I met Evan Favaro of Speakeasy Motors a few years ago when he was 21 and had just started his custom bike and Hot Rod company. He was working 16 hour days and building the business from the ground up.
He started learning his craft at 14 when he bought himself a welder and used it to weld a chain into a steering wheel for a go kart he built with a buddy, and the rest, as they say, is history. At 15 he built his first chopper and at 17 he started an apprenticeship at a local motorcycle shop, working full time during high school.
Since then he has been building, designing and fabricating choppers and café racers. His latest build, Ethel, is something a little different. It’s a homage to his grandmother and a cross between a boardtracker and a bobber. The tear drop on the front wheel is numbered 29 for Ethel’s birthday.
The bike made its debut at the 2015 J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show in NYC. And after 2 ½ days of competition Evan stood on the stage and took home a check for $750 and the win in MOD Retro class.
It started life as a 1981 Yamaha XS650. After all of the modification the only thing left stock was the engine cradle. Evan’s design philosophy of over-engineered simplicity requires significant engineering and creativity.
For example, the throttle was designed with a bevel gear. These gears are set where the axes of the two shafts intersect and the tooth-bearing faces of the gears themselves are conically shaped. Evan mounted them on the shafts at a 90 degrees angle.
What you notice about Evan’s work is his ability to shape metal. From tail sections to tanks he has a knack of creating eye-pleasing designs. Evan has added to his natural abilities by taking seminars with world renowned metal shaper Fay Butler.
The split tanks are hand-formed and have an Art Deco influence. The tanks have 16 internal bungs for mounts, cross overs and fuel lines. This work delivers a clean line around the tank.
A core strategy in the build was finding high-quality low-volume suppliers like world-class builder Jeremy Cupp of LC Fabrications.
He sourced LC Fabrications’ 100% made in USA universal Remote Master Cylinder Reservoir that features a clear pyrex glass body topped off with aluminum plates and secured with brass hardware. He also added one of their gas caps.
The velocity stack and taillight are sourced from the SOCAL firm Close Fab. The rear fender comes from Cooper Smithing Co.
A Kiwi Indian leaf spring handles the front end duties. In order for it to work with the frame he had to weld in a Harley neck and then shorten it 9” to get the correct rake and trail.
The headlight is a Vitamin C unit from Estevez Motorcycle Design. It’s a die-cast aluminum piece that is flipped upside down. It’s secured by rods linked to the front end.
The seat was made from stainless. Pirate upholstery provided the hand-tooled leather.
Ethel is a combination of organic designs and geometric shapes. Stainless steel, speedway black and galactic silver powder coat combined with minimalist paint from Toon Town paint and Bert Graphix delivers an understated, retro feel to the bike.
Check out Evan and his team at http://www.speakeasymotors.com/.