We've been seeing Hon shooting at Motorcycle Shows and events around town for as long as we've been open as a shop. You can find his shots of Choppers, Old Harley's and other cool motorcycle stuff on his instagram or blog www.throttlefmc.com. One day while looking at some of his photos on his gram I figured it would be cool to ask him a few questions about how he got into old Harley's, photography and share some of his great photos.
Town Moto: What are the 3 - 5 of the coolest bikes or builders you've had the pleasure of shooting and why?
Hon: I’ve had the pleasure of shooting many of Jason Parker's builds and bikes for mags like DiCE, Greasy Kulture and Street Chopper. It’s an ongoing joy to just hang out in his space, witness his work and document events he’s attended. Not to mention that each photoshoot we do, whether it’s for fun or for a publication, it’s always great fun. In fact I think I’ve alway got a camera with me when I’m at the shop, much like a stalker!
Jason Parker’s killer bigtwin flathead chopper
Jason’s Panhead Chopper - used to be called the shop bike for all to ride, not anymore!
I’m also heavily influenced by the garage builders, shops and crews in California and Japan. Especially the ones that I literally studied in the mid to late 2000’s. I tried to figure out why certain styles appealed to me more than others, everything was new and exciting to me. I was lucky to go to Born Free 2 and Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show in 2011 and “informally” shot some bikes and met the builders who I admire. Bikes, Builders and photos I took from this time remain my favourite to me and close to my soul.
Nick Luciani’s 1970 XLCH
Mark Drew’s Panhead - such a big influence on me, one of my all time favorite builders and bike
Long bike - Trev’s Panhead by Jason Parker
John Edwards Panhead - a huge influence on me
Craziest shot ever, 10 guys required to get this bike into place!
TM: D'you have a bucket list of bikes you'd like to see in real life / shoot one day?
I’d love to do some type of motorcycle shop and food world tour! I dream of going to Japan to visit shops like Ace Motorcycle, Hawgholic, Hamans Chop Shop, . . . and visit friends I’ve met over the years. I’d also love to meet up with some individual builders in California to chat again in person, see their latest work and spaces, people I think I could connect with like Max Schaaf, Mark Drews . . .
How did you get into motorcycles? Was it something you grew up with in your family? Or did something about them catch your interest later in life?
There were no motorcycle riders in my family. But growing up as a kid there was skateboarding. . . I have been obsessed with skating since the heights of the Bones Brigade craziness, it’s always been close to my heart till this day whether I’m on a board or watching others ride.
I didn’t really know it at the time but it was through skateboarding that I got hooked on graphics and design, as a kid it would always be that “something”, a certain aesthetic that drew me into the brands I loved and wanted. This translated into everything in my life.
In my teens and twenties, drifting was my passion, that was a super fun phase where I started to form those intimate connections between a man and his vehicle. Although I’ve never been the mechanical type, I started to realize that you could really push a machine to the next level.
Motorcycles still didn’t come into play until a little later in life, I have an interactive agency (innermostdigital.com, drift media back in the day . . .) and worked closely on design and communications for a client that wanted to create a vintage American automotive destination and shop in Toronto. I fell in love with everything they were working on and were about. It was amazing to witness firsthand the dedication and passion that was poured into all their restoration projects and builds.
It was one particular project that was the turning point. The guys built a custom gold flaked Harley Davidson Ironhead from scratch. I remember the first time Stony casually kicked it over and rode off on it, the sound, the smell, the energy, the style . . . that was it, the moment I knew I had to have a bike.
Within a year, maybe around 2007 or 2008 . . . with the help of the guys, I found myself handing over a small stack of bills to a white bearded old timer at the annual CNE Motorcycle Show and Swap in exchange for an abandoned old 1974 XLCH Ironhead project that came with some boxes of parts. And the rest is history . . . I have to credit finding my love for bikes to Stony, Zac and Howie from that era of my life.
