I began this foray into the motorcycle industry back in 1968….when after saving my wages for months; I set out to purchase the bike of my dreams, a 1930’s Harley Davidson Knucklehead. Prior to that bike, I owned several foreign bikes, but the knuckle was the bike that would ultimately change the course of my path in life. The bike I’m speaking of was your typical garage built chopper of the era , built by an old ex club guy, offered for sale in the local news paper, for the sum of $1200.00, with a welded on peanut tank , tons of bondo , lace paint , chain steering stops, a 12” mini front wheel from a smaller import bike with no brake, a rigid frame, a raked stock neck that had been terribly re-welded with a stick welder, a narrowed wide glide , poor lights , no horn, foot clutch, hand shift, death trap! It leaked oil all over the place, was a bear to start and a complete panic to ride, but…. having cut my teeth on this one, and repeatedly falling over getting the hang of the shifting set up and the way it handled, it certainly made every bike I owned and built after it seem incredible!
In 1980, I opened my own shop in Edmonton Alberta Canada, under the banner of CAPITAL CITY CUSTOM CYCLES, with 4 mechanics, a machinist, and a custom painter by the name of Jim Beveridge. Jimmy also did illustrations and contributed art work for Heavy Metal Magazine at that time. I also opened a subsidiary shop called GREAT PLAINS LEATHER WORKS, a store that sold made to order, hand tooled leather products,
t-shirts, that sort of stuff.
We operated Capital City Custom Cycles until the fall of 1987, when re-zoning laws and the overall economy forced us to close the doors. I hoarded and squirreled away all the good stuff, sold the rest , and continued to build bikes on my own for the years that followed, building and selling 3 or 4 bikes a year.
While I was working for Merch in 1999 I decided to take a short leave I had wanted to take the Harley Davidson Technical Training course in Fairview Alberta Canada for a long time, and at that time it was the only Canadian location you could take the official course at. I waited patiently on the list of hopeful candidates for two years before there was an opening, and when one came up I jumped at the opportunity to go. I graduated with my P.H.D. certification and continued working with Merch, and in my own shop in my spare time, until just before Gerry’s shop closed. It was at this time that Lorrie, my wife and partner, ( without whom I could not live this dream of mine) and I decided to jump in with both feet and E’Ville Twin Motorsickle Co. was born
I continue to do 99% of all my own engine and transmission building, I’ve actually only have purchased a complete long block assembly on one occasion, and that was only because of time constraints. I do all my own designing and fabrication; the only exception is any water jet cutting I need done. I do 75% of my own welding for mock up purposes, but for frames and structural components I like to use industry qualified, licensed and certified welders. I also do all my own wiring and electrical work. I have painted some in the past, but I find that to achieve the level of quality that I so adamantly demand, I have several professionals with state of the art facilities and booths that I rely on for that service. I have my own lathe and use it for smaller spacers and items of that nature, and I have access to a Bridgeport Mill when I need it, but once again I admit that detailed and involved machining, I find, is a task best left to journeyman and millwrights
We continued to strive to build old style customs and bobbers, and as you can see in our website, as well as in the issue of Barnett’s Magazine #54 April 2007, our “HOODLUM” bobber sort of speaks for itself. We currently have 4 ground up builds on the go here at our shop. Each one will all be unique and spectacular in it’s own right I’m sure, and we are currently assembling the right components to build a bike to compete in the A.M.D world championships, that will once again have, just as with our “HOODLUM” did, our own frame design, as well as our own unique suspension approach, our own front end, and a special and unique engine and transmission set up that we’re certain will make even the top builders in the industry take a second look at.