Iron Moto Challenge: Meet Your Builders

With free reign on paint, prep and performance modifications, build teams are working their knuckles to the bone to prep their unique, customized Triumphs for the Iron Moto Challenge. Each of the four Chicago area Triumph dealer’s has been given a truncated timetable and a random bike assignment: One month and one bike; a Bonneville, a Thruxton or a Speedmaster. Each team will also have access to a pre-determined selection of British Customs bolt-on parts to create their own unique Iron Moto entry. With such an incredible collection of talent, creativity and passion, the motorcycle community at this year’s Motoblot is in for a treat as each bike is stripped down completely and put back together, on the streets of the Windy City, in front of the crowd. Everybody involved knows it will be an incredible show. These are your builders:

Meet the Iron Moto Challenge Dealers

Motoworks Chicago

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Lead by shop owner, Johnny Sheff, builders Darren Pothoben and Jonathan Castello are tasked with taking a Triumph Speedmaster to new levels for the Iron Moto Challenge. Working with a cruiser may have thrown them a curveball at first, but that challenge has only sparked their creativity.

Q — What does being a builder in the Iron Moto Challenge mean to you?

— We’ve been given incredibly short notice, but that’s what makes it fun. The combination of full fabrication, working with a style of bike we don’t work with as often and using BC bolt-ons in such a ludicrous time frame make the competition exciting. More than that, it gives us a chance to hang out with friends and friends of the community — What more could you want?

Q — What are you riding these days?

— I’m riding the Team Raiden Tiger 800xc from the Mexican 1000 and I’ve been riding a Thruxton Cup racer. I rode the entire Mexican 1000 with Ernie Vigil and I’m planning on doing the upcoming Alcan 5000 on the Tiger too. I raced in the Thruxton Cup at Willow Springs a few weeks ago. We finished 7th on day 1 and 4th on day 2, except there were some disqualifications on the second day.

Q — What are your thoughts on bolt-on customization?

— Fabrication and machining isn’t for everyone. Bolt-on’s allow a rider to make their bike unique, to make it their own at an affordable price point without having to be a machinist. Sure, you could leave a new bike alone and it would still be cool, but why would you want to do that?

Q — What is your dream bike, if you could own only one?

— Britten V1000

Q — How do you like your chances this weekend?

— Our paint is fu*%ing incredible. That and with what we have planned, well, there’s a little bit of theatre, and that never hurts. A win would be nice, but honestly, I don’t care. This is about building a cool bike that I would ride. If the judges like it, great, if not, its no big deal — we’re gonna have a great time building it and an even better time at the show.

Q — What are your thoughts on the custom bike industry now?

— If motorcycles being treated as pieces of art is what’s attracting people to our industry, then so be it. The more people out there creating and working on their own custom bikes, all the better. Its great to see kids turning their attention to some old classics.

 

Northern Ohio Ducati Triumph

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Carl Peshof and his entire team at Northern Ohio Triumph and Ducati are taking on the Iron Moto Challenge. Every member of his team, from sales to service, are involved in building a Cafe Thruxton that will inspire the Motoblot crowd.

Q — What does being a builder in the Iron Moto Challenge mean to you?

— We do a lot of custom builds for our clients, but the Iron Moto Challenge is a great way to show the public what can be done to their Triumph, on a National scale. We’re very excited

Q — What are your thoughts on bolt-on customization?

— Depending on what you want to do, bolt-ons can be restrictive but British Customs has created some excellent options. For some people the bolt-ons are an excellent starting point to something bigger and more personal, for a good chunk of others they’re exactly what they’re looking for to make their ride their own. Just because it starts as a bolt-on, doesn’t mean it has to be kept stock right?

Q — How did you get into motorcycles?

— It started with cars but as I grew up and got old enough, I just gravitated towards bikes. I still love cars and racing, but bikes will always be special.

Q — What was your first bike?

— I walked into a Suzuki dealership to buy a GSXR. The sales guy told me I couldn’t afford it, so I went over to the Ducati dealership and bought a 2006 Monster S2R1000. I’ve never stepped foot in that Suzuki dealership since.

Q — What are you riding now?

— Right now, I’m riding a Speed Triple R a lot. Of course, it’s been customized quite a bit too.

Q — What is your dream bike, if you could own only one?

— An original Paul Smart Ducati 750SS. The one he rode.

Q — How do you like your chances this weekend?