Love hate relationship with my first bike - 1974 XLCH
TM: When did you get into photography? Tell us a bit about how you started shooting bikes.
It was motorcycles that brought photography into my life. During the build of my Ironhead, I wanted to document the whole process, so I started to shoot with whatever I had. My go to camera was an old Sony point and shoot camera that I actually used for a few years and took photos of every little aspect.
During this time, my tired old Ironhead motor needed a rebuild and that’s when I met my now good friend and brother, Jason Parker at Jason Parker Race Cars. I’ve always said, he’s the guy in Toronto with all the skills, history and parts when it comes to old Harley Davidson Choppers. Hanging out with him and spending countless hours in his shop opened my eyes to another level of Chopper obsession.
I wanted to share my experiences and what our “little crew” in Toronto was up to so I started to share these photos on my blog, throttlefmc.com and before I knew it, taking photos and posting became my therapy and a way to clear my mind. Many of my photos revolve around Jason’s shop and the things that catch my eye.
Vintage motorcycles are the perfect subject. There’s never a dull moment and always something unpredictable going on that’s fun to witness and capture. I’m most into how a great bike sits and how all it’s parts are exposed and compliment each other. You start to notice the little things and obsess over them. I’m sure you understand very well what I’m talking about . . .
We're familiar with your Ironhead chopper and Panhead from your gram @throttlefmc do you have any bike or projects you're working on?
I have actually only owned 3 running bikes in my lifetime. The first being my 1974 XLCH Ironhead Chopper which was plenty of bike to have as a new rider at the time. The second bike I owned for about 1 month was a Honda CBR125 that I used just to get my M license. It was a super fun bike but was gone as quick as I got it.
I have an appreciation for all riders and all types of bikes, but my heart has a soft spot for old Harley Davidsons. To me, there is just that certain mystic and history behind each old bike that makes it interesting and engaging. I’ve had my 1953 Panhead about 8 years ago now and it has been my go to bike that was originally put together by Matt and Carl Olsen at Carl’s Cycle Supply.
In terms of projects, I have a Harley Davidson 1948 WL Flathead project that’s been on and off for the last decade. I started off wanting to build a chopper but got obsessed with thinking of having a hot rodded racer that keeps to its core factory vibe with some of my own twists. I’ve got all the hard to find parts and it currently “lives” at Jason’s, waiting for the right time to get the love and attention it deserves. I truly believe that good things will come to those who have the patience to wait and get it done right.
TM: What are your favorite kind of rides these days / where is your favorite place to ride on a weekend?
I really don’t have the opportunity to ride nearly as much as I’d like to. When I do, I find myself riding alone most of the time, on short rides to clear the mind and get my energy back.
I usually don’t have a destination but might stop for some random road side photos and then end up back at home. Lots of riding on country roads outside of Toronto and in the middle of the night when the streets are clear. And of course the occasional ride up to Jason’s shop, especially inviting at night. I hope to change this going forward as my young family has started to grow up.
TM: What's one place you would like to ride in the next 5 years?
Similar to one of your Town Moto T-shirt slogans - “I want to ride all the motorcycles”, I’d love to ride to places “where I can see all the motorcycles”! I want to ride to places where I can get off my bike and see even more of the type of bikes I love. I always have energy for that. It’s impossible for me to choose just one place or one motorcycle experience. I’ve dreamed of riding in California and Japan with all the crews that have inspired me and having them show me more bikes and their scenes. I’d also love to take a ride to the Harley Museum one day, it would be great to view some of the “secrets” and spend some quality time shooting photos and soaking in where it all started. In any of these rides, I see myself experiencing the local culture to the fullest and ending off with of course, some great food!
Maki from Sparetime - one of my biggest influences shooting Mark Drews another one of my biggest influences
HWZN MFG - got into Flatheads because of Yace and his crew
Shawn Donahue, Kutty Noteboom and Dan Collins getting ready to ride
Dan Collins taking a minute to reflect