IntroducingRichard Pollock"the godfather of street trackers"

How did Mule Motorcycles get started? 
I got my first bike when I was 16, and I've been modifying bikes ever since. It's in my nature. At 22, I started working in motorcycle shops and always wanted to see and work on the latest stuff and modify my own bike to take it to the next level. I did that for a long time. Later though I went into aerospace and became more confident doing more complex work like modifying frames, bodywork, and creating suspension components. Eventually, a friend of mine came to me in '94 and asked me to do some modification on his brand new Sportster. We did quite a lot to it, and it got some traction, and then people started calling and asking me to build them custom bikes. Over time, more and more people kept coming my way, and I just kept up with it and grew it into what it is today.

What kind of platform do you prefer to work with when making a custom build? Air-cooled or liquid-cooled, and carbureted or EFI?
I gravitate towards a bike that I can make big improvements on, whether it's improving handling or increasing power or reducing weight, and all for a modest amount of money. At the same time, having done stuff that's a total hassle, I also gravitate towards simplicity. On the internet, you see a lot of builds where they just took everything off and there isn't anything

“ Motorcycles are 95% emotional. With that said, when you go to modify your bike, you want to feel good about doing it. ”

to put back on and that's their version of simplicity. But I don't think that's custom. I like to have everything on there and working well, having reduced the overall complexity of the bike. Making something simple is very difficult. The simplest answers are always the hardest to get to. If I look at a motorcycle that someone else has built, oddly enough, the thing that gives me the most head scratching is the bracketry and the way the components are mounted. Anyone can take everything off and cut the tabs, but those guys who can relocate everything to get the coolest, cleanest setup are the real deal. That's what I look for the most. Simplicity comes from carburetors and air-cooled platforms. They don't have a lot of digital crap. You want it simple. When I build a Triumph, I try to stay away from fuel injection models because they have something like 20 relays and sensors that I have to relocate when I ttwant to make ta custom seat for it. For me, the golden years are the Triumphs made between 2001 and 2007. There are a million of those bikes out there, and you can buy them cheap, and there are so many cool parts you can put on them. They're perfect. 
What would you suggest to someone thinking about building their own first custom motorcycle? Where should they begin? 
The first thing somebody needs to do is ride. After you start riding, you start dabbling with the idea of working on it, and then you finally put a wrench to it, and you make mistakes and learn as you go. Once you have a foundation to build off of, you don't jump in on a custom bike and start building frames; you have to learn how to walk before you can run. Now, if a guy was a really skilled welder or worked in fabrication, he could probably build his own tank or seat and dive right into making custom parts. Joe Average, though, would have to start out by buying accessories and learning by installing them on the bike. Little things like replacing the grips or troubleshooting why your throttle is stuck and replacing the cables and getting it work properly. You have to work your way up, and can't be afraid of that.

To read the full interview with Richard Pollock, visit the British Customs Blog.