What’s your name and where are you from?
My Name is Nigel Mount, and I'm from Denver, Colorado.
Give us the backstory on how you got into motorcycles and how long you’ve been building for.
I got into motorcycles as a kid. I got a DirtBike magazine in elementary school and a bunch of friends rode dirt bikes. X-games and Jeremy McGrath. Jesse James was on TV with Monster Garage, and the biker build of with so many legendary builders. Needless to say, two wheels were the coolest thing around as far as I could tell. But I didn’t get a bike till I was 21. Bought a GS550 for $350 running and ready to go. As soon as I got it home I tore it down thinking I was going to turn it into a bob. Painted the tank. Cut the seat up and recovered it with a drug rug. It looked awful… So over that winter did the cafe thing. Then in 2016 rebuilt to a higher degree. Fast forward to 2020, and the buell is only my second bike, and second build besides what I do for work.
Take us back to the day you found out you were selected as a builder for this year's GD, what was going through your mind?
The day the GD2020 was announced was pretty surreal. A few friends who knew I had entered were pretty confident I would get chosen but I was more skeptical. The buell was essentially stock (stripped down) and my vision was pretty out there and not much to say I would pull it off. When I saw that “@thegreasydozen tagged you in a post” I was sure it was just thanking the entrants. To my complete surprise I had been selected. And only mear moments later I was just filled with dread because now I HAD to complete this. After working in restorations with my father, I understood the reality of deadlines and the stress they create.
Tell us about the starting platform for your build (year, make, model)
The bike started life as a 2002 Buell S3T Thunderbolt. The touring version of the flagship buell of the time. It was a EFI bike, with all the buell proprietary parts.
What was the inspiration for the build?
The inspiration for the build came for the world of racing in the 80’s and early 90’s. I grew up in sports car racing with my dad, and uncle racing in SCCA. Both of them built and developed their cars in their garages. Performance back then wasn’t about spending the most money. It was simple, and minimal. Most things were tubular frames, with fiberglass or aluminum panels. Paint schemes were basic single stage so they could be touched up easy. To me, it was a golden era of grass roots performance and I wanted the buell to evoke the same feeling.
Have you named the bike? If so, how did you arrive at that name?
The name I kind of ended up with thanks to the ‘rona is “Time’s Up”. Even before it landed state side, I didn’t have enough time to do everything I stated since I didn’t have my own garage. I had to work on it at the shop I worked at, which from a tool stand point was great. But time-wise I was doomed. I had a 30min lunch a 15min break and between 30 and 90 minute after work. And then 6 hours on saturday. Having that kind of time limit pre-covid, then all the delays with materials and every other pandemic related problem… time was up before I ever even started.
Were there any favorable moments during the build process?
I think as far as favorable moments, there was a few besides finishing the project. First, finishing the one off ‘split’ rear swing arm was a HUGE moment. The beaul swing arm is integrated into the rear engine mount, so in order to locate the shock in a traditional place it meant making a rear engine mount (and front). Plus the shock top mount had to be cut off and a threaded block welded on so that it could be rotated at a 45 degree angle to clear the frame. AND the leverage points on the swing arm are adjustable (S, M, H) AND AND the top mount of the shock is ride height adjustable using a primary chain tensioner mount. And all that was just step ONE. I don’t suggest that kind of hurdle to start off with, especially when all future parts require it to be done. Second, the bike starting first try with an odd mikuni/solex 2 barrel bolted on a one off 2 throat manifold I made. I mean, I chose that set up based on some science… But it was pretty theoretical.
We know building a motorcycle can be challenging and everyone runs into a set back at some point. Did you have any notable setbacks that you were able to overcome?
