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Pipeburn’s 2013 Bike of the Year Award

Posted on December 26, 2013 by Andrew in Other. 60 comments

2013 has been a massive year for Pipeburn. We’ve got six times the eyeballs looking at the site now than we did this time last year. And on top of that, we’ve had an amazing run of great bikes. They were easily our best ever. So to celebrate, we thought we’d end 2013 on a high and introduce something that we’re calling the Pipeburn Bike of the Year Award. See that 2kg trophy of perfectly machined and polished stainless steel in the picture above? That’s our way of giving a little back to the scene and recognising the bike and builder that has defined 2013. So we’ve gone back over every bike to count comments, tally Facebook likes and measure absolute coolness to come up with our top 10 for 2013. The bike in the No. 1 spot takes the trophy. And what a bike it is…


10. ‘77 Honda PA50III – Matt Turner

In the number 10 spot is a moped that is easily the most detailed, well-though-out and polished ‘ped build we’ve ever seen. Owner Matt poured his heart and soul into it and took on some serious engineering challenges, including modding the engine and electrics to run backwards for the bike’s transmission. And then he gave it away in a raffle. Crazy? Possibly. Genius? Definitely.


9. ‘08 BMW R1200R – Galaxy Customs

This one came way out of left field. Or should that be East Field? Ivaylo, the man behind Bulgaria’s Galaxy Customs, had one thought when he commenced the build; he wanted to create something that was retro on the outside and modern on the inside. Not only did he manage that in spades, but he’s also beaten BMW’s top designers to the punch by pre-empting their brand new R nine T model by a good 12 months. Impressive stuff.


8. ’47 BSA B33 – Briton Bees

The Bees bikes are a perennial favourites of ours, and this year Emmanuel has really managed to blow us away. Effortlessly making the transition from motocyclettes to bigger, bolder builds he dropped this one on us in March. Only the best of builders could take a classic like this and make it better than when they started; which is just what he did with a little help from Jake Hall at HCV Motorsports. Have they done a deal with the devil at midnight? We like to think so.


7. Michael Alton’s ‘69 BSA Firebird

From one classic BSA to another; this one is almost a quarter century younger than the bike in our No. 8 position, yet somehow it manages to look like it’s Grandpappy. It’ll come as no surprise, then, that owner Mike’s main inspiration for the build was his Grandmother’s bike ridin’, roller-derbyin’ exploits in the 1930s. Using your granny as a creative muse? Now there’s a Pipeburn first.


6. ‘82 Yamaha XV750 – Hageman Motorcycles

There’s not much to say about Doc’s Chops a.k.a. Greg Hageman that hasn’t already been said. He was the builder at the pointy end of the Yahama Virago trend that turned the model from a customiser’s bad joke to a bike lover’s wet dream. And this one is in all black. With a number board. And gold lettering. There’s a reason why there’s a Yamaha Virago in the Pipeburn garage, and we call that reason ‘Greg’.


5. ‘83 BMW R80 – ER Motorcycles

It seems that nothing gets our reader’s blood pumping more than a well-executed BMW build. And this bike takes ‘well exectued’ and shoots it to the moon. There’s not one part of this bike that hasn’t been worked to within an inch of it’s life; the seat looks like it was made by Louis Vuitton. It even has it’s own bespoke labeling. It’s another bolt from the blue of Eastern Europe’s burgeoning scene – this time it’s ER Motorcycles and their main man Blaž Šuštaršič with a bike they call ‘The Mobster’.


4. Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone – Medaza Cycles

This is the bike that took the 2013 AMD Custom Bike Building World Champion’s title. What more can we say? Don Cronin, Medaza’s head honcho, now gets to call himself the best custom bike builder in the world without an ounce of irony, boastfulness or dishonesty. How cool is that?


3. Yamaha Scorpio – Thrive Motorcycles

If movies shaped your childhood as much as they did ours, then there’s no doubt that you’ll have a special place in your hear for the original Star Wars trilogy. As die-hard bike lovers, the closest you’ll come to motorcycles in that galaxy far, far away were the Empire’s Speeder bikes. And the closest you’ll ever come to riding one is this amazing build by Jakarta’s Indra and his Thrive Motorcycles. The force is strong with this one.


