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Old 02-26-2016, 05:10 PM   #1
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Taking My Own Approach: Interview with Ian Halcott of Twinline Motorcycles

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Ian Halcott of Twinline Motorcycles

Ian Halcott is the founder of Twinline Motorcycles, based out of Seattle, WA. His unique custom builds have been featured in shows such as The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show and in various media outlets across the internet. He was invited by Thor Drake of See See Motorcycles to put his latest custom motorcycle on display at the 2016 One Moto Show in Portland, OR.

British Customs: How did Twinline Motorcycles get started?

Ian Halcott: I had been working on my granddadís í67 Honda CL160, trying to get it back on the road. I was riding a sportbike as my daily commuter, but had been going back to the old bikes and riding them more and more. I liked the way they look, and wanted to get them back on the road. There werenít any shops around to take old bikes to, and I had always wanted to do custom work, so I used it as a chance to do something new. I found that I like exploring different styles and types. A lot of my inspiration comes from bikes made in the 60s; I think that era produced the most beautiful motorcycles. But I still like modern bikes, and want to get more into working with that world. I like to think about where Iím going instead of where Iíve been. I want to have my own approach to building a custom motorcycle.

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Custom bike by Twinline Motorcycles

BC: What inspired you to learn how to start working with your hands?

IH: I canít just sit on my and stare at a computer all day long and feel like Iím being productive. I have to make things that are three dimensional and real. There are other jobs that definitely pay better, but Iím not interested in pursuing them. You know youíve made it in motorcycles when you canít get out of it; Iím not going to be able to get out of doing this process.

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Kawasaki Ninja 600 engine in a Honda CB500 frame

BC: Where did you learn all the skills necessary to build a custom motorcycle?

IH: I learned everything over a number of years from a number of people. I used to hang out in a lot of old timerís shops where they had a lot of racers and flat track bikes, where I met many of my mentors. I listened to anything anyone had to tell me, because it was as much a community effort as it was anything else. The process of learning mechanical work to welding to everything else was all trial and error, and I just had to tackle everything and learn it the best that I could. If you work at it, you can eventually get to the point where you can literally build everything.

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Kawasaki Ninja 600 engine in a Honda CB500 frame

BC: What are your thoughts on where the custom motorcycle scene is going?

IH: I canít really say. The community of builders has gotten really strong. It definitely wasnít what it is now when I opened my garage. So many people are contributing to it now, and it seems like a new shop opens every five minutes. Of those shops, some will make great strides, and others wonít make it, but the community will still keep moving forward.

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Custom bike by Twinline Motorcycles

BC: A number of your builds have been cafe racers. Why is that?

IH: Honestly, I really suck at racing, but itís what inspires me. I love things that are so streamlined and minimalist ó racing bikes donít have anything more than they need, and Iíll take any advantage I can get on a motorcycle. Itís the closest thing to aviation.

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Goldie by Twinline Motorcycles

BC: Youíve built a number of bikes that are very different from most custom motorcycle builders, with regards to some of your builds using modern sportbike platforms. Do you have any preferences as to what kind of system you like to work with?

IH: Not really, actually. Every motorcycle has its own specific design for what its set up to do, and I respect that. There are things I like aesthetically about air-cooled bikes, and there are reliability advantages that I like about liquid-cooled bikes. But there is something about having a relatively maintenance-free motorcycle with a lot of horsepower like todayís bikes. You donít have get same power-to-weight ratio anywhere else. In the end, I donít really care about the configuration: if it has wheels and a motor Iím on it. Itís all about how you utilize the platform youíre on.

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Custom Honda CB750 from Twinline Motorcycles

BC: What are you going to bring with you to The One Moto Show?

IH: Iím building an í04 Yamaha R6 Iím calling The Legionnaire (#thelegionnairemoto). Itís my own creation, and I wouldnít call it a street fighter or a cafe racer. Itís my vision of a modern bike with some 80s sportbike mixed with 60s TT styling. Itís a , to say the least. Iím leaving everything on it raw, and I built the subframe, seat, tail section, and full aluminum fairings. Next year though, I plan to bring my granddadís bike to The One Moto Show, since itíll be the 50th anniversary of when he bought the bike.

For more interviews with builders from the One Moto Show, visit

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