Interview with Pete Talabach | A Look Inside Mohawk Garage

As fans of vintage two wheeled machines, having the right mechanic is a must.  Fortunately we've built a relationship with one of the best out there - Pete Talabach of Mohawk Garage.  Focused on "rare and unusual motorcycles" Pete opened the shop in December 1971 and has never looked back. We had the pleasure of sitting down to talk shop, side car racing and the ins and outs of all things two wheels. 

MB: What was your first bike?
PT: 1955 Harley Davidson KHK

MB: When did you know your love for motorcycles was more than just a hobby?
PT: I’ve loved motorcycles from my very earliest memories. I can remember being 3 or 4 years old and the kid across the street had probably a Harley Davidson Knucklehead or maybe a ULH Flathead and I’d hear him start that thing and run down the center hall of our apartment and go onto the porch and watch him go down the street….I was just amazed.

MB: What's the most important for a first time purchaser?
PT: Your starter motorcycle wants to be light enough so that it does no intimidate you…. Basically what you want is something small, light, and cheap.” 

MB: What are the most common errors you find that weekend mechanics make?
PT: The biggest single thing is over tightening things. If you over tighten you break bolts.

MB: Tell us about your days sidecar racing
PT: Sidecar racing is a funny wife and I went to the Isle of Man to the TT races in 1985 on our honeymoon. We were in Ramsey as the first side car was going on. There's a footbridge that goes over the main street in Ramsey.  We were standing on the bridge. The sidecars would go 175-180 MPH. They came onto the main street from the right, sliding around the corner and came flying underneath us. My wife's jaw just fell open and she said to me, 'we've got to do that"

"It's a team thing. It's like dancing. Interaction between the passenger and driver is critical to go fast. If either one of you makes a mistake, it costs you..."

Do you have a mechanic like Pete in your neck of the woods?  We'd love to hear about them.  Post to the comments below.

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