2. ‘77 BMW R60/7 – ER Motorcycles

And again! You know you’re doing something right when you can turn out two killer bikes in the same year. Which is just what Blaž and the boys at ER Motorcycles have done. But just how killer is it? You’re now looking at the bike that holds the all-time Facebook likes record on Pipeburn. 4,300 likes to be exact. That’s so many that we almost gave it top honors by default. But there was always one bike that was up to the challenge…


1. Royal Enfield Bullet 500 – Hazan Motorworks

It’s rare to say that a bike has changed the way you think about custom builds. As amazing as all the other bikes on this list are, it would be difficult for them lay claim to construction techniques that break new ground. This bike can. It isn’t so much about thinking outside the square; it’s more about taking everything you know about squares and setting them on fire. Twice. You may know him as Max Hazan from Hazan Motorworks, but we’d like to refer to him as the inaugural winner of the Pipeburn Bike of the Year Award. Congratulations Max! We will be in touch and hope to get the trophy over to you as soon as possible.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everone who helped us make this award happen. Massive thanks to Paul McKinnon from Evolution Motorsports in Sydney who made the amazing trophy for us. His workmanship and attitude is second to none. We’d also like to thank Junior Burrell at Retro Moto who not only let us use his photo for the first image in the article but who also missed out on a top 10 spot by this much – as did Russell Mechanica’s BMW, Sur les Chapeaux de Roues’ CB750 and Rajputana Custom’s Royal Enfield. Oh, and Craig Johnston’s Kermit.

We’d also like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the builders, readers and fans who supported us in 2013. We couldn’t have done it without you. See you in all in 2014.

  • Royal enfeld I like I likeeeeee

  • Bob

    Very appropriate mix of bikes, I do love the mechanical look of that Enfield!

  • revdub

    Here’s to a great list and a great year of Pipeburn!! Thanks for all you do to make this place awesome.

    • Jezza! As always, it’s a real pleasure to have you around. How about another build for 2014?

      • revdub

        I’m still trying to decide whether or not the RD 250 will be 2014’s full build. But, you can be sure that if it is, I’ll keep my friends at Pipeburn in the know. Happy New Year!!

  • Mr Mac

    What a year for custom bike building!

  • chchch

    congrats manny!! another beautiful bee build!

  • NateK

    congrats to Max Hazan and Pipeburn both, thanks for a great year!

  • Fantome_NR

    If I have to pick from this list, for me it’s a tossup between the Guzzi and the Royal Enfield. And the R1200 R is very very VERY close behind the both of them…

  • Michael Alton

    I’d just like to say how honored and humbled I feel to be in the ranks of such great builders. This site drives me to want to build better bikes. Thank you so much!

  • docschops

    Great lineup Andrew! You’ve got a nice display of different designs, each a thing of beauty in their own way. Congrats on the increase in site traffic and thanks for supporting us builders. 🙂 Will be doing the same for you

    • Much appreciated, Greg! And don’t sweat the payback; you’ll be cursing the day we were born once we start hitting you up with Virago tech questions for our build. You’re OK with early morning phone calls from Sydney, yes? 😉

  • Luis Mena



      Couldn’t agree more, Luis.

  • Bultaco Metralla

    A fabulous collection of motorcycles. it would be churlish to disagree with any of them. The Hazan Enfield deserves first place for sheer ingenuity, craftsmanship and because it was built from scratch.

  • arnold

    Two BSA s. If you keep spoiling us like this we will not grow up to be well adjusted adults.
    All ten are phenomenal.ald

  • Lobster

    Well done Max

  • Junior Burrell

    Congrats to everyone!!!!

  • Ivan

    The most blood exploding is #9 BMW

  • Sooty

    Thanks for a great read. Love the articles and the bikes. Keep it up.

  • nikola

    Galaxy Customs R1200R!! A real piece of art!

  • Troy

    Congrats for those that made the top ten for this prestigous award, you truly desrve it. And for those that missed out, don’t worry, the people who are judging you probably don’t build bikes anyway.

  • Grigoriy Georgiev

    Number 9!

