In the recent past, I took a trip to Portland, Oregon, to visit my good buddy Joe Ayala. Another friend alerted me to the fact that there would be an awesome custom motorcycle show called the One Show happening there during my stay, so Joe and I checked it out!
The unusually heavy snow storm in Portland made for a lot of fun sliding around in cars, but almost certain death for riders. The folks who did ride to the show must have had serious testicular (or ovarian) fortitude. Even riding a scoot like this is the beastliest of adventures when you add snow. Check out the awesome zip-tie traction aids they made!
Even peering through the window we could see that the inside contained a great deal of awesome. I’ve been riding dirtbikes for around 20 years, but only made the jump to pavement last year, and Joe is just starting to catch the bug, so being such newbies we both had a lot to take in.
Soon after arriving Joe picked this Honda as his favorite.
The workmanship and time put into these bikes is truly remarkable. Even the cut off exhaust is deburred exquisitely.
I can see why Joe liked this one so much, but I wasn’t ready to pick a favorite just yet!
The thing that caught my eye as soon as we walked in the door was this surfboard equipped bike. The restoration work on it alone was pristine, but the sketch of the bike painted on the side of the board took it to an even greater level of cool.
The show seemed to be primarily made up of café & tracker customs, both modern…
Tons of rad choppers upstairs…
…And what I can only describe as rogue badass insane awesome works of mechanical euphoria like this bike. I bet you’ll never guess what it is underneath its customizations.
That’s right! You guessed it! (yeah right, we know you didn’t!) On this bike’s hand-written info sheet, it is listed as a “2011 BMW S1000RR | Seriously”.
The owner/builder never intended her to be a show bike, in fact it’s his daily ride! He only built it to suit his needs because as he says “at my age I can no longer ride for long in a sportbike position.” Built of 100% recycled parts, this bike is not only completely awesome and unique, it was built on the cheap. Much respect to this guy.
There weren’t many sportbikes at the show, but this hand-made 1970s Magni race replica MV Agusta F4 was a true gem.
These results don’t come easily though, 700 hours was put into this bike.
On the back wall we came across the Dirty Needle Embroidery booth.
Cody McElroy, proprietor of Dirty Needle, makes these embroidered patches using a simple sewing machine. Each one is hand made, so each one is unique.
I got one with a skull wearing a 3/4 helmet, and Joe got one with a frosty mug of beer. Hey, the proceeds go to help his wife get her kidney replaced! Good cause, good dude, sweet patches.
There was also a sub-show called 21 Helmets featuring a bunch of really interesting custom paint jobs.
This one was painted up to look like china. Look at how detailed it is! And it has our initials!
This was my favorite helmet of the show. I love the grungy style, and who doesn’t enjoy a little sideways satan?
This was Joe’s favorite helmet. Haha, just kidding. I don’t know which helmet Joe liked the best. Maybe you should ask him!
I love the old yellow and black Yamaha liveries, and this helmet had a crazy long visor to boot. Did anyone actually wear these back in the day?
There was also this replica “Yamahauler” van with a matching bike which was pretty swell too.
Joe and I got to talking about the similarities between motorcycle customization and the car fabrication we’re better acquainted with. In the car world it’s not uncommon to strip a vehicle down to its bare husk and rebuild it from the ground up with components from original to insane, but the milder more common builds bear distinct traits that can be seen in the motorcycle world too.
One of those traits is header wrap. Header wrap looks awesome and is widely used by the custom motorcycle world to hint towards a racier pedigree.
The black header wrap on this Triumph is subtle, but when it catches your eye it adds to the aura of badassery.
This bike just looks totally badass in general, I don’t know what else to say. Header wrap!
Another way bikers like to express themselves is by customizing the fuel tank. Whether it be a different shape, or just a wicked paintjob… the tank stands out.
I very much dig the leather & brushed look on these vintage bikes. These are just a few examples of the beautiful restorations we saw at the show. Some not modified at all, but completely rebuilt to perfection.
Speaking of tanks, the trophies at this year’s show came in the form of custom painted tanks by Ornamental Conifer.
His work was everywhere at the show, definitely one of the favorite painters around.
Joe had heard of him too! In fact, while we were at the show Joe’s helmet was in the process of being painted by the man himself.
A car at a bike show? He gets a pass because of the Conifer paint job. Very nice.
Joe and I agreed this was the cleanest bike at the show. Everything about this bike was minimalist, clean, and awesome. Coming from a dirtbiking background, I favor bikes like this with straight bars and upright riding positions.
We also agreed that this bike was by far the dirtiest, but awesome nonetheless. I wouldn’t doubt that any of these bikes are ridden on a daily basis outside the show.
This bike had a f*&$ing turbo on it. That was something Joe and I were definitely not expecting to see that day.
I walked upstairs a few minutes after Joe and the thing that caught my attention immediately was the custom-painted speedometer show going on with the guys from Seattle Speedometer
Joe checked it out too, and got a shot of my favorite speedo of the show. Faster, I dare you.
Here’s an electric bike from Brammo. It seems like e-bikes are gaining a lot of ridership lately. From the Isle of Mann TT, to the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. I see them everywhere.
No brakes, and a katana for a shifter. This bike is ratty vintage awesome.
Here’s something you definitely don’t see every day. Mud all over a Ducati logo?!
Other than the knobbies, this bike looked almost stock. “Why would someone do this with a Ducati?” I wondered. Joe seemed to think it was perfectly reasonable.
If you compare it to the drifting world it makes perfect sense. This thing wasn’t made to do what we’re using it for, but it’s awesome, right? I imagine that’s similar to the thought most people had when they saw Tanner Foust’s rear wheel drive Nascar V8 powered Scion tC.
There were a few artistic bikes at the show, this one was made out of tools and a Kirby vacuum.
This one had a clarinet for an exhaust. Have you ever seen a cooler mini-bike?
Okay, well now you have. The Bixby Moto “Death Dealer II” is an awe inspiring mini.
Totally Frankenstein, totally street legal, totally awesome. Check out their video about the bike.
Everywhere we looked we saw more and more detail. One could literally spend days going over the show with a fine-toothed comb.
Alas, we didn’t have that kind of time to spend, but we certainly enjoyed it while we were there! The show was huge, especially considering the weather. If there hadn’t been so much snow we probably would’ve seen bikes lining the streets surrounding the venue. Either way it was a great experience. Look forward to more motorcycle-related articles on Life Blasters as I fall deeper and deeper into this new found addiction.