We’ve tried earnestly to document recent Classified events on our Facebook and Twitter pages. But still, this is one of those stories I don’t really know how to begin. What started as an ambitious agreement to build a bike for Velocity Channel’s Cafe Racer TV, turned into an unforgettable trip to meet a bunch of amazing people and see stuff that not many folks get to see. The most rewarding of which was the look on actress Katee Sackhoff’s face when she laid eyes on her one-of-a-kind Classified Honda. Katee’s elation over her new bike set the tone for what was to be a staggeringly awesome five days. The trip seemed to be constantly trying to one-up itself until it was just kind of ridiculous.
First let me say that Katee is the bee’s knees. She’s even friendlier, funnier, prettier and cooler in person than we thought when we first Skyped with her for the TV show. She not only learned to kickstart a 600 cc bike on camera in front of a crowd, she then proceeded to tear up and down the coast and through the canyons on her diabolical looking machine. It was kind of like watching a great action movie. As sweet and girly as Katee is, when she gets on the bike she lives up to her badass reputation. No fear. All confidence. Great rider.
While Katee was working her butt off in her day job, we got the chance to take in the sights onboard her bike. That included 500 miles or so along the coast, splitting lanes on the 405, cruising the surface streets of Hollywood and Beverly Hills and a top secret Classified mission to — Burbank.
Because, as we’ve said, Classified Moto is the luckiest company on the planet, we were treated to a private tour of Mr. Jay Leno’s Garage. It’s been three weeks or so and I’m still trying to process it. In fact, it caused me to have weird dreams for the whole trip. Jay was at work, but we got the full tour — the McLarens, the Bugattis, the Lambos, the Buick that Jay slept in when he was a struggling comic. Anyway, it would be futile to try and do it justice. Look it up online, then imagine being in there with you and five of your buddies. It was life-changing.
Continuing our streak, we left the compound and headed directly to Studio 11 for the taping of The Tonight Show. Since we were invited guests, we got primo parking inside the gate and access to the green room — complete with snacks and drinks — before the show. Rad. The show was cool — Jessica Biel, Kevin Smith, the Lumineers. And afterwards we met Jay in the green room, this time just our little group. We chatted, took some pics, then Jay agreed to walk out to the parking lot — amongst a lot of non-famous people whose jaws were dropping — and check out Katee’s bike. I can’t imagine how busy he must have been, but he had time for pics and to give his stamp of approval on our labor of love. It was just too much.
One of the greatest features of the trip was that we were stationed at moto Mecca “Garage Company” near the airport. Café royalty Yoshi Kosaka was an amazing host and was itching to ride our bike — and we were more than glad to toss him the keys. Yoshi LOVED the bike, and it showed while he was blasting through Inglewood, grinning behind his goggles.
Then on to Deus Ex Machina in Venice. It was weird to be around people who see things just like we do. While they could have bristled at the idea of another builder — a fan or not — coming to their shop, instead they gave us the full tour, talked about the industry’s ups and downs and even ripped around Venice on the KT-600. Those guys are good-hearted creative geniuses and deserve all the success they’ve seen. Super inspiring.
By the time we left Katee and the bike behind, we all had that last-day-of-summer-camp kind of exhaustion. Bittersweet for sure. But mostly just sweet. A year and a half ago I was getting the boot from my ad job — now I was in LA signing over a title to the coolest chick in LA, giving her a perhaps too-lingering hug and flying home.
Nothing wrong with that. — JR
PS: Stay tuned here and there for build details and pics. And of course, tune into Season 4 of Cafe Racer TV in early 2013. Many thanks to all the folks we met out West, on behalf of Greg, Betsy, John Bracknell, Jeff Henshaw, Adam Ewing and the Cafe Racer TV crew. Best trip ever.
(Photos: Adam Ewing and his faithful assistants)
In case you haven’t been following along on Facebook or Twitter, we’re in the throes of Classifying a moto for actress Katee Sackhoff. Not only that, but the bike will be featured on Season 4 of Cafe Racer TV on Discovery Channel’s Velocity network. Believe me, we’re pinching ourselves daily. It’s just nuts.
Turns out Katee is incredibly personable and down to earth (despite her larger-than-life intergalactic TV persona). Funny, enthusiastic — a tomboy and a girly-girl all at once. And most of all she is STOKED about the one-of-a-kind Honda we’re building for her. That makes us really happy.
The finished bike is supposed to remain under wraps until it’s revealed on the show, but once Katee starts blasting around the streets of LA, the cat is likely to exit the bag with a vengeance. We’re prepping now to transport the “KT-600″ out West for a late July delivery and shoot date. We can’t wait to meet Katee face-to-face and see what she thinks. Photographer Adam Ewing will be tagging along to get some world-class snaps of Katee and her new bike.
In the meantime, we’re working pretty much nonstop on it. With help from our old buddies Mike and Bob at Maxum Machine as well as our new secret weapons Alex Heath and Seth Ingham at Chase Architectural, we’ve been pushing ourselves to make something extra deluxe for Miss Sackhoff.
A 2006 Triumph Sprint 1050 ST single-sided swingarm connected to a 1987 Honda XL600R dual sport frame and motor connected to a 2005 Kawi ZX6-R front end with a lot of Classification sprinkled throughout. David Zemla of Progressive Suspension has been a huge help in sorting out the suspension — the toughest part of the build so far. It seems David & Co. really know their stuff.
The Cafe Racer TV crew has now made two trips to our fair city of Richmond, Virginia, USA, to capture the action and make us forget how to speak and do rudimentary functions. It’s amazing what a camera can do to your brain. Hopefully by the time we hit LA, we’ll be as comfortable as Katee in front of the lens.
