This was about 15 years ago, back home in Hawaii. I had been going all over the island looking for a like minded shop... I didn't even know exactly what that was but I definitely did not agree with putting on wide Fat Boy bars and switching to forward controls.
The last place I tried checking out was Dreamers Cycle in Pearl City, which wasn't easy to find. In the back section of an industrial area, Dreamers was a small shop at the end of a brick building. Walking in the first time, I seen this Sportster parked outside. Kinda had a feeling that I found the right shop when I seen that bike.
Craig Nishida was the parts guy there and also worked on many of the bikes, especially all the Sportsers that came through there for repairs or upgrades. In a small island in the pacific, surrounded by 2500 to 3000 miles of vast ocean, I was lucky enough to have met a guy that ended up teaching me all the basics of how I perceive motorcycles today. Function over fashion was how Craig rolled. He didn't care what was going on or what people perceived as "cool", he's into whatever he liked and that was it.
The coolest thing was seeing Craig and his bike in action; quickly splitting the streets and corners like a rusty knife, his rear set pegs sitting him in full-time attack position. I think his bike spoke for the both of them. Total one of a kind characters. Years before their time. The last time I seen that bike, about 9 years ago now, it had 160,000 fucking miles on it.
I hit up Brawny to see if had anything to say about Craig as well. Check it out:
I first met in 1996 when I happened to be in Hawaii for the summer. Nelson had taken me to Dreamers, "Let those who ride, decide", and introduced me to the Dreamers crew, after I totaled my Sportster when some old man made an illegal left-hand turn in front of me. I still remember one of the first things Craig said to me when I met him after my accident, "Yup! California drivers, they drive crazy! But Hawaii drivers, they drive stupid!!"
At the time, I didn't know that I was meeting the best parts guys around. What I soon learned was Craig is not just a hero, but he is someone who has influenced the way I look at bikes today. Not only was he one of the best parts guys in a 3K mile radius, his Sportster would confuse the posers of then and now. Two words, "Mad Max!", and it ruled! Being a Sportster owner myself, I looked to Craig for advice and guidance. His way of thinking made sense to me. He did things that worked and functioned, he was never one to jump into a scene. He put thousands upon thousands of miles on his sporty. And in my opinion there's no better testing of parts or designs, than real everyday riding. And his real world R&D is priceless!
Even though there were a handful of shops in the Oakland area that I would get my parts from, I would still call Craig for how-to's, what-to's, even where-to's. No matter what, he was always cool and helped me out with all my questions. Not too many people would take the time to help some kid living in Cali. with all his Sportster issues. More importantly, he shared what he knew with me.
Craig now resides in the Corvallis, OR area.