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Pipeburn’s 2014 Bike of the Year Award

Posted on December 29, 2014 by Andrew in Other. 40 comments

Hot damn – where’d that year go? So with New Year’s so close you can almost smell the tequila, it’s time to look back at the past 12 months to see what rides really took our fancy. We’ve been doing a top 10 list for the past five years, and for the past two years we have been giving out the very shiny, very weighty Pipeburn trophy you see above to whoever takes the No.1 spot. In an art form with a distinct lack of real-world recognition, we like to think of it as our way of rewarding all the builder’s blood, sweat and tears. So we’ve gone back over every bike from this year to count your comments, tally Facebook likes and scientifically measure ‘woah’ to come up with our top 10 bikes for 2014. Enjoy.

10. Harley-Davidson 883 Iron by TJ Moto

How many builders do you think can claim that their very first bike stirred up enough interest to be counted as a contender for a Bike of the Year? Well, here’s an addition to what must be the world’s smallest list. Their name is TJ Moto and, even more impressively, they are based out of New Delhi, India. Now, can you imagine their next build? More here.

9. Triumph Scrambler – Dagger Cycles

There’s no doubt that scramblers are undergoing a renaissance of sorts; Ducati’s recently-announced foray into the segment is proof positive of that. But we can’t help but think that they’ve been out-cooled – and by none other than a bunch of feisty Milanese. What’s more, they’ve done it on a British bike. It’s enough to make Pavarotti turn in his grave; especially if you rode this matte black, punk rock bastardo over it. More here.

8. ‘79 Honda CBN400 – Ed Turner Motorcycles

It was built by a French shop with a pun as their name. It’s style is almost impossible to pigeonhole. And it’s a Honda that looks like the result of a one night stand between a café racer and a supermoto in a 1970s amusement park. In our books, all that can only be a good thing. More here.

7. ‘14 Yamaha Star Bolt – Hageman Motorcycles

Doc Chops, AKA ‘Greg Hageman’, repeats his 2013 performance with a mid-field placing on this beautiful, very factory-looking Star Bolt. He’s been working with Yamaha in the US; let’s hope that a little bit of the Doc rubs off on the suits who sign the cheques. If we all could buy a bike like this right off of the showroom floor, there’s no doubt the company would be bigger than Steve McQueen. More here.

6. BMW R100 by Nozem Amsterdam

Beemers make up 40% of this year’s finalists and they‘ve also managed to group themselves together – presumably in an attempt to storm the top spot in a four-pronged attack. Leading the charge is Amsterdam’s Nozem, with their sweeter-than-sweet R100. The bike has wood. So do we. And just look at that exhaust set-up. Excuse us for a moment, won’t you? More here.

5. 1979 BMW R 100/7 – Kingston Customs

Of all the finalists this year, we’re pretty sure that Dirk Oehlerking from Germany’s Kingston Customs will be the calmest of the lot. Why? Because the guy’s already got a bunch of metal on his mantelpiece after taking the German National Enduro Championships as a kinder. But an enduro bike this ain’t. And the coolest-looking old-school café we saw all year, it definitely is. More here.

4. BMW K75 by Renard Speed Shop

You gotta love BMW’s flying brick; and love’s exactly what Estonia’s Renard Speed Shop gave this K75. With a seat to die for and one of the coolest rear suspension set-ups we’ve ever seen, surely this has the Bavarian boffins rethinking their shelving of the beloved ‘Ziegel’. Fingers crossed. More here.

3. ‘83 BMW R80 – The GasBox


There are clean builds. Then there’s clean builds. Then there’s the stuff that NASA builds. Then there’s GasBox’s BMW R80. With attention to detail and polish that would leave BMW themselves looking second best, we’re proud to say that Ohio’s Jesse Bassett has built a bike that’s landed him in 3rd place overall. Nice work, Jesse. More here.

2. Ducati 900SS ‘Typhoon’ – Old Empire Motorcycles


Here’s one that split us right down the middle. For all the frowny naysayers, there seemed to be an equal amount of boisterous fans whipping themselves into a lather over this, the latest build from Blighty’s Old Empire Motorcycles. And from our experience, it’s only the very best of bikes that do that. Facebook may spy, but it doesn’t lie; six thousand of you cared enough to give it the thumbs up. And after the dust has settled we’re still left with something that looks like a boardtracker with a Ducati v-twin transplant. What’s not to like about that? More here.

1. ‘65 Harley Ironhead – Hazan Motorworks


What can we say about Maxwell Hazan and his creations that hasn’t already been uttered a million times before? We guess that’s what happens when your name starts to appear in the same sentences as Shinya Kimura’s. That’s right, for the second year running Max has managed to take top honours in our Bike of the Year awards. Surprised? You shouldn’t be – just look at the thing. If there was a God of Metal, this bike would be what he’d ride. Congratulations Max! More here.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us make this award and Pipeburn itself happen. Cheers to our writers Tim, Ian, Marlon, and Martin. Massive thanks to Paul McKinnon from Evolution Motorsports in Sydney who makes our trophies, and to Junior Burrell at Retro Moto for letting us use his shop for the trophy photo. We’d also like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the builders and readers who supported us in 2014. If you listen carefully you’ll hear the sound of our greasy, leather-gloved hands clapping for you all. See you in 2015.