We’ll be posting pics and some video on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, but we of course we’ll be careful not to spoil the surprise. That is until we just can’t take it anymore.
Stay tuned and be sure to watch Katee play Deputy Vic Moretti on A&E’s new series Longmire. Sunday nights at 10pm ET.
(Photos: Adam Ewing)
PS: If you’ve been waiting on ANYTHING from us — a bike, a lamp, a build request, advice, eternal happiness — we have not forgotten you. At least I don’t think we have. Hopefully we’ve been keeping you posted, but feel free to contact me (email@example.com) and check in. Thanks for your patience in this time of incredible awesomeness.
A couple of weeks ago, photographer Adam Ewing and I loaded up the truck and trailer with four bikes and a ton of jumbo sized prints of Adam’s work. After braving the Jersey Turnpike and major traffic jams all along the East Coast, we made it to the Big Apple and had a blast.
Lucky for us, our favorite motogirl Tania Staykova has a new gig as Executive Producer at Stardust in New York City. Tania and her team do mind-bending visual effects work and have an equally killer gallery-style space in SoHo. When she invited us up to show off our efforts, we jumped at the chance.
When we finally rolled into town from Virginia, the Stardust crew sprang into action and in no time we had stuffed four bikes into a tiny elevator (one at a time) and made it out of our illegal parking spot without incident. We met up with our buddy Mark Schruntek, parked our rig and crashed at his place in Brooklyn — road trip style. A few hours of sleep and some subway rides later the gallery was packed and we could relax at last.
The bikes and photos were well received. The beer was delicious, and everyone was in good spirits.
We’re already planning to come back up and stay longer — this time on our bikes.
Thanks to everyone at Stardust for putting on such a killer show. Can’t wait ’til next time. —JR
(Photos: Shane LaVancher, Stardust)
Photo: Cindy Hicks
Change comes in all sizes. New pair of shoes — small change. New career/business/lease on life — extra large change.
One year ago last week, I got my walking papers from the ad agency where I worked for 11 years. It was like being punched in the face and knocked into the next room. Only the room was full of sweet motorcycles and some of the coolest people I’d never met.
What could have been a disaster of super-sized proportions, instead opened the door for Classified Moto, which might go down in history as the luckiest company on the planet.
From the day I got laid off and set out to make my living in the motosphere, I’ve had something to be psyched about on an almost daily basis — one of our bikes in a magazine, a killer road trip, an email from one of my heroes, a project wrapped. There’s a kind of constant gratification for us at Classified, and we’re trying our best to keep it going.
We’re about to unveil a new XS 650 and XV1100 and we’re working on a couple of Honda projects that will be tons of fun. We’ll soon be shipping the twin of Bob Ranew’s XV920R to Biker’s Cafe in Dubai. And we continue to explore new non-rolling designs — moto lamps, tables, screen prints and other cycle-inspired stuff. We’re weird like that. We’re still full-steam ahead on opening our shop/studio/cafe as soon as humanly possible.
And while we always have our eye on grand plans and what-ifs, we have some done-deals that we’ve been dying to talk about. No time like the present:
Season 4 of Cafe Racer TV on Discovery Channel’s Velocity Network. We’ll be on it. We were floored to be asked to participate and can’t wait to get started. The show has featured bikes and builders with credentials we could only dream of. It’s a huge, humbling honor, and we are STOKED. Filming starts in April and wraps this summer. Typical of the show’s format, we’ll appear throughout the season, wrenchin’, cussin’ and headscratchin’, eventually revealing our build to the world at large.
Of course, since Classified Moto is the luckiest company on the planet, the bike we’re building is for sci-fi heroine and interstellar badass Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame. (Starbuck, we won’t let you down.) With any luck, we’ll be delivering the bike to Katee on set in New Mexico this summer. Life is good.
We know this and other projects are going to delay our plans for a few things, including our European road trip we’ve been dying to pull off. Never fear, when we do it, it will probably be even better than if we’d done it this summer. That’s just the way things work around here.
Before I bring this one to a close and go back to neglecting my bloggery duties, I want to thank my trusty crew: Greg (recovering from a detached retina, wish him well), Betsy, Adam, Cindy, Ricky, DeeDee, Alex and the gang at Maxum Machine for staying positive and hanging in there. If it weren’t for people who know what they’re doing, I’d be sunk.
Also, a huge thanks to the legendary Wrenchmonkees for inspiring me to take an interest in motorbikes. The Monkees along with Deus, Blitz, Cafe Racer Dreams and a refreshing few other “alt-moto” outfits continue to keep things interesting on two wheels. We love what you do.
I’ll try to post more often, starting with some builds that we’re wrapping up. But for regular updates on all things Classified, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for your support. We hope you’ll be with us on another whirlwind year. —JR
I think it’s been a month since I last posted to the blog. Inexcusable, except we have a good excuse. We’ve been hard at work building bikes and developing new recycled moto gear for your consideration. Just posted today in our online store you’ll find a Moto Café Table, a Moto Floor Lamp, a new Tania Tee and last but not least the long awaited Moto Build Request listing that will reserve your spot in the Classified queue.
In two days, we will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the timely demise of my advertising career. Getting laid off proved to be one of the best things that could have happened on our twisty, turny trajectory through the motosphere. For 363 days, we’ve been surviving — and even thriving — doing what we love.
Many thanks for the great support from you guys and gals as we figure this all out. We hope you’ll keep spreading the Classified word and enjoy taking the road less traveled with us.
I’ll write a proper anniversary post next week. It will include at least one new bike, one awesome piece of news, a celebrity, a detached retina and a portrait of two angry bike builders wearing matching pink sundresses.
For now, check out the new creations in our store. We hope you find something you’ve just gotta have. —JR