AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE DYKEMAN OF BLACK FRAME CYCLE PROJECTS
If you have followed my RANT at all over the years you no doubt know for sure that I am a HUGE fan of the old school/bobber look. I’m also a fan of small business. Well… not long ago I was doing a little snooping around the www, looking for inspiration and came across a guy named Jamie Dykeman in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Jamie owns a company called Black Frame Cycle Projects and is building what I consider some of the coolest bikes you will find anywhere. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jamie about his background and Black Frame Cycle Projects.
SWAG: Tell me what your earliest experience with motorcycles was.
JAMIE: I started riding when I was 5 years old. My uncles always had Harleys around and my cousins had mini bikes and go karts for me to thrash. I don’t remember anything in my life that “spoke” to me like motorcycles did. It was a strange craving that caused me to obsess over them from even before I rode one.
SWAG: I remember those same feelings… It was an unexplained obsession for me.
JAMIE: I remember always looking for motorcycle movies when I was a kid and loved Little Fauss and Big Halsy, Easy Rider, The Old “B” Biker Movies from the ’60’s and Sidewinder.
SWAG: When did your craving become reality for the first time?
JAMIE: My first bike I bought with lawnmowing money when I was 12. It was a 1970 Suzuki TS90 and it was a real turd. I have to admit I hit it with a hammer one day after pushing it through the woods back to my house. When it ran, however, I was in a state of consciousness that nothing else could provide. My family called it a “disease” that I caught from my uncles… I only know that bikes would straighten me out when something was bugging me or things weren’t going smooth enough with a girl! They still have a power over me (bikes and girls) and at 46 years old, the power is as strong as it ever was.
SWAG: Obviously, your passion for motorcycles eventually birthed a skill for taking a “normal” bike and creating a unique motorcycle. What inspired you to start building bikes?
JAMIE: When I was a kid, this black, rigid Shovelhead rode past me on my hometown’s main street and I was forever changed by it. I filed the mental memory of that Shovel (unknowingly) in my head and somehow knew it was important. Freedom is what bikes represent to me and I guess that dude looked free to me that day!
SWAG: Were there any specific builders that inspired you to start your own company?
JAMIE: When my dirt bike racing ended back in 2003, I was laid-up with an ACL injury and picked up a long saved article about Psycho Cycles with English Don, Steg, Walt Siegl and Indian Larry that I had pulled out of an Easyrider Mag in the ’90’s. Those guys were building in a way that resonated with me and that article was another big moment in my motorcycling life that I didn’t recognize at the time… only to find out later it would have a big influence in what I would find myself doing after racing.
SWAG: …And what you ended up doing is now Black Frame Cycle Projects. How did BFCP come about?
JAMIE: Black Frame Cycle Projects came about in 2004 after I built a Rigid Evo. I got a lot of positive feedback from people I respected and decided to build another bike and do it differently. The whole thing just escalated into a part time gig putting bikes together for sale and for customers.
SWAG: You can add me to that list of those offering positive feedback… Everything I’ve seen from you looks great to me. I love the minimalist vibe and old-school feel.
JAMIE: There is a certain look and feel to bikes that I’m looking to “pull out” of them and make them more “real”. I respect and appreciate the engineering talent that many builders have, but I prefer to make a bike that looks like it could have came out of the minds of bikers from decades ago. Not re-inventing bikes here, just trying to get some cool ones on the streets! I’m a minimalist by nature and prefer the “less is more” approach.
SWAG: I would think that approach would strike a chord with a lot of customers.
JAMIE: My customers are mostly working-class guys like myself and tend to think like I do and appreciate the honesty and straight-forwardness they get when they come to me. If someone wants a particular style of bike that I don’t care for, I send them to another shop that specializes in their type of ride. I believe there’s a lot of people building many different styles and each customer should go to the shop that suits their style. Makes sense to me.
SWAG: My guess is that few of them go elsewhere!
JAMIE: I’m proud of the bikes I’ve built so far and look forward to making a lot more! Time is the enemy, so I don’t build many scoots in a year. I do what I can as I have a full time job and a wife and three kids under the age of eleven.
SWAG: I just saw a new build you’ve completed… a slammed 2000 Sporty XLC 1200 with a cool orange peanut tank. Tell me about that bike.
JAMIE: I built this bike in the shop this fall to do something with a little cleanliness to it after building a couple un-painted, greasy, down and dirty rides this year. These little Sporty Bobbers go like Hell and are a blast to ride. Short rakes make for some fun in the tight stuff! I lowered this bike using a Burley Slammer Kit that really gets it down there without losing too much ground clearance. Fast, light and quick handling put a goofy smile on your face while you’re splitting lanes!
SWAG: So what are your goals with BFCP?
JAMIE: I would like to see Black Frame Cycle Projects grow to a bigger shop and produce some of the parts I make for my builds. Things are going well here though, and I have a feature in Iron Works Magazine coming out in the July 2011 issue. That feature will be an accomplishment for me. Other than my own website, I’ve pretty much flown under the radar since I began the company in 2004, but I ‘m looking forward to more exposure this year. We’ll see where it takes us.
SWAG: My guess is that you might need some shades… it’s looking pretty bright from where I sit!
JAMIE: I want to thank you for this opportunity to introduce my company and myself. Anyone interested can contact me via my websites “contact” page or by phone at (508) 420-0750.
CLICK HERE to visit the Black Frame Cycle Projects website.
(All images courtesy of Black Frame Cycle Projects)
© 2011 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this article/interview may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.