IntroducingRichard Pollock"the godfather of street trackers"
I got my first bike when I was 16, and I've been modifying bikes ever since. It's in my nature. At 22, I started working in motorcycle shops and always wanted to see and work on the latest stuff and modify my own bike to take it to the next level. I did that for a long time. Later though I went into aerospace and became more confident doing more complex work like modifying frames, bodywork, and creating suspension components. Eventually, a friend of mine came to me in '94 and asked me to do some modification on his brand new Sportster. We did quite a lot to it, and it got some traction, and then people started calling and asking me to build them custom bikes. Over time, more and more people kept coming my way, and I just kept up with it and grew it into what it is today.
What kind of platform do you prefer to work with when making a custom build? Air-cooled or liquid-cooled, and carbureted or EFI?
I gravitate towards a bike that I can make big improvements on, whether it's improving handling or increasing power or reducing weight, and all for a modest amount of money. At the same time, having done stuff that's a total hassle, I also gravitate towards simplicity. On the internet, you see a lot of builds where they just took everything off and there isn't anything
“ Motorcycles are 95% emotional. With that said, when you go to modify your bike, you want to feel good about doing it. ”
The first thing somebody needs to do is ride. After you start riding, you start dabbling with the idea of working on it, and then you finally put a wrench to it, and you make mistakes and learn as you go. Once you have a foundation to build off of, you don't jump in on a custom bike and start building frames; you have to learn how to walk before you can run. Now, if a guy was a really skilled welder or worked in fabrication, he could probably build his own tank or seat and dive right into making custom parts. Joe Average, though, would have to start out by buying accessories and learning by installing them on the bike. Little things like replacing the grips or troubleshooting why your throttle is stuck and replacing the cables and getting it work properly. You have to work your way up, and can't be afraid of that.
To read the full interview with Richard Pollock, visit the British Customs Blog.