The New York Times on Friday reported on one very hip Mr. Chester whose customized motorcycles start at $5,000. To make them, he uses parts from various makers, creating a new shell for the bike, which he finishes with an owner-specific paint job. For a world-traveling lawyer, he is painting a Harley-Davidson Sportster the color of antique parchment and covering it with maps of places the lawyer has visited, including Myanmar and Machu Picchu. For a scientist who discovered a sunken barge carrying gold in the Bering Sea, he turned a 1995 Honda CBR 900 RR into something that looks like a World War II P-40 Warhawk fighter plane, complete with bared teeth trying to chomp the wheel. And for a baseball-loving factory owner in Nicaragua, he built a Yankees bike, pinstripes and all.
In designing clothes for motorcyclists, Mr. Chester says he has one clear advantage: he is one. More than other designers, he understands how things look in motion — which graphics can be read at 70 miles an hour, how fabric will react to blowing in the wind. Others, he said, “will design it statically. I will design it dynamically.” And all of his pieces — leather pants, heavy rip-stop nylon overpants, a leather and stretch-Kevlar pullover jacket with a high collar — have to be durable, weatherproof and strong enough to offer riders protection. A jacket he designed has fasteners to attach to pants to keep the airflow out, and the collar is high to minimize flapping. “If you are riding your motorcycle for three hours,” he said, “and your collar is flapping the whole time — that’s so annoying, you just don’t know.”
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