What drives me to keep it going is the large amount of new friends I've made in the past year & a half. Seriously every bike event I attend someone walks up and introduces themselves. Most times you'll see them again somewhere else & hang out. It can be kind of freaky sometimes but the majority of the followers are good dudes.
You are spending a lot of time behind the polishing machine, what parts are you making?
Kim: I make a lot of different parts for the bikes we build and lately seem to be in a constant state of self challenge and find myself thinking "Oh I can do that, I think". 98% of the time it works out.
However I think your refering to Bench*Mark parts company which is a little something my good friend Patrick and I have been doing. Right now for some reason Bench*Mark is Harley specific bits & parts. Ignition covers, kicker pedals air cleaners case breathers and bunch of stuff in the works next will be be a few British parts.
Tell us the story about the free CNC Machine, and is it working now?
Kim: It's a CNC lathe and it's a green giant. My friend Bill emailed me a forwarded Craigslist link from another friend Josh, I told Pat who's a machinest by trade. The next day when I got to the shop the machine was on it's way. The owner blew a fuse never fixed it and said if you could move it it was yours. So Pat had moved. It's wired up and runs but we need some tooling and few parts to run it daily but it will be a big help with a lot of our future plans.
How many bikes did you build so far and what's your favourite?
Kim: I'll say 5. My current favorite is my 81 Yamaha SR500. It's a super fun bike to zip around on, very dependable and I'm just not able to part with it, I've tried to sell it and just can't bring myself to let her go.
Favourite tools? What is missing in your workshop?
Kim: Favorites: After a couple metal extractions from my eyes I'd say vintage safety glasses with the mesh side guards. After that a fast hand drill, Bench grinder, Hammers, dollies, & the tig welder. Recently I picked up a hand held tungsten grinder, I really like that thing. As far as what's missing, we could use a wheel truing stand. Both Pat and I want do some more metal shaping so sheet metal tools would be fun. Maybe a better lathe.
What projects are you working on right now?
Kim: I am in the final stretch on a 2 year build which is my personal bike a 1960 Harley Davidson FL. I'm pretty excited to spend the summer on that thing. Also I have a '71 Norton commando cafe project. My good friend Paul and I are building him a BMW R/100 scrambler. Another friend's unit Triumph chopper is being freshened up and I just started a 2000 sportster.
How are customers finding BCM? Do you advertise? Word of Mouth?
Kim: I guess the blog, MC forums and word of mouth. To be honest, we've had to turn down a couple of projects which I hate to do but it wouldn't be fair to the customer when we just don't have the time. We're working on that.
Are you working on diferent motorcycle brands or only japanese bikes?
Kim: For me personally as long as I can envision the end result being fun, safe & with good style I'm all for diving in regardless of the brand. I get frustrated really quickly with the know it all, narrow minded guy who's brand loyalty boarders a form of racism. If that makes any sense. We just really like motorcycles.
Are you going to swapmeets, bikeshows with your stuff? or buy stuff for your bikes?
Kim: Lately 70Moto Chris Collins has been volunteering to take our used bits and Bench*Mark parts to the local swap meet. Getting up at 4:00 am on a Sunday is much too hard on my constitution. I show up at 8:00 and do more talking than buying. I'm much better with e bay, craigslist and classifieds in the MC forums.
Do you think the "chopper industry" is growing or going down in the near future?
Kim: Not To sound dickish but I'm pretty confident that I'm in it for the long haul and for once in my life I don't really care what the "industry" is doing. I'm sure it will fluctuate like anything else. If it falls on its face completely I'll make furniture or something, I want to do some of that anyway.
Did you go to school to learn how to shape metal and design parts?
Kim: No, but if time ever allows I really want to. A friend of mine Brandon Casquilho gave me a lot of advice, tips and what he called the shove out of the nest. I've bought books and a couple dvd's. Youtube has a lot of quick tips as well. Most of the time I just dive in, take my time and never settle for anything remotely mediocre.
Kim: I've never known what I wanted to do when I grow up but I think I've figured it out and I'd like to thank Frances, my friends and family for the support and for putting up with me while I was on the hunt. The core group that really makes up BCM is my day to day lifes blood and without them I'd probably fall on my face more often than I do. Huge Thanks to Bob Warren, Pat McCormack, Paul Wisniewski, Chris Collins and as of late new recruit Matt Landman.