Every industry has its virtuosos, those that take a skill performed by many and add a level of genius and artistic flair that’ll leave you speechless and set them apart from the pack. Somewhere out in the world is a breakfast chef who sends his pancakes into the air performing triple somersaults in the pike position before returning perfectly to the pan. In the bike building world, Yuri Shif Customs of Belarus has one such virtuoso in bike building wizard, designer and major show winner, head honcho Yuri Shif. From a man who regularly competes in the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building you expect great things and his latest creation, “Ducky” the Cafe Tracker is no exception.
Maxwell Hazan. If there’s one shining star on the custom bike scene that’s currently at their apex, it’s him. Winner of the Pipeburn 2013 Bike of the Year Award. Ex-New Yorker and nouveau Californian. And, as Scott discovered on his recent sojourn to the Bear State, an incredibly nice guy to boot. We were lucky enough to be able to speak to Max via Skype recently and we are proud to present this extended interview with him. We hope you like it.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
“My name’s Maxwell Hazan. I build custom motorcycles. I started thinking I’d build and sell six or seven a year. Then I kind of fell into making these really unique, one-of-a-kind art pieces. It started off really well – I built a bike, it got an amazing response. You featured it on your site and made it Bike of the Year – it was literally the first custom that I built. I kind of fell into this unique bike build thing and it’s going really well.”
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.
Motorcycles are much like dogs in their visual complexity. A basic blueprint, and from that so many aesthetically different versions of the one type can be produced. The major difference I can see between the two is that it is much easier to ride a motorbike. Trust me. Today’s feature bike is of a special breed, a paradox in that it is a Harley dirt tracker with an incredibly clean appearance. Built by One Down Four Up customs, the Ironhead Sportster has been given the full vintage race treatment. With a slant towards a race inspired theme, the builders weren’t looking to produce a mock-up race bike, just something that would appeal to the older track racing crowd. In doing so, they have created something that is appealing to many more people on the custom scene. Hell, the custom exhaust system itself is a textbook example of how to use pipewrap.
Study the keeping of time and you’ll soon realise that methods for keeping track of the multitudinous moments that tick by before we all drop off this mortal coil are as many as they are varied. Which is all good and well, but what’s the best way of accurately measuring time if you are a biker? You can’t see a wristwatch under your leathers and take it from me, using radioactive isotopes to power your handle bar-mounted atomic clock really isn’t a good idea – the judge said I may never get off that damn terrorist watch list. But never fear, for I have found a way to measure biker time so accurately you’ll never need a watch again. How? It’s easy! You just need to note the time that has elapsed between two cool Harleys that are rolled through the out door at DP customs and divide by 60 to get a perfectly accurate 1 second measurement. Why? Because that’s just about how often they’ve been managing to produce their superb new creations. At this rate, every Arizonian man, woman and child will be riding an DP Customs Ironhead by this time next year. Best get your ear plugs now before stocks run out.
I’ve studied the evidence. I’ve taken the facts at hand and made an educated deduction. Inside all mysteries there lies a precious core of truth, and I have arrived at the center of this one. Giant metallic moths. Giant metallic mechanical moths. Possibly powered by uranium, or an isotope there of. Maybe Einsteinium. Now I would like to say they have wings, but I think that multiple tentacles is the more likely of the appendages. Tentacles that are able to handle many tools at once – metric, imperial and British Standard Whitworth. And they would be aligned in rows – but not just any old rows. They’d be in a kind of shark’s teeth formation so that if one should become inoperable another unit would rise up to take it’s place almost immediately and would be individually assisted by a cloned army of that old lady called “Shirl” who lives down the bottom your street, but with a cyclops eye due to an error in the genetic code. And the moths would operate with a pneumatic scream not dissimilar to the sound of a thousand formula one wheel nut removers, which would of course be very loud. But not as loud as the music playing over the PA system. It’s Yello with that “Oh Yeah” song from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Probably at about 145-150 dB, slowed down to half normal speed, and played backwards.
If you’ve ever studied art (yes, yes – but I’m all better now) you’ll know that history’s best artists often hit a sweet spot in their career where they just can’t seem to do any wrong. It’s like the planets have aligned for them and they have some sort of sixth sense about what makes a masterpiece and what doesn’t. Picasso had his blue period. Monet had his water lilies. Coop had that series of pictures with the hella sexy nudie devil girls. Oh, hang on; that’s all his work. Anyhoos, we’re beginning to think that Arizona’s DP customs has reached their own particular acme of perfection. It seems that every bike they have completed of late is somehow from a collection of work yet each one is a superb example of the custom bike art form. We are not worthy.
My father once told me never to go into business with family, but it looks as if he may have been wrong. DP Customs is a Harley custom shop based in New River, Arizona that’s owned and operated by the Del Prado brothers. They earned their 15 minutes of fame recently after building a damn nice Gulf Oil Harley — but here’s a bike they finished before the Gulf that, in our humble opinion, has got an edge over its more famous sibling.
To open, I have a frank and shocking admission to make. I don’t like Harleys. Never have. I’ve always seen them as way too bourbon, bandanas and bald eagles, if you see what I mean. Sure, on the odd occasion I’ve seen a custom HD that I’d not mind being seen on – but for the vast majority of this Milwaukee metal I’d rather set my pubes on fire than have them parked in my garage.
Then I met Jed DePyper at the recent Deus ex Machina Parallel Universe day. I shot the faeces with him for a while and he eventually told me he rode a “Rat Bobber”. Being none-the-wiser, I asked to see it. And Christ on a bike, what a bike; I was pretty much smitten from the get go. It wasn’t until later that day that I put two and two together and realised that I had just had my socks shocked and awed by a Hardly Ableson. God bless America.