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Blitz Motorcycles


Posted on January 17th, by Scott in Video. 31 comments

Hugo and Fred from Blitz Motorcycles have been sending us their bikes for years now. The funny thing is, we didn’t really know much about them. We obviously knew they were French. We knew they were building some unconventional looking bikes out of a small garage in Paris. We also knew they loved leaving the rust, dents and original paint on the vintage tanks they use. But we didn’t know much else. It’s great to hear their story and the sacrifices they have been through to fulfil their dream of building motorcycles for a living. It’s also great to see Hugo rocking a Sydney Café Racers trucker cap – the French being know for their impeccable taste in fashion.





  • Paul

    Le simple sacrifice à l’heure actuel en France de n’gagner que peu d’argent montre votre vrai passion. Chapeau Blitz, n’changez rien sincèrement vos vidéos sont top. J’ai beaucoup aimé l’évolution de la barbe chez le barbue brun par rapport aux plus anciennes vidéos ! ;) Bonne continuation !

    • Jo

      Certes ces messieurs de Blitz travaillent encore dans un garage dégueulasse et passent du temps à entretenir leurs barbes mal taillées et leurs cheveux ébouriffés, sans même parler de leurs tenues, mais je crains fort que ce ne soient malheureusement que des poseurs, passant le plus clair de leur temps à vouloir justifier une légitimité de petit garage sympa tout en visant une clientèle de gens aisés ayant quelque chose à prouver (en achetant chez eux). C’est ce qui justifie, à mon avis, l’insistance à vouloir des machines correctes en guises de « donneuses » et à en faire des simili-poubelles roulantes, façon brêle utilitaire en Afrique…
      Si vous vous intéressez au sujet, je vous conseille la lecture de Generation Moto
      n°5 (août 2013) qui leur consacre un article avec notamment une interview tristement révélatrice…

      Despite working in a disgusting garage and spending time keeping their beard and hair ugly, not even talking about their fancy usually fakely-used clothes, I’m afraid Blitz Motorcycle are just a pair of wanabees / poseurs, spending most of their energy trying to justify their legitimacy as a small garage while attracting mostly wealthy customers who have something to prove (by sending their bikes there). This is why, IMO, they insist on having decent donor bikes and transforming them into African-style salvaged motorcycles.

      I have paid serious attention to many custom bike builders (including them) and I read what I just said in an interview in French excellent magazine ‘Generation Moto’ issue #5 (august 2013)

      • Paul

        C’est un tout autre point de vue argumenté pour sur auquel j’n’ai pas pu penser en voyant cette belle vidéo. J’essaierai de suivre votre conseil en farfouillant et cherchant, et me ferrai ma propre opinion après avoir lu ce fameux article !
        Paul

      • http://www.ratherberiding.co.za/ Wesley Reyneke

        As a South African, I’d love to know what you mean by “African-style”.

        As someone who loves the world of custom bikes, I’m curious to know what Blitz did to piss you off to the point that you would feel the need to criticise them so bitterly. By all means, if you do not like or appreciate their style or work, you are free to say so – but why resort to name calling?

        • Joe

          You’ll notice that I said “African-style salvaged”, not customised, and by that, I mean the urge to make a functioning vehicle out of whatever you can find considering you often can’t throw money in it. I actually have no idea about what the African / South-African custom scene looks like and what are your aethetical trends btw.
          About what I feel about their work, I don’t totally puke on it, they have even done some bikes that looked ok to me. What I can’t stand is their attitude : “we sell you a bike with bits taken here and there from old, cheap and more or less rusted bikes (that we will NOT repaint !) like if you had done it yourself with mind 100% focused on making it work no matter how ugly and sloppy-finished it looks so you can pretend to be quite unwealthy yet totally passionate about bikes.”
          The problem is, these bikes are not “home made” by their owners, they are bought at an extensive price considering the finished product and most of their customers are mid-30’s senior executives. That raises the question : when you can easily afford a brand new Diavel, BMW S1000RR, HD Touring or whatever you like, what is your point into providing a well working old nice bike and having it modded to look like junk ? I can only come back to the conclusion that this is related to posing (as a low earning do-it-yourself motorcyclist enthusiast).
          Also the 2 guys owning Blitz said something like “we pay attention to how people dress, if they have a cool style, etc.”, I couldn’t quote them exactly but it was kind of “if you can’t or won’t wear expensive overused-looking clothes, we will ignore you” which brings me back to thinking about poseurs again.
          In general, I would say they surf on the wave of greasy handed bearded* hipsters who want to display themselves with some specific kind of bike but won’t go through the honorable (or not, I don’t judge this) process of making yourself that kind of machine.

