Explore the culture of vintage motorcycle restoration from inside the shop of Sasha Haleta Owner of Sasha’s Cycles of Sturgis. “Ride safe and take care of each other” is their unofficial motto and it’s evident that people are the center of their motorcycle journey. Located on Lazelle Street in Sturgis, South Dakota, they barter, buy and build motorcycles with the intent of having them riding into the next generation. Annual motorcycle events showcase the talent and passion behind bringing together the community in celebration of their beloved craft.  

RBMA: What makes Sasha’s Cycles of Sturgis a unique motorcycle shop?    

Haleta: It’s quite simple, we don’t care. We don’t care what kind of bike you pull up on, we don’t care how many followers you have, we don’t care what club you’re in, we don’t care if you like what we’re building or doing at our shop. At Sasha’s Cycles, we only do things that make us happy and we don’t care if anyone likes it.  If you do, that’s cool, if you don’t well that’s cool too, you’re still welcome here.  What we do care about is how you treat people, because making sure everyone feels welcome is what we’re all about.  My wife Lindsay and I have been building a community that is an oasis in the middle of the chaos, a place where good, positive vibes rule the block.    

 

 

 

Sasha and his wife Lindsay in their shop (Photo: Austin J. Peck) 

 

RBMA: What is the allure of vintage motorcycles compared to modern machines?   

Haleta: The allure is that when I grew up in the 80s, guys who rode Harleys had to kick start them. You had to be tough to ride them, you had to be able to push them down the highway when they broke down and you had to know how to fix them.  Vintage motorcycles take me back to a time when I was young and the world was a lot simpler.   

 

 

Sasha working on a ‘42 WLA (Photo: Austin J. Peck) 

 

RBMA: What fuels your passion to continue a business in the vintage motorcycle industry?   

Haleta: The next find. The next vintage bike was somewhere in a barn that was cast away. Our true passion for vintage motorcycles is rooted in the history of the bike. Every bike has a story, and we have made it our duty to preserve that history.   

 

Sound Check before the Sasha’s Cycles Block Party (Photo: NoxBox Photography) 

 

RBMA: Do you have a favorite motorcycle build? What is the story behind it and what gives it special meaning?   

Haleta: My favorite build has to be my 1952 FL. When my wife and I decided to move from Eastern South Dakota to Sturgis, we never could have imagined how our lives would change. This build started in the middle of our move, I got the frame from Florida and picked up the engine in Iowa. I had the major players in my build but had no shop at this time. After countless lost bids, we had decided that I’d start the build in our garage and with patience, we’d find the shop that was meant to be ours. When we changed our mindset, fate intervened and what is now home to Sasha’s Cycles of Sturgis became ours. This build is the first build completed entirely in Sturgis and it humbles me every time it’s featured in a magazine. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined one of my builds would be featured in so many international magazines. This bike has opened doors I never knew were there and is our constant reminder to keep our heads down and get to work, even when it feels like the world is working against us.    

 

Sasha dialing in the ‘52 FL 

 

1952 FL welcoming riders to the 2021 Last Call Biggest Balls Chopper Show 

 

RBMA: Have you ever been in a motorcycle accident?   

Haleta: Yeah, yes I have.  The worst two happened last summer. A deer jumped over a guard rail right in front of me by Pactola Lake and an asshole drag racing his bagger rear-ended me on my favorite chopper as we were closing up shop, sending me sliding half a block with my bike on top of me. Every wreck teaches you something. These wrecks last summer taught me that as much as I focus on the road ahead and my surroundings, to be prepared for people who may be lurking in the shadows unseen. I also learned to be cautious of those behind me, those in my past, as they’ll come out of nowhere and try to ruin you.  There are two types of riders, those who have crashed and those who are going to crash. You always have to be prepared and that’s why riding with Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys is non-negotiable. 

 

RBMA: Has restoring old motorcycles taught you any valuable life lessons?   

Haleta: Patience. Restoring vintage bikes requires a ton of patience. From finding the parts you need to troubleshooting someone’s hack job done 30 years ago, you just never know what you’ll find when restoring old bikes. It’s also taught me to be humble, the most important lesson of life. Just when you think the build is done and it’s ready to roll, something happens and you have more problems to troubleshoot. If you want to work on vintage bikes you have to be humble, a lot of the troubleshooting can’t be found in books or on YouTube. That’s prized information that takes years to figure out and is not easily passed down. You have to be humble and willing to listen and learn. Running your mouth will get you nowhere in the vintage motorcycle business or life.   

 

 

Sasha troubleshooting the 42 WLA (Photo: Austin J. Peck) 

 

RBMA: Any tips or tricks of the trade to guide beginners looking to start a restoration project of their own?   

Haleta: Yeah, find another hobby! [Laughs] Be patient and whatever allowance you made for your budget, just plan on doubling that and you’ll be ok.  

 

 

Sasha and the Electric Kool Aid Bondo Baby, Lake Mead (Photo: Austin J. Peck) 

 

RBMA: What can attendees of the annual Sasha’s Cycles Block Party and Last Call Biggest Balls Chopper Show expect?   

Haleta: An eclectic group of young people who are the new, exciting foundation for the motorcycle community. The Block Party will have live music. We’ve partnered with our friends from Mama Tried and Flat Out Friday to bring a taste of Milwaukee to Sturgis! The Block Party was full of surprises last year and we have a few more surprises up our sleeves for this year as well. If you’re reading this, make your plans now to be at Sasha’s Cycles! 

 

 

Sasha’s Cycles debut at Mama Tried 

 

 

If you’re still standing and your Chopper is still running by the end of the Rally, then The Last Call Biggest Balls Chopper Show is the show for you! This show has been called the only old-school Chopper Show of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally by attendees. We take great pride in hosting this show, with friends hanging out under the shade of our trees relaxing on couches, reminiscing about the week, and saying their “see ya laters.” The choppers and bikes that show up to our show get better and more numerous each year. In the past, we were honored by the infamous Michael Lichter who spent the morning with us and captured this experience on film. The best part of our Chopper Show isn’t always the bikes, it’s the people who attend that make this event one of our favorites of the week. A place where every person and every bike are welcome, the true heart and soul of Sasha’s Cycles of Sturgis.   

 

Sasha directing traffic at the Last Call Biggest Balls Chopper Show (Photo: Mad Stork) 

 

 

Visit Sasha’s Cycles of Sturgis website and Follow on Instagram and Facebook for all the Latest and Greatest Events, Shop Happenings & Bike Builds. 

Be sure to Follow Sasha on Instagram & His Wife Lindsay too! 

Check out the entire Sasha’s Cycles of Sturgis Photo Album 

Follow the blogger, Audrey Hurley on social media @audreychurley. 

 

 

“If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, don’t let it steal your freedom! Call 1-800-4-BIKERS to learn how an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can get your bike fixed, money for your medical bills, and compensation for your pain and suffering.”