Students auction graduation projectSomeone is going to walk away from the Twin Ports Motorcycle Expo with more than a sweet ride.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Someone is going to walk away from the Twin Ports Motorcycle Expo with more than a sweet ride.
The black café racer with red hubs brought together small business owners, Superior High School students, law enforcement officers and community members through the inaugural Spartan Bike Build.
First and foremost, it was a senior project for Kevin Holen and Sean Chevalier. The seniors spent more than 80 hours turning a standard cruiser into a British café racer.
“It’s a completely stock bike and they took it all apart, every piece of it, set it up with a different body kit from a different company and turned it into this,” said Will Farrow, owner of Big Lake Cycle.
“It was a lot of work but not more than we thought, I guess,” Holen said. Both he and Chevalier race dirt bikes, so they brought a lot of experience with them. The two learned more as the project progressed. They assembled and disassembled the bike twice, chopped the gas tank, bobbed the back, added rear-set foot controls, lowered the handlebars and jacked up the suspension, “hot-rodding” it to go faster and handle better. Then they gave it the sleek black paint job using environmentally safe waterborne paint.
“It looks awesome,” said Len Steltz of Len’s Auto Body. He and Farrow mentored the students through the project. Although Steltz and Farrow were there to answer questions, the students did the work.
“They’re two good kids. They’re smart. They’re energetic,” said Farrow, who started “playing” with motorcycles in 1969 and has been doing it ever since. “They had a lot of the skills and they had a good eye. When they had a question they were smart enough to ask.” Along the way, they each kept their grades up and worked about 30 hours a week at other jobs.
Steltz said he was glad to help.
“When I was younger I had mentors help me get into the field,” said Steltz. When he was 13, he started working on cars at Custom Auto Body in Superior. They became his passion.
Funding for the project came from a number of donations and fundraisers.
The Kitchen restaurant in Superior’s North End raffled off two large TVs to pay for the Ryca Motors kit. Donations from Superior Rotary, Snagg, Steve Ahlers, a bake sale and the sale of coffee mugs and T-shirts paid for the motorcycle and associated parts. All the money was handled through SHS.
To break even and seed the project for next year, the bike must sell for at least $2,500 according to project coordinator, Superior Police Officer Brad Esler.
“I would like to see this raise $3,500 to $4,000,” he said. “I think that would be a good price given the amount of time and skill that went into this.”
His plan is to continue the Superior project and recruit another school into the mix.
“We will donate and start this program in another school, how much will depend on how much we can sell the bike for,” Esler said. “Ideally I was looking for a police officer in another city to promote it so that the mentors can focus on mentoring.”
Farrow and Steltz said they are both on board for next year’s project.
“The future’s what we’re looking at,” Steltz said, when schools from throughout the area could take part, maybe even holding a bike build-off competition.
Whatever price it fetches, the motorcycle has already done its job, connecting the community and helping Holen and Chevalier pass their senior project, which is required for graduation.
“They came here right after they left school, each one of them individually, and they were grinning something fierce,” Farrow said.
The Superior business owner plans to make a big splash with the café racer. It will hold the place of honor in the middle of about 10 other bikes from Big Lake Cycle during Saturday’s Twin Ports Motorcycle Expo at Black Bear Casino, which runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The bike is slated to be one the auction block at 5 p.m.
For more information, including before and after pictures, look up Spartan Bike Build on Facebook.