          My informations come from several videos they made in the past, what I could read on pipeburn or other good sites about bikes and an interview from last summer that I mentionned earlier.

          * bearded is 2013 fashion, you had to wear a retro-moustache in 2012 but, you know, it’s become the normal fashion now so it sucks.

          • ccc40821

            By now I’ve seen a good number of hipster-motorcycle-movies, all of which have the usual slo-mo scenes, rides on rough ground etc. etc. All nice and fine when that happens. It’s not my generation (choppers, long hair, smoke), but these kids do it their way, now living in a time of constant self-exposure.

            Somehow this Blitz video was a bit different, and for the better. Their bikes of course have pretty much the same styling cues as their counterparts in other countries, but the fact that the guys gave up other and more profitable careers to do what they really like is admirable in itself.

            They may come across as phonies to you, but not to me.

          • T

            You’ve got it so wrong my friend.. What’s wrong with having a vintage look and feel to a bike. If someone wants a fine finished look they’ll go somewhere else. Who cares if senior executives buy the bikes (which I doubt very much is their main demographic). You’re a snob. Do us a favour a keep those thoughts to yourself.

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Love the movie, love the bikes and love the pissed off comment from Jo. What a dummy spit! Peut-etre Jo vous etes jaloux? You’ll have to pardon my desecration of your beautiful language but i can’t resist. It is forty years since I lived in Paris but the movie brings it all back. The best bit is that we get to see the bikes in motion with a rider. it really puts all the work in context..

    • Jo

      I’m not the slightest bit jealous because I don’t work in bike customizing (I would be if I were unsuccessfully involved in that field). I am just through the painful process of learning how to mod a bike, practicing on my unfortunate HD.
      I’m kind of sad, though, to see all the fuss around Blitz since we have some very valuable custom builders in France who don’t get that much attention (Lazareth, Dub Performance, VD Classics, Mecatwin and many more).

      • Bultaco Metralla

        But I know Mecatwin and VD Classics far better then Blitz and I live in Australia on the other side of the world. Not to mention Patrick Godet whose Egli Vincent I lust after. I However, I run a small manufacturing business and empathise with anyone who tries to make a success of it. I get the look and style of these bikes. I get the second hand tank signature. I get that you don’t get these guys. C’est la vie.

        • http://www.pipeburn.com Scott@Pipeburn

          Well said.

  • Kevin

    .. Plaid shirts (check) full beard (check) tattoo sleeves (check) .. fade in and out of wrenches (check) Bubble shield (check) riding off into the unknown (check) these videos are really starting to look all the same.

    • DoktoR VoloX

      you’re so right…

    • revdub

      I think the same can be said of photos or videos from any recent generation. What I mean is, in the 80’s your comment might have been, “ring shirts (check) mustaches (check) neon colors (check) synthesizer music (check) etc etc…” You get the idea. Each generation has a style. It is what it is. And, it’ll be something else next year.

      • Kevin

        I understand trend history & forecasting …just feel like this template has “jumped the shark ” already

        • revdub

          I hear that. It does seem like we see this same type of thing a lot. What kind of videos do you like or would like to see more of? Just curious, as I am always looking for good moto videos. I really like the “Stories of Bike” series.

          • Jo

            I don’t know where you both come from but the “lifestyle” usually displayed in this kind of videos does really not feel natural nor historical in France, especially in Paris, it sounds more like “let’s be cool like Americans” to me.

            It’s a shame people have to pretend and can’t be cool in their own natural / national way (for example : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngDw_NTuwmg).

          • Kevin

            This one still makes me tear up when I watch it

            The “James Crowe” part is mint

            and lastly my new favorite

          • Bultaco Metralla

            Come in out of the rain and shut the door will you! ‘French’ culture has been absorbing American influences at a rate of knots since 1918. Any vibrant style is open to influences. Look at the effect Japonisme had on Degas, Matise et al.
            This Rajputana video is no great shakes and some might feel it is full of national cliches that have nothing to do with modern India. If the Blitz guys wore light blue coveralls, smoked Gauloises and wore berets then doubtless you be calling them a set of other names.
            Stripping an bike back to the basics and refinishing the surfaces in a harsh, ugly way that confronts and asks questions of your prejudices has a long and noble history in art and has an equally valid place i custom motorcycles.

          • Jo

            I hear what you say, I just can’t believe they are sincere about their artistic approach and it feels like a pretext to me.

            It is too easy to simply call any form of expression art but in this case it feels like a means to an end.

            The motorcycle culture is about being true to oneself and not adopting some prefabricated hipster trends just to be popular.

