psycho freak garage genius culture


Started building in Feb 09 w/ my bro in-law

“My bike build was all about “Cheap ~ Cheap ~ Cheap” but more importantly, I didn’t want it to end up looking all jacked up  and unbalanced. Here’s what I put together:

Finally settled on the TC bros hardtail (black). The lines were fine, the 3″ extension was good for me being over 6ft tall and most importantly, the price was right. I ordered a Mooneyes headlight cover (I’ve got an extra one if anyone is interested) which fit perfectly into the stock 7″ headlight ring. Next is the very early ironhead sportster tank (no paint). Picked it up on ebay for 37 bucks.


The guy listed it as “custom tank -unknown.” I worked for years at a MC scrap yard. As soon as I saw the externat petcock threads, I knew exactly what it was from. Frame is a 73 but the front end is an 81 w/ fork gators.

The rear fender is actually the stock 81 front fender remounted. Rear wheel was pulled from an early TX or XS-1 (can’t exactly remember) Either way, it’s an 18″ with a few bum spokes but overall cheap and sexy. I pulled the stock 2-2 magaphone exhaust of my 81 donor bike and hacked it down into a real poor mans example of drag pipes. from there, I just had to wrap them in heat tape. (I love that smell). Everything stands on a pair of the retro firestone tires. The only thing unseen is my ignition wiring which is all ran internally.
I have a few changes in  ind which include my poor mans inverted levers as well as the possibility of clamp on bars instead of the euro drags I’m currently running.
Started building in Feb 09 w/ my bro in-law (he has a great garage with every tool known to man). Wh cut, grinded, measured, welded, and drank every evening for the next 8 weeks. Finally, we rolled out something resembling a motorcicle. With some paint, a tank, seat and some new tires… we could see it. Then I finished up the wiring and spent some time tuning. The celebratory first ride was perfect. Lets be honest… it’s a Yamaha ~ would you really expect anything less?


I’m really fascinated by this youthful garage builder culture which pops up all over the world. Everywhere I look, it seems that some of the most fun, smart, technical, and adventurous guys are all sort of pooling their creativity into fast bikes, websites, magazines, blogs, and product lines. Like everything, these sort of cultural uprisings always come in cycles (no pun intended).

over and out ~

Brian Durk – representing midwest “psycho freak garage genius culture”

Check out these useful videos Brian sent in.




  1. Jack Rollins says:

    Midwest Represent! Nice looking bike.

    What do you think of the TC Bros tail? I’m thinking thats the route I’ll take on my next build.

  2. Chris says:

    Very nice budget build and even better write-up! I really like that early Sportster tank and now I am re-thinking my 2004 Sporty tank for my build.

    I guess it never ends, hope mine turns out as cool as yours did.


  3. jeff little says:

    Brian, Nice job on the bike! I too just got a TC Bros tail and installed it without any issues. good guys to deal with! My question is what size Firestones did you go with? I would like to go with the 5.00 on the rear and the4.00 on the front but I dont know If the rims are going to be wide enough. Also how much chain clearance do you have with yours? Thanks J.L.

  4. BubbaKahuna says:

    Now that’s one nice looking ride. Clearance issues are common in custom builds. Measure twice cut once is good advice, but sometimes “measure twice, cut once, weld once, cut welds, measure again, reweld, look at it again & give it a big think” is more realistic.

    I have a TC Bros on my retro cruiser XS and it’s getting final TIG welds right now. The tail looks really nicely made and the TC guys are pretty good about replying to questions.

    What are you looking to get for the spare Moon Eyes HL cover?

    – JJ

  5. RevCain says:

    that roadster tank has the same mounting tabs as the early superglide tanks, right?

    looks good. i’d ride it as is, buy i’d like to see it painted too.

  6. Matt says:

    First TC Bros hardtail bike I’ve liked. For some reason they all look wrong as far as the lines go, but this one with that tank, it’s AWESOME. Right on in my opinion…

  7. Rusty Nutz says:

    yeah at 4″ over, they look too long and the backbone in that long straight line, and that empty space behing the motor doesn’t look right to me either. Strange, however, it looks fine with a rider on it. Without a rider, they look better at 2″ over.

    You can always change the rake and move the fromt tire out a bit

    Also, the bottom tube should follow the curve of the tube under the motor. If your exhaust pipes are there, it won’t be noticeable, but if you use scrambler pipes, the tubes/curve won’t blend there.

    I’m thinking 2″ over with forward controls for my build.

    It’s a good thing I’m broke because it’s giving me plenty of time to do the art work before I commit…

    My pontification for the day.

  8. Rusty Nutz says:

    That’s not a criticizm of this build. The tank balaces it out. I’d ride it.

  9. jeff harper says:

    easily one of my favorites!!!

  10. mike jones says:

    You’re an artist.

  11. Teebs says:

    Mainly wanted to say AWESOME job on the vids. I saw them somewhere a while back. It’s great that you took the time to lay it out for others to follow.

    And that’s a sweet scoot, brother.

  12. Jon says:

    If you dont mind me asking how much you end up spending on the bike total?

  13. Trever says:

    Do you have any pics of the bike finished with out someone on it?

  14. Braundo says:

    Hey do you have any pictures of how you mounted the seat. I saw your other videos on you tube and the walk around of the bike its hard to tell how you mounted your bracket. I am 6’4″ and also using a TC Bros hardtail so I need to get my ass as far back as possible.

  15. Braundo says:

    Also are you rockin a Biltwell helmet? I want to get one but scared it wont fit my fat head.

  16. brian... says:

    Glad everyone has enjoyed the bike so much. It’s all about the lines and balance. If I knew how to post a pic of the bike w/o me on it , I would but I don’t think this comment form allows it.

    Total cost ran about 700 beans including the two new tires and a lot of hours.

    Those TC bros hard tails have cross bars tacked into place so you can grind the welds and move the bar back or forward. I’d say to get everything welded and place the back wheel and fender on the bike. Then sit on it, get some measurements and whip up a home made solo seat bracket. I made mine from a large gate hinge.

  17. dannyb says:

    i live in and will be starting a xs650 build this winter. May be hitting you up for some advice.

  18. Rusty Nutz says:

    Yeah I’m in agreement as one of my favorite builds, too. I refer to it all the time. That tank looks really good, too.

  19. sean from boston says:

    love the bike! great looking budget ride! also LOVE the color on your helmet

  20. norm younger says:

    I like the tank.