  • オートバイの興味深いミックス。また、視聴者の好みの票を持っているのだろうか?

    • ‘Interesting mix of motorcycle. Also, I wonder have the votes of viewer preferences?’

      Although the final say comes down to us, the number of FB likes and comments is our main consideration. It doesn’t matter how great the bike is, if it only got 200 likes and 5 comments, it simply won’t make it into the final list.

  • MaxwellHazan

    Thanks for all of the kind words, I’m truly flattered by this award. 2013 was an amazing year, looking forward to getting started on the next project in the new shop on the west coast in 2014.

    • Amazing year indeed! We’ll be engraving the trophy asap and getting it across to you ASAP Max. Good luck on the West Coast and we genuinely cannot wait to see what you come up with next.

  • coldsunshine

    Great year of Pipeburn! I think we’re going to see some awesome things in 2014 and I for one am looking forward to it.

    As always, some picks I agree, others not so much, and others just wondering why they didn’t make it, blah, blah, blah. If I got to ride one away, I’d have to go with the Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone though I may add a piece of foam between my googles and that tank.

    Raise your glass to the Pipeburn lads and all their hard work.

  • Greg Simanson

    not sure about #2

    • It’s had the most FB likes of any bike we’ve ever posted…

  • Briton Bees

    Wow , thank you PipeBurn ! you guys have been a continuous support of the community and we love it , congrats to all the other builders ! i am once again humbled …now let’s make some more noise for 2014

  • congratulations Maxwell !

  • Shed-X

    congratulations to all who made it up there and thanks to the guys at Pipeburn for giving all us builders and tinkerers the opportunity to get our bikes out there …. all the best for 2014

  • nathas909

    I would have to admit I am surprised by number 2. It is a lovely clean looking bike, but as far as a project pushing the boundaries, it has nothing on the other 9 on the list.
    I guess thats why it made the list. Its a clean well executed build.
    Thanks Pipeburn for waisting 15 minutes of my life every day or 2013, and you can take that as the biggest of compliments. I love your site.

  • Brad White

    Congrats to all the above and thanks again Andrew, having my Trump on your site was one of my 2013 highlights. Please continue to push the bar of craftsmanship and absurdity in the new year.

  • Peitro Petrelli

    Very good list! IMHO, your site has become the go-to site for handbuilt bikes. Its much better than bikejpg. You show bikes built by everyday men and women. Thankyou for your hard work, and showing our biking family the whole world.

  • Davidabl2

    I guess originality was the #1 criterion..which is fair enough, though not stated explicitly so far as i can tell.

    • Check this out.

      • Davidabl2

        Thats’ as original as it gets.. and as narrow as it gets 😉

      • coldsunshine

        I’d forgotten how much work those fellas put into that thing. Beautiful.

  • Patriccio

    I spent more time grooving through this website this past year than I did watching TV or doing the dishes, even. The Beemers in the list are awesome; my buttocks itch to be seated upon them. An ’83 R80 w/ a plunger rear end! The 69 BSA is wonderful, but I would have to find a very petite chick to sit on the pillion and accompany me into the sunset. With that bike I would find her pretty damned fast! I love these bikes. Congrats on a great website.

  • hnnssen

    Very nice to see 3 (three!) BMW’s here! I still find beemers some of the most (aesthetically) challenging bikes to customise… all 10 bikes featured here are a superb representation of what’s going on out there! Looking forward to a promising 2014!

  • evgeni

    best BMW R 1200 R custom…….

  • Zundap

    A great site. I enjoy looking at it often. Congratulations to all the builders who actually completed a bike project never mind doing it well enough to make it to the web. My first choice is the 47 BEZA. Just looks right. ..Z

  • Thanks to Andrew and the crew behind Pipeburn for this awesome site that
    gave us all a better chance to come up with something different every
    time. We are stunned by the work of Hazan Motorworks and can’t wait to
    see what’s coming next in 2014. Congrats to all on the top10 list!

    • Blaž! Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next. Happy New Year.

  • Nice list. The BSA Firebird is my personal favorite.

  • Jeff Gundlach ,

    Where is my Raven??
    I built a totally new bike that really works and it must have fallen through the cracks…again!

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