It’s 2011 and the custom bike world is beside itself with the Yamaha-based creations of one Greg Hageman, a.k.a. ‘Doc’s Chops’. From what was previously a laughably bad Yamaha Virago, Greg had built a custom that seemed to have somehow made the bike look very, very cool. At around the same time, a young New Yorker called Maxwell Hazan wheeled his very first custom bike out of a small Brooklyn shop and we all know how that turned out – mainly due to the fact that a certain photographer had the wherewithal to recognise genius when they saw it. And the person responsible for taking the photos of these bikes that changed the custom scene for ever? Meet Florida’s Erick Runyon.
Walk into any gym around the world these days and there’ll be a line up for the mirror as jacked up shirtless individuals get the perfect selfie for Instagram. But over in the distant corner, large but unassuming, is a big man who comes in everyday and gets the job done without a fuss. Imposing, all natural and capable of benching more weight than the rest of the posers could ever dream of. In the motorcycle world that individual is the Yamaha XJR1300 that still relies on classic looks and a big cube air-cooled engine to fill an important niche in the company’s line up. But Walid from Bad Winners in France decided it was time to show the juice heads what real muscle is all about and has turned this 2005 example into a brutal beast he calls The Arm Breaker.
Lately we’ve been featuring some custom rides that still manage to be clean, practical motorcycles. Bikes you can pillion on, motorcycles you could take shopping – bikes you could take to meet your mum. But just in case you thought us here at Pipeburn HQ were getting sensible here’s a chopper designed by FNA Custom Cycles run by a 1972 Kawasaki 750 H2 two-stroke, a digger so mental we’re going to get it sectioned.
When you’re planning a trip, the most important thing on the list is a few like-minded friends to accompany you on your journey. People who are there for the ride and don’t really care about the destination. So that’s what we did. A four man crew of mates were our riders: Forrest Minchington, Lewie Dunn, Cal Lathrope and Thomas Edwards. We packaged them up with a couple of photographers and sent them off with nowhere in particular as a destination.
Time for a frank and truthful admission. This here fancy moto blog, along with all of its ilk, would be nothing without the photographers. How many words would you read about a cool bike without all the pretty pictures? After all, writing about motorcycles is like dancing about architecture, no? One of Europe’s main moto lensmen and someone to who we personally owe a great deal of thanks to is Germany’s Marc Holstein. With a clear and infectious passion for photography and the custom bike scene, we’ve lost count of just how many Pipeburn stories he’s shot for us. Here’s an interview with the man himself, along with the very best of his recent shots.
Rémy Vivien builds motorcycles in his spare time out of his workshop in Alsace, France. In recent years he’s caught the trials bug and as a devotee of old machines, he squared up the pre-1965 class. ‘But I didn’t want to buy an existing motorcycle that I had to modify, or assemble any parts from the internet. I wanted to create it from scratch,’ he says. ‘I wanted to make something for me by me. Something different.’ And he certainly has, with this incredible custom trials moto, powered by a 1946 500cc RGAS Terrot engine.
Don’t be fooled by the name. The latest helmet from British company Hedon might be called the ‘Heroine’, but this helmet is definitely made for both men and women. Off the back of their luxurious ‘Hedonist’ open face helmet, the gentlefolk from Hedon have launched this, their new creation. It’s a retro styled full faced helmet that definitely looks the part. The Heroine comes in two models; the Heroine Classic and the Racer. The Heroine Classic has been designed to be used with goggles or sunglasses, while the Heroine Racer has an integrated flip-up flat visor.
You may remember back in September, when we teamed up with Cam at Stories of Bike to create a little video called ROADS WE RIDE for Transport for NSW’s motorcycling safety initiative. Well guess what? It went gangbusters, so they asked us to make another one.
So here we are, standing at the finish line for 2016. And although we’re out of fuel, tired and more than a little dirty, there’s still one last thing to do. There’s one last thing before we pat this totally crazy year on the back and kick it to the curb, and that’s to give away one more of our exhaust-shaped stainless steel beauties, also known as a Pipeburn Bike of the Year award.
There is a famous quote that goes something like this. “No one ever achieved greatness by playing it safe.” And yet for the vast majority of us, we play it safe all of our lives. We stay at the job we don’t love because it pays the bills. We eat the same foods. We take the same road to work and we go to the same draw of clothes day in and day out. This is where the custom motorcycle scene plays a significant role in the lives of many. It’s where they throw off the shackles, live on the wild side and do things differently with a license for freedom they don’t normally afford themselves. But one man takes that freedom even further; he pushes the limits of motorcycle design so far his inspiration is actually drawn from art, sci-fi films and a desire to reach the ultimate Zen state of mind. Daryl “Dazza” Villanueva of Bandit9 is back and his latest limited production run machine, known as EDEN, is the ultimate expression of not playing it safe.