rebuilds are all about. Taking what is there....getting rid of what doesn’t work, replacing it with what does without taking away from the great styling and feel of the original machine. It’s the best of both worlds. Vintage, timeless design, yet in a package that works.” The bikes are improved in every aspect to reduce the heavy maintenance weight the originals needed to stay on the road.
An integral part of the building process is the involvement of the customer in all steps along the way. “We want our customers to feel like this is truly ‘their’ bike, that it’s different and unique from any other.” From prominent design elements to the smallest detail, the goal is that the owner gets exactly what they want.
Cafe Racer Series
In 2004 CNW set out to build what Matt describes as “the most technically advanced cafe’ racer style Commando in the world.” The result was an astonishing piece of machinery that received rave reviews from enthusiasts around the globe. Realizing they were onto something, they decided to build a series of 13 bikes in exactly same fashion. The hefty price tag ($44,950.00 USD) was no deterrent as 12 of the bikes sold before the first one was completed. (Matt’s keeping lucky #13 for himself.)
The staggering success has Matt’s mind stirring with plans for a future series.
The summer of 2012 finds them moving from a 1600 sq. ft. shop into a spacious 8000 sq. ft. one, “We’ll be in heaven”, he says. The extra space will allow for more parts, an addition of powder coating equipment and a separate area for partial builds and service work.
Gaining notoriety through being featured on Cafe Racer TV, (the highlight Matt says was a day spent with the Bostrom brothers riding the twisties on a newly unveiled Cafe Series bike) won’t change their mission which has been and continues to be - rebuild the finest Norton Commando bikes on the planet, keep their customers happy and roll thunder through the mountain valleys.
Get to know more by visiting www.coloradonortonworks.com.
Our new web exclusives on ironandair.com is gearing up to be the place to hang out in between issues. Contact us here to get featured.
Issue One featured the always inspirational California builder, Dustin Kott. Here's a great video that gives you a visual glimpse into his days wrenching and riding beautiful CB's (his favorite). Grab a copy of Issue One here in digital format (or grab every issue digital with the digital pack) for the full story on Dustin. (film credit: Ryan Buller)
Gregor Harih is a first time builder from Slovenia and based on his 1980 Honda CX500, we certainly hope it is not his last. Put together in his spare time over the course of three months, the project he nicknamed "Bruno" was built to be his daily rider and mixed a number of aesthetic and performance updates to achieve the look. The upgrades consist of Dunlop K70 tires, Fehling M-handlebars, black posh grips, Dime City Cycles speedometer and tach, a custom fiberglass seat pan with custom back fender, custom formed seat, Gianelli vintage exhaust, grey heat wrap, 7″ British style front light, Bates style LED backlight, vintage aluminum indicators, and bar-end vintage mirrors. Finished off with military green paint, a semi-gloss black painted frame, and satin black powder coated wheels and fork tubes, this is a CX to be reckoned with.
To get featured, contact our team here...
Meet bad-ass builder and friend Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs and a sneak at Bucephalus.
Whether we're plugging away at the next issue, or trouble shooting a busted old bike in the garage, music is one of the things that motivates us when we wanna get out and ride, what inspires us to create on a daily basis and often times what keeps us from hurling the keyboard or the socket wrench across the room when things are not quite going as planned. This is just a small sample of some the tracks I am listening to daily while plugging away on Issue Ten. Check 'em out.
Remote Sales Professional (Commission)
You prefer a bag over your shoulder, a bike key and a cell phone as your office. You have the ability to work from anywhere, anytime you want, and you don’t want caps on your income.
They say if you really want to make money, you’ll forget the salary. Of course, working at Iron & Air is not just about money. But finding that extra income source doing something you love (like being around motorcycle & motorcycle culture all the time) isn’t a bad gig. We want you to keep what you’re currently doing to earn a living. You just happen to like the extra income and can make it happen. You may even relish telling your friends and family you work for Iron & Air. If so, read on...
We’re looking for that person who gets what we’re doing and wants to be a part of it. Chances are (we sure hope), you’ve subscribed, read the mag, met us at a show, follow us on social media and can’t get enough. You’ve got an unhealthy obsession with motorcycles (especially old ones). You ride, and you dream of riding when not riding.
You have an income doing something right now, but perhaps some flexibility to send emails and communicate during the day to add to your monthly take home. You’d relish the idea of working for a vintage motorcycle magazine. Let’s face it - if it worked out, you might like it better than your current day job.
You’re also a good connector. You know how to reach people. Communicate. Make things happen and talk motorcycles. And you’re self-sufficient. You prefer a bag over your shoulder, a bike key and a cell phone as your office. You have the ability to work from anywhere, anytime you want.
If this sounds like you - here’s the scoop: we want you on our team. We are looking for someone to work with us from any location in the world to help us begin to grow our revenues in a few areas. We’ve been super-focused on launching and building a great product. The foundation is there - now we are looking to beef up that revenue side of Iron & Air to ensure longevity for everyone. Let’s face it - loving motorcycles won’t pay the bills by themselves.
We need someone who can:
Work from anywhere (and relish it productively)
Find retail/boutique shops (check out our current list of stockists who carry Iron & Air Magazine) for our mag to make it on the shelf.
Identify, connect and start dialogue with potential advertisers and sponsors for the magazine (learn about our philosophy here)
Live the life of an Iron & Air’er - represent us well wherever you are.
Use CRM software to log activity and conversations, manage your contacts and funnel
Work with team on new sales & collab with us on big opportunities (i.e. a big brand like Triumph is interested in sponsoring)
Join us as needed on the road at moto events (we’ll cover costs)
To be considered, here’s what we ask: creatively tell us why you’re the one. Give us a snapshot of a day-in-the-life of you. Inspire us to say, “hell, yes - this is the right guy/gal”. Email your desire to join us to firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to find you.
In memory of 'Big' Sid Biberman, we want to share the story published in Issue Nine with all of you for free. Visit the link below and enjoy the article by I&A contributor, Chris Logsdon (Godspeedco), from his visit with Big Sid and Matthew Biberman.
We've also expanded the content of this story with even more images that have never been seen before.
Enjoy this one in memory of Big Sid... http://mag.ironandair.com/i/141362
(If you are a current subscriber or have an account, use your current log in. If you are new, create a log in for free to view the content.)
If you're not familiar with Aether Apparel, they've been redefining what sportswear looks and feels like by creating athletic wear that not only performs, but maintains a high degree of fashionability as well. These guys not only built the bridge between fashion and function, but they are dedicated to crossing it everyday as well. Check out the latest to come from the guys at Aether, a trip that merges two unlikely lifestyles – riding motorcycles and winter mountain sports.
Check out Aether on Facebook and give them some love.