I think nearly every part I made had some set back. Buells are anything but regular and the parts I was building were of my own design pulled from thin air. I think most notably and the one that made my gut sink the most was the fuel tank. The week I got to it, I had about a week to mock and fab it. Initially it was going really smooth. The most time consuming part was the recessed dash, which is shaped to fit the digital gauge and has a tube supporting it (and a place for the wiring, it’s all in the fuel tank… Smart!), got all the 13 panels cut, tacked and started welding. I wanted to leave the majority of the tank raw, and leave the weld. So no pressure on not torching off welding MANY feet of seems. I finished up, and started to anneal the tank to the frame to correct any warping, turned away for a second, and the dash pocket was melting away (the pocket was focusing a lot more flame into the back). It looked like a tank round had melted a hole through it. Had no choice but to make the world’s strangest patch and hammer and weld it in in the ugliest way. It holds fuel (mostly). So besides no front brake, a small (small) amount of fuel leaks into the dash pocket with all the electronics.
Throughout the build process we tend to learn new things whether it's a skill, knowledge or even something about ourselves. What are some things you’ve learned throughout building this bike?
I think I learned to trust myself, in just sticking with the original idea and seeing it through. I tend to have little breakthroughs on how to make something better during the build process. Which I think is common. On top of that I was surprised how quickly I could make one off parts and how efficient I was being with my time. Anyone who knows me, knows that time efficiency is not something I'm familiar with. More of a mad dash it the final hours kind of person. So it was pretty cool to see that I was capable of it.
Paint tends to be one of the first things that draws people in and then they start looking at all the other details in the build, who did your paint and what made you go with the color scheme?
Paint was never a top priority. I kinda just wanted to half paint the tank and pinstripe some flames over it. There’s just so much odd shapes and tiny details and crap crammed into such a small area, that paint would only make it look more chaotic (not for the better). I'm really happy that the paint seems to tie all the crazy together, but no one will be complimenting the paint… What little there is anyways.
Now that the build is wrapped up, what’s your plan? (Catching up on sleep?, ripping it around the countryside?)
Since finishing the build I’ve just been ironing out some typical issues here and there. Enjoying riding it, scaring the Sh*t out of myself. Breaking down on every ride out because putting a car carb on a bike that leans creates some sweet overflow problems. It’s truly been a blast though. It’s more fun than I thought and I'm pretty proud that over all, everything works. I’ve never built anything to this extreme so it’s only validated a lot of other idea’s I have for builds in the future.
Any plans for a new build?
Well, I think any of us doing this as a hobby or profession are always thinking about new builds to some degree. I have a few that are past the “illegible sketch on a piece of mail” phase. Ill be rebuilding my ‘91 CR250 over the winter with some upgraded shtuff here and there. An old ‘80s MX80 frame I want to shoehorn a YZ250 motor into. I actually desperately need a reliable bike that can comfortably do 1000 miles in the rain, so i'm thinking of doing a turbo GS1100 with a FXRT-ish fairing and CFL style frame. That’s my issue man, even when I utter something like “comfortable” and “reliable” I still end up way out under the sketchy bleachers behind left field.
They say “It takes a village” who would you like to thank?
Well, because I'm stubborn or stupid I did most things by myself. But it absolutely took a small village, even if in spirit. I have to thank my Dad, Joakim Mount, for teaching me most everything I know. Growing up in his shop (Veloce Imports, Londonderry, NH) learning to fabricate, and engineer things. Plus answering my every question on this build. I have to thank my Boss Mike Lafore (LaFores Motorcycles, Lakewood, CO) for hiring me 2 years ago, selling me the buell, and teaching me everything there is to know about Harley's and custom bike building. Plus allowing me to have a rack at the shop and use our equipment to build it. Without Cody and Kevin of Kiebler Kustoms and Lucky Horseshoe Customs of Englewood, CO I wouldn’t have known about the Greasy Dozen, and they are the ones who bent the tubes for the swingarm. Casey Jones of Casey Jones Customs for die cutting the decals for the number plate and timing cover. A massive thank you to my good friend and photographer Enrique Parrilla for documenting the build process and shooting the video. As well as being an early believer in the project. And of course to all the sponsors for allowing this amazing event to happen and giving builders more of an opportunity to make their ideas hit the road!
Lastly, where can people find you (Social media)?
I can be found @NigelMadeThis on Instagram. Give me a follow if you like motorcycles, nature landscapes, and my cattle dog Acadia. If you’re lucky you’ll catch Alex of AK Cycle’s and I’s romance on instagram stories every now and then too.
Photos: Enrique Parrilla