Sugar be afflicted with Springers space made in the USA alright, and also they have been because the first one left the shop in 1972. And they’re not production pieces, either. Each front end is hand made, one in ~ a time, by street Bear himself utilizing a mill, lathe and also welder he’s had for decades. What else? simply Bear’s two secure hands and also the solid, unwavering design he’s constructed in from the time he began experimenting in 1969. “I didn’t offer one it spins I gained it just right,” he said, and also since climate there’s to be no require to change a thing. “It ain’t broke,” he smiled.

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Every component under to the bolts on each of Bear’s “babies” is hand fabricated native bar stock other than for the springs, which are sourced locally near Bear’s main L.A. Shop. And also here’s a document worth recognizing: “I’ve not had one fail or returned because I began making them,” he said. It is remarkable, us say.

Clearly, there’s a solid foundation here. “My prior ends room the just ones that work,” said Bear. “There’s no flop. They’re therefore well well balanced I park my bike, leaving the front finish angled, and it’s as with that once I come ago to it.”

And running an extended front finish doesn’t typical you need large bars for turning leverage; not if that a street Bear front end anyway. Why? “It’s geometry, that math,” bear explained. “The structure never moves together you revolve the prior end. You’re never fighting the weight of the bike for this reason it’s straightforward to steer.”


There’s a mystery to it, no question. “Interesting enough, everyone thinks the rockers room the key, but an ext plays right into it than simply the rockers,” he explained. “I just smile when I hear that,” the added, smiling of course. The engineering is substantially much more complicated, however Bear’s not talking. “The evil one is in the details,” is every he’d say.

The an initial extended springer he made, end four years ago, mental you, was eight over. “Someone experienced it and also said, ‘I want a twelve over.’ Next man wanted to beat that and wanted a twenty over,” he said. And also so it went, approximately the fourty over bike that ultimately got part industry an alert in 1977 indigenous Street Chopper. (When magazines want to display Bear’s bikes but wouldn’t agree to put his photo in too, he simply said no—and 25 year passed without recognition in print.) The sugar Bear springer you buy now is the exact same unaltered unit Bear make then, v one difference: “Back then we didn’t have front brakes. Later when we had actually to include them i made the downtubes 1-3/4” wider. It is the just difference between then and now,” the said.

Sugar Bear got his nickname from the youngsters he worked with in a youth probation program. Castle figured he could swoop in and also put things straight, prefer the street Bear cereal hero, and I number those youngsters were right. I’d challenge anyone come shake this masculine solid, focused presence.


As for the moniker, “It just stuck,” he stated with a sense of pleasure. See, working with children has to be Sugar Bear’s MO all along. Truth is, that originally set out to it is in a mathematics teacher. His shop walls are proof of his continued involvement with neighborhood youngsters: the visits schools on his chopper, first getting their attention v the noise and also eye candy then explaining that it to be mastering math that aided him learn just how to build cool things and also make them job-related right.

That’s why that was organic for bear to come to be an ally of Kevin “Teach” Baas that runs the Chopper course at Kennedy High institution in Bloomington, MN. It was a reasonable alliance for 2 talented and also innate teachers.

And speak of teachers, Bear’s own mentor, who taught that a wealth of knowledge around both biking and also life, to be Benny Hardy. Benny was legend in afri American bike one in the ‘50s and also ‘60s however he wasn’t well known otherwise. And also that’s just plain wrong, because Benny Hardy constructed two the the most famous motorcycles in U.S. Biking history: Captain America and also the Billy bicycle for easy Rider.

But Benny to be never attributed for his work-related on those top bikes, until Bear damaged the news on Jesse James’s history of the Chopper series in 2006, 12 year after Benny had passed away. “He never ever got any kind of recognition while he was alive,” claimed Bear. “I’m proud of what that did and also it would have actually been quite if he had actually known the other human being were proud of it.”

Amen to that. Great work must never it is in ignored because that stupid reasons.

“Back then, also the outlaw bikers brought their bikes to Benny. Castle knew he’d resolve them ideal the first time,” said Bear. Benny gained a heavy rep as the go-to man for good work in those days. Bear hung around him, grateful for the possibility to watch, listen and learn. “He said me come do good work, and also keep law it. And also not to mean anyone to notice,” claimed Bear. “He said, ‘Do it for yourself and let the word spread.’”

The an outcome of Benny’s sage advice? “I’ve been liven all through the years,” said Bear, and he’s hasn’t advertised, either. “You don’t ever see a commercial because that a roll Royce or a Bentley, perform you? yet you understand what they are.”

The large collection of photos on the wall surfaces of street Bear’s shop phone call the story of black color biking native the early ‘50s, and even before. Probably that’s why he deserve to go come the Born free or Dave Mann shows and also say the hasn’t seen anything new. Human being tell him: Look at the twisted frame rails, or the solitary front downtube frame, or the welded chain link front end, and also he simply smiles. Bears’s shop wall surfaces tell the initial story, testament to a time as soon as details choose those were truly new. And that, friends, to be long before CNC’d anything.


It won’t surprise you that Sugar Bear just rides bikes that have his very own front ends. At 73 years old, he’s structure what he states will be the last bike he’ll do for a customer, a clone of his own regular ride. He has his own projects he’s itching come tackle, such together restoring the frame and front end of that forty over bike he developed all those year ago. It is a bike we’d choose to watch completed, too.

ResourceSugar be afflicted with ChoppersGardena, CAwww.sugarbearchoppers.com310-768-4158

Stepping UpShowing how it’s done

By Kevin “Teach” Baas

“He’s an exceptional man. Ns met Bear at Michael Lichter’s present the last year it was at the Thunderdome. My chopper class bike to be on screen with a poster describing exactly how it was developed with high institution kids and also Bear wanted to recognize more.

“He said, ‘Tell me about what you doing with these kids.’ i did, and he said me about his year working with troubled youth. He really cares about kids. Prior to Sturgis ended he told me he wanted to donate a front finish for a future chopper class build and also right ~ Sturgis he complied with through.”

“Bear and also his wife Fuji even concerned our school open up house and met the students. That’s when we made the sign and gave it come him. The bike was just a roller then. We had a ways to go.

“Later that loss Bear to be doing a presentation in ~ the H-D museum and he invited me to it is in there. I had tried to gain through to who at H-D to tell them around my class for a few years, through no luck. Together Bear to be wrapping increase his talk he introduced me to the crowd and let me call them about my program. And right there in former of Willie G., Bear claimed that because that the an initial time in his career he was donating a front end—to my program. Climate he added, ‘Oh, and Kevin demands a motor and also transmission, too. Ns wonder whereby he can get those?’ Bear and I simply looked end at Willie G. And Willie G offered me a thumb’s up. No too long after that i was ~ above the H-D assembly line working side-by-side v their human being to develop a motor and also trans the H-D provided me for the build.”

“That perfect bike, through a 25-over street Bear prior end and H-D powertrain, was in Michael Lichter’s Eternal burning show the following year. It will certainly be on display screen at the H-D museum this June during the motor Company’s 115th anniversary. That’ll be yes, really nice because that the kids; and also for Bear.

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“He’s a great friend. It’s amazing how large his heart is. Bear’s the real deal, a true blue guy.

“I can’t believe how chopper course has grown and how lot support and also love us get. It’s funny to call the story over and over again.”