Listen, I email custom motorcycle builders almost every day. I tried reaching out to Casey Anderson, a custom motorcycle builder from California two weeks ago, just as I would any other. Today I received two emails back from him. His email was one of the best I’ve ever received from a builder. Casey shared a view of the custom build scene and its magazine and website publishers, his take on life as a custom motorcycle builder, and his story of leaving it all behind.
With permission I shared a copy of his personal emails to me, to share with you, to tell Casey’s story.
On 2014-12-29 16:12, Casey Anderson wrote:
Adrian… I just saw your email. Thank you for getting in touch with me.
When I first started building I pursued the whole magazine and website coverage but I did not like how 99% of them features the “whos who” and not many of the home builders. I felt like the chop media forgot what the entire chop lifestyle is about. Magazines, websites, and some documentaries have covered me here and there but like I said, I can not recall what bikes and what media. In fact, when I first started, I submitted a bike or two to you guys and you guys gracefully passed.
The reason it took me so long to respond to your email is I just had a huge change in my life. I quit building bikes. I sold off everything I own, broke up with an awesome woman, put a couple bikes in my buddy’s barn and I moved to Hawaii.
I was completely stressed out building bikes to pay the bills. I found myself at the age of 30 not enjoying life anymore. Everything revolved around work. Bikes turned into work, not passion. Even though I smile knowing how many bikes I put back on the road, I ****** away the important things in life. Like being able to enjoy an evening out without constantly thinking why the #2 cylinder is miss(fir)ing. Now I do not cringe every time I go out into the garage. I now am working on my painting skills, fish, dive, and build bikes for myself.
The last bike I built before I left California was the Goldwing. Every bike I build, I do everything. Fab, wrench, paint, wire, etc.. The goldwing is no different. Took me about 18 days to build and right at $1000- to build. It won best of show at the Vintage Japanese show in the Bay area last year. Same show as the Clubman. That was the first and only show I put it in.
The CL350 is my daily rider over here. Complete full restore, lifted 2.5″ over stock. Rebuilt engine. Every single thing on it is new or restored.
Here is a couple pics of the wing, Cl, and my art. I understand this email is very “me” but Im just laying it out for you. If you are interested in covering it, get back with me and we will put something together.
Have a kickass day!!
On 2014-12-29 16:23, Casey Anderson wrote:
Oh ****…. I totally forgot..
This was the last bike I built. CB750 chop. Built it for one of my best friends. He kept at me for about 4 years to get a bike from me. In fact, that is how he and I met. He saw my bikes on craigslist and kept trying to trade for them. You know how craigslist goes. I pretty much told him to beat it but he was persistent. He told me how he has a good feeling about me and will keep at it til he gets a chop from me.
Slowly we became excellent friends. The type of friend where you trust them no matter what. A couple days before I was leaving for Hawaii, I sent him a text saying he needed to come pick up his chop. Pretty sure he was kind of confused. I had a sheet over it. His wife, my girlfriend, and a handful of our closest friends had one of the best bbqs ever and the entire time it was eating at him that he couldn’t look under the sheet yet. He was speechless when the sheet was pulled off.
CB750 chop. I built everything from what I had laying around. All copper coated, aged, then clear coated. This is probably the best and favorite build so far. It felt so good seeing him look at the bike like a new member of his family.
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