WINTERPORT — Since April 25, 1981, owners of antique and classic Harley and Indian motorcycles have relied on Bill Rutolo to keep their bikes maintained at Old Iron Cycles at 75 Baker Road in this Penobscot River town.
“He was a vehicle mechanic, doing motorcycles on the side,” said Jaynie Rutolo, Bill’s wife, during a recent interview. “Then he opened up his own business” 33 years ago.
Since then Bill Rutolo has specialized in repairing and restoring antique and classic Harley-Davidson motorcycles. “For the past 33 years, flatheads, shovelheads, panheads, knuckleheads, and iron head sportsters have passed through the doors of Old Iron Cycles,” Jaynie said.
Bill Rutolo has restored many “basket cases,” Jaynie said. She explained that a biker “will buy the frame or a rolling chassis (a frame and wheels)” and bring the bike (or at least its existing components) to Old Iron Cycles for restoration.
“He restores them for people who find one in bad shape, even the old Harleys from the [World] war [II]. The last [wartime] one he did was a 1942 Harley,” which was painted in olive drab, she said.
Bill Rutolo has seen “just about everything” in terms of an antique or classic motorcycle’s condition,” Jaynie said. “A bike is found in a barn” and has not been ridden for a while, or someone buys a bike that has been disassembled and stored in boxes.
“He restores the bike to mint condition,” Jaynie said.
Old Iron Cycles can also build a custom bike for a motorcyclist.
Some bikers who cannot afford to purchase a new motorcycle may buy an older bike instead. “An old bike is like an old car; it needs maintenance, and some people don’t know how to repair them,” Jaynie said.
“People don’t have the knowledge, so they bring their bikes” to Old Iron Cycles for service, she said.
Bill rebuilds engines and transmissions. The shop is equipped with the lifts and special tools needed to work on bikes.
Bill orders tires for antique, classic, and modern Harleys and Indians; according to Jaynie, some owners of restored bikes “want the wide whitewalls on them.
“Other people ask, ‘What’s the least expensive tire?’” she said.
Old Iron Cycles is an authorized Harley after-market parts dealer. “Our manufacturers [that] we deal with only make after-market parts for Harleys and some Indians,” Jaynie said. “We don’t have a big volume of Indians.”
The shop is also an authorized state-inspection station for motorcycles of all makes.
A member of United Bikers of Maine and Aid to Injured Motorcyclists, Old Iron Cycles sells accessories, leathers, and T-shirts. According to Jaynie, “Bill’s shop has an entire counter devoted to publications of interest to bikers, including motorcycle events, riding destinations, road maps, and even bumper stickers, all of which are free.”
Among other days of the week, Old Iron Cycles is open on Sunday, which is convenient for bikers either needing service or buying parts and oil for servicing their own motorcycles.
For more information, call 223-2284.