Some builders do it for the money, some for the fame, but there are many guys out there who build bikes because they have a true passion for it. They don’t turn out five bikes a month or try to manufacture parts. They ride until they get tired of that bike and build another one so they can ride some more. That’s the kind of guy Eric Stein is.
Eric is a broad-shouldered, polite, charming, and always smiling 46-year-old family man from Long Island, New York (that was easy to tell from the moment he spoke his first words the first time we met). He moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, after obtaining a job with Fitzpatrick Lawn and Landscape Inc. He builds his bikes out of his garage at home with his wife and two kids watching over his shoulder. Eric finished his latest bike, this clean and simple hardtail, in less than 60 days and this was only his third build.
The first motorcycle he built was stolen when he lived in New York. “With that bike I didn’t know what I was doing; I just started ordering parts,” Eric says. “When that bike got stolen, my wife said, ‘Just build another one.’ I said, ‘Where is this money coming from?’ She said, ‘Don’t worry about it, we’ll get it somehow, just get it done!’”
The seat pan and shocks are from Chopper Shox and the leather is from Eric’s last bike that Christian from Xian Leather removed and added to the new pan. The design matches the tattoo Eric got after his daughter’s birth.
The seat pan and shocks are from Chopper Shox and the leather is from Eric’s last bike tha
Randy Smith helped modify the gas tank so Eric could install the Bare Knuckle Choppers bung and cap. The paint was done in Eric’s garage with Nason brand paint and TCP Global Gunmetal standard-size flake.
Randy Smith helped modify the gas tank so Eric could install the Bare Knuckle Choppers bun
The aircraft-style kill switch and key switch are tucked into left side below the seat and in front of the Mooneyes oil tank to keep the bike streamlined.
The aircraft-style kill switch and key switch are tucked into left side below the seat and
To Eric the biggest thing that makes his bike special is the seat. Designed and made by Christian Marsh from Xian Leather in New York (think of it like “X-mas” being short for “Christmas,” “X-ian” is short for “Christian”). It features a logo of a tattoo Eric has on the back of his ankle. The tattoo was inspired by the birth of his daughter. The leather wraps onto a Chopper Shox seat pan mounted with Chopper Shox shocks and hardware.
“When I started planning this bike, I got to thinking about my previous bike,” Eric states. “It was a long fat-tire softail that was heavy and bulky. I like to go fast, so with this bike I wanted something fast and more agile.”
This bike has actually been through about three or four different styles. It is based on a Santee frame with 33 degrees of rake and no stretch. “When I started planning this bike, I got to thinking about my previous bike,” Eric states. “It was a long fat-tire softail that was heavy and bulky. I like to go fast, so with this bike I wanted something fast and more agile. I kind of knew what I wanted in my head: that motocross feel.” Eric built this bike with a 41mm H-D frontend and straight bars but wanted something a little more streamlined, adding the skinny trees and knobby Pirelli Scorpion 90/90-21 front tire as you see it now.
The bars were custom-bent by Bare Knuckles Choppers and the grips are Baxter Motorcycle Parts motocross-style grips. The bars feature a Nash Motorcycle Company Sticky Throttle internal throttle.
The bars were custom-bent by Bare Knuckles Choppers and the grips are Baxter Motorcycle Pa
Similar to his first build Eric started by researching parts, then ordering everything he wanted. He purchased the wheels and had them powdercoated before they were shipped out. Everything was exactly how he wanted it before it hit his front porch in a UPS box. The slick Mooneyes oil tank with Fab Kevin mounts matches the point cover. Similar to other pieces like the Bare Knuckle gas cap, hub caps, and bars custom bent to Eric’s specs, he came up with his own combination of companies and shop parts to produce exactly what he wanted.
The rear fender was hand-spun by Front Street according to Eric’s specs. “I wanted to show as much tire as possible. I wanted the radius to be as exact as possible.” The rear tire is an Avon 200/60-16. The 16 allows for more ride out of the rubber and a smoother ride for the hardtail; according to Eric, “Trying to save on those pot holes.” Eric did his homework picking and choosing what he wanted so when time came for assembly, he had it done in less than 60 days. The thing that took the longest and was the toughest, except for waiting on parts, was the paint.
As for the little bits and pieces that go into every build, Eric enlisted the help of a friend, Randy Smith, who owns Crafters Metal Fabrications in Monroe, North Carolina. He helped with the welding and some plasma cutting, like the rear fender mounts. Eric met him after working with Smith’s wife about two years ago and now the two ride together as much as possible.