Common Tread

Chopper builder Tom Fugle dead at 75

Dec 19, 2016

Bike-builder, artist, and founding member of El Forastero Motorcycle Club Tom Fugle died at his home yesterday in Sioux City, Iowa. He was 75.

A memorial service is planned at a later date, yet to be determined, according to Waterbury Funeral Service. 

Tom built traditional choppers for his entire adult life. He was an invited builder at Born-Free 6, and the same bike he built there was shown at the Yokohama Hot Rod Custom show in Japan later in 2014. Fugle was good friends with Dave Mann, a fellow El Forastero member and artist. Fugle delivered a eulogy at Mann’s funeral in 2004.  

Despite his relative lack of mainstream fame until late in life, Tom kept at building the bikes integral to the movement he helped pioneer in the 1960s. Fugle built bikes that many today cite as inspirational. Fugle seemed to thrive off others building the same bikes, even riders who were decades younger than himself.

His passing is not likely to show up in most of the motorcycle press, but because of his stature and influence in chopper circles, it's no surprise that generations of riders and builders are currently mourning.

If you are unfamiliar with Fugle and his work, his Born Free builder video gives a snapshot of the man and his capabilities. 

Godspeed, Tom.