            I would have also criticised them if they had tried to be cool being all “you know, that’s how we are naturally” while regurgitating french clichés , but I would love to see people making fun of themselves based on national clichés (such as what you mentioned).

            My only source of woe is that you have to look like a bum to succed in bike customizing.

          • Bultaco Metralla

            Ah Jo, there are many successful people I would gladly see staked out over a bull ants nest in the Simpson Desert wearing nothing but a litre of Golden Syrup. Indeed, it would be a pleasure to drive the stakes home myself. But I digress.

            “Motorcycle culture is about being true to oneself’ but running a business is giving the people what they want. In my first year at University, my Literature Tutor wore a T Shirt with the message
            ‘Shakespeare Wrote For The Money!’
            It was a shocking, controversial message then and now but it has a ring of truth that cannot be denied. Art is sometimes an unconscious by product which only comes about because someone is trying the best they know how to pay the bills.

            Of course, I have never met them. All I have is the video and their web site but some of the things they say and do ring true to me. Perhaps I am empathising because I run a small manufacturing business in a Country where everyone thinks manufacturing can only be done in China. I feel the struggles they talk about are real as they are my experiences too.

          • Fred Jourden

            Salut Jo.
            Afin de mieux nous connaître, mieux appréhender notre éventuel manque de sincérité, et voir surtout la façon dont nous travaillons (mécanique, électricité, etc…), pourquoi ne pas nous contacter en direct (on répond à tous les emails que nous recevons, et ce, dans les 48 heures) et nous demander un rdv ?
            Cela te permettra de parler en connaissance de cause, une fois l’entrevue passée.

            En attendant donc, tu feras bien attention de ne pas porter de jugement à l’emporte-pièce, surtout lorsque tu préemptes le terrain de ce qui nous motive et nous a fait faire ce choix de vie drastique.

            Dans l’attente donc de te lire sur notre boite email (pour rappel : contact@blitz-motorcycles.com).
            Fred Jourden

            Hi Jo,

            In order to get to know us better, and have a clear view of the way we work (mechanics, electricity, etc…) why don’t you simply send us an email requesting an interview with us in our workshop? Indeed we reply to any request within the next 48 hours.

            Until then, thank you not to make any judgment without knowing an single inch of what you are talking about; especially when you come to talk about the choices / sacrifices we’ve made to take the path we are currently on.

            I can’t wait to read your email (contact@blitz-motorcycles.com).
            Fred Jourden

  • =gc=

    Nothing to see here but a couple of French lunatics turned loose in the salvage yard with cutting torch and crescent wrench. I see no creativity or craftsmanship here, just an attempt at creating a signature “style” based on a third world scavenger design ethic. But if they can bilk rich boys and girls out of their ill-gotten gains by providing them with junk like this to ride, I say more power to `em.

    • http://www.ratherberiding.co.za/ Wesley Reyneke

      To echo my comment above, I repeat – if their style does not appeal to you, then by all means that’s your choice and taste – but why the name calling? It’s one thing to say you don’t get it, or you don’t like it, but you’ve effectively called someone you’ve never met a poser and a con artist. You’ve passed judgement on the quality of motorcycles you’ve only seen in pictures or videos. I call that ‘narrow minded’.

  • Paul

    Some harsh comments here, as an Englishman I’m pre-disposed to loathe the French, but if you can do better put up or shut up

  • Peter Clark

    Who is this guy slagging them off, they have done what you can’t. They have turned their hobby into a career. Great looking bikes that’s the main point.

  • nomoretax

    Suis pas impressionné.Laisser les réservoir cabossés: ou comment faire passer la facilité comme une mode et le discours qui va avec…

  • Davidabl2

    Art’s art, Style is, well style is style. Many people are gonna have trouble with what these guys do on both accounts. Probably shouldn’t though.

    “Laissez les bon temps roulez” as the Americans say in New Orleans :-)

  • MellowIndo

    Jo-

    Rather than use your prodigious energy hating upon these Funky Frenchies, why not go embrace whatever it is you do dig? Might want to remember a few of the buddhist precepts of Thich Nhat Hanh:

    The Second Precept: Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth.

    The Sixth Precept: Do not maintain anger or hatred. (This is a hard one; I prefer to think of my anger as “righteous indignation,” but I also work at eliminating that anger, too.)

    The Eighth Precept: Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break.

    The Ninth Precept: Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people.

    The world is full of genuine bad guys- find a real problem and go be the conquering hero!

  • MellowIndo

    So it is officially okay to like this one? Thanks. Also, my mom is from Paris and my American dad liberated it in WW2, so also thank you for telling all about what is natural and historical.

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