Two years ago Erik Christensen sent in some pics of his build, a 1974 BMW R90/6 he built up in Alaska. Erik uses his completed motorcycle builds as props for family photo shoots. It’s a great way of his whole family involved. The Norton itself has 9,000 original miles and has spent it’s last 20 years in storage.
bikerMetric: Alright, let’s get the new readers acquainted with you. Who are you and what do you do?
Erik: I’m Erik Christensen, from Palmer, Alaska. I own an insurance & financial service agency by day but I play in the garage by night.
bikerMetric: What makes you ****** rock?
Erik: What makes me ****** rock is my kids. With each bike I build they’re more involved. They are only 3 & 6 but they’ll be fabricators by the time they graduate high school. Layered with an education in manufacturing or design and they’ll be unstoppable. I fully anticipate riding a bike one of my kids designs for BMW when I’m in my 60’s.
bikerMetric: We heard you’re on the big screen.
Erik: Friends of mine own a small production company and we put together a short film about the joys of legacy building. The film is in the Motorcycle Film Fest the end of this month and then we’ll release it to the public.
bikerMetric: Nice! Looking forward to you sending it our way. Let’s talk about this build. What inspired you and what was the look you were going for?
Erik: Truthfully, this bike wasn’t expected. I had a few other builds I wanted to get to this year but when a 71′ Norton with a beautiful vented drum front break shows up you don’t pass. As a result, the build was quick & dirty. Motor & frame are untouched and I tried to complete it before roads dried-up here in Alaska. Just as I finished the bike and started back on my 58′ BMW, a 64 Panhead Chopper surfaced…”*** **** it I love these interruptions,” I thought. Between my building, the Alaska Vintage Motorcycle Show I organize, and having coffee with old guys who don’t know what the **** Facebook is, I’ve turned into Alaska’s Motorcycle Picker.
bikerMetric: What modifications did you?
Erik: Clubman bars, cupped the gauges, new tank, single Mikuni, bar-end signals, custom license plate bracket, corbin gunfighter seat, milled z-brackets, bobbed fenders, rear sets. Not a heavy custom, just dressed it up “more British.”
bikerMetric: What was most difficult part?
Erik: Keeping the oil from the British bike off my garage floor.
bikerMetric: Get out the kitty litter. What’s something that came out really nice in the Norton cafe racer build?
Erik: Had fun with the Union Jack draped across the tank. I Kept the colors and it’s an easy way to make the bike British without doing the Austin Powers thing.
bikerMetric: Any hesitations on starting the project?
Erik: I had the bike on my trailer within 30 minutes of learning of it. I also bought a low-mileage Triumph TR6 that went to a friend of mine. When the storage unit door rolled up I knew I’d be sleeping on the couch that night…and I loved it.
bikerMetric: Tell us about the shoot.
Erik: Every bike I finish I do a professional photo shoot with it. My wife, kids and I get dressed-up in period appropriate clothing and we find a location that fits the theme. I’ll have the coolest family photos ever over next 30 years – none of that static **** standing in front of a tree, mountain or waterfall.
bikerMetric: Is the Norton up for sale? What’s next?
Erik: I don’t sell any bikes. I have a 64 Panhead chopper frame, springer front end and 12 boxes of parts. I’m going to make something nasty with it and I’m also building a Honda CB550 café for my wife. My long-term, highly custom project is a BMW R100/2 conversion like nothing before. It will have brass, leather and cocobolo wood accenting the bike. Look for it next year…and when I say next year it will probably be 2017 because of the beautiful interruptions.
bikerMetric: Where can readers find you?
Erik: I call my motorcycle obsession Northern Café Racers on Facebook and Instagram. We’ll probably be rebranding in the near future because I may want to restore/customize old signs, barber chairs or something else in the future. The moment I scared myself silly riding my 12-over chopper down the road, I knew I was going to work outside the “café racer” box.
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