Friday, January 14, 2011

Heya... So if anyone is looking at this blog....

We have a new site up with our blog in it and a facebook deal. So go to
and check it out it is still not complete but I'm working on it. Thanks


PS. We have a show in Portland Feb 5th go to

Should be good times.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shop Business Update

Since so much has happened in the last 5 month I'll just give all the fun things a line or two. The story and pics and story are not in a great chronological order. But it's all in there. Racing is all fun and games until you break your collar bone. It is still broken. Most likely gonna have surgery next spring after everything settles down with the new Baby.

We are busy as all get out and have about a 2-3 month backlog, and we need to get some more space and more good mechanics.

Ike is finally 21! He has something to say.

Brandon was hit by a car turning left on his way home, he lost a foot. The Northwest Ruckus Association, The Cretins, Twinline, and a strong community of motorcyclists raised some cash at our Cafe Sprint ride in September. It was a great party. Brandon is doing well.
I was welcomed to my new neighborhood (columbia city) with a $750 non speeding ticket from the local constable, just after I moved my family.

I lost two great guys from my shop last last week. They both have had life turn some twists. Eric (having a famly) and Kyle (helping his family)

I did bring on a new mechanic, he even has some credentials - his name is Brandon. I look forward to getting to know him.

This has all been a challenge in five months I have been wrenching with a broken bone, lost some great talent, and my shop continues to grow. Business is a tough learning curve and I am still learning. Thank you everyone that helps make this experience happen for me. I am passionate about motorcycles.... even though I'm not supposed to ride them.
(Matt the guy on the left crashed his CBR1000 when he was trying to race against the ol' xs650 bomber) Never race against a 21 year old with an ego.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last time I was at Twinline, I decided I felt enough residual energy from the day to learn a bit of mechanicking. So, after I finished what I was doing on the computer, Ian gave me his race-bike cylinder to clean out.

"Normally I don't start interns on rebuilding engines, but this just happens to be what I'm working on tonight," he said.

I spiffed that cylinder up real nice and learned how to work the air nozzle to dry it. (Isaac jumped when I let loose the first blast right behind him.) Then I gooped up the bores with some kind of grease, which was fun.

Next on the agenda was sliding the cylinder onto the pistons, a tricky maneuver. I volunteered to help, but Ian selected Isaac as his assistant for some reason. Maybe it had something to do with Isaac's scads of experience compared to my zero experience--I don't know. I wandered over to chat with Brian so as not disturb the procedure.

Brian was messing with some electrical stuff, making lights blink on and off. I supplied a river of helpful advice, based on the way I imagined electricity should work.

Suddenly, disaster struck from the direction of Ian's work table: one of the piston rings broke. Those particular pistons had taken a week to arrive from eBay.

Then, even worse: "Dude, it scratched the bore," Isaac pointed out.

Ian went through various stages of grief. Since I have an electronics disruption field, which makes digital and electrical things go wonky, I have grown accustomed to taking the blame when things go wrong in my vicinity.

When he got to the anger stage, Ian yelled, "Superball!"

"It wasn't me!" I said. "There's nothing electrical about that! Yet."

So I got to be Ian's sounding board until he reached a modicum of acceptance. We called it good for the night.

I received a text from Ian a few days later: "No shop this week, yo. Me hurt good." That's the last I heard until today.

It turns out he high-sided the same bike (not his race bike--still a touchy subject) twice over the course of three weeks, with the same injuries (elbow and shoulder).

Yep, racing can hurt.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ian's 400F, Continued

Ian took out "ye old grinder and sawsall" and went to town on ripping open a hole under his pet 400F's sidecover. He took out the battery box and ground down every tab, nub, and other bit of metal daring to block the beautiful view through an open 400 Four.

A small battery will go under the seat, making the bike pretty much kick-start only. Ian may leave the starter motor in it, though, "just for fun."

Now that the first stage of roughing out how he wants it to look is done, Ian can go about finishing it with clip-ons and a wheel package: buffed-up hubs and aluminum rims. When you take off the pounds of a steel wheel, steering is a whole lot nicer.

