What kind of motorcycle would the king of cool, Usher ride? Well, a custom one that his brother bought him of course. Custom created by Darwin Motorcycles, based on their Brawler GT model, the sports cruiser does ooze all types of cool. Riding it in a suit certainly doesn’t hurt its image.
The Buell motorcycle brand drew a lot of praise as well as criticism but I have a love for bikes with character. It was a sad day when Eric Buell announced that they were no longer producing motorcycles for the public. This inspired street-tracker built by Bottpower seem to miss them too. The most brilliant thing about this raging bike is the way the parts are bolted straight onto the engine. This is a stunning looking machine but I wish they chose a different style headlight. Check out the video at the end of this post to see the bike in action.
The Harley Iron 883 is once again justified as one of my favourite bike to customise with Roland Sands‘ latest creation. Created for the audio brand Technics, the bike is detailed with graphics inspired by the era of retro vinyl and analogue goodness. The video at the end of this post is worth watching to see the bike in action.
I had the pleasure of attending a Melbourne custom bike show organised by a group called “Oil Stained Brain” at the 1000 Pound Bend Gallery. The organisers are Jimmy Goode who runs Kustom Deluxe and Geoff Baldwin, of Return of the Café Racers. Both guys are deeply passionate about the custom bike industry and feature a wide range of interesting work by independent builders.
The show was a well populated by black leather clad bikers, rockers and guys with very neat hair. It was the first of hopefully many shows featuring builds from local and interstate bike builders. It also features films and artworks on bike culture as well. Some highlights include a very steampunk styled 1974 Shovel head with a pneumatic front suspension and a glass bottle fuel gauge, a beautifully restored BMW R1000RS with just the right amount of modern bits, and an iron clad 2008 KTM 250 EXC-F. It was an impressive exhibition considering the small but strong subculture of custom motorcycle riders in Australia. To be honest, some of the patrons rode up on some pretty sweet machines as well. It was a proud day to be a motorcyclist and I hope to see many more events put on by the passionate folks of Oil Stained Brain.
DP Customs have a way of customising their bikes that just makes you want to ride them. Their designs have a sense of fun while retaining a deep love for the form and function of these machines. Some of their bikes are completely customised with an array of hand made parts, while others, like the Centennial Harley Sportster (pictured below), have cleverly changed a few key sections to create a completely different ride. Their colour schemes are often bold but stylish, creating a distinct style rarely found with other builders working with Harleys. You can watch the video at the end of this post to see what these guys put into their builds.
You can also check out their website if you want to see more of their bikes. My only critique is the tacky “girl on a bike” shot they have on their home page. As a photographer, I don’t think it’s a great pose or shot, and as a bike rider I don’t need the girl to tell me that I’m looking at a great bike. I appreciate the image of a beautiful girl on a bike as much as the next rider but I expect to see something with a little more imagination or style from these guys. Enjoying rummaging through the magnificent machines on their gallery page.
I haven’t posted a photo of a sportster in awhile after buying my Bonneville, but I still haven’t lost my love for the Harley Iron 883. Here is a stylish and rugged example I found on my trawling through the internet. I originally didn’t like the new typeface on the 2013 model as it was a little too “Son’s of Anarchy”. I preferred the minimal san serif font that Harley originally used but I think this bike has changed my mind. This one reminds me of a medieval armoured steed with the reintroduction of spoked wheels, hard tail and slimmed down seat beautifully complimenting the more gothic lettering. I really do want to ride one of these one day.
If someone knows who the builder is or who took the photograph, please let me know.
When I was a kid, I watched this little known movie called “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man“. I was drawn to the movie starring two characters named after iconic American products. Mickey Rourke was Harley Davidson and he looked good on that bike. After watching the movie all I wanted was to wear a leathery motorcycle jacket and to walk around being all manly. Mr Miami Vice starred as the Marlboro man but I didn’t seem to have the same compulsion to light up a smoke.
Fast forward a few decades – Mickey has had some cosmetic work done, and so has his bike. Roland Sands Design has custom built a Harley Sportster for Rourke with super torque, and cafe racer styling. Gone is the dented chrome tank, replaced by a slick black, white and gold finish and clip on handlebars. Perhaps Harley Davidson might consider moving with the times and come up with something like this themselves. There will always be room for icons and classics but it wouldn’t hurt for Harley to get some inspiration from some contemporary sources as well. Anyway, check out the beautiful RSD Harley below.
Life magazine photographer Bill Ray and writer Joe Bride spent a few weeks in 1965 to document the life of the Hell’s Angels. Catapulting down endless highways on Harley Davidsons, braving police confrontations, their images and words gave insight into a secretive and often dangerous society built around lawlessness and bucking the status quo. Nearly all of these images were never published until now. Check out the images and stories at the Life Magazine site.
The “Topper”, powered by a 165cc two-stroke engine, was marketed as a recreational and utility vehicle, useful for fun excursions and package delivery. It even came with a sidecar option for people or cargo. The line never took off, though, and Harley-Davidson ended the experiment in 1965.
Can’t quite picture the Harley riders with their sleeveless leather vests and fingerless gloves riding through middle America on this one.