Imagine thusly. You’re a fan of Evel Knieval (who isn’t?) and you decide to honour your hero by trying a few big jumps yourself. Now you’ll be wanting a bike that’s up to the job. Something with a decent amount of go that’s light, tough and has a suspension set-up that can take a seriously bone-crushing landing in it’s stride. So, which bike would you choose? If you’re anything like the Nitro Circus or the Crusty Demons you’d probably opt for a nice little Yamaha YZ250 or the popular Honda CRF250F. Good choice, my imaginary stunters. And what bikes would you never jump in a million years? A Harley Roadking? Of course. What about one of those O.C. choppers with the 20 ft forks and all the spikey bits? No friggin’ way. And it goes without saying that you’d have to be as crazy as a shirt full of feral cats to try it on a stock standard 1970 Laverda 750 vintage racer, wouldn’t you?
Cinematographer and long-time friend of Pipeburn, Andrew David Watson, takes up the story. “I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good motorcycle short story since finishing the piece on Liberty Vintage last year. I was flipping through the pages of Classic Motorcycle and saw a short article about a guy named Louis “Rocket” Re, who jumps a stock 1970 American Eagle Laverda 750 in homage to Evel Knievel. I thought it was pretty awesome that he was jumping a vintage motorcycle and I was even more surprised to found out that he lived somewhat close to me. I decided to try and track Louis and see if he would be interested in being filmed. After only a few emails I was on the phone with Louis making plans to shoot.”
“Stylistically I wanted to do something that was a bit of a departure from my other work and other motorcycle films. Louis has a fantastic outlook on life so I decided to go with a more colorful approach. It was really great meeting and working with Louis. I really respect his dedicated, motivation and drive to follow his dreams, hopefully this piece expresses that!”
When we first heard about Cafe Racer TV we were more than a little scared. After train wrecks like American Chopper where the producers seem to be more interested in creating a bitch-fest soap opera than a show for real bike fans, we were all but convinced that this would be following the same route. All cafe and no racer, to coin a phrase. But oh how wrong we were. As those of you that have caught an episode or two will know, it’s a solid show with a decent balance of eye-candy, tech, and talk that will keep you more than interested over the length of an episode. So we were quite chuffed when Jason from Dime City Cycles (who have been featured previously in the series and are the guys who distribute the DVDs and official Cafe Racer TV merch) shot us over an exclusive sneak peak of the third season. We asked him why we should tune in.
“I think Cafe Racer TV is great because there’s something for everyone in every episode. More importantly though it’s focusing a great deal on DIY culture, which is largely becoming extinct in our over-communicated-latte-infused world of fancy packaging and bolt-on products that will supposedly make you faster, cooler and more popular with the ladies. Granted, there has to be a little glitz, otherwise the networks wouldn’t air it, but in end the crew of Cafe Racer TV are honest to God motorcycle guys who understand the importance of the culture they’re purveying.
And if you asking me, which you are, anything that promotes making something with your own two hands vs. running down to Wally Word to buy a cheap Chinese version of what you could produce of your own accord with a little time and effort is good in my book. Kick-ass motorcycles, history and an insight into the future of where garage builder culture is going, that’s just a bonus in my mind.”
Here’s something a little bit left of field. Thor Drake from See See motorcycles has organised a ‘helmet art show’ which is part of the upcoming One Motorcycle Show in Portland. The free event will be on February 10th – 11th and if it’s anything like previous years then there’ll be loads of outstanding rides to gawk at as well. On the helmet side of things, it’s a concept named ’21 Helmets’ and is pretty simple, 21 artists paint 21 different Bell 500 helmets. Below is a selection of some of the lids that are part of the exhibition plus a sweet little video Thor put together to promote the event. So if you’re in the Portland area around those times, you’d be off your head to miss this one.
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This beautifully shot vid was sent to us the other day by the Zenga Bros, who are the director brothers behind this great little story. It’s essentially about a motorcycle repair shop in Vancouver called Motomethod who are trying a different business model – which seems to be working. Motomethod call themselves a ‘community motorcycle repair shop’, which means you can rent a bay and work on your bike, use their tools and even get help and advice from the mechanics. They charge around $100 a year for a membership, which seems pretty reasonable when you think a mechanic can charge that per hour to fix your bike. If you don’t want to do it yourself, they’re also a full blown motorcycle repair shop, and will work on pretty much any kind of motorcycle. The idea came about when Paul Malowany and Simon Travers decided they wanted to fulfill their dream of owning a motorcycle repair shop. With limited startup funds, the duo pretty much begged, borrowed and stole the equipment needed to make it happen. Their idea seems to be paying off and has sparked a lot of interest in the local Vancouver community. The Motomethod clientele couldn’t be more diverse, ranging from 16-year-olds to seniors, including some veterans and even some grandmothers. With space in big cities costing so much coin these days, we think this could work in many places. What do you think, would it work in your home town?
Here’s one out of left field. Long-time mate and master bike builder Paul McKinnon has gone and got himself one of those fancy pants digital videos featuring him, his shop, and some of the beautiful bikes that he makes. Actually, Scott and I are a little embarrassed because, yet again, after talking about doing something like this we’ve been beaten to the punch by one of those annoying, non-procrastinating types of guys you meet every so often. In this particular case, the guy’s names are Sam Coutts and Michael Tyson (!) and it looks like they’ve done a pretty good job in capturing Paul’s schtick. The feature bike of the piece is Paul’s 1940 Harley “Cojones,” a bike we’ve featured here before along with many others. Actually, despite the fact that we didn’t do it, it’s a pretty solid little feature. Grab a beer and enjoy.
