You can ride this art
Guy Knorr has won lots of ribbons for what he calls his &
s pretty excited about his most recent honor. A mini chopper that he custom built with all original parts is now owned by the nation&
s third largest brewing company &
Coors. Like many of Knorr&
s art bikes, this one is 3/4 scale and fully functional. Unlike the others, Knorr says he pulled no stops in creating this, from its front to rear wheel chrome and its handmade handlebars.
Knorr created the bike in his Talent hills backyard workshop, the same place he creates all of his bikes, including the one shown in an Ashland First Friday and is now displayed at Ignition Car Motorcycle Gallery of Art in Talent, his 3/4 scale replica of a mid-1930s police bike.
The son of an artist and an architect (Knorr&
s mother is a painter and sculptor and his father a prominent architect), Knorr credits his parents for his eye for proportion. He enjoyed art classes in the Bay Area schools he attended, but by age 11, his interest was captured by motorcycles, first the mini bikes that he rode &
against my parents&
and then full-scale bikes. In spite of his parents&
best efforts to protect him from this potentially dangerous interest, Knorr says by the time he was 21 he owned 15 bikes.
ve always loved motorcycles. It&
s an obsession,&
says Knorr, who now is looking forward to attending lots of Coors-sponsored motorcycles shows where his bike will be displayed, with transportation provided by the brewing company.
— — —
Guy Knorr stands next to the custom-created harley — he built that is being used by Coors in a promotional campaign.
The way it all started was that I was planning to customize a Harley, but I was real disappointed in the parts out there,&
says Knorr. &
A friend introduced me to working with billet aluminum...&
Using this lighter and stronger steel, which is cut rather than cast in a mold, Knorr was inspired to take a really big step and purchase a Computer Numerically Controlled Mill and enroll in drafting and programming classes at Rogue Community College.
The CNC works like a router in that the table moves while the tool cuts out and does etching. Its accuracy is cutting-edge technology sharp at 10/1,000 of an inch says Knorr.
It does what you program it to do. And if you tell it to do something wrong, it will do that too. For a whole year I was sure the machine had a glitch, but it turned out to be a mistake I made in the programming.&
Two years ago, it would take Knorr a couple days to design a part and program it for his computerized mill, but now he can do this in 20 minutes says Knorr, adding, &
t say I&
ve mastered it because there&
s always more to be done. &
Knorr is enthralled with what the CNC can allow him to do design wise, things like putting 3D on the curved surface of the bike&
s twist grips: &
ve never seen etching done on a 3D surface! &
Ebay provided a great market for his custom frames, until offshore companies started selling their models at a tenth of the price, Knorr recalls.
Ebay went flat, so I went back to making Harley parts,&
he said. &
Then one day a guy who had seen a bike on my Web site www.cycleoptics.com called me in August and asked me to build him a bike.&
I low-balled the price,&
Knorr admits, explaining that it had been a long drought since the good times at Ebay and that he didn&
t know, until after his quote was accepted, that the bike was going to Coors.
I pulled out all the stops and did every neat thing I ever wanted to do when making a bike, with no thought of money. I threw it all in there. Handmade the handle bars, forks,&
he said. &
It was a lot of hours and blood, but I have no regrets.&
Since then Knorr&
s received from Coors&
promotional department has sent &
lots of papers to sign,&
s talk he says about possible commercials as well as the shows.
— — Knorr&
s bike sits atop a block in his talent — studio.
m very excited about what could happen. Then again maybe nothing will happen,&
s online gallery at www.cycleoptics.com. For a tour of his studio/workshop and his works in progress, call 944 2628.