CRO Customs Drastically Subtle Shovel

Written by  Story By Russ T. Jones Photos By Jack “I Haven’t Left My House In Weeks” Cofano Sunday, 27 August 2017 17:02
Published in Modified Stockers
     I can hear it now rolling over in your head, “What the hell does ‘drastically subtle” really mean?” Frankly, I’m not exactly sure, but those two words combined explain what was going on in my noggin when I first saw Jack Cofano’s photo gallery of Caleb Owens’ 1976 Harley-Davidson FLH dragster/café racer/street tracker/salt flats racer Shovelhead. Then I watched the videos you see below featuring Mr. Owens (especially The Moto Channel one that is one of the best builder YouTube videos I’ve ever seen) verbally dissecting his bike. The longer I watched, I realized the video actually was as much of a look inside his designer’s head as a great nuts-and-bolts mini-feature. The more I understood what it wasn’t, the more I became more and more interested.  


    Then, the very next thing that shot through what gray matter I still have was, “Man, would I like to ride that bike. That looks like fun.” Those are probably two of the things I require to start my slide into un-embarrassingly declaring my motorcycle lust for this sassy Shovelhead. There, I’ve said it and it’s out of the way.


    By now, if you’re still hanging in there, you’ve already watched the videos and realized Caleb covered everything much, much better than I ever could, but I’ll just try and fill in any seams I think might be worthy. Oh you know, things like Caleb Owens is not only the guy behind this lovely bike, but he’s also the head cheese at CRO Customs In Culver City, California. He’s got a penchant for building vintage Harley-powered custom machines with a flair and possibly a jaundiced eye for the not too-too long ago past. I have no idea if he likes to take long walks on the beach or dance the night away, but I do know that he’s built one beautiful blue Shovel that makes me want to get stupid on it.

Born-free 5 invited Builder Series-Caleb Owens of Cro Customs from Born-Free on Vimeo.

   Caleb’s transformation of his old AMF FLH daily rider that was very mildly, but usefully modified from stock somehow looks less factory than the look of this bike named Yang Yang. Sorry, I’m honestly not sure what it’s all about even after Googling Yang Yang, but I can’t think of any time I named a bike of mine other than maybe POS (which I later recanted after fixing the problem). The integration of a factory look into a heavily-modified custom seems like some strange kind of juxtaposition, but maybe that’s why I like this ride so much.

Born-Free 4 Builder: Caleb Owens of Cro Customs from Born-Free on Vimeo.

   That factory look is set in stone with the “fake” AMF-style Harley-Davidson logos and paintjob that I find so fascinatingly charming now, but hated, hated, hated when American Machine and Foundry was in charge of The Motor Company. T. Markus of T Markus Customs in North Hollywood, California, is the wizard responsible for this delightful CRO Customs play on AMF graphics and on first glance, I doubt if you noticed it either. When I did, all I could think of was that it was a genius move graphically if there ever was one. I got the feeling that even though Yang Yang was a hell of a lot of real hand-work and sweat, Caleb was enjoying himself with every move he made.

   Obviously I’m a wicked big, gushing fan of Yang Yang, Caleb Owens, and CRO Customs and I’m not afraid to admit it. If for some reason you haven’t gone through Captain Jack’s photo gallery and sat through the videos, I’m amazed. Hey, it’s the weekend and you’ve got plenty of time to sit back and take it all in through a video or two or three by a composed, articulate guy who’s got his finger on the pulse of (hopefully) where this whole custom shebang is headed. Do I dare say that Caleb’s right on the wave of custom motorcycles that are fun to look and fun to ride? I guess I did. It doesn’t get much better than that as far as I’m motorcyclely concerned.


  For more info on CRO Customs, punch up or go back and watch the videos mi amigo. 

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