  • Paul Maatman

    What a great year, what a great list. Thx Pipeburners!


    The ’65 Harley of Hazan Motorworks is truly the most beautiful bike we’ve seen this year!

  • Hasse Dahlgren

    What about this all homemade engine frame wheels

  • Alistair Hardy

    It’s the BMW K75 that does it for me.
    What a bike!

  • Junior Burrell

    Proud to be a part of it!!! Major thinks to all the guys at Pipeburn for all the support of what we do!!!

  • Peter

    The R80. That’s beautiful…

  • yamahappy

    I swear, those Yamaha tanks look good on anything.

  • Olivia

    Hazan motorworks kills it again.

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Great list but for me the outstanding bike is Old Empire Motorcycle’s Typhoon. The more I look at it the better I like it..

  • sethasaurus

    I dunno..

    Hard to argue this as there have been so many cool bikes fly past the screen.
    As far as a supercharged ironhead, I prefer this:

  • truthbringer

    The GasBox R80 was my pick, though glad to see it place. Hazan rules but would’ve liked to see some variation. The bike takes a lot from the one that won last year. It’s great but you’re basically giving it to the same bike 2 years running. Compare this with his R.E. that won last year: monoshock on fork & under frame, exhaust that hugs the frame tight eventually snaking up underneath the seat so close you barely see it, big front drum brake, elongated tank, wood seat, open clutch, same levers . . .

  • martune

    Bummer I was hoping Craig’s Motobecane would have made the list

    • TwoSmoke

      I thought the Motobecane was really dope, but I had a realization a long time ago that the world does not take small bikes seriously. hopefully that will change, not just for sites like this but also for builders in the shop.

  • Bill Cournoyer

    doesnt look ridabile

  • revdub

    Amazing year and list from the best custom bike site in the world. Cheers!!

  • Zundap

    If I had my pick it would be 7. Done by someone who loves to ride. ..Z

  • Andrew Ramming

    Old Empire – Ducati should be #1. The Hazan is caught up in the Shinya bare metal coat tails.

  • BoxerFanatic

    Renard K75 is my favorite, amongst many great bikes.

  • creeping J

    Call it bias, but I liked my bike!

  • Spyker May

    Very, VERY, interesting.

    A Harley (viz ‘Americana’) takes top honors – or is that ‘honours..? Wedged into what is certainly a European inspired package.

    Second and third are European motors wedged into American inspired package/-s.

    Nothing wrong with the efforts selected – they certainly represent the best of the past twelve months (in the relevant genre).

    The clinical facts is though: there is nothing really new. Only the same ingredients ‘mixed-and-matched’ differently.

    I will venture to say, the last time something absolutely NEW (as not seen before in any form) was done in the motorcycle custom sphere, was the LONG CHOPPER of the late 1960’s. Since then, everything has been some derivative, of something that had been done before.

    Perhaps I am wrong, but think about it critically, would it not be great if some brilliant moment of inspiration could take custom motorcycles to a NEW place in ’15…

    • arnold

      Without giving it full formed thought, I think most ‘not seen before ‘ was an exaggeration of an evolution. Since you are talking suspensions, i am reminded at my awe at seeing both monoshock and later, single sided swing arms that just spun my head around. Not as complete a thought as with your diggers, and those designs probably did not originate in the custom world.

      Mr May you present a good beer bet argument.
      Good 2015 to you all.ald

    • You could argue that with just about any art form. Take music, for instance. You could say that nothing really new has happened since the rise in popularity of the synthesiser in the early 70s. But that’d be ignoring things like punk, grunge and electronic/dance music.

      All these genres are, by definition, just variations of what has gone before them, but that doesn’t diminish their importance at all.

      Take Nirvana, for instance. They weren’t doing anything different to bands 40 years before them. But does that make them irrelevant or boring? Hell no.

  • The best year yet for Pipeburn! I love all of your top 10 picks but If I had to pick one to put in my garage and ride it would have to be the Honda 400 by Ed Turner. Turner turned an ugly duckling into a rad little bike – I want one just like it.

    • Fred

      Great bikes, a great year for Pipeburn, well done guys. Happy New Year to all. Great to see such a diverse range of views put in such a pleasant way. No fig jam! Cheers Fred

    • Cheers MM.

  • Anton

    3, 4, and 5 are just proof of too many BMW fanboys in the voting pool.

  • Good to see both Kingston builds make it to the top; and while the Typhoon certainly embodies the adventurous pride in craftsmanship from motorcycling’s earliest moments, to me Ed Turner’s CBN400 captures the best future for custom building… Nimble, beautiful, approachable, completely individual, and so purposely useful.

    Many thanks Pipeburn for a great 2014 and inspiration for 2015!

  • B. J. Parker

    Just want to reiterate how much I enjoy this blog. Great bikes and well written articles. Thanks.

  • Ron

    Cracking list and the GasBox rules. Mine would have run away with it though, ha. Knew I would get it on here one way or another Andrew. New camera on the way soon hopefully. I look forward to 2015’s posts dude. Don’t ever stop.

  • Bobby D

    Yay……………. Hazan wins again by creating the same look as last year.

  • T Prior

    #4 wins it for me. The rest are either ugly or trailer queens.