Hells Angels Biker Gang Fugitive Surrenders in Killing of Jeffrey Jethro Pettigrew

A member of the Hells Angels who has been on the run since the October killing of a fellow club member has been arrested on suspicion of murder for an incident which happened during the funeral of the club’s former president.

The coppers tracked down Steve Ruiz, 38, at a Days Inn Motel in Fremont, CA, south of San Francisco. Ruiz surrendered and was arrested on Saturday and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail.

Ruiz is suspected of gunning down fellow Hells Angel Steve Tausan, 52, on October 15, 2011, at the funeral Hells Angels president Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew. Pettigrew who was shot and killed during a brawl with a rival gang at a Nevada casino in September 2011, and the authorities say Tausan, who was Pettigrew’s close friend and confidant, confronted Ruiz at the funeral. They say Tausan accused Ruiz of failing to protect Pettigrew during the casino melee with members of the Vagos. They say that confrontation prompted Ruiz to pull a gun on Tausan and shoot him dead.

“The victim and suspect were involved in a physical altercation,” said a police spokesperson. “During the fight, the suspect drew a firearm and fatally shot the victim.”

The Ruiz arrest may bring to a close a spate of violence between the Hells Angels and Vagos which has been going on for more than a year.

The authorities say the brouhaha began as the Vagos tried to move in force into the northern coastal town of Santa Cruz, CA, long a Hells Angels territory. The war may have begun as members of the rival motorcycle clubs fought with bats and knives outside a Santa Cruz Starbucks in January 2010. That confrontation led members of the two groups to square off seven months later in August 2010 when members of the clubs exchanged gunfire in another incident.

That tussle left five people wounded in Chino Valley, Arizona.

Monday Motorcycle Chain Links – The Best Motorcycle Stuff From the Interweb

It’s the end of another Monday, and the weather has taken a horrible, chilly turn for the worse here in Michigan. Against all odds, it’s time to spread some happy (even though I’m not feeling it) your way.

Thought I’d take some time to put together a page of my favorite stuff I read this week from the Motorcycling Internet Collective.

If you dig motorcycles, these guys have what you need this evening. You’re sure to like what these greasy motorcycle types took the time to encode for you.

Enjoy…and pay them a visit. Linky-love is always appreciated by these digital shop workers, hermano…


Charlotte Motorcycle Show

Cell phone photos seen here (actually pretty good) were taken by my friend Phil (often seen on these very pages) at the 2012 Progressive Motorcycle Show which came to Charlotte, NC. I could not be there, but Phil sent these, and a few more photos from the event which was held February 24-26…


Read more…

Racing with the Wind

The Millray V 4

While digging through the archives in The Kneeslider research library, an interesting article turned up. It was about two engine builders, brothers Robert and Harry Millray of Saugus, California. It seems back in 1969, they had the idea of building a motorcycle engine, a 1200cc V4, and being hands-on “get ‘er done” kinda guys, that’s what they did…

Read more…

The Kneeslider


I love it when a killer bike comes through from a builder I’ve never heard of. This stunning 1969 Triumph TR6 custom is the work of Raccia Motorcycles, a low-key outfit based in a century-old bottling factory just north of Los Angeles. The lines and stance are simply perfect, and if you’ve ever tried to build a custom bike, you’ll know how difficult that can be. The builder of this machine is Mike LaFountain, and his philosophy is simple: “I’m always trying to change proportions and form new lines to create a unique look, which stems from my love of vintage GP race bikes…”




Selling the Joy of Motorcycles To A New Generation

TThese unique consumers between the age of 18 and 34 are taking very seriously information content  and their personal connections with each other to new levels, using new online devices and sharing experiences like no other age group…
Read more…


Cyril Huze Post

Made In America

he video below is not a TV commercial for Harley-Davidson Open link in a new window motorcycles, like we’ve seen so many before, usually quite bad. But in fact it’s more an infomercial for manufacturing in the USA, using Harley as an example..
Read more…




Bikes in the Fast Lane

Buying Your First Bike? The Women’s Guide to Motorcycle Insurance

Whether you ride a sport bike or an American cruiser, your insurance needs can get complicated.

We’re here to help you find the right motorcycle insurance, whatever you ride…

Tips for buying your motorcycle insurance, coverage you need:

  • Collision to pay for damage caused to your vehicle in an accident with another vehicle or any stationary object.
  • Comprehensive to cover such things as fire, hail, wind, vandalism, hitting an animal, etc.
  • Towing / Pickup
  • Medical payment or personal injury protection to cover the medical bills resulting from an accident.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist to protect us when the other driver is at-fault and does not have coverage or assets out of which your bills can be paid.

