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interview with chris flechtner of speed shop design

chris flechtner is the mastermind behind speed shop design. the path he has taken to become one of the premiere custom motorbike builders – creating the most amazing cafe racer i’ve ever seen – is an interesting one. how i chose to share who the man is starting with how he was raised didn’t work as i planned, but feces occurs, as they say in france.

instead i give you something else, and it’s still good. think of this interview as “a bad hair day.” it’ll smooth out tomorrow….

chris was born in fitchburg, massachusetts in 1970 to a family where dad was a mechanical engineer and mom was old school at home taking care of everything else. chris’s grandfather was the local fire chief and soon chris’s dad followed and became deputy chief. chris’s patriarchal role models brought him to the station often where he learned to blow the horns of the ladder truck his dad drove the *** end of. not an easy gig as every turn is the reverse of the front of the truck. the fire station had lots of leftover tools from the old days when they had resident blacksmiths that made the specialized tools and equipment.

this fire house still used those tools to modify their trucks and it’s where chris learned the basics of metalworking.

flechtner senior also used these tools to do cool things for chris such as building freestyle bike ramps and wedges. chris rode a schwinn mag scrambler, a kuwahara that was chrome with white skyway mags and pink gt tires, and other modified bicycles his dad helped assemble with his welding knowledge and bending tools. one of the best things his dad helped him do was build a one-into-two cable splicer to the brake calipers that would have shown the punks running gyro rotors what’s what. one of his favorite places to ride was in a local cemetery.

“punk kids! stay off my grave!” a ghost was heard to moan one night.

according to chris, he had an old columbia 20″ coaster brake bike that his dad totally customized for him. “he completely rebuilt it and painted the frame flat black and the tank gloss orange like his water buffalo,” chris said. “i remember it had this really cool banana seat that was covered in a sort of brown flocking. when i got older he would help me make custom parts for my bmx bike.”

bM:  your dad had a water-cooled inline-three 750cc motorcycle? that was a rare thing to have in the 70’s. more rare today because nobody copied the design. would you ever build a custom with a water-cooled engine?

CF:  i think it all depends on the architecture and beauty of the motor. if i see a beautiful motor i will use it. i actually almost picked up a water cooled ducati motor recently for my next project but ended up with a 900ss carburetor motor because my particular design warrants the simplicity of an air cooled motor without injection and all the ****.

CF:  my dad quit racing dirt bikes when he got in a bad accident during a race and my mother was on the side lines pregnant with me. he decided he wanted to see his kid more than race. he always enjoyed racing of all sorts and he would take my brother and me to the track to watch midget car racing, up to the frozen lake in new hampshire to watch ice racing, or the the motocross track.

bM:  midget cars? ever seen **** midgets?

CF:  no.

bM:  they sometimes get featured performer status at titty bars. those are the nights i stay home because it’s kinda gross but hey, glad you liked seeing them race. are you sure you weren’t at the special olympics?

CF:  actually, now that i think of it, when i was at sturgis this year i witnessed a midget tending bar on the bar top while wearing nothing but a diaper.

bM:  hm. looks like a recipe for a poopy buttwad. some pe”O

10 comments

  1. Trent,

    I had so much fun doing this thing with you, I’m really looking forward to round two with you!

    Thanks for doing such a kick *** job! You fracking rule!!!

    Chris

  2. frak! fracking frack fracker! i’ll frak your frackhole until the sun explodes and the earth is a wasteland nightmare!

    and love. love with android killers. the best kind.

    thanks, chris. you make me look like a bigshot.

  3. excellent read! Thanks.

  4. “CF: i rent a small space for my shop and don’t have any debt as i grow. my parents did a great job of teaching my brother and me the value of money.”

    The value of money? Like $195,000.00 for his bike?

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9095&page=999

  5. all right. here is the deal since all you guys trolling message boards are jealous.

    the owner of the shop in the cosmo wanted a killer cafe to sell to his high-end clients. out of six presented to him, and a competitor was roland sands, chris’s beezerker was chosen.

    chris did NOT pick the price. that’s the price set by the owner of the store, who, if you are not a complete dumbass, gets a cut. imagine how much it might be. hm….

    the dude on chopcult who replied “it’s only too much if nobody buys it. if it sells then it wasn’t to much,” is correct.

    lastly, because chris is my friend, i knew about this and he is embarrassed at the pricetag. he won’t tell what it is. but he knows that if it sells, he can quit his day job and build bikes like shinya and falcon all day long.

    now. tell me if you built a bike and a snooty shop for douchebags told you they’d give you six figures if you put it in their showroom that you wouldn’t.

    seriously. comment away:

  6. ****, if I built something unique and some dude at a show came up to me and said “Holy cow! That thing is beautiful. I bet someone would pay 100,000 smackers for it.” I’d say: “Really? I’ll sell it to you for $90,000.”

    It’s one of a kind. It could be priced at 1 mill and it wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve seen stupider **** sell for more. Sadly with a price like that it’ll prolly never see the road like it should…

  7. Unless someone understands metal working first hand and what it takes to pour everything you’ve got into a unique design, they’re not going to know how to value something like this. Chris Fletchner is talented, hard working, and truly doing his own thing. He spent a chunk of his life building this bike, and put all of his experience in to it. How come a painter can paint something for a day and be paid a hundred thousand dollars, but a bike builder can have bleeding fingertips from months of passion and dedication, and yet it’s worth peanuts in other rider’s eyes? Something wrong with that picture. Chris deserves to earn every penny he can on this build. He’s raising the bar for the industry and for many other builders. More power to him.

  8. if i had tens of millions of dollars and dug someones stuff, i would pay artists outrageous money, not for the value but to support what i dig and to encourage it with my wallet. most rich ***** i know just throw it away gambling.

  9. I think I need some coffee…

  10. sheet…more power to him..anyone upset on cost of this fine piece of moto-art is what I would call a H.A.T.E.R..let the rich spend some of that casheesh! ****..I feel the more higher priced bikes can even help even the cheap bikes…think about it..not everyone can drop that kinda cash..and the public loves tryin to keep up wit the rich..so it helps us all!

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