I’ve made no secret here on the J&P Blog about my opinion of “custom bike building” and how this segment of the industry has turned into a joke over the past few years. I have little use for super shiny themed “choppas,” built on reality television shows by folks with thin skin, getting their underwear twisted up when someone doesn’t care for their “design”.
And I’m no fan of these so-called production customs, which sounds like an oxymoron to me — with the emphasis on moron.
What I do have an incredible amount of love for is real ingenuity. I like functional bikes that are designed to ride. And I like garage-built machines. That’s why Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show is such an attraction to me. There’s a reason why it’s called the “Old School Chopper Show.”
We made our way down to 825 South Yonge St. in Ormond Beach, to witness the 10th anniversary of the best bike show in the Daytona area. We arrived around noon to an already jam-packed lot, filled to the property lines with motorcycles and people. We managed to wiggle our way through the crowd to get a good look at what graced the parking lot and we weren’t disappointed.
The story is, Willie’s tattoo artists were so busy inking customers during Bike Week that they never got a chance to see any of the chronic chrome action in town. So about a dozen years ago, Willie decided to bring all this handlebar hoopla to his shop. It was all here again this year —panheads, shovels, a Ford V8-powered hardtail, and a host of other examples of two-wheeled baddassery.
Check out the video below to see all the chopped up, homemade goodness.
You won’t see any production customs on this lot — just basic bikes built by riders.