Blind Determination

Building a bike for the Race of Gentlemen... 

I left Jeff’s place determined to build a bike for The Race Of Gentlemen (TROG).  Finding a way to build this bike was now like a bug that I couldn’t shake.

As I was learning more and more about classic Harley Davidsons, it became more crystal clear that I really didn’t know shit. The realization was blaring how fortunate I was to be on this journey with the help of my friends.

My goal was to start out with a foundation. I needed to find an engine or frame to build everything else from.  If I was going to go after this, it would have to be done right, and with the goal of getting the bike into the Race of Gentlemen.  Step one was getting my head around the bike requirements put forth by TROG.

I was looking for engines, frames, and asking everyone I knew for help.  I’m super fortunate to have a variety of friends across the country that all have similar interests and that know a lot more than I do about bikes.  I quickly became aware that what I was looking for wasn’t easy to find and was probably going to be expensive… the story of my life.  I’ve never been drawn to the common, easy, or cheap.  It’s ironic that what I’m drawn to and interested in line up with the brand we’re developing and integrates seamlessly as just another story of our journey.

From California, Kamloops BC, Seattle, to Chicago, and Pennsylvania, the search was full on… I lost one bike I had a line on and was getting bent… but then, as usual, we found what we were searching for.

In the weeks prior, I was introduced to Ryan Arnold, a talented painter and all around craftsman from PA.

He’s a killer painter and much more. He’s an engine builder, fabricator, machinist, inventor,and a watch maker. In short, he’s a true savant.

Ryan and I got on right away; we instantly wanted to do something and with him being a metal flake painter, we started planning paint schemes for a few tanks and helmets.  A plan was set for me to fly out to PA two weeks later.

Ryan was now part of the team helping search for the parts necessary for the TROG build! 

During one of our calls I started talking about a 1936 Flathead I lost and a light bulb must have lit for Ryan. He actually had a 1937 Flathead “pre-restoration” in his shop; he said it didn’t cross his mind to mention it before because I had asked him about help finding a knucklehead engine. 

The questions and requests for pictures` of each part had begun. We went over every part I could think of, and I was sending every picture to Jeff Coffman and Thom Jones, two people I trust to confirm whether or not this stuff was legit.  Between Jeff and Thom it was determined that the foundational pieces are the real deal; it was settled; we had the bones of our bike… I jumped.

This was now the beginning of us really going after making a bike for TROG, the Black Bear Brand bike to be done our way by the Union of Makers.

We now had a bike, it was in PA, and I was headed there…


“determination; doers do; make it happen if you want it… just start running; jump off the cliff and build your wings as your falling“

“determination; doers do; make it happen if you want it… just start running; jump off the cliff and build your wings as your falling“

Josh SirlinComment