For me, having a ground-up custom designed and built by Tom Foster was the realization of a life-long ambition. Tom and I have been friends for nearly 25 years, since back when he worked at Boeing and I was just a scrawny 15-year-old kid playing drums in heavy metal bands. This was back when Tom still had some surface area on his body that wasn’t tattooed, and I had yet to have a tattoo gun drill into my virgin skin. I held Tom’s son the day he came home from the hospital, and we’ve helped each other through broken relationships, the loss of family members, and many other ups and downs that are too numerous to list here. Tom has always been like an outlaw older brother for me. My family is straight-up “suburbia” from the South Bay area [in Southern California]. Tom is straight-up East L.A. “OG,” by way of Chino. It was Tom who turned me on to choppers, bringing his latest creations by my house whenever he’d complete them. For me, there was nothing like the roar of those motors out on 124th St. in Hawthorne, California, as Tom laid into a burnout before blasting off to wherever he was headed. Anyone who knows Tom and his bikes, knows that they are designed for riding and riding hard. Don’t be mistaken, his bikes “show” well too. But with Tom, it’s about bikes that perform in a manner that I would best describe as “violent precision.” Tom’s bikes command respect, plain and simple.
This combination of blacks not only achieves the mean and hard vibe we wanted, but most importantly, it gives the bike a classy ...
I didn’t start riding until I was about 30. My first bike was an H-D Softail Standard that Tom and another brother of ours, Felix Perez, helped modify. We turned that thing from stock to “shock” switching out everything but the motor, and it still turns heads now. But as badass as that Softail may be, I was still left day-dreaming about having Tom build me a ground-up custom of my own.
Thanks to my sports marketing business, I finally was able to scrounge up the dough I’d need to have Tom bring one of his creations to life for me. I had all kinds of thoughts and ideas about the bike I wanted. But building a custom bike is a lot like getting a tattoo. You don’t want to control the process very much at all. You tell the artist the basic concept that you want, then get the hell out of the way and let him create his art. Tom was my favorite bike builder and his style of lean and mean timeless hot rods was what I was after. The only specs I gave him were “softail, Sportster tank, classic H-D Deuce frontend, and I want it to look hard and mean as f%@k!” The rest was up to him.
Tom and I got together to discuss the bike and figure out the parts list. Tom then took to the task of getting all the parts together. Obviously, Tom’s industry relationships run deep so he was able to do the lion’s share of the work, contacting the best in the industry for the best the industry has to offer. Just happy to be a part of the process, I pitched in where I could, driving out to pick up a part or two and storing everything in my garage. Once we had everything we needed, I trucked it all up to Tom’s garage, dropping it off like a stressed-out husband dropping his pregnant wife off at the hospital to give birth to his first child.