Well, it’s taken five months and we’ve endured a few very frustrating set-backs but finally and without any further a due, we’d proudly like to present to you the third in a never-ending series of Pipeburn videos. This time it’s a little ditty to let you all share the fun and action of our winter ride-out, namely the Pipeburn Meat Burn & Burn which we undertook in June of this year. It was a damn good day and we can’t wait for the next one with the boys from Sydney Cafe Racers on December 4th. Many thanks to Toby and Semih for shooting the whole thing on their trusty DSLRs. Also thanks to my trusty partner in crime Scott for his fly GoPro skills. No one stares into a wide angle lens quite like you, bro. And thanks of course to all the riders who attended – we hope to see you on the next one. I’d also like to add an extra bag of thanks to Toby, who not only put up with me directing him on the day, but then came back for another serving of my farcical ineptitude by helping me edit the thing and then grading the whole kaboodle to make it look real pro-fesh-shin-al like. You sir, are a true legend! Music is a track by one of my all-time favourite bands; their name is Pavement and the track is called “Father to a Sister of a Thought”. Please, you likey likey?
PS. The guy in the orange bubble visor is Jordan. Yes, he seems to appear in quite a few of the shots. No, we didn’t plan it that way. He informs us he and his Red Bull-powered Honda are currently looking for a manager and will be available for weddings and bah mitzvahs in the very near future.
In February we posted a teaser of Scott Toepfer’s short film ‘Better in the Wind’. After a year of filming a stack of road trips, 50 hours of editing, a shit load of memory cards and enough Super-8 film to safely tie up a particularly large and angry bear, the film has finally been finished. To say this has been a labor of love is an understatement. Scott funded the film by selling his ‘Better in the Wind’ book online, which literally made it possible to keep his bike on the road and keep filming. “I’ve been selling my little paperback via Blurb for the past 8 months or so, which has helped me keep my XS650 running enough to make it through the trips” says Scott. “Blown head gasket, broken mufflers, tail lights, headlights, bars, chains… that damn XS is my baby but without the support of those people who have picked up a copy of the book, I wouldn’t have been able to ride/shoot and pay the bills at home”.
You won’t find any special effects in the film. No Hollywood actors. No unbelievable ending. “Just a group of guys planning road trips, me trying to record it the best I could, becoming good friends in the process, and trying to get it out there on a positive note,” says Scott. “There are tons of opinions on what is what, who is who, and where the motorcycle culture should go… but really at the base of the argument is that we all take the sport/recreation of riding personally (hence we all hold it to our chests), and it means something to us in a positive way… so why not try and reflect the simple joy of it. We as motorcyclists can bitch all we want, and while most of us are strangers, we’re still most likely buds when crossing paths on the road”. Here here.
[Scott would like to give a special thanks to Brandon Schrichten, Jason at Dime City Cycles, musician Chuck Ragan and everyone that bought his book. And we’d like to thank Scott for letting us have the honor of being the first site to show the final product. Hats off to you, sir!]
Last month we had one of those light bulb moments. It was simply brilliant. We should put our new Canon camera to good use and shoot a short film starring one of Australia’s leading custom bike builders, Matt Machine. It would be shot on the ‘Machine Farm’ showing Matt in his element doing what he loves – building jaw-dropping bikes. It would be kinda like that stunning Shinya video, but with Aussie scenery and would feature Matt riding some of his creations like the Guzzi Le Mans Mark 1 and the ’48 Panhead. We couldn’t wait to see if Matt was keen to be part of it. Why wouldn’t he be? Then after we mentioned it to Matt he quickly breaks the bad news to us. “You guys are too late, some of my mates just shot a film down here, should be finished in a couple of weeks”. Bugger. Oh well, a few weeks have passed and the film has been released. And what a sensational short film it is. Directed by Mat Harrington, he has truly captured Matt’s spirit and passion for motorcycles. It’s not quite as good as the one we had in our heads, but we can only guess that their budget didn’t stretch to huge clouds of purple smoke, a giant guitar-playing robot and an army of scantily-clad bikini girls with machine guns. Come to think of it, neither did ours. Maybe next time.
Excuse our giddy schoolboy enthusiam, but this is probably one the finest examples of an SR we’ve laid eyes on. Jay Lossa from Lossa Engineering has spent hundreds of hours of machine work and hand fabricating this stunning Yamaha SR500 Cafe Racer. Ricki Bedenbaugh recently shot this short film for Lossa showcasing the distinctive two sides of the bike. First, it’s classic drop dead cafe racer looks and secondly it’s a big bore high performance beast that’ll rip your toupée off and throw it down the road quicker than look at you. You might remember the bike from Cafe Racer TV season 1, where the Bostrom brothers couldn’t wipe the smile off their face after pushing it to the limits through the Malibu Canyons. You can check out part of the episode here.
This unique HD Sporty has been cruising around the intertubes for a while now but we could never find out much about it. Now Jeremy Jones and Seth Huot have released this sweet little film which gives us pretty much all the details we were craving. It stars the bike’s owner Jake Hobbs and features him riding his “Harley dirt bike hybrid” and then chatting candidly to camera about his vision and the specs of this one-of-a-kind creation. The standout feature on the bike is a 1972 Harley Aermacchi Rapido tank which was kindly donated to him by Photographer Steven Stone. Enough words – take a look and tell us what you think.
Directed by Jeremy Jones and Seth Huot. Video and Edit By Seth Huot. Canon 60D/FCP 7
[Spotted on Moto Mucci]