Photo by Genghis
WAITING GAME: Powercoating of other parts deferred.
The label is short, but says so much. My ’71 Super Glide Mabel is at Rosa’s Cycles, in Huntington, Long Island for the welding-up of a broken rear exhaust pipe flange. This wasn’t however, the only broken part to be fixed. Andrew Rosa also found a busted mount on her oil tank that he’s going to repair. As you know from my previous article “Unattached,” I wanted several other pieces powdercoated black while Mabel’s at the shop, to match her black powdercoated primary cover and cam cover. I also wanted Mabel’s straight pipes to be rechromed. This is not to be at this time, but for a worthy reason.
As Andrew explained, “The coatings are going to have to wait until after November. The shop’s gotten really busy.” I’ve had a long association with Andrew, and want him and his shop to be as successful as possible. Andrew’s status as a master engine builder and ace mechanic of impeccable integrity in the biker subculture, cannot be overstated. Unlike “master bike builders” who concentrated on the merely cosmetic, the hordes of which couldn’t hope to have half of the engine building and mechanical knowledge that Andrew possesses, Andrew never parlayed his talents into lucrative TV shows, enabling ’em to sell $100 grand unrideable pieces of garish junk to gullible customers. That’s not his style. Andrew flies under the fame radar, dispensing Great Engines That Can to deserving customers.
I’m very glad for Andrew that his business has picked up so dramatically. His business hit a bit of a lull, but has shot through the proverbial roof recently. Nobody deserves a healthy and flourishing business more, than the man behind the “ROSABILT” label. While so-called “master builders” at the height of the economic boom were selling $100,00 customs to rich clients, Andrew Rosa refused to sacrifice his integrity for the almighty dollar. Andrew simply refused to be sucked into the money-driven madness. He once said to me…
“Can you imagine me spending a week making a custom fender for a customer? It’s ridiculous.”
Andrew knows what “keeping it real” means in the biker subculture, and he concentrated on the rudiments of what makes Harleys truly special: Those indomitable Rosabilt Motors that he’s become famous for. Andrew’s never been a fan of affectations and pretentiousness in the culture. Before recession hit, many shops gained money and glory, having their customizing advertised on their TV shows. Andrew refused to join the parade of “master builders” who capitalized on the groupies that they accrued via their television shows. Now that hard economic times wiped out most of these “master builders” and their TV shows, Andrew soldiers on, providing the Harley motor building genius that he always has. Rosa’s Cycles has endured through quality alone, in what matters in real-world motorcycles. The appellation of “Ace Mechanic” has appropriately been applied to Andrew over the years.
Andrew Rosa was a disciple of legendary Connecticut mechanic and motor builder, “Big Jim” McCauley. I first met Andrew 27 years ago, when he took over the service department of Harley-Davidson of New York in Queens, New York. When at New York Harley, Andrew rebuilt Mabel’s top end, and converted her from kickstart only, to electric start. His quality work and his heady integrity with respect to Harley repair and motor building, impressed me and won me over. When he parted company with Harley-Davidson of New York in the early ’90s to start his own shop, he brought plenty of Rosabilt Appreciators along for the ride, including yers truly. When he built Mabel’s stroker motor in 1993 in Kenny Baron’s (his right-hand man) home garage before they found shop space on Long Island, Kenny’s crowded garage was already full of customers’ bikes, waiting to have Rosamagic worked on ’em.
Andrew’s sterling rep among bikers as a motor building guru, is enhanced by his exploits as a champion drag racer, dominating his class with his 9 second Shovelhead. Nothing sells like performance, man—whatcha see is what ya get. I wonder how many Rosabilt Harleys are runnin’ around the east coast of this great nation of ours, right now. Gypsy Rider has one of ’em. Check out what Gypsy Rider has to say:
“My Rosabilt Lowrider. It’s an ’01 Lowrider that Andrew Rosa’s been massaging since I bought it. As of now it’s a 117 putting out 130 hp and 130 lbs. of torque. I’ve run low 11s with the bike but know that it can run 10. Hope to prove it this year at Atco. The bike sports Axtell barrels, CP pistons, Andrews cams and D & D pipes. The best part about Rosa’s is the enormous amount of data they have from a dyno for so long. None of this seat of the pants crap. I bring it in and just ask him to make it faster. Done. Period. Nobody…builds an engine as well as he does.”
Quite a testament from another Rosabilt biker. The depth of mechanical knowledge that Andrew has, coupled with the quality of Harley enhancement that his shop provides, gives real substance behind the Rosabilt name. None of this seat of the pants crap, or $2,000 one-off customs fenders from Andrew, man. All ya get is what matters. Later.