Austin, new bikes, tiny tees

Things have changed pretty dramatically around the old Classified shop over the last two years — even more so in the last two months. I’m on my laptop so little these days that I pretty much forget how to use it. If this post makes it to you, it’ll be a small miracle. We’ve been cranking on a lot of builds, some of them released since our last post, like our XV920 2.0 (above). Some of them are in the final stages as we speak, including possibly the first Classified Moto creation to sport a front fender. Say it ain’t so.

Recently, despite the fact that I couldn’t really justify going, I got an invitation to bring a pair of bikes to The One Motorcycle Show in Austin, Texas. I was sorry to have missed the shows in Portland so I loaded up the truck and made the 22-hour drive. My buddy Matt Crawford (‘Shop Class as Soulcraft‘ author) opted to skip “two days of shared flatulence in the cab of a truck” and flew out to meet me.

Neither of us knew what to expect, but instantly we knew it was worth the trip. The show, put on by Thor and the gang at See See Motor Coffee Co. in Portland, couldn’t have been done better. They transformed a giant empty Quonset hut warehouse into the most happenin’ place within the City Limits. There were bikes from a lot of my favorite builders there — people who inspired me to start wrenching on bikes five years ago — and the whole show had a fun, positive vibe to it over the two days it ran.

And Austin? Don’t get me started. I have to admit I had kind of gotten sick of hearing about how great that town is. Now I know why.

Anyway, now it’s back to reality, and we have 20-some bikes to build. Maybe one or two will end up in next years’s show.


As usual, we suffer from ‘shiny object syndrome’ when we’re working on bikes and lamps, and have a bunch of half-finished or finished and unpromoted new designs in the works. One that made it through to production is the Classified Moto Tiny Tee (for kids, not grown-ups, please).

Artist Kristy Heilenday sketched a couple of our previous builds for some upcoming posters, and we thought they’d look good on some teenie tiny tees for tiny kids. They come in two colors and fit future motofolk from one year to five years or so. We figured it’s a great gift for all the cool aunt’s and uncles out there to give when frilly bibs just don’t seem right.

Get them in our online store before that baby gets too big.

So I have to cut this short. A CB400 calls. But thanks again for all the support since March 23, 2011 when we went full time with Classified Moto. And as usual, if I owe you an email or a phone call, please feel free to nudge me. We’re trying our best to stay on top of everything and with any luck will have a friendly staff of Classifiers to help very soon.

We’re in the throes of raising capital for our flagship headquarters here in Richmond. Before long you’ll have a place to come visit. In the meantime, follow us on Instagram (@classifiedmoto), Twitter (@johnryland) and Facebook.


Build requests go active Monday at midnight

Level 4 XV920 build with bells & whistles. Approximately $17,000 USD.


For those of you who don’t know the Classified Moto story, it’s hard to understand just how much we’re living the dream. When I get up every day to start my to-do list, I feel like I’ve won some sort of lottery. Granted there are off days, as with any other occupation, but they’re becoming fewer and farther between. And the fact that we have been overwhelmed with bike orders is both humbling and awesome in the most deluxe way.

A while back we shut down our Build Request Queue reluctantly to get a handle on the 15 or so bikes we had on our plate. Monday (2/18) at midnight, we’re cranking the request line back up. Yes, we have made great progress on current projects, but mostly, I just can’t deal with turning customers away anymore, lest they decide they’d rather have a Harley or a new Corvette or flying lessons or a home theater or a vacation in the tropics…

So, if you — like Phil Collins — have been waiting for this moment all your life, then read on. This post is intended to lay out the process and answer some of your burning questions so you’ll be ready to pounce when we go live in just 12 hours. We will only be taking on eight to 10 builds for this next round, depending on the types of projects we book.

PRICING: We have developed a loose but effective structure for pricing our builds based on the level of complexity involved. We have four Build Levels — Level 1 being the least complex (generally) and Level 4 being the most. Obviously there are many factors in determining price, but our ballpark range historically (and recently) has been about $7,500 to $17,000 USD. We still believe we can build a Level 1 for as little as $6,000 but customers generally gravitate towards upgrades. So do we.