Cafe Racer Mag to Sponsor Builder Show and Track Day at Road Atlanta

Get ready to “do the ton” as Cafe Racer Magazine, the custom motorcycle mag for lovers of all things fast, sleek and powerful, brings its world-renowned custom bike show to the Big Kahuna Atlanta, scheduled for the weekend of April 20 – 22, 2012 at Braselton, Ga.’s Road Atlanta.

The Cafe Racer Magazine Custom Bike Show is set to take place in the previously-announced Cafe Racer Village at M1 PowerSports’ Big Kahuna Atlanta, one of three events on the 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing calendar which make up the Big Kahuna Triple Crown.

“Getting people to the track is one of our core missions, and another motto of ours is ‘Come for the Party, Stay for the Race’ and the custom bike show fits right in with both of those,” said Cameron Gray, CEO of M1 PowerSports. “We want owners of these awesome pieces of motorcycle art to bring their bikes out to the track so they can show off their hard work, and we know that the Big Kahuna fans will be enamored by each and every one of them. The Cafe Racer Village is really shaping up to be a huge hit.”

Since 2008, Cafe Racer Magazine has put on custom bike shows at venues which have included London’s Ace Cafe, several rounds of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show and during the AMA’s Vintage Motorcycle Days event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“The custom bike shows are a chance to witness firsthand the emerging trends and high-performance technology that makes today’s Cafe Racer movement so exciting,” said Mike Seate, editor of Cafe Racer Magazine and host of Velocity network’s Cafe Racer TV. “Whether we’re looking at a garage-built, $500 Japanese bike or a fully restored $50,000 Vincent, these bikes all share the passion and uniqueness that’s made cafe racers popular for over 60 years.”

During the Big Kahuna Atlanta, the magazine’s crew will be on hand as readers display their hand-built street racers.

Both classic cafe-style motorcycles and newer, retro cafe racers will be welcome at the bike show, which offers trophies for the following classes:

  • Best British Cafe Racer 1990 and Newer
  • Best British Cafe Racer, Pre-1990
  • Best American/European Cafe Racer
  • Best Japanese Cafe Racer
  • Wildest Custom Cafe Bike.

Mongol Motorcycle Gang Member Found Guilty of Killing Hells Angels SF Chaper President

A member of the Mongols motorcycle gang was found guilty and could face life in prison for murdering the San Francisco chapter president of the Hells Angels.

Christopher Bryan Ablett, also known as “Stoney,” was convicted this week of multiple felonies which include murder in the aid of racketeering, by a federal jury in San Francisco.

A member of the Modesto chapter of the Mongols, Ablett had been charged with the gang-related murder of Mark “Papa” Guardado back on Sept. 2, 2008, during a scuffle in the San Francisco Mission district.

Witnesses said a fight broke out between the bikers during which Ablett stabbed Guardado four times – and then shot him twice.

According to Ablett’s testimony, the killing was done in self-defense, but jurors were not convinced and found the killing came as a result of Ablett’s desire to enhance his status with the Mongols.

Ablett is set to face sentencing on May 15 of this year.

VIDEO:Mark “Papa” Guardado’s family and friends talk about who he was and footage from the Hells Angel procession. Guardado’s family and friends asked that their faces not be shown.


Ariel Leader Bike Find of the Day

The Ariel Leader was an attempt by the British motorcycle manufacturer to take on the popularity of the Lambretta.

Ariel hoped that they could make a bike reminiscent of a scooter but which featured “motorcycle” performance characteristics.

The Leader was designed by Val Page and Bernard Knight, and for the times, it represented a new concept with its 250cc two-stroke engine. That mill was  suspended in a 20 gauge steel ‘backbone’ frame made from pressings and welded down the middle.

While the Leader’s 250cc motor wasn’t considerably more powerful than the scooters it was trying to compete against, it did take over a significant share of the market segment during the early 60′s. When the streamlined bodywork proved somewhat less than appealing to buyers, Ariel introduced the  Arrow, a stripped down version of the Leader which lopped 50cc of the displacement of the original powerplant to make production costs lower and make the line more affordable.

Ariel went under in 1965, and they were the first of the British motorcycle manufacturing dynasties to bite the dust in the face of competition from Japanese makers.

  • Production – 1958-1965
  • Engine – parallel twin, two-stroke
  • Bore and Stroke – 54 x 54 mm
  • Capacity – 249cc
  • Power – 17.5bhp @ 6750rpm
  • Top Speed – 73mph

When the Leader appeared during the 1958 model year, it offered an integral fairing and windscreen and a false petrol tank which doubled as a luggage compartment. It also included decorative extras like integrated saddle bags, but that didn’t prevent buyers of traditional motorcycles from disliking the machine’s art-deco styling cues.

