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Martinsburg man builds custom motorcycles

November 02, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - There was no emblem on the bike's gas tank, so a curious onlooker asked Dan Mace what kind of motorcycle it was.

"It's a Mace," he replied.

"Custom Built Bikes the Way You Want Them," is the slogan for Mace Motorcycles, which Mace builds at Scooter Trash at 249 N. Queen St. He opened the shop in 1987 and has been building motorcycles from the asphalt up for about three years.

"I get the idea for the basic style the customer wants. Then we go to the catalogs. I literally sit down with the customer and design the whole bike out," Mace said.

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The customers pick the frame, front end, engine, transmission and everything else they've ever dreamed of having on their ride. Mace brings it all together in the machine shop behind the store. He builds the engines using Delkron cases and S&S motor parts with STD heads.

"My motors run cooler and longer and smoother than any models in stock," Mace boasted.

He backs that up with a lifetime unconditional guarantee on any defects in workmanship. He ships custom-built engines around the country.

He recalled one satisfied customer, a Custom Chrome dealer rep in California. After having the engine installed "he took it out on the street and won $200 with it the first night street racing."

Mace fits the mold of a biker with a beard, ponytail and an array of tattoos down his arms. Talking to him or reading his newsletter, however, one finds an unabashedly conservative man.

"You won't find anything in it I won't say to your face," he said of the newsletter.

Scooter Trash can supply its customers with more than the nuts, bolts, leather and chrome of biking. His wife Weeze does the tank art and other artistic embellishments for the motorcycles.

"The biggest thing for people when they are deciding on artwork is the color of the bike," she said.

From there the customer can decide on the theme. American Indian scenes, she said, have become increasingly popular.

Bikers seem to like some darker themes, as well, judging from some examples of her work.

"I do a lot of skulls on stuff," she said.

"Eagles are always a standard for Harleys. That and American flags," Weeze added.

Harley Davidson motorcycles are also serviced and repaired at Scooter Trash. Weeze noted, however, that her husband is a bit particular about some foreign makes.

"He's so American," she said.

Holding up a customer's helmet she had painted, Weeze recounted a story from the owner. The man was riding on U.S. 11 one night when a cruiser pulled him over. He was wondering why he had been stopped when the officer asked, "Who did your artwork?"

Dan met Weeze in Winchester, Va., where she was the part-owner of a gallery.

"I wasn't into bikes before I met Dan. I like the people and I like motorcycles and it just sort of fell together."

Dan, 44, has been riding motorcycles for 31 years, but he said his love of two-wheelers goes back even further. With a milk crate, a few wrenches and a can of oil he was repairing bicycles for kids on the sidewalks of New York City when he was 5 years old.

He had a construction company building custom-built homes until he took some time to travel the country and settled down in Martinsburg.

"When I came here I started Scooter Trash almost immediately. I was 34 and getting tired of working with the weather," he said. "I decided to do what I love the most, build motorcycles."

Mace is not opposed to technology, being up to speed on computers. Like many businesses today, Scooter Trash can be found on the Internet at (http//:www.intrepid.net/~rogue).

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