Level 1 Honda CB400T Hawk with reworked rear end. Approximately $8,000 USD.

THINGS THAT AFFECT PRICING: There’s a lot of good info contained in the Build Request listing in our online store. Please look it over for starters. Some of it is worth repeating here. Our approach to customizing bikes focuses primarily on using unexpected platforms that in and of themselves aren’t rare or exotic. Generally that translates to using a “cheap” bike to begin the process. That way you’re paying for the work and components that make a bike Classified (as opposed to all your money going into the base bike with none left over to customize.)

Our successful formula is to purchase the platform bike and have it in good running condition for $1,200. Then start the process of Classifying it. The funny thing is that bikes like the Virago which used to be plentiful are becoming sought after for customization. Hmmmm.

Anyway, there are still plenty of bikes out there to be had at bargain prices, but the price of the platform bike definitely affects the overall build price. That said, all of the ballpark prices we give include purchasing the bike.

This brings us to customer-supplied bikes. We give a credit if you supply a good working bike to begin the build (generally $1,200 for Level 2-4 bikes and slightly more for Level 1 builds). This assumes that the bike needs nothing before we can start modifying it. Example: You have a nice, running, mechanically sound 1978 XS750 to use for a Level 2 build. We would credit you $1,200 towards the going rate of around $9,000. Technically, it works the same for a ’52 Vincent Black Lightning — $1,200 if it’s a good runner, less if it’s not. The important thing here is to free your mind of thoughts that we might pay you the value of an exotic bike that we’re building out for you. You might sense that I’ve run into this expectation before!

Big ticket items that can drive the price of your project up include custom stainless exhausts, custom tanks, major engine work (performance machining, etc.), high end aftermarket component requests (think Ohlins forks, certain wheels, etc.), intricate/commissioned paintwork and the like.

It’s mostly common sense, but of course there’s room for discussion and interpretation. Feel free to email me with questions before you purchase your build request.


Level 4 Honda Nighthawk 750. Approximately $16,500 USD.


PROCESS AND PAYMENTS: Once you have absorbed all the info you can about Classified Moto and our type of work, and you have a pretty good idea of the price range you’re entertaining, you can take the plunge and order the Build Request. This is a $250 item in our online store and basically acts as a good faith gesture that you are a serious buyer. The fee reserves your chronological place in the queue and kicks off the rendering and final estimating process. It also includes a large printout of your rendering complete with handwritten notes about your build. The $250 fee is then applied to your overall build cost. If you decide not to go through with the build, the fee is not refunded.

Once you’re in the queue, we begin more specific conversations about your build, including timing, components, special considerations and payment/delivery schedule. From these discussions, we will develop and refine a rendering which will serve as the touchstone for the build. Deviations from the final rendering are common based on suggestions by both parties, but generally require adjustments to the budget.

We have had great luck with the following payment structure. Once we have settled on a direction, the buyer makes an initial payment to cover the purchase of the platform bike (if not supplied by the customer). This amount is usually based on a range of actual listings (Craigslist, eBay, etc.) and paid upfront so we can move quickly to get the best bike.

After this initial payment, the balance of the build costs are divided into three equal payments spaced evenly over the course of the project. The final payment is due upon delivery. The nice thing is that you can set your own target delivery date to suit your comfort level from five to 12 months. Prices do not include shipping. We do ship internationally, but rely on our international customers to research their country’s requirements regarding delivery. We will assist in any way we can, but ultimately the buyer is responsible for making arrangements.


Level 3 Honda CB250 Nighthawk. Approximately $12,000.


Please note that the target timeline begins when we have settled on a direction and the final estimate is approved (not from the time you purchase the Build Request). We’ll do our best to nail down a direction within 90 days of purchasing the build request. Bear in mind that the build request is essentially a waiting list and sometimes it’s a little heavier on the ‘waiting’ part. If you are in a tremendous hurry for your new Classified Moto, then contact us before reserving your spot.

