Tell me frankly, right-handedly: is customization an art? Craft? Or a sophisticated way to milk a client? "A little bit of everything"? This is not an answer, this is avoiding the answer … (I got it, right?) Okay, I won’t bother you anymore: customizing is, it turns out, a sport. Championships, at least, are already being held (they say, the ballet world championship and the European Cup of oil painting are just around the corner). The champions have a wheeled wheel, the audience is dying from the importance of what is happening and involvement in the historical moment, and the spiteful critics are angrily puffing under the garbage plots and grumbling that these championships are supposedly fake and everything in this world has been bought.
Well, sports are so sports. Well, at least doping control was not introduced … With these optimistic thoughts, I went to the German city of Mainz, which, according to the scout’s encyclopedia, is located on the left bank of the Rhine. Here was held the European Championship on customization. It sounds serious, so let’s put on solidity, move our eyebrows and enter the arches of the Phoenixhalle exhibition center, leaving the correct German spring behind us, obscene, as if boastfully repeating: “We have better, but we have better!..”
Visitors, as expected, were greeted by a gold medalist from Canada - Goldammer Board Tracker, last year’s winner of the first World Cup. With a new headlight. We can’t say that she ruined it, but why the hell was this breathtaking “upgrade” - it’s not entirely clear. To me, at least. What is there to "improve" when the motorcycle still has one road - to the museum? And here Roger Goldammer himself drew himself to warm himself a little in the rays of spotlights and glory. At the same time, the Canadian looked with one eye at his brainchild, and with the second he looked at the new bike of another retro-style virtuoso, the Belgian Fred "Krugger" Bertrand, standing a few meters away. And there was, I tell you, an excuse to squint. From Speedbowl with a Panhead type motor, another “Krugger” custom stylization for a 20s racer, such magnetism emanated that some visitors literally stuck glasses to the motorcycle. The man managed to hide the brake mechanism inside the feathers of the fork! Imbued masterfully! As it was! What about the plug? Take a closer look: song!
I, along the way, discovered an interesting pattern in the work of Kruger. His first retro-cast The Racer (2002) had a “chubby” tank, the next one - Maywood (2003) - a “tank” tank, last year's Hot Climbing - again a “chubby” tank, Speedbowl - you see for yourself. At the same time, the traditional "old Harley" colors also alternate: The Racer - gray, Maywood - brown, Hot Climbing - again gray, respectively Speedbowl - again brown. Which of these is the conclusion? Yes, perhaps, only one: I am very observant.
Looking ahead, I’ll say that Kruger in this championship got the fourth place in the Freestyle nomination (and this is the main nomination). I don’t know if he was hoping for the first? Everything would have been fine if it had not been for the sensation of last year - for him, Krugger, Hot Climbimg. He was frankly revolutionary. Speedbowl in relation to it is rather evolution.
In addition, the competition was now - be healthy! Judge for yourself: 64 custom builders submitted 71 bikes to the contest. The geography of the participants was also impressive: Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland … Ours were not seen. Until. (This is not in the sense that I say goodbye - I hope for a bright future.)
And what about the Germans? Oh, they are still on horseback! Although they have a hard time - neighbors in the European Union are pushing from all sides, they have completely lost their fear! But is it possible for such mastodons like Thomas Haberman to break through this? Not to life! His magnificent (you can not say otherwise) Caligo became the owner of "gold". Well, what can I say - Thomas got what he deserved. So many years remained in the shadows. But both for Triangular (Moto, No. 12–2003), and for Golden Dream by Uli Anliker (Moto, No. 2–2005), and for a myriad of other projects, bent-cooked frames. Yes, and his own motorcycles in recent years, his Habermann Performance began to build very decent. In short, the award found a hero.
Impressed by what I saw, I visited the VIP buffet. Freebie, but no beer.