One major problem, production costs were too high for the market at the time which led to the stripped-down conformations of the Arrow, a line which was launched in 1960.

Ariel’s switched over their entire production effort to manufacturing the Arrow, and production of those machines reached more than 1000 a month at the peak. Riders of the Arrow quickly set to work tuning the lightweight bikes and those efforts upped the power of the Arrows.

ariel leader
ariel leader
ariel leader ad
The  leader  at  Packwood  House



Collector Motorcycle Insurance Tips

Insuring your collectible or vintage motorcycle

As for insurance for your collectible motorcycle? You should be able to get Agreed Value coverage on a classic 1959 BSA Gold Star Catalina valued at $15,000 for somewhere around $25 a month, and that gives you the whole shooting match of coverage.

You can spend a lot less, but if you plan to ride the bikes in your collection, the above pricing is a reasonable approximation of what you can expect to pay.

Harley Davidson To Bring On Non-Union Workers in April

Harley-Davidson Inc says it’s on the verge of adding non-unionized contract workers at facilities in Wisconsin due to new labor contracts that take effect in April, and the Milwaukee motorcycle maker revealed in a federal filing on Thursday that it expects to have 325 fewer unionized full-time employees in Wisconsin as of April.

The changes will come as a result of amendments made to the previous contract in had with unions and will open up opportunities for The Motor Company to use “flexible,” or contract employees who are not subject to the terms of a union agreement.

Harley-Davidson offered voluntary layoffs to unionized employees in an effort to trim the Milwaukee-area hourly workforce at the company by some 25 percent, but the company is not disclosing whether the program resulted in any takers.

The company says the move toward “a more flexible workforce” is part of a plan to transition “production costs to a more variable model.” Harley-Davidson’s global workforce numbers declined by about 300 workers in 2011 when compared with 2010 figures. According to Maripat Blankenheim, a company spokesperson, that decline in workers was due to a variety of factors. She added that the contract workers will be employed at plants for a variety of reasons which might include fill-ins in for absent workers or helping the company meet seasonal swings in demand due to the need for increased production.

What will the move save the company?

H-D said they expect to save $50 million annually beginning in 2013 due to contract changes with the Wisconsin workers. The workers set for “downsizing” are represented by the United Steelworkers and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers.

You Got Problems When Your Motorcycle Is Laying Down

There are a whole raft of ways you can find yourself next to a motorcycle laying on the ground, and most of them are just plain bad news. So what do you do about it?

One thing’s for sure, you don’t have to be an Olympic weightlifter to make it happen you just have to dig the words of the immortal Archimedes, to whit, “Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I will move the world.”

Powerful stuff, and you should take it to heart when faced with a downed motorcycle. It’s not about how much force is required to lift your 600-plus-pound machine, it’s about how the power you have available is applied.

We put together this list of possible calamities for your dining and dancing pleasure, and here’s hoping none of them ever befall you and your precious machine…

  1. Putting your foot into a hole when stopping.
  2. Putting your foot down on something slippery when stopping.
  3. Locking the front wheel during enthusiastic braking.
  4. Missing your driveway and sliding on the grass.
  5. Not putting the kickstand down when getting off.
  6.  Make a turn from a standstill in gravel or sand and applying a touch too much throttle.
  7. Not putting a board under the kickstand on asphalt on a hot day.
  8. Letting non-riders sit on your bike.
  9. Forgetting the bike’s in gear when you jump down on the kickstarter.
  10. Revving the engine, releasing clutch, and putting your feet on the pegs when the light turns green – but not noticing your bike’s in neutral.
  11. Losing your balance when putting your bike on the centerstand.
  12. Ignoring the sand that builds up in the spring along the side of the road
  13. Booting down your kickstand and having it bounce back up instead of staying down.
  14. Stepping off your bike while it’s running and forgetting that it’s in gear.
  15. Having a passenger catch a foot on a saddlebag while getting on the bike before you.
  16. Getting your bootlace caught on the gearshift while trying to kick down the stand
  17. Pissed off for dropping your bike in the first place, you yank off the ground with a flourish, but flip it over on the other side.
  18. Riding on wet grass with street tires
  19. Kick stand slowly burys itself in hot asphalt while you sit inside drinking cool beer.
  20. Kick stand slowly burys itself in soft ground as you walk away.
  21. Backing your bike down a plank from the bed of a pickup truck. Words of advice? Once you start down, there’s no stopping.
  22. Park facing downhill – and don’t leave the bike in gear.
  23. Park with sidestand facing up hill only to discover that the kickstand is just a little too long.
  24. Riding a short distances side-saddle – never recommended.
  25. Reach down to pick up C-note off the ground.
  26. Put ArmorAll on your tires to make them look sweet.

