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Interview with Kenny Rollow - Builder of the Black Locust Bobber

March 31, 2009
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We were intrigued by the name Kenny chose for his old-school masterpiece and the unusual artwork on the top of the fuel tank, so we asked Kenny for the story.

Kenny: Every time the wife wanted to go out and do something, I wanted to go out to the shop and work on this bike. She got pretty impatient with it. She would suggest going out to dinner or going to visit friends, but I would always be busy with the bike. After this went on for a while, she finally said, “You know, that bike is getting to be a thorn in my side!” Later, I told the painter, my buddy Tony Moore, I wanted him to put a thorn on it somewhere, and that’s what he did.

CC: The result was a unique highly stylized design depicting a black locust branch with several nasty looking curved thorns. What was your wife’s reaction?

Kenny: When the paint job was done, I took the bike home. I was sitting on the bike, and she could see the Maltese crosses she thought were really cool. I said, “Come here and check this out.” She took one look at the thorns, and said, “You smart ass!”

CC: You had a motorcycle accident about the time you were getting started on this build.

Kenny: Yeah. My wife and I were headed for somewhere in Arkansas. We go there quite often on the Harley. A lady ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of us, and we hit her broadside. That put the hurt on us and postponed the bike project for a while. It took 22 months to build it. Sometimes at first, I just didn’t feel up to it. I just took my time so I could enjoy it. That made my wife’s impatience even worse. It turned a rose thorn to a locust thorn. I had thought about what I wanted to build for years. Then I did and re-did, thought and re-thought. I made changes. I’d set the tank on it and move it around-- forward and back, up and down. I knew what I wanted, and I knew when it was right. Looking back, the only thing I would have done differently would be to leave off the front brake.

CC: The black locust theme really gives the bike some added personality.

Kenny: It does. All my bikes have some personality. This is the first one I’ve built from the ground up, building everything on it. I’ve customized, modified, disassembled and reassembled a lot of bikes.

CC: Do you get to ride much these days, or are you too busy working on bikes? I know you’re a busy man.

Kenny: I make time to ride. We have an ’08 Road King I bought a year ago November, and we’ve got almost 16,000 miles on it. My Wide-Glide has 60,000 miles on it. I put miles on some borrowed bikes while my Dyna was wrecked and my Road King hadn’t come in. We went to Canada last year and rode up through Yellowstone, Glacier, through the Saw Tooth Mountains, down Beartooth Pass, up through Idaho and around. It was awesome! We rode over 4,000 miles and never rode in rain once. We were on the road 13 days. We took a tent and sleeping bags. They looked good tied to the tour pack, but we never used them once. Motels are pretty nice at the end of the day after a long ride when you’re tired, and want to have a nice meal and kick back.

CC: You have a motorcycle shop.
Kenny: Yeah. It’s called Rollow Repair. We sell motorcycle parts and accessories, and we do repairs, bike modifications, and customization. Motorcycles are my passion. I grew up on motorcycles. I rode a million miles behind my dad. He’s 80 and still rides. He has a Low Rider and a Sportster. I’ll never live long enough to ride as many miles as he has.

CC: I’ll bet you got to ride on some pretty cool bikes.
Kenny: He’s had everything—Hendersons, Indians, Harley-Davidsons, Honda Super Hawks and Dreams, and I don’t know what-all. He had an electronics store that was open from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening. He’d get home about 8:30 and ask if I wanted to go for a ride. I’d always say, “Yeah!” We did that one night and ended up in Casper, Wyoming. Rain didn’t matter. We never packed anything. We just went.

CC: Sounds like a great way to grow up.
Kenny: There are seven of us. I have one older brother, three older sisters, and two younger brothers, and we all have motorcycles. My son-in-law, my nephews, we are a Harley-Davidson family. Strangely enough, the Black Locust doesn’t have one Harley part on it.

CC: Harley or not, it’s a really cool scoot and will look great on our April cover. I think our readers will agree.

NOTE: The Black Locust Bobber is for sale. Kenny is asking $45,000 and will consider a trade. Check out the details on www.2wheeldeals.com.

Contact information:

Kenny Rollow - Rollow Repair
4540 Rollow Acres Drive
Chanute, Kansas 66720
Ph: 620-431-0047
Cell 620-212-3746
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Interview by Stripe

Photo by Wayne Thompson

Tiffany’s makeup by Shenayah Lewis

Published in Cover Bike Owners