Written by Marlon Slack.
10 years ago, public appreciation was heaped on enormous cruisers that were adorned with novelties and caked in chrome. People loved those things, all 500 kilos of rolling tribute to American ostentatiousness. But as the GFC hit and wallets emptied, tastes shifted and the love of gleaming polish and excess gave way to matte paint, raw steel and clip-ons. Somewhere in between these two extremes sits The Gasbox’s 1944 Harley Davidson Knucklehead. A bike that’s clean, lean and executed with no flourishes except an incredible eye for detail and a masterful understanding of knowing exactly what works.
Words by Ian Lee.
If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done. Whether a Pipeburn post, or project bike, there is nothing like the rush of racing that deadline for completion. Just ask Jared Johnson of Holiday Customs. The bike featured here today had the final touches put on it at 10pm on the night before The One Motorcycle Show. Utilising a UJM for his entry into the legendary Portland bike show, Jared gave the 1975 XS650 the Schwinn styled frame that the Holiday workshop is famous for.
Words Pete Cagnacci | Photos by MyMediaSydney
The growing juggernaut that is Throttle Roll was on again for it’s 3rd year, along with it’s sacred mantra; amalgamate Sydney’s colourful bike community and showcase it’s unique builds. Music, food and booze are of course essentials in this holy event.
The day starts early, with 300+ riders meeting up at Harry’s café De Wheels. Coffee was being poured down throats as everyone poured over each other’s bikes. The excitement for the day was high and it was time for the ride. The crew headed off south to the Royal National Park, with more riders joining on the way. Soon the group swelled to 500+ bikes. There was now a mass of exhaust and a thunderous roar heading down the Sea Cliff Bridge. It’s always a tough task keeping together such a large number of bikes, often peeling off into several groups, but there’s a ride leader, markers, tail gunners and support vehicles. The battalion of bikes all gathered at Bald Hill car park, soaking up the sun before making the pilgrimage back up to Enmore for the main event. Park up, drink up, and party.
One of the best things about a gig at the House of Burnt Pipes is the fact that you really get to see builders grow and progress in their art. Often, we’ll feature one or two really good builds from someone that we’ll sadly never hear from again. But once in a while, we are lucky enough to get in on the ground floor with a builder who’s clearly headed places and then ride the elevator all the way to the top floor with them. This is one of those times. If there was such a thing as a Custom Bike Master Builder’s Association, this bike would mark Scott Halbleib’s entry submission. Meet his latest build, a.k.a. ‘No. 5’.
Featuring non-professional builders is something we don’t do nearly enough of here at the House of Burnt Pipes. There’s something incredibly honest about a guy toiling away in his freezing and/or boiling garage at all hours of the night. And for what? Greasy, skinned knuckles and a constantly empty wallet – that’s what. But there’s something else that can also emerge. Something wonderful. Something that art critics have called one the purest forms of folk art ever created. So here’s Netherlandian Bas Rover’s own little folk art masterpiece, a hardtail Honda CB450 bobber.
Nature has a way of telling us perpetually inquisitive humans when enough is enough. When our touchy little fingers and our peepy little eyes should just back the hell off. It’s called a sting. Whether it’s delivered via fangs, spikes or spines, you know it’s gonna hurt you. Maybe more. And for those who aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, it’s often accompanied by a visual cue, a flash of colour, to let you know that things are probably going to get ouchy should you choose to continue. But when the creature is the latest build from Macco Motors and it looks this good, to hell with the pain.
It’s been four months an a brand new wall calendar since the last AMD World Championships in Cologne, and yet we’re still turning up some genuinely great bikes that were previously hidden deep within the winning ranks. Here’s one from Belgium that’s been handcrafted in a basement by a Mr. Quentin Vaulet, or as he likes to call his nocturnal garage adventures, “Charging Lion”. “It’s a personal project (and a pretext) for which I completely surrender myself to the creation of motorcycle”. Fitting then that this, his latest bike, is called “The Thief”; by the looks of it, she owes Quentin more that a few hours. Much more.
‘英’ is the Japanese Kanji character for ‘great.’ It also happens to be the character that the Japanese use for ‘England’. See, when Japan first properly met the British, the poms were in the midst of creating the modern world with their fancy Industrial Revolution. And for a country that had closed itself off to the outside world for over two centuries, Japan-san was clearly impressed. To Japanese eyes, British steam trains were technology from 200 years in the future; similar to you or I seeing a motorcycle from 2214. So what better name than ‘Great’ for a country that could do that? Kind of how we feel when we see the latest creation from dear ol’ Blighty. Introducing Old Empire Motorcycles’s latest revolution, ‘Typhoon’.
Here’s something we hope we see more of. A sweet bike, a bunch of sweet, sweet photos and a very sweet video. Max Daines is a cinematographer in Utah that has recently turned his hand to a bit of automotive film making. With the help of a damn nice BMW R100 bobber, Photographer Jun Song, and a whole bunch of empty city, Max has managed to produce something that raises the bar while avoiding some of the more typical clichés of the genre. So sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of a star R100 BMW and her first big box office success, “Night Cruise’.
Peanut butter and jelly. Vegemite and avocado. Pickled eggs and beer. In the culinary world there’s a few combinations that, at first glance, just shouldn’t work at all. And yet if you can manage to cross the chasm of logic and walk free in the land of adventurous eating, you’ll find that sometimes gut instincts and leaps of faith work a whole lot better than common sense. It’s the same instincts that Richard, from Berlin’s Metric Customs, used when he decided that there was no good reason why a Harley engine and a Dnepr bike couldn’t work together. Just like Reagan and Gorbachev. Genius.