Deep in the heart of downtown Austin motorcycle builders and enthusiasts lined up down East 5th Street for the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show. This inspiring showcase featured work from builders that was truly one of a kind. The atmosphere was bubbling with creativity as young builders scoped out hand-built machines while plotting their next build. For three days the line looped all the way around the corner and up the street with eager spectators waiting for their chance to take part of this custom motorcycle show.
The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show was born from the concept of inspiring young builders to pick up tools and build something with their hands. Revival Cycles believes deeply in the renaissance of working with our hands that has influenced the custom motorcycle scene. Motorcycle riders of all calibers can easily enjoy the universal attraction to creative work that can only be done by human hands. Making the Handbuilt Show a diverse attraction with everything from custom BMW’s to old choppers.
Of course we can’t help but gravitate to custom builds like “Seven” that won Jeremy Cupp the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder crown in 2016. With a humble and hard working nature it’s easy to see that Jeremy Cupp is fit to be king. Every custom build starts with a muse and for “Seven” Jeremy Cupp’s was a 1943 Harley Davidson CAC 500cc single-cylinder flat track racer. “Seven” features a 2001 500cc Buell Blast engine fitted with Ducati 750 SS heads that sit 180 degrees backwards. Cupp cut out the Buell transmission so the engine could sit vertically in the frame. The Buell transmission was replaced with a pre-1959 Triumph transmission. Cupp reworked the original cams to function as a series of idlers. Throw in a springer front end with 32mm Showa legs, a 21′ rear wheel, knobby tires and you’ve got a piece of work that redefines a new class of custom motorcycles. This bike wasn’t built to sit on the showroom floor, it was built to ridden and Jeremy does just that.
Michael Alton from Dallas was inspired by the vintage style from the 40’s, but wanted to add a touch of the modern world by using an ’02 Sportster engine. While many said it was an impossible feat Michael got to work to prove the naysayers wrong. After hours of research and measuring dimensions Michael discovered he could fit an ’02 Sportster 1200 engine in a WL Flathead frame. Michael integrated tons of vintage parts to complete the look including a J-Slot air cleaner and restored an old bates headlight. Throw in an original Sportster subframe and you’ve got a unique vintage look with an easily recognizable engine.
Custom motorcycles aren’t the only kind of art found at the Handbuilt Show. Nearly every wall displayed a gallery of beautiful artwork. One of the most popular displays found at the Handbuilt Show is the gallery of Tintype photographs by Moto Tintype. In a day and age where everything is digital the wet plat photographs reach deep into the roots of photography from the late 1800’s. Moto Tintype stands out from the rest by trading the crisp, exact image of modern cameras for unique and unpredictable art that can only be created in a darkroom.
The draw to motorcycle shows isn’t always the bikes that are on display. Shows like Handbuilt inspire new builders to pick up tools and create something great. They inspire others to pick up a helmet and taste the freedom of two wheels for the first time. It’s a common practice to see the crowd interacting over their own bikes outside. Exchanging beta on local twisties and hours spent working away in the garage. This is the kind of event that keeps our culture moving, evolving, and infecting others with an addiction to two wheels.
If you missed the Handbuilt Show this year and plan on making the trip next year check out Revival Cycles for more information on upcoming events.