Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tom Foster


From his first glimpse of the lifestyle in early 70s biker films and magazines, coupled with the "Varrio" ideals of his Chino, California hometown, Tom Foster lived and breathed motorcycles and the outlaw mentality that came with them. Foster's passions rested within a lifestyle that pushed the limits of both local law enforcement and of the shovelhead motor in his first chopper. Motorcycles were about respect, brotherhood and freedom, and for Foster, they were the weapon of choice.

After years of wrenching, turning basket cases into near-death machines, Foster brought his keen eye for design and capable hands to the aerospace industry as a production engineer for Hughes Aircraft, spearheading the production of satellite network antenna systems. Days were spent in the realm of space-age technology, while long nights were dedicated to the realm of V-twin technology, chopping, twisting and giving life to his trademark, two-wheel weapons of mass destruction.

Much like a Rolex watch or an old pair of Dickies, Tom Foster strives for designs characterized by timeless and classic lines - the kind that never go out of style and celebrate function as much as form. The "Foster style" celebrates the flowing and minimalist lines of the early classic motorcycles while still reaching forward technologically. This is evidenced by Foster's "Landshark" signature style. As far as Tom Foster sees it, motorcycles are about the "go" far more than about the "show."

"Who's the bigger pimp? Not the guy cruising on the stretched, raked chopper with the massive rear tire and all the fancy paint. It's the guy spitting traffic at 90-plus and scraping it in the turns with plenty of throttle to spare. Now I can't speak for other builders, but that's who I build bikes for," says Foster.

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"It seems at some point along the way, someone decided that choppers were more an image thing to make you look cool, and all the high-speed cornering and performance riding was for sport bikes. To me, that's tragic, and it's the farthest thing from my mentality, lifestyle and riding style: splitting lanes and taking names."


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