It’s a truism to say that most builders have a kind of love/hate relationship with their project bikes. From the elation experienced when a seat comes together perfectly with a frame to the utter torment of broken bolts, mysterious misfires and parts that magic themselves into other dimensions after they hit the floor, it’s more than common for builds to drag their makers through a gamut of emotions. But I think it’s fair to say that Brad White from Louisville, Kentucky’s 502 Moto has a painful build story that beats most. And when I say painful, I mean just that.
The Del Prado brothers (Jarrod and Justin) from DP Customs in Arizona have been at it again. These brothers are renowned for building top class custom Harleys, which is why they were approached by a motor enthusiast to build him a Sportster. The customer had seen their last Sportster with Elf livery and briefed them on building something similar. “He wanted to know if we’d be willing to do a Gulf themed bike with Steve McQueen’s #20 on it” says Jarrod. “Of course we said “hell yes!”, and it was on.” This time they started with a 2001 1200cc Harley Sportster and began building what they do best.
Story by Bill Bryant – from Issue Fifteen of Iron & Air.
Wisdom and timeless style generally evolve after decades of mistakes and missteps. The brothers Hindes of the Prism Motorcycle Company in North Carolina are overachievers in every sense of the word, and the depth of their work belies their age. In their mid-twenties, the duo have officially been in business for only two years, having already completed an impressive number of custom motorcycles and handmade parts.
Jake and Zach have skill-sets and accomplishments that many older men would be proud to have amassed. In addition to machine and sheet metal work, they’ve also spent time fabricating race cars while Jake’s mechanical engineering degree helps round them out.
Spare a thought for our poor Austro-Germanian counterparts. While some of the world’s best motorcycle manufacturers came out of the region, they are amongst some of the hardest countries in the world to legally customise bikes in. Life is anything but easy for Teutonic tinkerers. It seems that the local authorities have nothing better to do than ensure that every vehicle on their roads is as dull as possible. This is backed up with heavy fines and sky-high inspection charges if you fail to comply. Enter Slovenian shop and Pipeburn regulars ER Motorcycles, with nothing more than a keen Austrian customer, an old boxer BMW and a love of showing bureaucratic paper shufflers what’s what.
Some of us dream of throwing in the towel on our day jobs to do what we truly love. Whether it’s building custom bikes, opening a café or just taking more time to focus on your family, it’s a fantasy that’s as common as slap bass in Seinfeld. But as with most things inline, there’s another option to consider. What if, instead of leaving one job for another, you just combined your passions and did both? Sounds impossible, right? Well don’t tell that to North Carolina’s Tattoo Projects, who are currently a successful advertising agency and a custom bike shop. It might seem crazy, but when you consider that they count Victory Motorcycles amongst their clients, you can kind of see the logic of it all. And what have they been up to when they weren’t standing around with whiskey and cigarettes Don Draper-ing? This is what.
Royal Enfields. Is there nothing they can’t do? Whether it’s carrying yaks around Tibet, being sent off to war with machines guns attached or ferrying riders on trans-continental journeys, it seems that there’s not a thing on god’s green earth that can stop them. And now we can add another notch to the bike’s belt – that of beach cruiser. Strange as it may seem that classic, sand-loving bicycle and signifier of all things holiday is just what Canadian bike builder Brent Giesbrecht used as inspiration for this simple yet impressive build. And the results are so bang-on we can almost feel the sand in our swimmers right now.
“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” That’s what my Dad often says. But quite obviously, my Dad has never met Pennsylvania’s Dan Daughenbaugh. And if he had, he would undoubtedly have even more sage-like advice to dispense on exactly how Dan is going about his attempt at a world land speed record. There’s the barbecued third-hand engine. The less-than-perfect welds and the drain pipe exhausts. And let’s not forget the tangled mess of un-aerodynamic cabling right up there where the wind hits the bike. But you know what? If I were to attempt to build and run a land speed bike of my own, this is exactly how I would want it to be. What’s that, Dad? Sorry, I can’t hear you over the roar of the crowd celebrating my amazing victory.
When you think about it, basements kind of have a bum rap. For instance, how many movies have you seen where the characters go down into a basement and wonderful things happen? The answer is, of course, not many. The more likely scenarios usually involve people being tied up, power tools being used for things that their user’s manual would definitely not condone and the odd sex dungeon or twelve. But here’s a story that cellar lovers all over the world will be cheering; a basement in Berlin that was used to create art rather than remove body parts. Introducing Van Hai Nguyen and his ‘76 hog Ironhead.
Written by Ian Lee.
There are clean builds. And then there are ‘clean’ builds. Motorcycles so neat, you would imagine the mechanic scrubbing up before working on it. The latest build from Jesse Bassett and The Gasbox is one such build. A BMW special the likes of which the world has never seen, it is born of German build quality paired with American styling cues. These two opposite ideals work together to create a machine that has been built with surgical precision, and comes out looking like something the BMW factory itself would have created, if it had been founded in Ohio instead of Munich that is.
There’s some things that most of us would take for granted if we were intending to break a land speed record. Obviously an endeavour like that would take a lot of money – so you’re probably going to need a sponsor or twelve. And you’d also be wanting a whole bunch of top shelf engineers and support crew, too. Not to mention a brand new bike and some seriously hardcore safety gear. You getting this all down? Great. Now tear the list up and come salt flat racing the Chris Bridgewater way – on a wing, a prayer and a blown, 171HP, S&S equiped Harley.