Ilya Blond - Hellraiser Choppers
CC: Do you have any hobbies other than building custom bikes?
Ilya: Yes. Hot Rods, Drag racing, and NASCAR basicaly anything with speed.
CC: What do you ride?
Ilya: A Hellraiser Custom Hardtail Springer Chopper.
CC: What do you like most about your bike?
Ilya: I like that it’s an old school Springer Hardtail and cuz I like Hardtails (grin).
CC: How long have you been riding?
Ilya: Over 12 years.
CC: What was your first bike?
Ilya: It was a ‘79 Sportster basket case that I bought for $1,500.
CC: How many bikes have you owned?
Ilya: Fifty or more. I’ve lost count.
CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Ilya: I own a shop, so all that’s in it. A bunch I guess. I don’t count ‘em anymore, I just build ‘em and ride ‘em.
CC: What is your most memorable riding experience?
Ilya: Riding through the hills and rainforests in Maui. The scenery, the feeling of freedom, and the adrenaline rush of riding on the edge with nothing to stop you from going over the cliffs.
CC: What is your least memorable riding experience?
Ilya: Three years ago when I was riding back to my hotel in Rapid City from Sturgis, and out of nowhere it rain and hailed for the entire 30 miles, and I was only wearing a T-shirt.
CC: Which motorcycle rallies & events have you attended, and do you have a favorite?
Ilya: Probably all of them over the years, at least all the major ones, even in Europe and Australia. Daytona Bike Week would have to be my favorite due to the great exposure for Hellraiser Choppers, plus the weather and the women. Hey, its Florida, so you can’t go wrong with wine, women and the roar of bikes at the beach.
CC: Do you have a favorite bike night hangout?
Ilya: The Other Place – It’s close to shop and I’m the only builder that goes there; captive audience ya know.
CC: How many tattoos do you have?
Ilya: A lot, and all over.
CC: Who is your favorite tattoo artist?
Ilya: Randy at KC Tattoo & Brent at Skin Illustrations.
CC: Do you prefer riding in a group or by yourself?
Ilya: Definitely in a group. I have more fun riding with my friends than by myself. It’s no fun getting in trouble by yourself, and if you have someone with you they can at least bail you out, collaborate your story, or lie. You know…backup.
CC: We understand that you were in competition with two other builders for the WINFUEL bike. Who were the other two?
Ilya: Billy Lane and Eddie Trotta.
CC: Wow! How did it feel to be chosen over them?
Ilya: F*cking Awesome! I know both of them, and it was a real honor to be chosen by Alex Goen and WINFUEL for this project.
CC: How many days did it take to build the WINFUEL Chopper?
Ilya: Just like Noah’s ride - 40 days and 40 nights.
CC: Did you encounter any problems while building the bike?
Ilya: All kinds. This is a custom chopper, not a bike in the box.
CC: What do you think sets Hellraiser Choppers above the rest?
Ilya: Our creativity, craftsmanship and reputation for building sick bikes. We’re not a robot factory. We work closely with all our partners and the clients to insure they get exactly what they expect.
CC: Who did you use to paint the bike, and how did you come up with the paint scheme?
Ilya: Tommy “Too Much” Martin. We based the paint scheme on the #32 WINFUEL car. And keeping a racing car in mind, and I gave Tommy some creative control on the rest. Although you barely see them in the photos, there are beautiful ghost flames on the tank that look really cool in the sunlight.
CC: What is the most unique and or cool feature on the WINFUEL bike?
Ilya: The tank and the dual open belt drives. Plus, we are changing out the front end to a 63 mm American Suspension. This was part of the original design, but we were unable to get the parts in time. This will make the bike three inches longer.
CC: We understand you are a hands-on builder. Do you still enjoy getting your hands dirty?
Ilya: Yes, absolutely 24/7. It’s all I do.
CC: Thanks for taking the time for this interview. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers:
Ilya: I like to give special thanks to Ricky Hudson, Johnny T, Rick Park, Randy Colette, Ken BeBee and his wife Barbie, and Brian Root for being there and helping out when I needed them. I’d also like to thank Clint at Stainless Creations and Jim Wilcoxson at Add-A-‘Tude Custom Painting & Airbrush Graphics.
Interview and photos by Wayne Thompson