There are a lot of things I don't know and or understand in life, like quantum physics, where the hell my bike keys are, and women! One thing I am sure of is that every time I shoot an orange bike (that would be twice now) there is always an issue of some sort, something or someone is always trying to piss in my post toasties with orange bikes.
Once I got the OK to shoot this bike for HOT BIKE I contacted the shop again. We had already shot it in my studio once back in December as the crew from Southern Metal Choppers (SMC) in Austin, Texas, made their way through Houston to attend the Lone Star Rally in Galveston, which of course had to be postponed due to Hurricane Ike.
And while this sexy lady took Second place in the competition, it seems she attracted a friend along the way. After the judging was over Bronson returned to find Rick Fairless of Strokers Dallas fame filming a TV interview standing in front of the orange Buell.
We always figured the bike would look the best shot outside, a fact reiterated by the boss man waiting on the images "Yeah, I want it, shot outside with riding shots too." OK, so I scheduled the shoot, traveled to the perfect spot at the crack of dawn, and what do I get, heavy clouds, for three hours! Just as I decided to recreate with technology what I was hoping Mother Nature would provide, Bronson the owner of SMC got a call from his helper that was supposed to be opening the shop and who was stranded some 50 miles away!
So we had to load up and make our way back to town, to open the shop. Of course the sun started to break through on the journey back to Austin. Realizing that the forecast for the next two days included more of the same heavy morning clouds and possibly rain, I figured we better get something on disk and hope for better weather in the afternoon. Of course our second attempt at shooting this bike was during the middle of the day; not the best time to shoot but we had to make do.
Now let me tell you about this shiny little ride, the power plant is from a Buell that belonged to Bronson's cousin Jason Willard. Bronson started SMC with Jason back in 2003. Unfortunately, Jason went down a few days after the 2004 Republic of Texas (ROT) rally and while he held on for several days he unfortunately lost his fight. Bronson decided to keep the shop open and the dream going in Jason's memory.
Along the way SMC has become known for its paint jobs, even forming an alliance with Woods Fun Center (a powersports superstore in Austin) to offer customers purchasing a new bike, the option of a custom paint job already applied to the bike the day they pick up their new ride. Bronson also began applying this painting talent to Jason's Buell, changing the appearance regularly for the weekly bike night gatherings.
In 2007 the ROT Rally folks approached SMC and asked if they wanted to compete in the 2008 Big Texas Chop-Off being held during that year's rally. Some of the past judges for the Chop-Off have included Jerry Covington, Donny Smith, Rick Fairless, Tim Edmondson, Martin Bros, Paul Yaffe, Jeff Nicholas, Nicky Bootz, Hank Young, and Jim Nasi, so not a bad place to have your work be seen! Bronson decided this would also be a great opportunity to really pay tribute to his cousin as well.
Bronson took everything from the Buell except the motor and hung it from the ceiling. A DHC frame was chosen to cradle the Buell powerplant and then the frame and engine sat and sat and sat while Bronson decided on what he wanted the build to look like.
Eventually, the fog began to lift and the bike started taking shape. A Mean Street frontend was hung from the 47-degree neck, and a set of Renegade Cheyenne Wheels; 21 front, 18x5.5 rear were bolted on front and back. Then the SMC crew began skinning the bike with some modified B'Cool fenders, and then fabricated a custom stretched tear drop gas tank and boxed-in the oil tank. Of course they completed it with plenty of time to spare (at least an hour or two) before it had to be set up inside the Heritage Center for 2008 ROT Rally.