10 Steps for Picking Up a Downed Motorcycle

1. Hit the kill switch. Make sure the motor is off.

2. Turn the gas off using the petcock on a carburated bike if fuel is leaking.

3. Make sure the bike is in gear if you can get to it. If it is not in gear and you can’t access the shifter to put it in gear, the technique becomes more difficult because the bike could roll, but it can still be done. You’ll have to have find the balance point of the motorcycle between the two tires and leverage it as you lift.

4. Standing with your butt toward the seat, stoop down, and with your right hand grab the left grip.

5. When you grab the grip, pull it until it is as close to the tank as possible. With your left hand find something sturdy to grab hold of under the seat. Don’t grab the seat. It’s too flimsy to support the weight of your lift. Grabbing the bike by the frame is the best bet. The closer your left hand is to your body, the better.

6. Place your butt midway on the edge of the seat. This is crucial. The placement of your butt too high or too low on the seat will not give you the leverage angle. You are pushing the bike with your butt and upper legs. You will have to pull up with your arms a bit, but mostly you will be pushing the bike up with your legs.

7. You must have good traction under your feet or they will slip. If there is gravel under your feet, sweep it away with your boots. Same for grass.

8. Start pushing your butt against the seat using baby steps to force it upright. The hardest part will be the beginning. Once the bike starts to lift off the ground, you’ll gain momentum to help you execute the rest of the lift.

9. Once you have the bike up, carefully put the kickstand down and lower the bike to it. If you can’t get the kickstand with the heel of your boot, turn your body carefully toward the front of the bike and grab both grips, then put the bike on the kickstand or center stand.

10. The process is the same if the bike is on its right side. Your hands are reversed of course. It is easier to get it into gear. Remember to put the kickstand out first so that you can ease the bike onto it once it is upright.


Additional Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Consider

 Whether you ride a sport bike or an American cruiser, your insurance needs can get complicated.

We’re here to help you find the right motorcycle insurance, whatever you ride…

Tips for buying your motorcycle insurance, coverage you need:

  • Collision to pay for damage caused to your vehicle in an accident with another vehicle or any stationary object.
  • Comprehensive to cover such things as fire, hail, wind, vandalism, hitting an animal, etc.
  • Towing / Pickup
  • Medical payment or personal injury protection to cover the medical bills resulting from an accident.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist to protect us when the other driver is at-fault and does not have coverage or assets out of which your bills can be paid.

Win A Free Motorcycle Trailer And Get Your Bikes From Here to There

I can already feel it; winter is on the way out and it’s nearly time to think about riding and traveling with your stable of motorcycles.

If you’re a dirt biker, you need to get your machines out to the wild. A custom builder? You’ll need to make sure those beautiful creations get to all the shows this season clean and ready to display.

To that end, we’re hipping you to a contest like no other – a contest where you have a chance to win a super-deluxo enclosed motorcycle trailer worth a whopping six-grand.

SprocketList.com is launching its 2012 Pro-Line Trailer Giveaway, and you can thank motorcycleinsurance.com for giving you the inside skinny on how to win.

Raceway Media’s SprocketList.com, a free online classified ads site for powersports machines, is giving away a 7 x 14’ Bullet V-Nose Pro-Line trailer worth over $6,000. So what do you have to do? Be 18 years or older, enter the sweepstakes by submitting an entry on SprocketList.com and be possessed of The Luck of the Irish.

Mail-in entries are also welcome; instructions are available at SprocketList.com.

The 7 x 14’ Pro-Line trailer in question features 3/8-inch plywood walls, 3/4-inch heavy-duty plywood floors with vinyl covering, a side door and a heavy-duty rear loading ramp door. Add to that the E-Z lube axles, a dome light and roof vent and you have yourself the Cadillac of trailers, my friend.

“We’re really excited to be offering up an excellent ProLine enclosed trailer again this year,” said SprocketList President Joe Tripp. “This thing is packed with high-end features and is capable of hauling all your toys.”

