Silhouetted against a stark white garage door, the perfect balance of paint, performance, polish and powder coating radiated from the sleek Suzuki GS750, “Blood, Sweat and Beers,” with a cut steel sign just above calling out the location of 6th City Cycles.
Established in 2017 in Cleveland, OH, 6th City Cycles was built on the talents of two friends, Phil Hudson and Eric Smyczek.
Not your typical dealership, 6th City Cycles is a custom shop that turns out built-to-order bikes and in-house powder coating.
Hudson greeted us as we came to the door, and eagerly gave us a tour of the facility, pointing out all the special custom equipment and talking about the company.
“Our friend PJ Grakauskas came up with the name and Geoff Bradner has been a huge help to us, too,” Hudson said.
The term “6th City” is from when Cleveland was the sixth largest city in the United States.
Hudson and Smyczek lend different specialties to the business, but they share a passion for unique bikes and their collective ideas have resulted in a steadily growing customer base. Both work day jobs, and unlike other builders who work two jobs, they both love their work. Hudson is an automotive detailer and Smyczek is a millwright for a Cleveland operation that sets up heavy equipment for everything from steel mills to craft breweries.
For 6th City Cycles, Hudson handles the design and overall business operation, while Smyczek masterminds the fabrication. However, when it comes to troubleshooting and building, both partners contribute an equal amount of skill. Hudson has mastered wiring the controls and LED lighting systems into older machines that takes them to a whole new level like what we saw on his masterpiece GS750 (which he says is for sale, hint hint).
Knowing that quality is a major key to success, Hudson invested countless hours perfecting the powder-coating process. They, along with help from Bradner, built a custom double-oven, large enough for an entire motorcycle frame. Their efforts not only stand out on their bikes, but the door swings on a regular basis with customers and shops looking specifically to get their parts coated by 6th City Cycles. Hudson has also partnered with Rock-N-Roll City Harley-Davidson in Cleveland, to powder coat numerous components for their shop.
Current builds in progress are a Honda CB750 and a GS550 with a GS750 front end. Hudson pointed out all of the aspects of the builds, showing off the design and fabrication as well as the electronic features and custom lighting.
Hudson provided an up-close look at a custom model, “Blood, Sweat and Beers,” with a push button on the handlebars showcasing the built-in garage door opener. He demonstrated the ease at which the custom fabricated and upholstered seat can be removed for access to the central electronic panel that also housed the lithium battery.
The team at 6th City Cycles has attended multiple motorcycle shows including the IMS show in Cleveland, AMA Vintage Days and several others. The bike “Blood, Sweat and Beers” has already brought in trophies from a few shows (and did we mention it’s for sale?). They’ll be attending Fuel Cleveland and AMA Vintage Days in July, so make sure you stop and check out their work.
With top-notch work, redesigning classic machines for the love of the ride, it is no wonder that business is booming at 6th City Cycles.