And what did the notorious master and almost showman Marcus Waltz have in store (a sort of German Jesse James or, let's say, a man striving to become a German Jesse James)? The workshop of Walz Hardcore Cycles in Mainz for the first time presented to the public its bike tribute to the cult American actor James Dean, who died 50 years ago while driving his Porsche spider with tail number "130" and his own name Little Bastard. All these facts are reflected in the design - the years of Dean’s life, number 130, the Porsche emblem, the inscription Little Bastard … But the silhouette of James Dean’s era doesn’t quite correspond to such “high-necks” send us back to 60- m Although the black matte color and red wheels are just “in the subject” - one hundred percent early hotroding. A good touch: the headlamps are "walled up" in the number plate. And no “asphalt rollers” behind! “200th” tires - just right (at first Marcus planned to install even “120th”). The motorcycle is spectacular, but … not some “Waltz” one, from someone else’s shoulder. Either Billy Lane’s “ears stick out”, or someone else … American retro-chopper. Maybe this move is correct in the commercial sense (and Waltz always had an enviable commercial flair), but Walz Hardcore’s appeal to the subject “old school” seemed somehow not entirely convincing, it feels like a slight falsity. Like the inscription on the rear wing: "Walz Hardcore Cycles, since 1967." An inexperienced person may think that the company is a venerable patriarch. But just so as not to lie, 1967 is the year of the birth of Marcus. Result? Alas, the sixth place. I suspect Marcus was counting on more. By the way, he said that the James Dean Tribute Bike will be built in a mini-series of three copies at a price of 50, 000 euros. Do not waste good!
The product, called No Limit Custom (NLC), is a side project of Holger Schnell, the boss of Big-Bike, a company known (mainly for its fighters). Finally! Finally, something interesting came out of the “non-customizable” V-Rod. Harmonious and powerful in German. Ground Zero and later Stealth with three hundred and thirty behind were exhibited. The latter entered the top ten custom leaders (eighth place). Among the works presented by the owners of the championship were other interesting exhibits, but the top ten are not rubber …
The second prize was taken by Pete Hoffman from the rapidly gaining momentum of the Dutch office of Violator Motorcycles. His fantastic Full Metal Jacket with a 2377cc S&S engine immediately became one of the undisputed favorites for both an unbiased audience and a biased one (read - other masters). Specially trained girls were constantly lying on the motorcycle, exacerbating the already considerable stir of journalists. (I managed to take a photo of a motorcycle without a distracting model only at the moment when it was carried away into the back room without feelings, and the next one refused to go on the podium, despite the fact that, judging by the screams, she was beaten in the dressing room.)
The third place went to the well-known classic Viridian spring-green chopper (Moto, No. 3–2005) (viridian is Latin for “green”), which in January won the honorary title of Best In Show in Padua. With the nationality of this motorcycle in the press is a complete mess. Half of the specialized publications considered it Swedish (I confess, and I fell for it), the other half - Finnish … I will clarify. Mr. Moore, the owner of the office building office of Mr. Moore Custom Craft, is actually a Finn, and according to his passport he is Mika Nieminen. But I ordered a bike by the Swedish custom magazine MCM. In addition, the Dutch from Zodiac were involved in the project. Plus, something was being done in Italy. Awesome custom international! Now Viridian will go to the World Cup - such is the fate of the bikes that won the first three places in the Freestyle nomination.
And what is this hymn to Pilsner beer in metal? The “thematic” bike of Czech masters from VMP is called Czech Bread (“Czech bread”). Great job! (Well, yes, I agree - it’s a bit heavy visually.) Let it be in ninth place so far, but these guys will still give the child!
The Swedes, as always, performed in a united and effective manner. People are able to make simply beautiful motorcycles: clean lines, the highest quality of workmanship, impeccable painting … Lovely expensive! That Stephen Uhlen's Broken Arrow from AC Cycle (fifth), that Carl 88 Anders Andersson's Super 88 from Cycle World (seventh) - aerobatics! The top ten is also closed by a Swede - a bike built by Unique Custom Cycles.