The guys at SprocketList.com offer free online classified ads dedicated to motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile and PWC enthusiasts. On their site, you can search the listings to find the equipment you’re looking for or post a free ad listing your item for sale. SprocketList.com is part of the RacingJunk.com network, and it receives over 70 million page views and 2.8 million site visits per month. You can also see their online classifieds powering sites like AMA, Cycle News, RacerX, BikerNet and many others…

The 2012 SprocketList Sweepstakes kicks off February 18, 2012 and runs through December 31, 2012, so you’ve got some time to get in your entry. Do it. A sweet trailer would be a mighty nice post-Christmas gift for the motorcycle freak in your life…

Buying Custom Motorcycle Insurance

Custom motorcycles require the correct insurance coverage package to protect what is, after all, a significant investment on your part .

We’re here to help you find the right motorcycle insurance for your custom bike…

Tips for buying motorcycle insurance for your custom:

  • Collision to pay for damage caused to your vehicle in an accident with another vehicle or any stationary object.
  • Comprehensive to cover such things as fire, hail, wind, vandalism, hitting an animal, etc.
  • Towing / Pickup
  • Medical payment or personal injury protection to cover the medical bills resulting from an accident.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist to protect us when the other driver is at-fault and does not have coverage or assets out of which your bills can be paid.
  • Additional coverage to replace or repair accessories specific to your bike.

Motorcycle Time Travel With Classified Moto

The Future of Custom Motorcycles?

Indeed…and as an aside, I once rocked the muttonchops back in the day.  I miss them. My wife recently vetoed my desire to grow out my mustache, procure some wax and go for the old-school handlebar look. I was saddened by her lack of aesthetic appreciation, but as I’m determined not to upset the delicate balance of domestic life, I’ll just have to keep rocking the goatee (which has the Good Spousekeeping Seal of Approval) from now until I pass from this mortal coil.

C’est la vie.

At any rate, back to the subject at hand, this goofy ad for last-chance motorcycle and furniture purveyors, Classified Moto out of Old Virginny:

Team Ryland (husband John and wife Betsy), have been making waves building custom motorcycles and custom motorcycle home furnishings, and that’s always struck me as a wild and wonderful combination.

John Ryland takes bikes dropped off by his customers – or bikes or he finds himself – redesigns them,  and then applies his signature look while giving the bike’s guts a mechanical update. He says that while he has a definite preference for the design and engineering elements of customizing motorcycles, most of his time is spent with a wrench in hand.

And those thoroughly stylish and motorcycle-centric home furnishings?

Betsy Ryland, who also works as a jewelry designer, creates the lamps from old motorcycle parts and they’ve become a hit as well and have sold to customers all around the world.

So who’s to thank for this inspired and goofy bit of cinematic self-log-rolling? Adam Ewing did the shootin’, Devin Bousquet cut it all together, Bill Grishaw dropped the needle for the musical accompaniment  and Jeff McManus did his digital deejay thing and mixed it all into the soup.

The awesome French Foreign Legion muttonchops were provided by  actor Patrick Biedrycki and one Kristy Heilenday chipped in the dramatic gesticulation that set the whole thing in motion.

All in all, I give it two thumbs up…


Detroit, Motorcycles and the MC5

Last Friday Michael Davis (the bassist of the seminal band the MC5) died.

One of the most scintillating acts to ever take a Rock’n’Roll stage, the MC5′s Detroit performances in the late 60s are legend and their music became an anthemic soundtrack to bikers, at least in my home state of Michigan.

Their debut album, Kick Out the Jams, was the high-water mark in their career and the sonic standard for loud, fast and anarchic music of the kind which attracted the biker set of the time. The MC5′s pre-punk stance and radical politics provided a spark to the fire of the most turbulent years in our nation’s history, and the MC5 played loud and long during a real American revolution.

What did they get for their troubles? A horrible review from famous rock critic Lester Bangs, a string of broken contracts, harassment from the authorities and censorship and attempts to suppress their musical output.

The legend, and the music, has lived on and you can hear the band’s influence in punk, in heavy metal and grunge made throughout the last forty years.

Their place in rock history – and their place in American history – is both a story of redemption and a cautionary tale.

Theirs is a story of bikers, fast motorcycles, dragstrips and riots. They hung with the Panthers and got busted for pot. They were continually monitored by the FBI. They were five genuine American originals.

Former MC5 bassist, Davis, began a slow slide into oblivion after a motorcycle accident on Monday, May 8, 2006 when he was hospitalized with a laundry list of injuries – but he ultimately recovered. Davis had been riding his Harley Davidson on a Los Angeles freeway when he was unable to avoid a muffler which dropped from a vehicle into his path. He was wearing his helmet and leather jacket at the time but  still suffered a fractured spine, bruised ribs, and road rash.

This week, the motorcycle and music community lost one of their own, and that’s the way of the world…RIP