R.M. Prisig’s ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. Che Guevara’s ‘Motorcycle Diaries’. T.E. Lawrence’s ‘The Mint’. All literary classics in their own right, but also important books when considered as milestones in man’s efforts to understand the spirituality that comes from riding a motorcycle. For mortals like you and I, the sublime beauty is more likely to manifest itself as a knowing smile between friends after a Sunday afternoon blast along a country road. Or the telling ‘it’s hard to describe’ phrase offered up after a non-biker asks you what riding is really like. Mario from Miami’s IronGeek Garage is a mortal just like you and I, yet his ability to speak to the heart of the matter when it comes to bikes is pretty damn impressive. It moved us, and we hope it does the same for you.
It’s not every day that you find out the the largest private collection of original Crocker motorcycles – in the world – are being stored in a warehouse/cafe just down the road from where you live. These beautiful ‘Icons of 1930s Los Angeles’ have found a new home in a small Waterloo cul-de-sac nestled in one of Sydney’s latest gentrified areas. The owner of these exquisite motorcycles, Chilli (as he’s affectionately known), has set out to “preserve a rare piece of automotive history by offering the same bespoke experience as back in Crocker’s prime at 1346 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles” – hence the name.
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It’s almost been 3 years since Shinya the “motorcycle mechanic” starred in the stunning short film called the ‘Smell of Oil’. Well, we are glad to see he is back in front of the camera with another beautifully shot film. This time it was directed by Danielle Levitt and shot by Evan Scott as a supplement to the third issue of On Paper Magazine. Shinya not only builds some of the most amazing examples of moving sculptures but he is also one of the most intriguing personalities in the motorcycle scene. In the film, Danlelle digs a little deeper into what makes Shinya tick and the feeling he gets when riding his machines. In the end, the film left us wanting one thing… to go for a ride with this master of metal. How about you?
Check out Danielle’s site for more photographs of Shinya in his element.
As a southern hemispherian, I have a strange relationship with winters. And I’m not talking about the kind we get down here. In fact, calling those ‘winter’ is akin to calling Nicki Minaj an ‘artist’. But just like any other westerners, we grew up with images of Frosty the Snowman, sleigh rides and ice skating on frozen lakes. What the picture books and stop motion Christmas specials conveniently avoid, though, is the nastier aspects of la saison d’hiver. Like the heating bills, shovelling snow, and worst of all – the fact that your bike stays put for what seems like an eternity (hello North Eastern America if you are reading this.) But is that really a negative, or is it a customiser’s blessing in disguise?
Hold that thought while you watch the latest video from long-time Pipeburn contributor and good mate Andrew David Watson. It’s a piece he’s done with Cast & Salvage, a very cool-looking Philly bike shop. As Andrew puts it, ‘winter is in full force up here, and we still have another month or two to go, so hopefully everyone watching has a winter project to keep themselves busy with until it’s riding time!’ Enjoy.
This aesthetically pleasing mini documentary was shot by filmmaker and photographer Ryan Scheer for Helm boots. There are six in the series and this one focuses on Alan and Stefan from Revival Cycles in Austin, Texas. The guys talk about their love for motorcycles and how grateful they are to be doing what they are doing – narrowly escaping a life in the dreaded cube farm.
Motorcycle builders are usually great at building bikes but when it comes to photography, most can’t find the auto focus button. There’s nothing worse than receiving pics of an amazing bike but the photos just don’t do all the hard work justice. There are a few builders who always seem to hit a home run with their bike photography and one of our favourites is Twinline Motorcycles in Seattle. Thanks to their good mate Todd Blubaugh, who not only is a bike fanatic but also a top photographer. We recently featured some of his work in an interview with Jeff from Twinline and he just sent us this sweet little ‘behind the scenes’ video from that shoot, filmed and edited together by the guys at Mammoth. Spend two minutes watching the film and you might learn a couple of tricks…
Check out Todd’s blog for more ‘moto photo’ goodness.
We recently featured the Wrenchmonkees CB750 which was purpose-built for this monkeetrip. Now here’s the first episode of this 10 day ride which clocked up around 3000km across Europe. The Wrenchmonkees are working on their own line of work wear in collaboration with KANSAS and thought they’d do there own product testing. What better way to see how your clothes hold up than wearing them everyday for 10 days riding through rain, wind, storms and anything else mother nature threw at them. Filmed by Simon Weyhe & Mathias Nyholm Schmidt, all edited together with a superb music track by Ormen at WSLS Records.
Watch episode 2&3 after the jump.
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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