Well, in the VIP buffet? Perhaps…
After the buffet, you can also say a few words about the HR3 nomination. “The world champion among kit bikes Custom Chrome HR3 series” (that is, built from parts and components ordered from a catalog) - this sounds, you see, strange. Well, okay, no one has canceled the money. (I remember, we dreamed in childhood that communism would break out, they would cancel the money, burst into the store and pick up a lot of goodies … Bummer, fooled the children … I will not forgive …) In this class, the first place went to the Swiss from Classic-Cycles, the second - British Thundercity, and the third was divided by the Italian office of Bike In Black Garage and the Slavic brothers Free Rider Motorcycles from Poland. There were also motorcycles that declared immediately in two categories - Freestyle and HR3 (for example, Crystal Sheep II workshop Stop & Go Motorcycles), but in the end were not marked in any. (So it is in life … Eh …)
Finally, the last nomination is street fighters. Here, perhaps, no one had any hesitation in choosing a leader. Masters of MS-Bikes raised the bar with their El Alamein to an unattainable height for rivals. The “theme” of a motorcycle (African Corps, 1941–43) is risky and ambiguous. But the performance is brilliant! On the contrary, it’s sandy matte. This, I will report to you, is what is commonly called the "concept"! This is not a “conceptual” “Vasya-86”, built by Vasya in honor of the memorial to him in 1986, when senior yard friends told him where the children come from. (Sorry, unknown Vasya, if you offended …)
The second prize in this category was received by Deep Bull from the Spaehn-Racing team (again, see the report in Moto about Padua), the third went to Brandy's Biker Store. As a result, the whole fighter's pedestal was occupied by the Germans. Which, however, is natural.
I can’t help but say a couple of warm ones about the trikes, my secret passion and obvious love (or vice versa, but not important). There were two, but what! Already known to us in Padua, the handsome man from the Dutch SPS and the snow-white Remember The 20s Ulf Stjernholm. “Remember the 20th” - this is not a customized “Harley” Servi-Car, as it might seem at first. Here the kneading is trickier! This Chevrolet rear-wheel trike with “345th” rubber is molded from a true 1928 Harley-Davidson model J model! With a native 1.2-liter engine! (Zealots of orthodox motor restoration, don’t take to heart what happened. Well, yes, this topic has gone into retro-customization - to fully use “natural ingredients.” But what can you do if Ulf, as luck would have it, wasn’t at hand nothing, besides the pre-war machines) …
At that moment, I realized that the time had come to take food urgently, and doomedly wandered into the VIP buffet.
Outside of the competition program, a lot of interesting things were also observed. Life was in full swing! Peter Penz was still here with his creations, but it seems that with one foot already on the plane: Dayton was waiting for him (where, by the way, he was lucky to experience success with his Relaxed Atmosphere). But Fred Codlin was clearly in no hurry: he was surrounded by young ladies at his stand and selflessly drank wine. The maestro was clearly pleased with his life, and it seemed that no one had told him in person that Shine was, to put it mildly … not the best thing he did.
And in the lobby were the so-called “project bikes” of the German version of Easyriders (now any self-respecting custom magazine is building its own “projects” - a trend, however). Last year's “project” of the German Easyriders was called Bob Twin and consisted of a pair of cute bobbers-Knuckle-head with the corresponding antique power unit (well, again) and Blockhead with a modern “Harley” motor. Motorcycles assembled at the Frankfurt workshop Harley Factory. Next to it was the first “draft” of this publication - the 2003 Chopster by Fred Codlin (the “crazy” Sportster, as in my spoiled taste - nothing like that, even though Fred Codlin) …
And then it dawned on me! Is it possible to save the nth amount of travel allowances, bring them back to the editorial office and build something enchanting for this money. Then we will definitely tear them! I so clearly presented this triumph that, seized with excitement, I rushed to the VIP buffet …
So, by the likeness that we have. What direction did Mainz set for the further development of customizing? It seems that Mainz will not mind if I name several directions at once. Three winning motorcycles - three styles. So choose for yourself - as they say, each has its own head behind its shoulders. How wise he is, this Mainz …
Do not forget the fact that, despite the massive public relations, the championship (that is European, that of the world) is still a "Custom Chrome Championship". That is, many venerable customizers (first of all, I mean Americans) simply do not participate in it for various reasons. Anyway, Europeans are very fond of fueling the myth of a certain exclusivity of local customization. The Americans do not seem to argue: they say that the old Europe is cool, hi-tech, unexpected decisions and all that!.. And they think to themselves: “Still, true customization is Shtatovsky! God save America, and amen on it!”Otherwise, why would the European championship be considered just a“qualification”before the second world championship, which will be held in November - there are no options here, namely in the USA. This time - in Las Vegas, among the casinos and Elvis doubles. There it will become clear on which coast of the Atlantic Europe is located.