Everyone has their favorite riding hangouts. Entertaining nearby roads are a key ingredient to any popular hangout, whether they entertain scenically or vigorously.
SoCal’s Rock Store, located on the famous Mulholland Highway, has the best of all worlds. Located between the tony seaside town of Malibu and LA’s valley area, the Rock Store is wonderfully linked to picturesque Pacific Coast Highway by a series of serpentine canyon roads that climb through the Santa Monica mountains. On any given weekend, the Rock Store’s parking lot is filled with interesting and exotic bikes, whether of the sport variety or the American V-Twin chopper crowd.
One recent weekend demonstrated the allure of this motorcycling mecca. In among the throngs of cool machinery like a Vincent Black Shadow, and Ecosse Heretic and an original-condition Kawasaki H2 750cc two-stroke were two even more outstanding cycles.
Jay Leno, host of NBC’s The Tonight Show and avid bike enthusiast, is a fairly regular attendee at the Rock Store. Despite his taller-than-expected stature, Jay easily blends into this crowd of motor-heads and is incredibly knowledgeable about anything with a motor. He is amazingly approachable for such a big star and happily walks around bench racing and talking bikes. However, he is known to shy away from Tinseltown talk, so don’t bother asking him, for example, if Cameron Diaz is as good looking in person as she is in the movies.
On this particular Sunday, Jay brought out a crowd favorite his outrageous Y2K Turbine Superbike. Yes, this is the machine that is powered by a Rolls Royce-Allison 25O-C18 turbine engine sourced from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter. Instead of generating thrust like a jet aircraft, the turbine sends its power through a 2-speed gearbox and a chain drive. Jay says that in his nearly 3000 miles on his Y2K, he’s had to replace the sprockets three times because of the stupendous 450 lb-ft of torque the bike generates.
Jay has more miles on a Y2K than anyone, nearly 3000 of them. He says the turbine makes only 10 hp at idle, so the bike is slow to get rolling, but once past 60 mph he says it feels like the hands of God are pushing you. Even with that slow start, he claims the Y2K will do the quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds. Its nod to practicality is that it will run on kerosene or diesel fuel in addition to costly “Jet A” fuel. On the negative side, it goes through its 8.5-gallon tank in about 50 miles: 4 mpg!
The other bike of note on this particular day was the copper bike that was built and ridden by West Coast Chopper’s Jesse James, and ridden to Mexico with his buddy Kid Rock in the Discovery Channel’s Motorcycle Mania 3.
I’ll admit to not recognizing the bike when I first saw it, but I could tell it was definitely something special. Say what you want about the brash bike builder’s personality, but there is no denying his talent at building a stunning chopper.
Taking center stage is the bike’s hand-hammered copper skin that was sculpted by counter-culture icon himself. The rivets joining the copper panels are a distinctive touch among a bike filled with unique details. Also notable are the devil-head pins holding the leather seat to its base, ultra-symmetrical handmade exhaust pipes, and his signature revolver triple clamp than incorporates Jesse James-labeled bullets.
So next time you’re in Southern California, do yourself a favor and take Latigo Canyon from PCH in Malibu up to Mulholland and the Rock Store. The ride up the tight and twisting Latigo, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and hilltop mansions, is unforgettable, and the motorcycle eye candy at the Rock Store especially on Sundays rivals many bike shows.
See you there!
The Rock Store
30354 Mulholland Highway
Cornell, CA 91301