Bike is finished and being shown at an Open Studio this Saturday, Feb 9th, 6 pm - 10 pm, Lost&Foundry, 305 Center Street, Oakland
Detail shot teaser of the finished bike:
Here is more info:
"Open Studio, February 9th
Tired of having all of your art experiences online? Come to Lost & Foundry Studios open house on Saturday, February 9th from 6-10pm to see the works and workspaces of Jeremy Mayer, Nemo Gould, Alan Rorie, and Christopher Palmer.
You can find us at 305 Center Street in Oakland CA (half a block from West Oakland BART). Jeremy has just finished a portrait bust, Nemo has a few new pieces which include a custom rebuilt motorcycle, Alan's got a brilliant Kickstarter project going, and CTP is, as usual, bemusing us all with his brilliance.
Dress in your best warehouse-appropriate attire and come check out what we're up to."
A couple years ago I started talking about building a custom bike with my good friend, sculptor Nemo Gould. I have always considered him to be "the master of metal" as he works predominately in found aluminum material for his kinetic sculptures, creating amazing smooth transitions between curves of the original objects with exquisite welds.
Here's a photo of an exhibition of his work I helped him curate and install over the summer:
A number of months back, Nemo received a phone call from a motorcycle owner that he had met recently at an opening. As Nemo had previously built a "Nemomatic Scooter" out of an old honda elite, this fan of his work was wondering if he wanted to try his hand at a motorcycle. A number of conversations ensued, but the short of it was that Nemo received another phone call a little while later, saying that a 1979 Honda CX500 was parking on the side of the road here in the bay area, with radiator fluid gushing all over the place. It was Nemo's for free, if he would go collect it.
As we all know, free bikes are dangerous. They are even MORE dangerous when they are the awkward step-child from Honda in the form of the much unloved CX500. Well Nemo and I have a love for the strange, and the idea of working with the CX500 powerplant was quite tantalizing, despite warnings from our friend Charlie O'Hanlon, who described ALL of the weakness of the engine to us when we first considered the project.
Nemo had an ace in the hole and a very good reason for considering the CX500, as he has been long time friends with Wendell Jones, whose name many of you might recognize from some fairly extreme CX500 builds in the past. Armed with Wendell's help with additional CX500 bits and vast experience, and my help with geometries, design and general motorcycle functionality, Nemo embarked on a very new type of project for himself...
Initially, we popped the old CX up on the lift to take a look at what was going wrong with the radiator. We discovered the plastic fan had torn loose from its metal fittings, allowing the plastic blades to contact the radiator, destroying both elements. This was why the bike was in our hands, and why the previous owner had offered up the bike for Nemo's experimentation. Nothing we couldn't handle, as I've been wrenching on bike since I seized my first Vespa in my teens, and Nemo is an excellent machinist.
So we barreled ahead with the plans to build this into a custom bike. The challenge here was that Nemo has always made all of his work out of found objects, and I, as an architectural designer, am in the habit of designing and fabricating with the aid of computer-numerical-controlled fabrication. We knew that we didn't want to pursue either of these avenues for this project, but instead wanted to hand shape the metal. Nemo started collecting information from friends, colleagues and the interwebs in how to do this, and I took Evan Wilcox's class at the Crucible.
And so it started, with us determined to build as much as we could out of aluminum sheet...
EDIT: Image links due to server hiccup, now fixed.