CROIG.co brings together a dream team of builders for a great cause…
(Written by Keith Baskett of Combustion Collective.)
Across the world, motorcycles mean different things to different people. In some places, they are utilitarian; a means of transportation, nothing more. In other ways of life, motorcycles can create a sense of community — a shared joy that transcends otherwise expected social separations.
In the era of Instagram, the community that motorcycles create stretches worldwide. One of the strongest voices on the Internet that is connecting people globally who are in love and have a passion for custom motorcycles is @caferacersofinstagram. Though the account is massive, it’s really all one person: a man named David Chang.
In 2019, David Chang traveled to Thailand with two missions in mind: to see the moto culture around the globe, and to distribute life-saving water filters with a charity called Waves for Water. He discovered such a profound need for clean drinking water while abroad that his intention was to continue this work for the majority of 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic changed his plans. Rather than accepting the setback, David chose to focus his intention, and create something bigger and better, by which to help more people and give back to the community. Using the network that @caferacersofinstagram has created, he reached out to talented builders across the country, and orchestrated a plan to do what he loved, and help along the way — the motto of Waves for Water.
The plan started simply: customize a motorcycle, and use the proceeds of its sale to help provide more clean water for those in need. However, the extra time afforded by the break from normal life called COVID-19 allowed for a more elaborate series of events to come to fruition. Reaching out through the wide social network of his friends who are active builders, David assembled a team of incredibly talented and experienced people who could put together something with heart in a way that was not possible for anybody else. Joining the effort to make these dreams come true was Ben Holmes, a filmmaker from LA. Convening at Cristian Sosa’s shop (Sosa Metalworks) in Las Vegas, the team came together to start working with a fresh 2021 Harley Davidson Sportster 48. Among the group was J Shia, Jay Donovan, and Joel Mielke. Each builder brought a unique expertise and specialty to the build.
J Shia from Madhouse Motors is known for building bikes using unconventional parts and out-of-the-box thinking for assembly. The mixing currents of cultures that define her home of Boston, Massachusetts are evident in her work, with tasteful acknowledgement of a huge number of influences in every build.
Jay Donovan has a passion for constructing intricate plans of beautifully flowing organic metal. He is precise and seemingly tireless in his pursuit of the perfect curve and following the blueprint to the letter. Using his hands, he will shape metal to an exacting level seemingly forming the shapes out of thin air.
Joe Mielke brings an old-school approach to the bike belt, as he’s been building bikes since before some of the other builders knew how to ride. His no-nonsense and technically competent approach to metal shaping and fabrication stands all the stronger in part due to a long-standing association with Weld Tables.
Cristian Sosa is an artisan working off of pure heart. Creating impossible shapes in metal and then putting him in incredibly practical ways on bikes, he can turn any roller into a piece of functional art. Freedom from preconceived notions is a recurring theme of his work; always having an unexpected curve or an unexpected line that ends up defining a bike.
These four builders are not alone; among them is Andrew Blaschko and Kristen Lassen. Both came equipped to help in any means necessary, with the directive that it was less important to move the metal of the bike than it was to get involved in the project with their heart and emotions.
As if this roster of people dedicated to helping make the bike reality wasn’t enough, Ben also headed up a media team covering every aspect of the bike build, working tireless nights along with the builders to make sure that all of the effort was captured. All too often, the hours and hours of hard, manual labor go unseen by the public. In this, CROIG (@caferacersofinstagram) wanted to show a transparent version of exactly how much heart something like this actually takes.
Over the course of a week, hundreds of man hours were poured into this Sportster. A fully hand formed aluminum monocoque body was crafted, artfully hiding the fuel injection equipment and allowing the frame to remain in stock running form. Additionally, clip ons and rear sets were utilized to suit the body, creating a functional and stylish form for the rider.
At the end of this grueling week, filled with multiple all-nighters, the bike in its nearly finished form was taken out to the dry lake bed to be put through its paces. As captured by Brandon LaJoie and the video team, the bike looks resplendent even in its raw state; making a strong statement about the power of human will, and the dedication to doing great work. Though more work is yet to be done on the bike, including final cosmetics and exhaust, it’s possible now to see the direction that it is headed.
Once the bike is done, the hope is that it will become more than a bike; and instead a symbol of what we as a community can bring to an effort to provide clean, necessary, and life-saving drinking water to those who are not fortunate enough to have it. For more details on winning this bike and to see the build visit www.croig.co, where you can donate directly to Waves for Water for a chance to win and become a part of something extraordinary.