'Like a Machete Cutting Through Traffic'

How and why the Sinners build new motorcycles to look 40 years old

"We have no negative contact with the Sinners whatsoever," says Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino—which, 30 years ago, would have finished any self-respecting biker gang. But the Sinners like that; fame rests uneasily on their shoulders, as Scott Di Lalla and Zack Coffman discovered earlier this year, when they released Choppertown: The Sinners, a straight-to-DVD documentary chronicling the buildup of Kutty Noteboom's latest motorcycle.

The media loved it—myself included—but on the Jockey Journal, an Internet bulletin board dedicated to "hot rod choppers/bobbers," Sinner Irish Rich from Denver wrote: ". . . I wish that everybody would let this thread disappear into obscurity, and die a fast death." This is not likely: Pray for Me: The Jason Jessee Movie, a film about another Sinner, had its preview in December—keeping the club squarely framed in our cultural cross hairs. It's a problem that makes their skin crawl. The children of lowriders and dirt-track racers, they didn't get into this because they thought it was cool. Like so many of us who followed in the footsteps of our parents, this was all they knew. To them, it just is.

"We like the basic stuff," Hiniker says matter-of-factly, "no big wheels and looking like space shuttles and shit." Except now, next to the fragile-tiled, balloon-tired space shuttle, a pared-down metal-flake chopper sitting on skinny Avon Speedmasters or rubber-band Pirellis looks pretty damn good. Time-proven, at least we know it will stay together during launch.

 
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