That’s all I can manage to spout about this subject for now. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. Email me with questions and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP —

Stay tuned. There’s always something happening lately, including some big news. —JR





Take my bike, please

Ever since we stopped taking build requests awhile back, it’s safe to say we have had even more inquiries than usual. And while the build request queue remains officially closed, we have decided to offer a few of our personal bikes for sale so that they might help ease the pain.

Earlier in the year, Adam Ewing and I played musical bikes when a customer had second thoughts about his build at the eleventh hour. That left the customer with my Ducati built to his specs, Adam got the customer’s XS650 and I got Adam’s XS650. Now Adam and I have decided to double down and put our bikes on the block to meet the Tickle-Me-Elmo-Like demand.

Both bikes have been used as shop mules to test various parts and settings but will be delivered clean, refreshed and with some heavy duty upgrades to ensure the new owners get something extra special. Details follow below.

First up is the bike that started it all — the 1982 Yamaha XS650 Heritage Special we built for Adam when Classified was still just a weekend diversion. Over the last couple of years, the bike has come to stand for not only the Classified aesthetic, but the CM attitude as well. Chris Hunter of deemed it worthy of the June slot in the 2012 Calendar. “Shop Class as Soul Craft” author Matt Crawford practically ground the pegs off of it carving up Riverside Drive here in Richmond, Virginia.

The bike has brought joy and inspiration to many a weary soul. Now it can be your muse.

It is a Level 3 build on our scale and features modern and modified Suzuki RMZ forks with Warp 9 supermoto wheel and wave rotor and gnarly rubber. Here is a complete rundown of specifications as it sat when it hit the web. Before delivery, though, it will receive the royal treatment including a brand new 750cc big bore kit, permanent magnet ignition system, tip top new seat upholstery, proper CM badging and fresh powder coat all around.

This bike could be ready in as little as four months. We can take longer if you’d like some extra time to wrangle the cash. Haggle-free price is $11,500 USD (half down and half on delivery) and does not include shipping. If you’re outside the USA you’ll have to guide us on making it road legal in your country. We’ll help all we can, but ultimately shipping and titling would be your responsibility.

Next on the block is “The Ripper”, an ’81 Yamaha XS650 built in partnership with SE Bikes. SE is the epicenter of the BMX world and has been since I was a kid. I pined away for a baby blue P.K. Ripper back in the day, but ended up having to wait 30 years to get one. We built this XS650 in honor of the legendary P.K.

Our combustion powered Ripper is a souped up Level 2 build and features some cleverly hidden components, a rad color scheme and a modern Suzuki GSXR inverted front end. Like the other XS we’re offering, this one will get the 750cc big bore kit and permanent magnet setup — more power and the joy of a modern ignition system. This one was also featured on the great Bike EXIF. See more HERE.

The Ripper could be ripping through your town in as little as four months, or as with all our builds, we can take longer if that makes paying easier. Speaking of, this one is going for $10,500. Same rules apply as above.

This last one is a first for us. We came across this 1998 Buell S1 Lightning through a fan in Maryland and snatched it up. When you take away the Nuclear Blue frame and the Harley Orange bodywork, it really has the soul of a Classified bike. Not unlike our iconic XV920R6, this big V-twin, short-wheelbased terror has all the makings of another CM hooligan.

It’s my personal machine at the moment, but is ready for deployment in this time of need. It’s a 1200cc beast, weighs very little and induces un-manly giggling in all gears. We would deliver it in a decidedly more Classified color scheme with custom tank, cleaned up mechanicals and brutally elegant body panels.

Since this bike has not been Classified yet, we are able to accommodate various rider preferences regarding some finishes, ride height, etc., provided they aren’t completely outside of the Classified box.

Officially Classified price is $10,500 USD. Same arrangement as above. I don’t see us being able to do another one at this price, so if you want one — get THIS one. Delivery can be made in as little as four months.

