Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:18 pm
Location: Left Coast
|I don't know their politics but... I sure like his bikes and his devil-may-care attitude...Read the whole article... He's the epitome of cool...
Jesse James Rides Again
James says his choppers can reach speeds of 140 miles an hour.
Why? "What if you're late," says James, who has no excuse to be late, not the way he rides.
James' hometown, Long Beach, Calif., is a blue-collar city that fits him like a leather glove. There are speed limits and helmet laws here, but just like his outlaw relative, this Jesse lives by his rules and rides the roads as if he owns them.
What thrill does he get from weaving in and out of traffic?
"When I'm sitting on my bike, and it's loud, and shaking my hands, and it's hurting my ears, and the wind is loud. I mean, that's my soul. That's what makes me happy. To do that, and get really crazy, and you're riding and you're hauling ass somewhere," says James.
"And then, to do it, and I look down, and the reflection of a perfect gas tank that I made. And I made the whole bike by hand. And something that I made by hand gave me that feeling? No one can feel that but me."
Forget Peter Fonda and "Easy Rider." Modified or chopped motorcycles from the '60s have given way to rockets on two wheels. James builds West Coast Choppers, and they have more horsepower than some cars, custom paint that costs more than $1,000 dollars a gallon, and chrome wheels cut by computer.
What's the difference between a Harley-Davidson and a West Coast Chopper?
"You can't tell by looking at it? They blow it away. What are you talking about," says James, laughing. "Speed, handling, stopping, the weight. But, you know, some people, their ultimate bike might be a Harley, you know? They're just dorks. And it's my goal to make everybody cool, or just 20 people a year."
And he means only 20, because that's all the custom bikes he builds in a year. Why so few?
"Well, if they're expensive and hard to get, and they're really, really bitching and cool and clean, they're always going to be cool," says James.
Each bike goes for up to $150,000. For that, you get a machine that's considered one of the best-built motorcycles in the world. Some consider them works of art -- so much so that the Guggenheim Museum in New York wanted to exhibit them. But James said no.
"You can only sit there and look at it for so long before you're gonna want to ride it," says James. "They're meant to be ridden."
My Pep Talk For Lefties and Lurkers
I cannot teach anybody anything,
I can only make them think.