When Rob Simao from the Kruz3rMob BC wanted to put together the perfect machine he called in the big guns for a little help. Rob is in Newark, California so you think that he would stay local. That would be a bit too easy though. Sometimes the best are not always in your back yard. Creating a true East / West ordeal he called Gary Sheron at Lowlife bicycles in central Florida to collaborate on the project. Having these two work out a design 2.900 miles apart is a feat in itself but to have the design come out so perfect is amazing. Gary rolled and welded the tube until a beautiful step through frame came to life. The arced “V” shaped main frame and the upswept chain stays really set the profile of this machine off.
Not only is this a long distance collaboration but it involving multiple builders for the main components which is usually unheard of. A phone call to Wacko's Garage, also in Florida was made next. After a mind-meld of ideas a one-off springer fork came bouncing across the country to its new home. This custom four spring bouncer has square tube legs with a sculpted set of rockers. The chrome springs really set the fork assembly off.
The final design included a custom rolled wicked new rendition set of handle bars that look like a set of beach bars and Z-bars had an illegitimate child.
All the steel and the hoops were dusted and baked in two different colors of green with a whole load of microflake. The powder work was done by non-other than the famous World Metal Finishing. The subtle pine green really sets the frame off as classy while the brighter lime makes you turn your head for that eye popping first glance.
The hoops were spoked with a polished custom spoke design then the wheels were clad in some brown Schwalbe pinner white walls that match the leather seat and grips. Before final assembly Rob had Luna from Lunatics Pinstriping set off every angle of this bike with some very fashionable lines. Beautiful work indeed.
All show and no go is no way to roll. A Sturmey rear hub hooked to a polished drivetrain and shifter lets you work the gears to keep ahead of the pack. Gooseneck Bicycles put the pile of custom parts together to finish off one heck of a ride. As a finale the custom Kruz3rMob Bike Club head badge was placed in the obligatory place to complete the project.
Stay tuned for another build from Rob in an upcoming issue that is completely different but just as beautiful.
A guy rolls down a street in Las Vegas on his trike. Strangely there is some tasty smelling smoke rolling out of what looks like the rear section of a 34 Buick sedan. What would a writer for KBM do except follow the barbeque aroma and see what is what? As it turned out that yes, this bike was a rolling barbeque and the bratwurst was pretty phenomenal.
Lowlife Bikes, located in central Florida and they just happened to be the builder of the barbeque trike. This is only one of a long line of custom bicycles that have rolled from the Lowlife shop.
Gary Sheron started Lowlife Bikes back in 2004. In the last decade and a half some of the internet’s most popular custom bikes have rolled from Gary’s shop. He has made some of the coolest bikes and components that the masses can get their greasy little fingers on. Lowlife can fabricate a leaf springer fork, custom bars in any design, or a brand new frame. There are also limited runs of certain frames that can be purchased (very limited).
Having met up with Gary a few times KBM decided to get the low down on Lowlife Bikes.
(KBM)- When did Lowlife Bikes form and what is your background pertaining to fabrication and design?
(Gary Sheron)- I cut up my first frame in 2004. My mother had recently passed away, and I was in a kinda funk. I needed something to occupy my time and keep my mind occupied. I had recently set up a little weld shop at my house. Had an old beach cruiser laying around. I cut that up and haven’t looked back. I had worked for a large fabrication company and learned a few things. The rest I had to figure out for myself. At that time there were only a hand full of people building one off bikes in the world. It was a good time.
(KBM)- Who originally got you into bicycles and can take credit for your hands-on interest?
(Gary Sheron)- I kind of started out on my own. For about the first 6 months or so I thought I was the only person on the planet doing this. I had no idea. I took a couple of bikes to a bike shop in Cocoa Beach, Matt's Bicycle Center, Matt about shit his pants. We have become best friends since. He told me I needed to meet his employee, Keith. Keith was into the Freakbike Militia in West Palm Beach. And told me to check out chopperbicycle.net. Man did the two of them change my life. Holy crap, look at all these cool bicycles. A few of my early influences are John Brain, Matt of 26" Bicycles, Jakz, and a lot of builders in the Freakbike Militia. Don’t want to forget anyone, so not going to name names.
(KBM)-What is your favorite bike you have built to date?
(Gary Sheron)- My favorite bike is easy, my bitch. Or "The Iron Maiden". I love this bike in every way. It was a bitch to build but I love her. Hell, she was on the floor of Interbike in Vegas a couple of years ago. You should have seen that. The people freaked.
(KBM)- There was a steady flow of people around your display at OBC this year and we saw you were the orchestrator for the Young Gun Challenge award. How was the OBC weekend for you and how was the first Young Gun Challenge?
(Gary Sheron)- OBC is awesome. Every year gets better and better. My wife and I have been to every one. The first one I proposed to her. The second we were on our honeymoon. How cool is that?
