Building champion choppers in Bensonhurst

April 5, 2012 Denise Romano
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Steve Iacona has that winning glow.

The Bensonhurst native took first place in the 2012 Ultimate Builder Custom Bike U.S. Championship in Daytona Beach last month for his 1996 Harley-Davidson XL. He not only won a $4,000 cash prize and a brand new Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle motor, but he is participating in the World Championship, to which only 20 people worldwide are invited, in Sturgis, South Dakota, this August.

It’s a dream come true for Iacona. “Since I was a kid, I wasn’t into sports. I had a wrench in my hand instead of a baseball bat,” he said, adding that he used to work out of his home before he opened Iacona Custom Cycles two years ago on 60th Street. “I had a good customer following and it was a good transition.”

Besides making time for his wife and two kids – ages three and seven – Iacona also works as the night shift maintenance supervisor at Lutheran Medical Center. “They are very supportive, but I have to schedule time to sleep,” he joked.

Here’s a typical day for Iacona: He comes home from Lutheran at about 7 a.m., makes breakfast for his kids and takes them to school. Then he goes to his shop and works on bikes till about 5 p.m. When he returns home, he gets a few hours of shuteye until he goes to Lutheran at 11 p.m.

“It’s a passion,” Iacona said. “I can never make the money for the hours I put into it. I don’t make a lot of money on custom bike building, but that’s what gets you the notoriety.”

Iacona has a big year ahead of him. Besides going to Sturgis in August, he is also trying to build a new bike for a show at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee on Labor Day and is participating in the “Artistry and Iron” show in Las Vegas in September. “It’s an honor to be in that show, I can’t say no,” Iacona said of the Vegas event.

But that’s not all. Iacona said he would like to start making his own parts. “I build motorcycles from scratch, but instead of buying parts from a catalog, I would buy raw materials and make it,” he explained, noting that the starting price on a custom bike is $40,000 and his customer base is usually business owners.

“If I didn’t try, I wouldn’t be happy with myself,” Iacona said. “Anything that comes too easy doesn’t work out too well.”

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