Destination Austin: The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show
For one weekend in April, Austin, Texas is the home of motorcycling. The Grand Prix of The Americas features the fastest riders on earth, defying the laws of physics and showing off their Texas lean. But a few miles down the road, the cultural heart of two wheels beats on E 5th Street, at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show.

Hosted by Revival Cycles, the show (now in its fourth year) continues to attract increasing numbers of the builders, bikes and enthusiasts that are setting the beat in this growing industry.

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show
The recipe is simple. A clean, organic space, spacious displays, tasty cocktails and a grassroots mentality to showcasing excellence in design. No less than 103 captivating motorcycles filled the Fair Market this year, all there by invitation.

Revival founder and head wrench, Alan Stulberg, explains the selection process: “Builders and bikes are selected as a whole in how they complement one another, and not based on favoritism, professional builds or public profiles. We do our best to bring in the bikes and builders that fit.”

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show
There are other mainstays, too. Charlie Ransom challenged the MotoGP paddock for intestinal fortitude on his Wall of Death, while a plethora of clapped-out home builds sweated horsepower onto the Austin streets nearby.

A collective of enthusiasts from all walks of motorcycling life filled the 80-year-old venue, to exchange opinions and stories of the bikes they saw, those they had ridden and the ones they still clamour for. Over 30,000 people passed through the doors through the course of the weekend—the Handbuilt Show’s biggest turnout yet.

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show
“The Handbuilt Show started from the very simple idea that putting great motorcycles into a room with the right presentation and an inclusive, inviting vibe, would attract an appreciative moto-hungry crowd,” says Alan. “It sounds overly simple, but my experience with attending almost all other motorcycle-centric events left some obvious room for improvement.”

“To me it is definitely the subtle details that make the difference in a great motorcycle, and it is also the subtle details that make the difference in an event of any kind. From the beginning my intent has been to create an experience that makes an impression and leaves the crowd wanting more—and more motorcycle riders is, in the end, the ultimate goal.”

Here’s a look at some of the bikes that bent necks at this year’s Handbuilt Show…

Craig Rodsmith's 'Margery'
Craig Rodsmith’s ‘Margery’ One of the show’s immediate standouts, this loopframe custom Guzzi featured a hand-formed dustbin fairing. The product of hours of hand forming by Craig Rodsmith, show goers were drawn to it like moths to a flame. (We’ll have a full report on this one soon).

Shinya Kimura's 'Pantera Verde'
Shinya Kimura’s ‘Pantera Verde’ This used to be a Kawasaki Z1, before Shinya Kimura plied his trademark aesthetic. The raw metal finish has always been a bold move, as imperfections can’t really hide. Go ahead and look; you won’t find any.

Sosa Metalworks' 'Space Traveler'
Sosa Metalworks’ ‘Space Traveler’ The amount of work and level of craftsmanship executed on this 1946 Knucklehead is absolutely stunning. Cristian Sosa of Sosa Metalworks had his hands on every aspect of this build, from the oval tubed frame to the intricate linkages and rolled bodywork.

Brough Superior SS101
Brough Superior SS101 This one needs no introduction—just some undivided attention. It’s the famous Lawrence of Arabia Brough Superior SS101.

Hazan Motorworks' Ducati 860GT
Hazan Motorworks’ Ducati 860GT Max Hazan continues to push the bounds of engineering and craftsmanship with his latest—this Ducati square case turbo. I recommend you start your gaze in the rear on this one; the cut on that exhaust matches the tail so perfectly, that you could barely slide a dollar bill between the two.

Mark Atkinson's 'Alpha'
Mark Atkinson’s ‘Alpha’ Featured right here on Bike EXIF, this BMW K100 was the result of a collaboration between Utah-based Mark Atkinson, and Istanbul-based designer Mehmet Doruk Erdem. And it’s an absolute show-stopper.

Revival Cycles' 'Odioso'
Revival Cycles’ ‘Odioso’ Sure, it may look playful and innocent with those neon accents, but this Ducati ST4 rig from show hosts Revival is nothing short of beastly. With 140 hp on tap, knobbies and extra long suspenders, there’s little you and the missus couldn’t tear up on this thing.

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show
This year in Austin marked my second chance to partake in both the Handbuilt Show and MotoGP. Their two worlds seem a universe apart, but the folks snapping pics, chatting, laughing and looking on in admiration are all very much one and the same.

Whether it’s form or function that turns your two-wheeled crank, for one weekend in April, Austin has it all.

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show | Facebook | All images by Revival Cycles