By DAVID KRIER
A friendship and mutual love of everything motorcycle has resulted in a new Boscobel business—Full Moon Vintage Cycle—located on Highway 61 at 600 Elm St.
Owner Nate Oldenburg and Bill Becker met in 2009 and a friendship developed that inspired Oldenburg’s interest in motorcycles.
“I saw Bill’s 750 at the gas station and didn’t know anything about motorcycles at the time,” Oldenburg relates. “That sort of got everything moving. That started the addiction.”
At the time Becker was in the process of creating “Clyde,” his unique, one-of-a-kind custom motorcycle. Its power source is a 1937 Ford flathead V8 engine. The chassis is comprised of parts from a variety of manufacturers, including Ford, Chrysler, Chevy, DeSoto, Harley Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki—and probably a few more Becker can’t remember.
“I named it ‘Clyde’ after Clyde Barrow, who was particularly fond of the Ford V8,” Becker says. “I got it on the road in September 2011, at which time it would go around the block under its own power. Since that time it’s been continually evolving.”
When Oldenburg saw the bike in its infancy he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“He had (the engine) on a stand in his shop and he said he was going to put it in a bike. I said ‘What?!’” Oldenburg recalls.
Although it’s constantly a work in progress, Clyde has been a big hit in the motorcycle community since hitting the road five years ago. The half-ton machine regularly wins Best of Show awards at motorcycle rallies like Vintage Torque Fest in Dubuque, Knuckle Shuffle in Yuba and the Slimey Crud Café Racer Run in Pine Bluff—which featured nearly 2,000 motorcycles. It has also been featured on ultimatemotorcycling.com
Oldenburg is relatively new to motorcycles. He studied mechanical design and engineering at Southwest Tech, but now has found a passion in restoring vintage bikes.
“He encouraged me to put the gear drive on,” Becker says of Oldenburg. “He’s been a constant source of encouragement.”
Becker came up with using a vintage World War II Pyrene fire extinguisher body for a coolant recovery tank on his own.
“I guess you could call me a junkyard mechanic, a purveyor of trial and error,” Becker says. “Probably what I’ve got going is more patience than the average bear.”
As for Full Moon Vintage Cycle, Oldenburg has been restoring motorcycles there since September and is currently wrapping up work on a 1968 Harley Davidson drag bike.
“The guy gave me all these photos and said, ‘Make me one of these.’ I’m always working on three or four bikes at a time, waiting for parts, keeping busy,” Oldenburg says. “I don’t want to work on everyone’s lawn mower. I like working on vintage motorcycles.”
Future projects for Oldenburg include a possible cycle building internship in Iowa and a custom bike for the lead singer of the Black Keys band.
“You never know what’s going to come up,” he says. “Vintage motorcycle enthusiasts are a small, tight-knit community. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich and famous or dirt poor, they all have the same disease. I call it a disease because it’s sort of an obsession.
For more information about Full Moon Vintage Cycle, contact Oldenburg at (608) 485-2022.