The Lions MFG. compound has become a staple in the Vancouver motorcycle community over the past two years. When they found their ideal spot two years ago, their crew came together to become a fully-functioning chopper shop with a paint room, space for everything needed to do every fabrication, two rooms of shop space, a hangout-out zone and a front shop space big enough to throw parties in and sell bike parts and clothing in the meantime. Lions is one of my go-to hangouts for those nights where you just wanna go have a beer with the boys. Literally, they have never worked on bikes without drinking beer. They recently finished up this clean Shovelhead chopper and I was asked by Revolution Magazine to see what was up with the bike, and them in general! So here you go.
What exactly is this bike?
This thing is numbered as a 1982 Harley Davidson Shovelhead Jammer. It’s got a Jammer frame, one of our Springers we build in house – it’s about +10over, House of Horsepower cases, OEM heads and the rest. Also, it has a 88” stock stroke x 3.625” bore, Morris Magneto, and a DragBike Magneto drive. All fabrication and paint were done in-house at Lions MFG.
Where did it come from to you guys? What was it, what did it look like before you started working on it?
Well, about 4 years ago RJ, the bike’s owner, thought he’d go out and make the horrible decision – like all of us Harley owners have – to go out and get himself a Shovelhead. So he started scouring Craigslist for anything that wasn’t a complete pile. Finally, he came across something that looked alright and wasn’t outrageously priced like most shovelheads are now… and don’t even get me started on knuckleheads! But anyway, I digress. He picked the “bike” up off this old boy who was just sick and tired of not being able to ride his chopper and have it leaking oil all over his porch. As a fact, the bike was his buddy’s dad that had passed away. The bike hasn’t run for a long time so it needed some wiring. Among other things, it had a busted-ass fender. So RJ ended up getting the bike for a steal of a deal. RJ wanted the bike he always envisioned, a bike with a long Springer, a badass flame job, and all the other things that denote a badass chopper. Based on what he knew about us and what we were all about, he decided to bring the bike to Lions MFG to get the full meal deal. And the rest is history!
What went into this bike?
Everything has changed from what it was when we got it. The bike had a stock front end, bad paint, overall just a mess. So we took it down to the frame and started over. Everything was rebuilt, modified or replaced. The Springer, sissy bar, foot controls, and all the fabrication work were done at Lions.
Who is Lions?
- Eric started Lions years ago and could be called the head fabricator/mechanic.
- Tyler handles the admin and runs the retail store.
- Luke does all of the handlebars and is a main fabricator in the shop.
- Emery is our machinist/mechanic/wisdom giver.
- Claaaaaaaaancy… general all-around mechanic/machinist/fabricator/male model.
- Last but not least, is our in house painter/one-liner wizard: Dylan H of DH custom paint. He puts the finishing touches on everything.
How long has Lions been around? What’s going on around there lately?
Well, long story long… About 6 years ago Eric, our head fabricator/welder/designer/wizard, had a two-car garage in a suburb of Vancouver, BC, where he worked on his own bikes and did custom frame work and general fabrication for hire. At that time, with the help of his father and brother, Eric designed and manufactured multiple sets of what are now our Super Narrow 35 mm and 39 mm triple clamps.
Eric eventually had to move out of that two-car garage and ultimately wanted to find a shop in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver BC. So two years ago, with the help of his friends, Luke Santucci, Mathew Boucher, and Ty Marin, he moved the operation to 756 Powell Street, right in the heart of the DTES (Downtown East Side). This is where Lions MFG was born and continues to grow – picking up new additions to our family such as our two machinists Clancy and Emery, a mechanic by the name of Erik Anderson, our front-house manager Ciji Greene, and our resident paint wizard, Dylan Hamilton.
Lions MFG is a one-stop shop for parts, apparel, riding gear, custom manufacturing, service, motor work, custom paint, etc. The shop has everything you’d expect from your average shop, with a little more bedside manners at the counter, and a way more relaxed atmosphere. Our shop hours are from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. so as to cater to your last-minute needs for parts before a weekend trip because everyone at the shop also has a full-time day job. We sure as shit burn the candle at both ends but it’s fun as hell and we wouldn’t change it for the world. We’re also a big family here so at all times of the day the shop is more often than not filled with several of our closest buds hanging out, helping out, and just talkin’ shit about choppers. That’s pretty much Lions MFG in a nutshell!
We’re starting to see a style emerging from your shop, where does your guys’ influence come from?
At Lions we build bikes to ride. “Tight, Light, Fast” is how we try to build our bikes. The shop closes most weekends in the summer and the crew hits the road on the bikes we build. We often end up on dirt roads or in places we shouldn’t be with these things but hey, go where the road takes you. That’s what choppers are about around here.
As for our influence I’d say that we draw on other builders that we see on the road riding their choppers, see what actually works and holds up out there, those are the guys we identify with and inspire us. If it won’t handle a long day on the highway or logging road, we’re not into it.
We know there are some antics going on at your shop on the daily. What’s going on around there?
With so many guys involved in the shop there’s never a dull moment at Lions. We have a small but expanding fleet of vintage mini bikes that get used in the alley out back. Mostly wheelie competitions and ass-hauling take place. We throw two or three public parties a year at the shop, a swap meet, and a weekend run called “The Hang Over Run”. The HO Run is roughly 700 km loop to Hope, Lillooet, and then to Pemberton for the Flat Track races, then back to Vancouver.
We always have 3 or 4 builds on the go at Lions. We are finishing up a few bikes this winter, including a couple of choppers as per usual: a classic-looking Dual-Mag Cone Shovel,two or three Evolution-powered tough boy choppers, a Buell chopper, and a long-ass Ironhead chop.