London Calling: 40 images from the Bike Shed Show

The Bike Shed Show report
Watching thousands of people flood into London’s Tobacco Docks for the Bike Shed Show, it’s amazing to see what can grow from a mere love and admiration for custom motorcycles. The Bike Shed started as a custom motorcycle blog in 2011, but eventually grew into a restaurant, retail space and gear brand. It first opened in London, and then expanded to Los Angeles last year.

Now the brand has put on more than 13 of these custom shows between London and Paris—so it’s safe to say they’ve cracked the formula. So much so, in fact, that the Bike Shed Show often sits on many a custom builder’s calendar, as the deadline for whatever project they’re working on.

The show not only features a ton of custom bikes with lots of variety, but also has live music, great food, top vendors from all over the world, and panel discussions with brands and builders.

This year’s London edition show took place at the end of May at the Tobacco Docks, a large, two story warehouse building constructed in 1812. Stone walkways lead from room to room, each hosting a different array of custom machines. The ‘Great Gallery’ was for garage builders without well-known shops, with more grassroots builds downstairs in ‘Shed Row.’ Mini bikes and electrics occupied the ‘Future Room.’

So you had a 430 hp Suzuki sitting next to a motorcycle that’s pulled a wheelie while going over 200 mph, right next to a Triumph Tiger chopper, a Honda Cub, and a Sinclair C5 recumbent E-bike thing. Other highlights included modern engines and chassis shrouded in 80s superbike bodywork, a scooter powered by a KTM LC4 engine, and even a bike that was completely virtual. (It existed only as an augmented reality design, shifting from cruiser to sport to adventure, right there in front of viewers as they pointed their phones at it.)

Major OEMs supported the show too. A dozen custom BMW R 18s formed a circle in the middle of the downstairs walk—perfectly viewed from the upper balcony, but easy to reach for closer inspection. From ape-hangered custom cruiser to a fastback flat-track inspired build, there was an impressive range of styles applied to the heavyweight airhead.

Indian Motorcycle unveiled the custom collaboration between Cheetah and Sideburn Magazine—a monocoque FTR 1200 with incredible hand engraving and stone inlay details. Norton Motorcycle’s new V4CR broke cover for the first time, showing a new, café racer-inspired take on the brand’s high-performance V4 platform. And Royal Enfield brought a few bikes from their own custom program.

The sprawling venue was easy to navigate, and it seemed like wherever you were, you weren’t too far from a bar or a bathroom. Food trucks lined the docks outside the venue, offering everything from fresh scratch-made pasta, to Korean fried chicken or smoked barbecue. There was live screen printing, leather jacket painting, and even one artist finishing a photo-realistic black and white pencil sketch.

The Bike Shed Show went from Friday night until Sunday evening, but the Bike Shed locations in London and Los Angeles are permanent structures, with custom bikes on display year-round. And if LA is closer to you than London, there’s good news—a Bike Shed LA show is already being planned.

The Bike Shed | Images by Shane Benson

The Bike Shed Show report