StillWater Spirits & Sounds

Long and Lean Blues Machine

And what a trippy afternoon it was. T-Rod, you know, of T-Rod’s Speed Shop in Anaheim, California, invited me to lunch. Out of all places, he invited me to eat ramen. I had no clue that T-Rod got down with that; I thought he just ate giant turkey legs or Fred Flintstone-size brontosaurus ribs (homeboy’s pretty big).

So I’m standing outside the noodle shop, catching up on useless social media with my smarter-than-me phone. I heard a loud blat-blat-blat-blat, and here’s T-Rod pulling up on the ride you see here. Can you believe it? Lunch patrons were trippin’. Noodles hanging off their lips in mid-slurp as he rolled to a stop right next to the doorway, like he owned the place. The hotter cam he put into that S&S mill made the idle quite enough lumpy; any average human would have to glance at the very least.

I didn’t expect him to roll up on this beast, no, maybe a shop truck or something. So sure enough, we both had a seat at the counter and got to talk about this black-and-gold machine.

“Damian Collins hired me to build him a classy, timeless bike,” T-Rod said. “Something that if he parked in the garage and left it for 10 years, he could still ride it and not seem outdated. Which brought us to picking out the black-and-gold leaf, gold anodizing. We took a 124-inch S&S engine, took it apart, and did more performance work to it. It’s got a six-speed Rivera Primo in it too. We decided the whole bike should be assembled in raw form so we could see where everything could nicely contrast each other. We went back and forth a little there.”

**What made the guy want to go with a long bike? **

He rode bikes like this before. Last bike he had was a rigid chopper with a blower in it. Damian’s got some hot rods and has been around. He’s got this cool jazz and blues restaurant called StillWater in Dana Point, California, too. He knows what he likes. This bike was actually the first bike I finished here at T-Rod’s Speed Shop. We first started this project in my garage. Damian would come by and be wondering how this thing was going to turn out. He’s all, ‘How is this guy going to build me some killer bike in this…garage?’ Soon as I got my shop going, all set up, everything was fine. I had already done all the hand-fab stuff in my garage by this point anyway. Ten years ago, especially when this style of bike was really getting popular, I’ve learned some techniques. It’s carried on over the years, just getting better at putting this style together. Basically, I’ve really got a lot of experience with these.

Any shout-outs? Special thanks?

You, for pulling over after lunch and doing an impromptu feature on this bike! I want to thank everyone who helped me get back as an independent again. Took a lot, you know, for me to leave where I was and start from zero again. I had to man up, and I’m very happy I did. Thanks for all my friends that helped me get through.