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Your Shop: Bedlam Werks

From Travis Christopher, the owner of Bedlam Werks in Athens, GA:

“Three years ago I started my company, Bedlam Werks,” Christopher said. “We are a custom motorcycle parts manufacturer that operates out of Athens, Georgia. Our primary medium for construction is aluminum. My passion for custom design began as a young kid. I grew up working on old cars and motorcycles with my grandfather, who worked his entire life as a machinist. Eventually my affinity for working with my hands developed into my pursuit of a BFA in sculpture at the University of Georgia where I worked extensively with metals. This is also where I met the rest of the talented team of artists and bikers that now make up the Bedlam Werks crew. Our main goal as a business is to help others in their artistic pursuits and we enjoy seeing how our parts are applied to their projects. We came together on the belief that motorcycle culture and art are intertwined in a way that is rooted in craft, tradition, and the human experience. Plus, we all really like fast, cool looking bikes.

http://bedlamwerks.com/

Christopher and his crew built “Rocket” a 1976 Honda CB550. This bike is actually on its third life as it was rebuilt once before and then stolen from Bedlam’s storage.

“It was a huge loss,” Christopher said. “Lucky for us, our one-of-a-kind custom motorcycle with its conspicuous Richard Petty red and blue color scheme was discovered at a flea market and returned, although it had suffered some body and electrical damage. We debated restoring it to its original condition, but eventually we decided to re-rebuild it as a new project. This time we wanted to expand on our design and implement a retro-futuristic style. I took inspiration from the “new” technology of the 1950s and 60s. The sleek curves and polished finish lend well to aluminum and I like the idea of modern day cafe racers as being a preview for the future of innovation in motorcycle design. Thus, Rocket was born. We built a new tank and seat which we left unpainted to give it a sci-fi kinda vibe. All other modifications were made with the purpose of making it a lighter, faster bike with a clean, minimalistic aesthetic.”

 

ROCKET SPECS: The rear section of the frame was removed and rebuilt with 1/8″ steel tubing for added strength. The airbox, handle bar controls, and indicators were all removed. The new tank and seat pan are both Custom built by Bedlam Werks out of .090″ 3003 aluminum, with a satin finish and a high polish to the raised center stripe. The upholstery is charcoal gray vinyl to accent the raw metal surface of the bike.

More features:

  • Lightened brake disc and drum
  • Custom 4 into 1 exhaust with thermal exhaust wrap
  • Custom aluminium fuel tank
  • Custom aluminum seat pan
  • Custom upholstery
  • Rebuilt CB550 engine with forged Wiseco pistons which increases the displacement from 544cc to 553.5cc
  • New front sprocket for increased low end torque
  • Gazi Sport Lite rear suspension
  • Front forks rebuilt with RaceTech performance springs and Gold Valve Cartridge Emulators
  • Loaded Gun Rear sets with custom mounting plate
  • Custom dash and controls
  • Shorai lithium iron battery
  • Dynatech Dyna S ignition and 3ohm Dyna ignition coils
  • Halogen Headlight
  • X-Arc LED signals and brake lights
  • Modern rectifier/regulator combo
  • New wiring harness
  • Motogadget electronic control box M Unit

My Path to Bike Building: Jay LaRossa

We’re interested in hearing about the origins and influences of motorcycle builders, whether they’ve been on the program or not. First up in this new series is Lossa Engineering’s Jay LaRossa.

Although Jay Larossa is a gifted car and truck builder whose work has been featured in dozens of magazines and who once worked for Jesse James at West Coast Choppers, his heritage is in motorcycles and his current business started just like so many do: in the garage.

Jay has been on Café Racer TV three times and we’re very happy to report that he is recently recovered from a second bout of cancer. Here’s Jay’s story in his own words.

I didn’t get into motorcycles because I just liked them or was trying to be the cool kid. I was born into motorcycling; it was pretty much in my blood from birth.

My parents met at a motorcycle shop. My mom’s family owned Van Nuys Cycle in California and my dad was a mechanic there. But it goes even further back than that when my grandparents came to California from New York. Grandpa opened up a motorcycle shop in North Hollywood and sold and serviced new Yamahas, Nortons, Matchless, Ossa, Kawasaki and Lambretta scooters. He serviced the brand new YCS-1s that the original TV series Batman and Batgirl motorcycles were built on.

At a very early age my pops would ride me around on the back of his bikes. He had Harleys and a bunch of different Yamahas. We would always go to the flat track races on the weekends. In the mid-1980s my dad, uncle and I rode up to Laguna Seca and watched one of Kenny Roberts’ last races. I rode up on the back of my dad’s Yamaha XS1100. I also remember riding in my uncle’s sidecar that was on his old Harley. He’d put that thing up at a 45 degree angle and scare the crap out of me.

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My first motorcycle that was mine was a brand new Yamaha GT80 my parents bought me when I was 9. Then, when I was about 14, I bought, with my own damn money, a Honda Aero 50. I completely painted it custom, installed a radio and air horns and terrorized the streets of my hometown. When I was in my early 20s I walked into a Yamaha dealer and bought a brand new 1992 FZR600. I fully customized that bike too and kept that until I moved to Long Beach.

Life happened, several cars and trucks later and the opening of a custom automotive shop and then getting the cancer. When I was done with my treatment and all clear, I decided I wanted to get a motorcycle again. I really wanted a Ducati Monster and I found a 1999 Monster Chromo Edition. I instantly started to modify the crap out of it and was actually modifying it more than riding it. At that point I wanted another bike and wanted a vintage bike this time, so I bought my first Honda CB550. I always dug motorcycle racing, so wanted to build a race-looking bike for the street (Cafe Racer).

While looking for parts to build my 550, I came across more CB550s and CB160s and amounted a horde of about 10 bikes within the few months. I built that first CB550, put it up for sale while building a CB160 in my four car garage. People dug my first two bikes so I stopped building cars, I love building motorcycles.

I put up the CB160 on eBay to sell to try and jump start the business. It sold and a few custom ordered bike builds started coming in. I was banging away at them and decided that wasn’t too professional working out of a garage and I didn’t want all these strangers at my house. So, in 2007 I put my 1966 Cadillac up for sale and used the money to pay for 6 months of rent in a real shop. I figured, if after 6 months, if I couldn’t start paying the rent with building motorcycles, I would shut down.

I’m still here.