The Young Gun Challenge is my baby. I started doing build off's a couple of years ago. They were done over the internet. They were cool, but just not cutting it for me. So, before this last OBC I checked with T-Flo and PeeWee to see if I could have the reveal and the judging at the OBC bike show. It turned out pretty good. Still not exactly what I want, but I learned a bunch last year. I'm in the planning process for the up-coming build off at OBC. Stay tuned for upcoming details. I want to make this the premier bicycle build off in the US.
(KBM)- If someone hasn't seen a Lowlife frame how would you describe the style?
(Gary Sheron)- How would I describe my style? I'm not sure how to answer this one. I make so many different frames. Have made so many different frames. As far as I know I am the only builder making plate frames.
(KBM)- Is Lowlife a one stop shop? Do you build custom bikes that are ready to ride or a series of pieces that can be purchased together?
(Gary Sheron)- We do it all. Complete builds, frames, bars, forks, whatever. But to be honest, we mostly do frames. That’s what we started with, and what I enjoy most. I seem to really dig the most crazy, weird frames.
KBM)- What is your favorite style of bike to build: chopper, bobber, stretched cruiser?
(Gary Sheron)- My favorite style? Damn, this one is even harder. I think I would have to say, whatever new, different thing I thought up. And man, do I have some weird things I want to try.
(KBM)- When not in the shop building bikes what do you spend your time doing?
(Gary Sheron)- When not in the shop? I think I'm always there. But that’s not a bad thing, and I'm not there as much as I think. It just seems like it. My wife and I live a couple blocks from the beach. So we do as many bike rides on the sand as we can. At least on the weekends. Stef, my wife, is my best friend. We do quite a bit together. With our little dog, Gizmo too
(KBM)- What is your favorite tool in the shop and what is usually playing on the stereo?
(Gary Sheron)- Playing on the Dewalt? That depends upon the mood and what I'm doing. Some regulars are: Rage Against the Machine. 311. Linkin Park. Aerosmith. Sabbath. Slightly Stoopid. Etc...
My favorite shop tool? Def have to be my new roller. What a difference it has made. Much easier than the way I have been doing it. Before we bought this roller, I used to roll, almost everything by hand. That is laying out a jig on the weld table and heating the tubing with a rose bud torch and bending it to shape. That was a lot of work and took a lot more time. I got pretty damn good at it too. But now we have a Baileigh ring roller. This thing can roll anything. And fast too.
(KBM)- If a person hasn't had access to the settings, tools, and skills like welding, fabrication, paint, etc. What is a good first step to take in learning what it takes to build a project bike?
(Gary Sheron)- If someone does not have the ability to do the actual fabricating, the next best thing is to get with a builder such as myself and have them fabricate it for you. Then you take it from there and do the actual build up. You can handle everything from getting it painted, chromed, and anything else you can come up with. There are many, many people who do this. They have several different builders fabricate different components for the build.
(KBM)- What is next for Lowlife? Upcoming projects? Lines of parts?
(Gary Sheron)- What’s next? That’s the good thing about building custom bikes, you never quite know what’s next. We are getting busier and growing all the time. I went full time with Lowlife Bikes a few months ago. So things have been real scary. Lowlife Bikes has always been my dream. I have loved this since I built my first bike. I have not wanted to do anything else since then. I met my wife, Stefani about 5 years ago, introduced her to the scene, and it’s been nothing but bikes and good times since. She is my business partner as well as my wife. We have been developing our own line of production frames, the Kilo, the Undertow, and a ladies frame, Twisted Sister. I'm trying to bring back the wide knuckle triple tree fork. It was awesome. Machining costs made it out of reach to do. We are looking to fix that. And, maybe a couple of things that we are working on that I can’t quite say...
One project that we are finishing up is a build for a coffee shop in Key West, The Blue Flamingo Cafe. It will be a trike that the body will be a back lit sign for the cafe. The back of the trike will have a vintage beverage dispenser I found at a thrift shop. Around the dispenser will be containers for sugar, creamer, stirrers, etc. Pretty cool build. The first time for me using led's. So this will be interesting.
There you have it. If you need a frame, bars, fork, or complete machine Lowlife is a one stop shop. Drop Gary a line and get your custom project rolling.
Central Blvd., Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920
How many times have we had to buy some trashed box store bike from Craigslist or at the local police bike auction just to cut out the head tube or bottom bracket shell made from crap steel and trash the rest? The only other choice is to buy stock tube that is usually a non “on the shelf” size just to get the internally diameter needed to fit bearings. This is usually expensive and requiring purchase of large quantities.
There is a cure for this problem. When the cure is easy and inexpensive how could you go wrong.
We ran across Solid Bikes a while back while searching for parts for a custom frame build we were working on. Solid Bikes is a small machine shop making head tubes, bottom bracket shells, dropouts, and the like for frame builders. They seem to be more into the BMX type frame but cruisers use many of the same sized parts. They have been in business for almost two decades so they aren’t some fly by night company.
