It’s not everyday you receive an email asking if you’d be interested in going to India to ride Royal Enfields across the Rajasthan desert with a film crew and a professional photographer. That’s exactly what happened at the end of last year: I received an email from a guy called Matt from Nevermind Adventures. He runs organized motorcycle adventure tours all over India. Only a fool would think about it for just a second. I thought about it for two, and replied: ‘When do we leave?’.
If there’s one thing that Burt Munro taught us, it’s to never underestimate New Zealanders in a shed. So when our mates from Auckland’s Earnest Co. said they’d been messing around with some new moto gear designs in between custom bike builds, we knew it’d be decent stuff. And it looks like we were right. So in the spirit of helping out a mate and giving a little exposure to some guys who really deserve it, here’s a quick look at their shed-made ‘Tasker’ moto work pants.
On our recent trip across the Rajasthan Desert on Royal Enfields, we were lucky enough to have all the action, all the spills and all the general lunatic hi jinx captured by Melbourne photographer Jason Lau. His take on the journey and the impressive shots he managed to capture really piqued our interest. And looking through his back catalogue is an eye-opening experience, too. The sheer number of photos in there that we’d admired before but never connected back to him is seriously impressive. Talk about a quiet achiever. So we asked him for his best 15 shots.
During our recent trip to Australia’s Broken Hill on Triumph’s Bobber, we were lucky enough to be able to work with Dean Walters, a local Melbourne photographer who seems to have quite the knack with cameras and motorcycles. We got to spend the week with him while bashing around the Aussie desert and trying not to crash bikes we didn’t own. After seeing him in action, we can say that the guy’s definitely ‘got the gift’. Watching him turn two idiots messing around in the dirt into jaw-dropping shots was a sheer pleasure to behold. So we asked him to give us his best-ever shots and a quick interview; this is what we got.
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.