So far, the bike has lacked a seat. Ian's trying to get a new one done as quickly as possible, so he can ride the bike raw. The new seat complements the "roundness and squarishness" of the tank--meaning the seat is pretty boxy with some nice curves. It's almost done. Ian just needs to rip up the backside (as shown by the black Sharpie line), stuff in a half-moon LED taillight, and weld some more steel back there to close it up.

"It should be striking when it's all done," he said. "It'll be mean. You wouldn't want to run into it."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ian's 400F

Though this 400F has been for sale, Ian hasn't been trying too hard to sell it. Though some people have expressed interest in it as it is, he wants to build it into a cafe bike--make it his own, private project.

"This thing is mechanically solid," Ian said. "It doesn't even have any slap on the cam-chain adjustment. We kind of miss the Knockout 360, because that was going to be our personal shop bike, so I'm going make this into a really nice cafe 400 with a custom seat. I want to make a bike I can rock around on."

So he's thrown it into the pile of work already on the list--something he can work on during the couple of evenings that he sets aside each week to get caught up on stuff and to do pet projects.

The changes the 400F needs are all pretty much cosmetic. It'll have one of Ian's trademark steel seats, a single speedo (no tachometer), a drilled rotor, and a cleaned-up engine--though it already runs perfectly fine. The electronics and battery, currently blocking the view between the subframe and the frame, will move out of the way, the shocks and tires will probably get upgraded, and Ian will do anything else Ian wants to do.

Ian plans to keep the header pipe--the exhaust pipe--and do something fancy-schmancy with the mirrors. He may switch to clip-ons and will replace the turn signals and taillight with something "a lot more sleek."

What about the wheels?

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the wheels," Ian said. "I might rebuild 'em. I might buff 'em up nice and shiny. Maybe I'll put in some aluminum rims."

So it's a dream in the making.

When he's done everything he wants to do with it, will he consider selling it?

"Well . . . everything I have is technically for sale, except my TX and my SR500," Ian admitted. "I guess I'd part with this bike if somebody funded it for $5,000 or more. I keep asking for more money on these things because I keep having to part with good bikes, and I never have one to ride myself. I've been having fun on this one."

Reluctant as Ian might be, chances are that someone with grander dreams could also probably negotiate, with a good-sized deposit.

Winter Fruit

The boys of Twinline have been busting ass all winter on several custom projects. I've talked about the Knockout 360 and Project Goldhead. Here are some more coming down the pipe, all to finish by September.

This 1974 CB550 Four has a rebuilt motor. It has a custom exhaust pipe and a Supertrap muffler and will be disk-tuned soon. A Supertrap diffuses overall noise while emitting a deep rumble that should scare the crap out of people who don't expect a medium-bore 550 to "come up growling into its territory," as Ian put it.

The bike will have Clubman bars. Clubmans stick through the top of the bike and are higher than clip-ons, which are race-style. (Clip-ons clip onto the front fork.)

The 550 Four will go two-up--that is, allow for a rider and a passenger. As I got this definition from Ian, he lapsed into Italian, a.k.a. "Ducatese":

"One-up is solo--mono-posto," Ian said. "Duo is bi-posto."

Alrighty, then.

Already, the 550 Four has a drilled rotor, a rebuilt frame, and new Avons. (Avon tires are good for a wide range of vintage applications.)

The photo doesn't do this bike justice. The powder-coated frame is actually a kind of metallic-flake silver. A Norton-racing-yellow tank and matching sidecovers will complement the frame. (Sidecovers are the things that cover the electronics and battery.)

"It's gonna look pretty fuckin' dope when it's all done," Ian said.

This bike should be done by the end of the month. The boys are just waiting to get it back from painting to put on the final touches. When all is said and done, it should haul ass and look good doing it, just the way we like it.

Next we have a 1975 CB400 Four. It has a powder-coated frame, a 466 big-bore Yoshimura kit, and a genuine Yoshimura pipe. It's getting a custom seat. Of all of our winter-fruit bikes, it will probably be the biggest sleeper. The only tell-tale sign that it's a little special is the Yoshi stamp on the pipe to match the Yoshimura "pistons of glory" (yep, that's an Ian quote) inside it.

"The only time you're going to notice the pistons is the lovely sound they make as they leave you in the dirt," Ian said.

This thing should have about 40 hp at the rear wheel and weigh only about 360 or 375. Upon doing some Dyno time, it should get up to about 130 mph. It's getting close to completion and has had the business done to it.

