ENTER THE CUSTOMS' SHED
KICKBACK - THE NATIONAL CUSTOM BIKE SHOW 2015
Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire used to be known as the National Agricultural Centre, and while its display buildings are now used for more generic exhibition space, as you drive in its rural and farming roots are obvious...the British Equestrian Federation, British Charolais Cattle Society, Kennel Club, farm shop.
The small crowd on a blustery rainy Sunday were not there for agricultural pursuits - though it was hard not to notice that the ads in the men's toilets were for a brand of horse feed rather than the usual van insurance or HGV driver vacancies. We had all arrived for Kickback The National Custom Bike Show.
The comprehensive website had made much of the fact that the show was to be filmed for the ITV4 series 'The Motorbike Show'. Though this information hadn't enticed a big spectator audience to the real thing; which is a shame as there were a host of imaginative, ingenious, individual and obsessively engineered bikes on display.
One of the headline sponsors was Triumph whose display was at the centre of the hall. They had brought a group of one off specials (all for sale) built by different Triumph dealers.Plus a couple of bikes built at the Hinckley factory, where they had run a 'build off' competition between groups of engineers/assembly workers - the winners, a Bonneville in Bobber style and a revamped Scrambler, were on display.
It's interesting to note Triumph's activity in this segment of the motorcycle market. They are also involved in the very popular Bike Shed Motorcycles Club custom exhibitions, which this year will see two shows being organised: Paris on 11th/12th April and the London show at the Tobacco Dock on 24th/25th May www.thebikeshed.cc
There was such a wide array of bikes on display from the sophisticated to the simple idea; and one of the simple ideas was the Ram Racer built by Rolling Art Motorcycles www.rollingartmotorcycles.com They had set themselves the task of building a bike with material and parts left over from other projects. They started with a BSA B40 engine, and all the chassis parts were manufactured in house. But they did have to buy in the tyres and a Hagon rear shock.
At the outrageous end of people's dedication to the task were several BMW Boxers, thumbing their collective noses at the conventionality that BMW usually stands for. A group of Honda 50cc and 90cc step thrus sprouting glitter and glamour, but as I was staring at my own favourite, one of the company people came by and placed some free beer/coffee mats on the stand, which gave me the opportunity to ask about the bike.
I'd never seen a single cylinder engine such as this, and asked to guess what it was I questioned: 'Is it half a Harley?' Almost correct, it was a Buell Blast from a motorcycle manufactured by Buell/Harley Davidson from 2000 -2009, conceived as an entry level motorcycle with a 492cc engine, in an attempt by Harley to attract younger and beginner riders to the marque.
This engine – apparently they can still be obtained from the US – was housed in a motorcycle named Pea Shooter. One of a range of four concept/production bikes produced by Mac Motorcycles in conjunction with a motorcycle design company Xenophyia Design. Their range of four bikes are innovative and uncomplicated, a plus for me in an often over complicated world. Check out their website www.mac-motorcycles.com
We've posted a picture of the Pea Shooter along with a whole bunch of others, which is the best way of showing the custom builders art. Enjoy. And keep an eye on the TV schedules as ITV4 will be broadcasting their footage from the show sometime in this summer when the series returns.
While Stoneleigh Park is geographically centrally located and close to Leamington Spa, it's in a rural area, and one wonders whether a more urban or city based venue would attract a larger crowd. On the other hand this is only the second Kickback show, and with TV coverage planned it could well grow. Certainly the dedication of these special and custom builders deserves wide reco gnition from the motorcycle world.
John Newman for Wemoto News
Now sit back and enjoy the pictures:
Any favourites or did you go along? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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