Honoring our servicemen and servicewomen is an easy concept to get behind. Every day they put their lives on the lines to do what is asked of them. We live in the greatest country in the world, and it’s due in a huge part to those who put their duties as soldiers first in front of their own needs.
it’s due in a huge part to those who put their duties as soldiers first in front of their own needs.
Nowhere else is that more evident than in the custom V-twin market, where builders like TPJ Custom’s Bryan Schimke are able to make a living using their mechanical and creative skills to make machines for others to enjoy and provide a life for their families. Make no mistake that this is a direct cause and effect, and Bryan is the first to extend a hand of gratitude to those who help him make his dreams possible while making others’ come true.
This custom softail was born in the mind of an unnamed serviceman who got bit by the custom bug while serving our country overseas. Bryan explains how this bike came about: “He saw a bike we built that ran on the cover of Hot Bike a few years ago when he was overseas.
He saw a bike we built that ran on the cover of Hot Bike a few years ago when he was overseas.
He basically didn’t “return” the magazine back to the person that bought it and kept it with him for a couple of months before contacting me.” While building a cover bike is out of reach for most hard-working servicemen, Bryan didn’t let that stop him from helping him get the bike of his dreams. “We splurged on good parts like the brakes and few other odds and ends, but it was relatively built on a budget. He wanted something like the cover bike Hot Bike featured, but that was a $35,000 bike out the door, and we were trying to keep in the $20,000 range. He really liked our style and gave me free range. We did keep him with certain quality parts the Beringer brakes and Ultima motor. We got him all the key things that he needed. The only instruction that he gave me was he loved the stance and he wanted the 120-inch motor. I wouldn’t have gone that big, but I wasn’t going to argue with him on that. He also wanted it Hunter Green. That was one thing he was adamant about.”
Although a budget was set, there’s no price point on quality. TPJ didn’t get the reputation it has from cutting corners or taking the easy way out. And if there were ever a better candidate for going the extra mile, it was for this bike owner. “The problem with me is everyone gets more than they pay for because when I work on something I want it perfect,” he says. “It’s hard to skimp on things because of that. This bike could have jumped up really quick to a $30,000 bike. The more money the nicer my paycheck, but I don’t mind the budget bikes, especially to a guy like him that is busting his ass for us to be able to do the things we do. I’m honored that he wants to give me his hard-earned money to build him a bike."
I’m honored that he wants to give me his hard-earned money to build him a bike.
Included in the extras was the custom swingarm and suspension. What looks like a ridged is actually a softail with Burly rear shocks. “I estimate the bike weighs about 415 pounds,” Bryan says. “It’s a rocket ship. I made the seat real comfortable so it doesn’t throw you back or anything. With that rear suspension, you can just get on that thing and push it as fast as you want. It’s not like a rigid where you worried about anything on the road that’s going to kick you around. It’ll soak everything up.”
To go the extra mile (literally) and as thank you to the bike owner, Bryan hand delivered the bike from California to the other side of the country immediately after this shoot. Unfortunately, a huge rainstorm forced the bike owner to wait just a little bit longer to enjoy the first ride of his bike. “When I showed up it was raining off and on,” he explains. “Once I got a clear spot, I jumped on it. Right as I got there it started dumping, and he didn’t get to ride it that night. He got up the next morning and had about an hour to get on it. He did that like two or three times that week. He said he kept going over there and polishing it and cleaning it and checking it out. I’m honored that he wants to give me his hard-earned money to build him a bike.
He deployed only about a month after he had the bike.
He said he put about 400 to 500 miles before he took off. That was good. He was just so stoked. I’m so appreciative of him—not just the build but what he does for our country.” Thank you, unnamed solider. None of us could do what we do without you and we know that. Thank you.
|Shop Phone||(209) 339-7043|
|Build Time||6 months|
|Primary Drive||Ultima 2-in.|
|Front end||Mean Street|
|Triple Trees||Mean Street|
|Wheels, Tires, and Brakes|
|Builder/Size||Spoke/18 x 5.5 in.|
|Colors||Green and Black|
|Powdercoating||Precision Stripping and Coating|
|Foot Controls||TPJ mid-controls|
|Seat||TPJ/Beaver Leather Works|