Finally I had the chance to talk to Rafik. Here's how everything went down:
Up Yours Bblog: Please introduce yourself for our readers.
Rafik Kaissi: I come from a very artitistc family in Beirut, Lebanon. Dad was a painter and a sculpturer, so is my sister and my brother. People always asked why I didn't have the talent. I was too busy riding bikes and chasing girls :)
I moved to America in 1986 mainly to get away from the civil war. At the time it didn't look like there was a future for me there anymore. New York city first and then settled down in Austin Texas. I worked security at a very high end club for the first 5 years and it got old. So I went to school to be a hair dresser.
UY: Since when have you decided to start working on bikes ?
RK: After 14 years of doing hair and after seeing that most custom bikes look the same. I realized that I want to try to build a one of a kind motorcycle that would represent my personality.
UP: How do you describe yourself ? Custom bike builder, an innovator, a guy with a welding torch and a lot of imagination ?
RK: I have no fabricating or welding or designing background. Everything is self taught. But what I do have is a very wild imagination, a creative and
UY: What was your first creation ever ?
RK: That was the RK Backbone.
UY: From where do you get the ideas, your inspiration ?
RK: My inspiration comes from movies like Mad Max (Mel Gibson). I'm hoping one day I would get contacted by some movie production company to build them some bikes for the new Mad Max or something in that nature.
UY: Why are you using Buell engines only? It's a personal preference or is it something else ?
RK: You ask why I use Buell engines. 2 reasons. First of all I don't have alot of money. I buy Buell engines and rebuild them. Second reason, I like using suspended engines without the down tubes like all sports bikes. I"m working on networking myself. Talking to S&S right now about an sponsorship. We'll see.
UY: Which project took the longest to build or pissed you off to the extreme ?
RK: All the bikes I built I kept. I do not have titles for them. I build my own frames as you can see and do not have a manufacturing licence so therefore they would have to be sold as.
Out of all the bikes I've built... I wouldnt say it pissed me off but definitely the most challenging one was the RK S. I honetly build that bike without a frame jig if you can believe that! I only used laser beam and a level. It was tough but I think it came out beautiful with lots of details that you really can't see in pictures.
UY: What was the public's reaction after they saw what you are doing ?
RK: It's always the same reaction and questions. "WOW!" or "How do u think of this stuff?'' . Or ''Are you an engineer by trade?" . Or "these bikes belong in movies" or "this is the best shit I've seen!" .
UY: Everything on this planet has a price. What is the price of The RK Fighter, for example ?
RK: Obvioustly I'm not doing this for money or fame. Art pieces. $$$... You tell me what they're worth :)
(UY : A lot. )
Believe it or not, these bikes are built on a budget and with the help of my great sponsers.
UY: What are you workin on right now ? Do you have something new in the jig ?
RK: I am curently working on 3 new concepts for next year that I invisioned and drew up. Very inovative stuff. And can't wait to see the reaction of people.
UY: Hopes, plans for the future ?
RK: It's a big passion of mine and we'll see what the future brings.
UY: Thank you for your patience and for your input Rafik. We are waiting to be mind blown by your newest creations. We're watching you !
As a side note:
Rafik insisted that we would also give big props and many thanks to his sponsors, without whom his creations would not be as cool as they are. So, thank you guys! I really hope that S&S will agree to sponsor RK Concepts. They must be out of their minds not to! I mean c'mon....take another look at what RK comes up with !!!