So those are our interim offerings while we continue to build the current generation of Classified Motos. If you’re interested, email me: Hopefully all questions have been answered here, but I’m sure I left something out.

As usual, stay tuned for more happenings. — JR

Big news about lamps and bikes

Whether you think of Classified Moto as the bike shop that builds lamps or the lamp maker that builds bikes, today’s news could likely affect you. Next month we will raise the price of the recyclo-rific Classified Moto Lamp for the first time in over a year. The price will bump to $249 USD on November 1, 2012. In the meantime, if you’ve been thinking about getting one, you’ve got the whole month of October to get it at the old price of $199.

While we love that these little repurposed lamps have become such a hit with the public at large, we have been killing ourselves trying to keep up with the demand. The good news is that with a few new hands on deck, we’ll be able to cut delivery time drastically — most likely you can have your lamp in two weeks or less as opposed to the 6-10 weeks it has been running.

Pricing of the wall-mounted and floor versions of the lamp will remain the same as long as we can swing it.

Visit our online store to check out the lamps, shirts and other Classified goods.

Now, for something we never thought we’d be saying — WE ARE CEASING TO TAKE NEW BIKE BUILD ORDERS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. This will take place over the weekend. We made the decision to suspend any new Build Requests and close the queue due to recent overwhelming demand. Despite our Mighty Mouse attitude, we are still a tiny shop with very limited man/womanpower and we just don’t want people feeling slighted. Rather, we’d rather have them be mad at us BEFORE they put any money down than after.

With any luck, we’ll reopen the queue within 9 months, depending on developments with our permanent home and staffing situation.

In the meantime, if you have already initiated conversations with us about a build, we can try to accommodate you provided we can settle on a direction quickly. Otherwise, maybe let a little Classified swag comfort you until the moratorium is lifted.

On a side note, we realized, to our super-sized dismay, that our CONTACT page email form on the website had not been working since the site launched. The problem got fixed and in came the build inquiries. Floodgates. Within three weeks of it coming online, we’re having to turn builds away. Oh, technology. If you tried to contact us this way in the last year, we are sincerely sorry for any inconvenience. We have no record of any emails that were sent during that time, so if you’re still wondering about something, give it another shot.

Finally, thanks again for all the support since we took Classified full time. The t-shirts, posters, lamps and bikes you have kindly purchased have kept us afloat and we appreciate it. We’re doing our best to keep up the pace. We hope you’ll stay with us as we continue to find our way in the motosphere. —JR

Quite a summer

Katee and her KT600

The cat is definitely out of the bag about Katee Sackhoff’s new Classified Moto KT-600. Chris Hunter’s megamotoblog Bike EXIF featured it recently after we wrapped filming in LA for Cafe Racer TV Season 4. It was a deluxe experience all around.

We came back East to a shop full of stuff to be done including finishing up Brant Shalikashvili’s “MoHawk” (Monster/Nighthawk) in time for a release party at The Iron Horse Taproom in our nation’s capital. There’s a full photo spread in the works to be released as soon as photographer Adam Ewing is done roughing it in the Caribbean. Jealous. Meanwhile, check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds for some preview shots of the bike in action.

JR on the MoHawk

We also realized that sometime in the last few months we sold Moto Lamp number 400. Sometimes I try to picture them all lined up in a row and it kinda freaks me out. We’re hitting a parts drought, though, having depleted the junk piles at all the moto yards within a 300 mile radius of the CM garage. Hot tips are appreciated, by the way. If you know of any significant stashes of rusty gold, send us an email.

So many lamps, so little time...

Please stay tuned for some new pages on the site, including a bike build page that will answer most of your questions when you decide you just have to have a Classified bike build. We’re trying to make it as simple and painless as possible. Also keep your ear to the ground for info on our new Classified Moto compound, opening sooner than later. Besides getting to hang with Katee Sackhoff and Jay Leno in LA, we made some huge and unexpected strides towards busting out of our cramped workshop.  —JR

Hangin' with Mr. Leno