Next is the Rocket. One of Twinline's interns and his dad are building it together on Daddy's dime. They've scrubbed every nook and cranny. It's turning into a great original-type rebuild with Clubman bars and drilled rotors. Everything's been buffed, polished, and powder-coated. It'll probably get new paint, too.

Ian's assessment?

"It is going to show off like nobody's business."


The Goldhead is also still in the works. It's the best custom work we've ever done, largely thanks to the funding that backs it. More on that when we finish it up.

This one is no slouch, either: the British Racing Green (BRG) 400F. (Okay, it's blue right now. . . .) The owner originally wanted to go military-flat green, but after the frame came together--and the engine turned out so nice, and we collected all the accoutrements--this bike needed to be racing green. So . . . full-on, hardcore, British green it will be, with traditional silver pinstriping. We also have a wheel package and will powder-coat rims, hubs--this, that, and the other. It will be beautiful when it's done.

Here we've got a CB200 RR, with an electronic ignition, Mikuni carbs, and some CL high-pipes that have been hacked at the muffler, so they're optimally loud and horsepowery. Then, of course, Motobits rear sets, Bridgestone BT39 race-spec tires (the kind that 160 racers race on), and some Hagon shocks. We just became a dealer for Hagon. (Woo hoo!)

This bike is actually two days away from firing and looking good. Don't judge by the picture; they always look worse before they finally come together. The brakes have been done. The rotor's been drilled. It's just gotta go through paint, but the weather has been uncooperative.

Finally, we have this SR500, which will be a cafe bike. We've got some aluminum rims for it. We have a White Brothers exhaust, now customly ceramic-coated. We've got the Supertrap to acknowledge all the hard work and development that's getting the most out of the little engine without blowing it up. We've got a flat-slide Mikuni carburetor. A custom seat is on the way. We'll be running clip-ons. No electronics will show: they're all going to be tucked up underneath the seat the way we like 'em.

We're going to go solo-dial on this one (just a speedo; no tach), and we'll get it tuned up and ready to be the hooligan bike it was designed to be.

Why go solo-dial?

"All of these single-overhead-cam beasts don't really care for revving beyond what you need," Ian said. "They're built to accelerate as quick as they can; the motor over-revs past its power production."

What he means is that you don't need a tachometer because, as you run out of acceleration, you go, "Oh, I'm running out of steam; I'm going to shift." So you shift. All of a sudden, you've got power again.

"That's the loveliness of the single-overhead-cam, two-valve-per-cylinder motor," Ian said, "and that is the Dope Cafe SR500."

We don't really have another nickname for it. Don't laugh. These things happen.

The Dope should roll out of here at the end of the month.

"It's gonna be pretty burly when we're done with it," Ian said.

Friday, May 30, 2008

European Invasion

The European invasion has begun.

Twinline has been taking in European stuff from the beginning, but word has only just gotten around that the guys can master these bikes as well as Japanese ones. It happened overnight. We had no British stuff at all, and then wham! We got hit by six projects in a week and a half.

One guy wants us to do a cafe seat for his Triumph. Another Triumph is in the works. We've taken in a '68 BSA Lightning, followed shortly thereafter by a '71 or '72 Norton Commando 850. The Italians didn't want to be left out, so a '61 Ducati has appeared as well.

"It's gonna be fun to work on these bikes," Ian said. "They're designed differently and have a different character than Japanese bikes, so they're a refreshing change of pace after having our heads in the belly of the Japanese beast for two years."

The guys already solved the BSA's electrical problem. We just got the parts for the Triumph pictured. The Norton is waiting its turn.

"We're keeping the Norton in the shop because it's really gorgeous and we want to look at it for as long as we can," Ian grinned. "Ah--but we can't wait to ride it, either."

The owner took two years of weekends and evenings to put the Norton together. He did fantastic work but couldn't get it to start.

"It's hard for a person to work on a big project without somebody to bounce ideas off of," Ian said. "Plus, the weather's getting really nice and the owner doesn't want to waste weekends trying to get the bike started. He kicked it for two hours straight and couldn't get it to go. Hopefully we won't have to kick it for two hours, but we will if we need to. We'll figure out what's going on with it."

