Billy Joel Built a Motorcycle for Bruce Springsteen
Born a few months apart in the New York area, lifelong labelmates and members of the (other) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen have a lot in common. In addition, both are also well-known motorcycle fans, and Joel has built a bike for his old friend.
The story, as reported in Cycle World, comes from a new book, ‘Rockin’ Garages’ by Tom Cotter and Ken Gross. In the book, Joel, who owns a custom motorcycle shop in a town known as Oyster Bay, Long Island, told Cotter of how it came to be. “Bruce is always looking for a character bike,” he said. “I told him about our shop, so he came down in the middle of winter. It’s freezing—minus five degrees—and he wants to take out my Sacred Cow bobber. I said, ‘Are you crazy?’ It’s so cold, and he had no gear, just a helmet.”
Still, the weather and lack of apparel did not deter Springsteen from testing out the bike. “After a ride, he came back and said, ‘I want you to build me that bike.’” Joel continued. “So he gave us the specs, and we’re almost finished with it. It started out as a Kawasaki W650. The frame is black and the tank will be metalflake gold. Man, he’s hard core.”
Billy Joel’s love of motorcycles is nothing new. He’s been collecting bikes since the mid-1970s. In 1982, he was involved in a motorcycle accident when a driver ran a red light and hit him. In an ironic twist, the only damage the Piano Man suffered was to his hands – he shattered a bone in his left thumb and dislocated his right wrist.