— I think we’re going to do great! Everybody’s bike will look awesome… they’ll each be unique, with their own style. Regardless of who wins, the show is going to be excellent. Ours is gonna look fantastic though.

 

Team Triumph Janesville Wisconsin

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Todd Ligman looked to in-house talents Jadon Ligman, Vann Austin and Robert Murphy to turn a stock Bonneville T-100 into their version of a clean and simple custom that will turn heads. With the styling of the ’60s clearly on the horizon, their bike, dubbed the Gypsy might just steal the show.

Q — What does being a builder in the Iron Moto Challenge mean to you?

— We’re excited. I’m a competitive person and I tend to crank out my best work under pressure, so this is right up my ally. This is going to be an awesome experience.

Q — What are your thoughts on bolt-on customization?

— British Customs is obviously one of the biggest players in the game. They make it easy for riders to customize their bikes and make them their own, which is huge for riders out there. Being able to create a truly vintage look with the bonus of modern technology is an amazing way to go and that’s where Triumph and their Modern Classics have really excelled. Riders always want to personalize their bikes — it becomes an organic experience, one of the coolest parts of being a bike owner — and bolt-ons make that an affordable, doable thing.

Q — How did you get into motorcycles?

— I’ve been into bikes since I was 16 and riding Triumphs since then too. I still own my first bike, a ’66 Triumph that I’ve sold and bought back. I’ll put it back together again some day, but I’ve got too much on the go right now.

Q — What are you riding now?

— I’m a huge fan of vintage, so right now I’m riding a 1969 Triumph Trophy — its a bone stock scrambler style that sees plenty of dirt. I’ve also got a 1979 Bonnie that I ride around a lot. I was offered a pretty obscene amount of money for the ’69 a little while ago, but I can’t let her go.

Q — What is your dream bike, if you could own only one?

— Thats a terrible question… Whatever it is, it would have to be custom. Stock sucks. I really like the Street and Speed Triples and the Daytona 675 is awesome too. One of those, but customized, it would have to be customized.

Q — How do you like your chances this weekend?

— Our bike is nothing extreme, but its a clean and simple design. I think that’s going to hit home with a lot of people. The colors are important, but again, we’re keeping things simple with a focus on the details. Our bike will have flow, it will have a theme. It should do just fine.

 

Windy City Triumph

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Ken Rudoy and his right-hand wrench, Brian “Barty” Barthel, are taking twenty years of industry experience and distilling it into their vision of a cafe style Triumph Bonneville. With a minimalist theme focused on representing their shop and the people that stand behind it, their Iron Moto entry should set tongues wagging.

Q — What does being a builder in the Iron Moto Challenge mean to you?

— I feel honoured. To be asked to participate in this challenge, at this level, we are truly honoured. We get the chance to show the world what Windy City is capable of and thats all thanks to our dealer principals. I only wish more shops were involved.

Q — What are your thoughts on bolt-on customization?

— I am a proponent of them, entirely. Its a competitive market out there and there are just so many combinations available — its awesome. Riders can pick and choose what they want to customize their bike at the price point that suits them. Most people just can’t afford a complete custom build — that shouldn’t get in the way of expression on your bike.

Q — What was your first bike?

— The one I owned or the one I borrowed from a friend? It was a Honda… a Honda 350

Q — What are you riding now?

— Right now I’m riding a 2012 Bonneville SE. It’s got lots of bolt-on stuff. Triumph parts like the knee pads, a GPS mount, some custom bags — I didn’t make them, they were made for me. I can’t sew.

Q — What is your dream bike, if you could own only one?

— Triumph Hurricane. Hands down. Have you ever ridden one? They’re horrible to ride, but man they’re just so sexy… they’re ridiculous. To ride though, a Tiger 955 — the injected model.

Q — What are your thoughts on the custom bike industry now?

— People aren’t just buying bikes and riding them anymore. They’re making their bikes their own. Customization is huge right now. Sure the bikes are better than ever right from the showroom floor, but with a little work they become even better.

Q — How do you like your chances this weekend?

— We’re gonna win. Hands down… In all honesty, all four builds are going to be incredible. Sure we’re all working with a different canvas, but even if all of us had the same bike, same parts etc. you’d still get four completely different bikes. That’s the beauty of this industry, everyone has their idea of the perfect bike — some like fancy and crazy touches, others like things simple. Our bike is going to represent our shop, one-hundred percent.



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