We ordered a few bottom bracket shells and head tubes that were needed plus a few extras just to check out Solid Bikes products. Most of the items they sell are CNC machined from 4130 chromoly tubing so the quality of materials is without question. The order process was simple and without issue. The Solid Bikes website was clear and self-explanatory. The parts showed up less than a week after the order went in. In a well packed box we found exactly what we ordered and we were very impressed with the items. Everything was clean and very well machined. We placed a few of the items on the steel assembly table and pulled out a few gauges to check how the parts were dimensionally and found that they were right on the money. We have fabricated two frames from scratch with Solid Bikes head tubes and bottom bracket shells and are very happy with them. A few mouse clicks and a minimum price is so much easier and cleaner than hacking apart junk bikes just to salvage a few pieces.
Solid Bikes offers a wide selection of builder parts: (this isn’t a complete list)
Seat tubes in 27.2mm or 25.4 mm
Head Tubes: 1 1/8 quick taper, 1 1/8 long taper, 1 1/8” integrated head tube (straight OD, internally relieved), 1 1/8 Press Fit Head Tube (Plain or Tapered), 1” Integrated head tube
Bottom Brackets: American Shell, 1.5” 73mm English BB Shell, 1.5” 68mm English BB Shell, Internally relieved Spanish BB Shell, Mid bottom Bracket Shell (externally or internally relieved).
15 different styles of dropouts
Weld On brake parts
You can check out and purchase parts at http://solidbikes.bigcartel.com/
11395 Pyrites Way, Suite H
Rancho Cordova, CA, 95670
Phone: +1 (916)801-7263
A text message popped up on my phone a few weeks ago that read “OMG, go 2 OBC FB and check out the wagon”. I instantly thought several things: 1) who has my number that isn’t already in my phone 2) why is text shorthand so annoying, and 3) what wagon? Later that evening I fire up the laptop and head to the messaged location. What I found was some very cool large wagons very reminiscent of the Radio Flyer we loved as a child but on steroids and wicked custom paint. Not having seen these before I instantly dropped a message to the builder with a flurry of questions. Clyde James of well-known Clyde James Bikes got back to me and agreed to an interview about these wagons. Editors Notes: we will get into Clyde James Bikes in the near future.
(KBM)- We have all heard of Clyde James Bikes, what got you started in this business?
(Clyde James)- I have always enjoyed building things, when I was young I would build with Legos, now its custom bikes. I got started by buying a bicycle at the swap meet and chopping it up at my friends shop Cadistrophic Sledfactory. This was my first, I probably chopped it up three times before I liked it. But persistence pays off. That bike is the bike I still ride today, I will never part with that one because it reminds me of the beginning and how far I have come
(KBM)- You are already an accomplished bike builder, what got you into building wagons?
(Clyde James)- I got started on the wagons not long after I started building bikes. One of my customers asked me to build a rat rod wagon from his old Radio Flyer and that's how it got started. Now I am doing full trailer wagon designs to haul bicycles around to rides and events. People love the wagons and with so many ways to make it your own everybody can have fun with it
(KBM)- Do you have a favorite?
(Clyde James)- My favorite would have to be the Wagon bicycle trailer. This was such a fun project to begin with, just to get the chance to build something like that was amazing, big thanks to my friend Doug for that opportunity. It's not everyday someone walks in to your shop and ask to build I trailer size wagon
(KBM)- Do you fabricate many different sizes of wagons? Are there standard dimensions? Are these wagons a vehicle trailer? DOT approved? What weight can they carry?
(Clyde James)- These wagon trailers are 8' long by about 4' wide they are D.O.T approved and can haul up to 1,600 lbs. so you can haul way more than just the bicycles
(KBM)- Do you just build the wagons you like or are you willing to take orders and meet with customers for design collaboration then build to those specifications?
(Clyde James)- The Wagons can get as custom as the customer wants. Normally people have a budget on their builds so what I try to do is go over every aspect and possibility with them. This is a hands on experience that allows them to choose what upgrades and styles they want. Communication is key in this situation and I think Clyde James Cycles does a great job at giving the customer what they want. From specific designs to exotic creations I apply an artistic style to every project
(KBM)- The customizing of the standard child red wagon has been going on for quite a few years, are these wagons a cousin of that craze?
(Clyde James)- For sure the custom scene has been around for years I'm just a small part of what is already a worldwide craze. People everywhere have built unique wagons and from what I have seen it brings friends, family and people of all ages together. What's better than that? In fact we need more of that in the world today!
(KBM)- The custom wagon scene seemed to have started by hot rod guys tricking out their wagons to haul parts through the swap meets and now there are full blown shows with awards for custom wagons. Where do you see the custom wagon craze heading?
(Clyde James)- With so many styles and possibilities the wagon craze looks like it will be popular for years to come. Anything that can make you feel young and like a kid again will last forever as memories that we will share from generation to generation. The best part about what I do is seeing how happy it makes others. Very thankful and blessed to do what I do every day and not a day goes by that I do not thank the man up above for all of it.
If you are interested in talking to Clyde about these wicked wagons feel free to contact him through Clyde James Cycles on both Facebook and Instagram, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at 817-726-9461