The difference between a nice custom motorcycle and an amazing one comes down to details. Once all the big work is done it’s the small things that really make a build. When I first saw ‘The Natural‘ Honda CB750 Cafe Racer by The Tarantulas I knew it was a great build, but once I started looking closer I was blown away by the detail. Of all the beautiful bits on that bike the one thing that really impressed me was the setup of the handlebars. They featured the slickest pair of levers and throttle assembly I’d seen and the bars themselves were definitely a custom job. My desire to find the source of these parts lead me to James Crowe and his Crowe Metal Co. business. Today I am happy to share with you this quick interview with James all about his work and what he has to offer for the everyday custom builder.
Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.
My name is James Crowe from Whistler British Columbia. I am a metal worker focusing primarily on motorcycle fabrication but enjoy a wide variety of metal work and machining.
What’s your motorcycling history?
I got into motorcycles when I was 19, at the time I was working at an automotive restoration shop and realized i would never have the time or space to finish any of my car projects. I sold all my vintage car projects and bought 3 Yamaha XS650 basket cases. Six months later i was on my first trip from Portland, Oregon to Utah for Speedweek with 30 pounds of spare parts and tools. After that trip I was hooked and haven’t stopped since. Motorcycles became my creative outlet and a way for me to get lost.
What lead you to specialising in fabricating parts for motorcycles?
I started putting more focus into custom parts when i realized I needed to create a way to generate an income if i wanted to take a couple weeks off for a road trip. I felt like todays market was flooded with cheap parts, I wanted to offer quality small production pieces that would allow someone to put together a nice bike themselves. It’s great to see so many people getting there hands dirty these days. My fabrication of parts is an ever evolving project, I am not at the point of having large stock numbers of items just yet but it is the goal.
What personal projects/builds do you have on the go right now?
My current focus is a project that my shop mate Jordan Hufnagel (hufnagelcycles.com) and I started about a year ago, West America (wearewestamerica.com) is a brand that we created as a way to give ourselves creative freedom to blend our photography and desire to make a wider range of product. This summer we are leaving on a year long motorcycle trip form Canada to Patagonia on a pair of custom XR600s I have been building. It’s been fun to build bikes with just pure function in mind, the bikes are set up to travel 300 miles (480km) on a tank.
How can people get in touch with you if they want to add the Crowe touch to their bike?
In November I moved my shop from Portland, Oregon back to Whistler, BC which has put me behind on restocking so the web store is not up at the moment. The first items that will be available will be taillights and BMW battery boxes, best way is just to contact me is via my website, crowemetalco.com