customization they are getting with the price level they are willing to pay! “Club Black #02” custom motorcycle by the WrenchmonkeesFull Size Yeh: Don’t consider the customer’s opinion to be the top priority over your own style—building a bike for a customer without your own style and taste is only making quick money and not helping you as a builder, or your brand, grow. Most of the time you’ll end up hating the bike, and the customer might not be happy either. Hageman: Oh man, too many lessons to list. All I can say is: once you find good, reliable vendors, treat them right and be loyal. If you actually come across a kick-ass painter, powder coater or upholsterer— remember there are too many out there that aren’t so “kick- ass.” I’ve flushed a lot of money down the toilet getting things redone, over and over to get them right. Stulberg: Picking the wrong people to work with has always been the most expensive thing for me—I try to surround myself with people that I want to emulate for the right reasons. In my experience, I can’t lose if I trust people that have earned collective respect in true and genuine ways rather than those that simply appear to be so from afar, or dare I say ‘on the internet’. If they don’t stand on their own as someone genuinely and consistently impressive in their own right, then they aren’t likely going become amazing at anything with or without your influence. Also, if you’re looking for something crazy simple or mechanical, then I’d say that communicating DIRECTLY what you want or feel about something is the ONLY way to live. I’ve learned time and time again that the more vague I am, the more opportunity and money I lose and the more disappointed I stand to be. Custom Ducati SportClassic motorcycle by Revival CyclesFull Size Rogers: In the early days we had more knocks than Rocky Balboa! In any business you come across unscrupulous people but you gave to pick up the pieces and move on. We don’t work on older bikes so much any more, but one thing I always strongly recommend is an engine rebuild, particularly on a newly owned bike, especially if it has just had a restoration by an enthusiastic amateur! Pollock: Don’t be in a hurry when designing or drawing a blueprint. Getting 20 hubs made that are slightly off, or triple clamps, or a frame design, or anything where you get a large quantity of parts made, and when you get deeper in you find the mistake—that’s costly. For 15-18 years or so I was doing one-offs, so it didn’t matter as much—mistakes are gonna happen, right? Multiply it times 20 or 50 and you’ll be stayin’ awake at night, but you have to come up with a work- around and keep moving forward. If you had to customize a brand new (2014/2015 spec) motorcycle—what would you pick, and what would you do with it? Yeh: Rough Crafts is all about late model Harleys at this point, so this is easy, and I’m doing it right now: a 2014 Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob. But a BMW R NineT build sounds fun too. For the Dyna I’m running all the trick performance suspension and brake packages, blending them with a ‘special ops’ edgy look, while still keeping the Rough Crafts style intact. Pollock: The less complex a bike is, the more fun it is to start modifying. So many bikes you see new builders start out with are 70’s air-cooled singles, twins or in-line fours—they are simple mechanically and you can get your head around them while making huge upgrades or improvements. I still think that way. Though I would like to do the new Yamaha FZ7 or the FZ9, and I think many of the current sport-bikes could look really good as well if you remove all the plastic and get back to motorcycle basics. That’s why I like street trackers: no B.S. to muddy up the waters.