The Count has always had a taste for the bizarre and extreme that he totally seems comfortable with it. Same goes for his choppers over the years that always had a taste of Goth meets Elvis via Elvira. They were wild to the extreme with a bit of horror tackiness that often made me not take them quite seriously, but then The Count wasn’t building anything for me anyway so what did he care what I thought. That’s the good thing about The Count, he does what he wants and likes whether it’s his bikes, cars, life, or whatever, and he enjoys himself immensely doing it. Life is good for Mr. Koker, but he’s made it that way along with the help of some talented people.
A big portion of The Count’s success with custom motorcycles is due to his lead motorcycle builder at Count’s Kustoms, the talented, but quietly humble, Shannon Aikau. Shannon’s been hooked up with The Count ever since making his first bike for him back before Y2K became something to be feared. If you’ve watched Counting Cars, you’ve probably seen Shannon in action making somebody’s dream bike become reality in less than a half-hour, but there’s a hell of a lot more going on before a chopper rolls out Count’s Kustoms’ now famous iron spider web garage door. Every now and then you get a bit of Shannon toiling away on a project, but at least you can see he’s not just bolting on parts before calling it a day. There’s a lot of fabrication going on that’s more Old School than WaterJetNewSchool.
What we’ve got here for a feature bike is Shannon’s interpretation of what’s going on in The Count’s head with an Old School vibe for the outrageous with a tinge of over the top thrown in. Typical Count’s Kustoms stuff that’s shocking at first before it becomes lovably krazy kool. Yeah, there’s a traditional rigid frame with a neck that’s reaching for the stars, but that’s all the better to accommodate one of Sugar Bear’s legendary springer front ends. Ol’ Sugar Bear still shows how to do the sensational with surprisingly good handling qualities for such a long front end. Don’t believe me? Just ask Sugar Bear himself or any of the riders who’ve used Mr. Bear’s springers since back when Easy Rider was just an idea. You don’t build a legend for great front ends over what seems like a million years in this industry without delivering on your promises and Mr. Bear consistently delivers.
Throw in stuff like a jewel of a Shovelhead and Shannon had a formula for Old School chopper success without trying to feel like it’s trying too hard. Naturally, though, going Old School chopper requires certain style points and Shannon hit them all squarely between the eyes. Oh you know, things like a King & Queen seat wrapped in alligator/crocodile with snakeskin inserts, vertically-mounted dual headlights, Invader- style wheels, a Sporty-style tank reaching for the sky, staggered straight-through dual exhausts, and all complimented by a bitchin’ Ryan Evans’ paintjob sure to give you flashbacks if you stare too long. All the Old School elements are there and they look not only comfortable together, but period correct as well. The only style-point I personally might have is the über-modernPerformance Machine primary drive, but it is a pretty piece so it gets a pass.
The Count’s and Danny’s Old School chopper collaboration produced a fitting example of what was once wild as hell is still wild as hell as far as most motorcyclists are concerned. Obviously, that was exactly the look and feel they were going after and, obviously again, they succeeded on all counts. Like it or hate it, you’ve got to at least appreciate it. Me? I’m in the like it category with a bullet.
For more info on Count’s Kustoms, punch up http://www.countskustoms.com or maybe just tune into the History Channel’s Counting Cars and see what the boys are up to.