Alex English Builds a Raw Metal Hands & Knees Bike

 

Bike builders are a unique breed.

The ones that are heading to the top and the ones already there have confidence in their opinions and often indifferent to conventional views. Alex English of Old E Metalworks (www.Oldemetalworks.com or Old E Metalworks Facebook) is making a name for himself by going against established views by working in the absence of color… he is a raw metal artist.

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He found his way to bike building by way of truancy. When things went upside-down at school his time-out was at his Dad’s shop in Huntington Beach, Ca. His time at the shop started at 13 and he’s been messing with bikes ever since. He started Old E Metalworks in 2008 at 23 years old.

Alex is a motor mouth and is able to stuff twice as many words in a sentence than anyone you know. He built the Poser Pan 5 years ago before he moved to Northern California.

And the centerpiece of the build is a set of Xzotic Pan Style Rocker Boxes. On a 1991 EVO mill. They add a touch of nostalgia. Alex pulled the oil filter to the rear of the bike and observed that having 5 feet of oil lines aids in the cooling of engine and engine oil. That’s good because in order to complete the hybrid engine look he shaved off the bottom 3 fins of the barrels and that definitely heated up the stock EVO.

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The bike rolls sans paint. It started out as necessity because of the lack cheddar in his biker billfold but now it’s Alex’s calling card, his unique style. How was his bike received by his peers at the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show?

Well, in Sacramento and Long Beach his bike took top 5 positions in both shows. And since the competition is peer-to-peer, the builders in the competition are the actual judges of the bike show.

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The Poser Pan is combination of satin finish, brushed aluminum and raw metal. Nothing is hidden on the chop. It is served up in steel, aluminum, copper, brass and leather. Building the bike was an organic process and utilized the “ABC rule of thumb” where Alex determined the three points on the bike and connect the dots to make a custom part for the bike. Literally, the Poser is full with ABC parts.

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The bike came together from the bins at his shop. He had a beat up engine, an old DNA Springer front end  frame, and castoff exhaust. He made multiple trips to swap meets and then Home Depot for copper tubing for the oil lines and the brass compression fittings to link it into the bike. The exhaust tips are a set of cast-off BUB pipes.

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Instead of using a key, a plunger switch is attached to the starter to fire up the beast. Because of the heat the exhaust threw off, it required a glove to start the bike. To fix that, Alex welded in a link and affixed a connecting rod that looks like a jockey shift. So the bike will fire with a flip of a toggle switch and levering the shifter.

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The round oil bag and battery box was a swap meet find. Alex wanted to hide the wires and electrics so he cut off the box and moved the battery behind the Baker tranny by raising it up ¾ inch.

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To finish the retro look he liberated a SU Carb from a derelict Jaguar. As with most components on this build, they look right. On any other bike, they would look out of place.

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Old E Metalworks is a shop that is artist haven for Alex, his Dad and his buddy Nick, They are raw metal artists. And when they aren’t strictly bending metal, they are into furniture or reclaiming cast offs and creating new treasures. Alex sez, “it’s a bit of an addiction, really.”

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In the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show there are always one or two hands and knees bike, as Alex terms them. Meaning you’ll see guys on their hands and knees looking over the build to understand the tricks that guys like Alex will put into their builds.

Alex is working on another raw bike and we can’t wait to see it.

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2 Comments

  1. db2 January 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Very nice Mr English; that is a gorgeous bike. Old school bad-ass with a lady button starter; all it needs is a hidden rear suspension (ala Harley Softail) and it’d be perfect.

  2. Buck H January 21, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Whatever floats your boat…
    Copper tubing is a very bad idea. It fatigues and cracks quickly. I nearly lost a Corvair by making that mistake.

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