The (well-funded) Ducati will be a 250 Manza cafe bike--Ferrari red. We'll document it well.

"It's gonna be hot," Ian said. "Way hot."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We're Famous!

This is what happens when they do a writeup about a little bike shop in the PI:

That doesn't even show the bikes out front in various stages of deconstruction--and it's before the European Invasion (see blog to come). The guys now have to do a kind of sliding-puzzle game each time they switch out the bikes they're working on.

Here's the article:

Sound Rider magazine also did a piece on us:

KUOW just covered us next past week:

A Seattle Metropolitan article is soon to come. I think we might need to expand our capacity.

Bring it on.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

KO 360: Out the Door

The Knockout 360 finished with Hellbillie coming down and throwing pinstriping on it (see previous KO 360 blog). Ian gave Ben license to do whatever he wanted, "as long as it looked awesome." Ben ran with it, accentuating the bike's waspish shape in gloss black against the flat black coat.

"When you trust that your artist is gonna turn up with something good, he does," Ian said.

The guys have put some miles on the KO. They decided to change out the sprockets, giving the bike a higher top speed so it doesn't buzz all over the place at 70 mph.

They also ran it on the Dyno at the Dyno Party. It has about 25 horsepower at the rear wheel and about 16 pounds of torque from 3,000 rpms to about 9,000 rpms--absolutely, perfectly flat.

One thing the guys test for is loudness. The KO is plenty loud.

Last Friday night, when Ian was in to tinker with some electrical stuff, he took the KO out toward the Cretins' clubhouse, where they were having a Max RPMs weekend and poker night. A train was in the way. So, instead, Ian took the 99 all the way downtown and rode back down 1st through Mariners traffic--just as a game let out.

"There were millions of people on the road," he said. "I went through a parking lot to get around them. The timing plate had been knocked a little bit, so the bike wasn't idling perfectly at the bottom and I had to keep blipping it to keep it alive--crank the throttle here and there just so it would go. It scared the crap out of people. They scattered like rats. It was great, and the bike did great. It's a lot of fun to ride. You could safety-wire this thing for road-racing if there was a class to handle it. It would do well, because it's quick and lightweight and has a heck of a motor under it. It's tuned really, really well."

So this bike is beautiful and fun. And obnoxious. That's pretty much the definition of a Twinline bike.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Dyno Party

We had to put off this blog for the Dyno Party, which happened April 12, because nobody had been in charge of getting pictures. Then somebody brought us one, so Ian took a picture of it on the wall with his cell phone.

Bunch o' hooligans.

Here's the whole pic--one might say the panoramic view. This is so you can see the guy in the red hat. What he's doing is anyone's guess.

The party was a blast--literally. Everybody had to stand at the opposite end of the shop from the Dyno, presumably for safety reasons but really, probably, because it was so freakin' loud.

Fortunately, the keg was right there where everyone was standing.

I met a bunch of great folks: a chick with brilliant blue eyes, a tall, skinny guy who told me about Buckaroo's in Fremont, and a kid who rode around in South America. That last guy might also be the one who has a Suzuki DRZ 400, which I think I want. If any of you care to shoot me a line and remind me of your names, I'd love to stay in touch. But I digress.

With all the beer and barbecue and Dyno runs sold, we raised about $500 for racing projects and Dyno'ed some kick-ass bikes. Yeah!!!

The next event we've got planned: a "cafe sprint" around town in July on whatever you've got that runs (because we realize that some cafe bikes out there don't run--not naming any names). We'll fill you in on that as we get closer.

Oh--and some more pics have trickled in, because someone had the wherewithal. Methinks we have a new offical photographer in the man Chris . . . ?

Gotta wear shades.

Wild Rucki, in from the plains. The NRA (Northwest Ruckus Alliance) came out in full force.

Brandon, the barbecuer and money-taker. Note the fabricated sheet-metal spatula, created to fill the void of nobody bringing a spatula.

More hot steeds.

Guys, doing that thing. This wild lawnmower of a machine (owner: Paul) almost got its rear wheel up to 1 horsepower.

Wow, what a great Dyno.

Ian, what the heck are you doing? This guy wants to ride some more.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who came to our first Dyno Party! Cya at the next one, next year.