The first day of the Ace Cafe Motorcycle and Custom Show at Alexandra Palace, North London, gave everyone hope that the UK finally has the top flight indoor custom show that it deserves. With the kudos of AMD World Championship affiliation, the custom show has attracted a number of excellent entries, some seen for the first time. As well as home-grown builders like Destiny Cycles, Lamb Engineering and 7 Ages Customs, there are also bikes from Italy and Holland. The prizegiving is tomorrow, and we'll bring you details of the winners on Sunday evening, as well as full coverage in the next issue.
The show will be open from 10am to 5pm on Sunday - if you're in the South East, it's well worth a visit.
Unfortunately this event notification arrived too late for our print edition, but it's a cracking event, so we figured you'd want to know about it anyway.
Sunday March 28th MOTORBIKE DAY 5: THE PUMP HOUSE MUSEUM The Pump House South Access Road Walthamstow London E17 8AX An annual gathering for bikes and riders of any age or make. Hot/Cold food & drink, Buses, Trains, Fire Engines, Museum & Shop on site. 11am-4pm. Entry £3 (concessions £1.50, under-16s free) Clubs wishing to display are welcome - contact firstname.lastname@example.org For more details ring 0208 521 1766 or visit www.leavalleyexperience.co.uk.
From the Times, one of the more curious stories of the week:
When the fearsome Baltic pirate Klaus Stortebeker was executed 600 years ago his headless body is said to have walked 12 metres along the Hamburg quayside.
He had struck a deal with the elders of the port: any of his 70 men that he managed to pass in his post-decapitation walk should be spared. The corpse passed 11 fellow pirates before the executioner tripped him up.
Little wonder, then, that his skull has fascinated Germans for so long -- and that its theft from a Hamburg museum last month has kept police busy.
They interrogated members of the often reckless FC St Pauli fan club and dug deep into the city's Goth scene, before concentrating on a new possibility: that the pirate's skull has become a trophy in the turf wars between rival biker gangs.
On Saturday night a skull was placed outside the offices of the 'Hamburger Morgenpost' with "No Tacos" written on its crown. "Tacos" is slang for the biker group Bandidos, which is challenging Hell's Angels for control over northern Germany's drugs trade.
Ralph Wiechmann, the head of archaeology at the Hamburg Museum, was called in to examine the skull and ruled that it belonged to a more recent corpse than that of Stortebeker.
Even so, the local press insists that a Hell's Angels chapter is the likely culprit. The 'Morgenpost' cites an "insider from the biker scene" as saying that the skull was offered to the Hell's Angels free of charge by an unnamed thief.
"The skull is an important relic of Hamburg history," Lisa Kosok, the director of the Hamburg Museum, said. "It is priceless."
It disappeared for a few centuries but re-emerged in 1878 during excavations to expand Hamburg harbour. The age of the skull was confirmed in 1999.
The Hamburg Senate failed to keep its promise to Stortebeker and the 11 men were not spared.
These new solid brass Pan covers have just been introduced by Paughco for Panhead owners. Manufactured from start to finish at Paughco’s massive complex in Carson City, Nevada, these covers are formed from a sheet of solid brass to be an exact bolt on replacement for the originals. Both smooth and ribbed styles are available to fit 1948-1965 machines and retail for $299.95. For more details visit www.paughco.com.
And what a diverse issue it is, too - even if we say so ourselves. Close to a hundred years separates the oldest bike from the newest, from a magnificient 1916 Excelsior board tracker in original tri with photos by legendary photographer, Michael Lichter, to Larry Houghton's bang up-to-date CBX, er, streetfighter-custom-chop-racer. That's the bike which graces this month's cover, after we had a big fight with our sister magazine, Streetfighters over who was going to feature it. We won.
There’s just over a week to go before the Ace Cafe Motorcycle & Custom Show opens its doors at Alexandra Palace in North London. We’re pleased to say that the BSH stand will be there in a prime position overlooking the custom bike show (which, this year, will be an AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building affiliate round, with the victor winning £5000 towards a trip to the finals in Sturgis this year), and next door to JA Prestwich Industries. We’re hoping they’ll let us bring one of their new JAPs home…
There’ll be a chance to see Dutch firm SPS’s lovely ‘Speed Demon’ (as featured in BSH), Zero Engineering’s Samurai Choppers, Garage 65’s recent Verona winning build and, of course, loads of home-grown machinery. Exile Cycles’ Russ Mitchell is Grand Marshal Chief Poo-Bah, a role at which he has had some experience with appearances at the Earls Court show in 2007 and the Bulldog Bash last year.
The show is open from 10am to 5pm on 26-28th February, and it’s £15 on the door for adults and a fiver for children between 7-14. For more details, visit HERE.
After meeting with the police and authorities, the Wootton Bassett Ride organisers have asked us to relay the following info:
Due to the unprecedented response from the biking community and with 10k bikes registered, we have been asked to close registration one week early. Unfortunately it will NOT be re-opening.
We would like to reassure everyone that the ride IS GOING AHEAD WITH the FULL support of the police and local authorities. We have spoken to a few local businesses who are all looking forward to the day. ALL bikes will be riding through Wootton Bassett no matter what you may have heard.
Plan details re: start/end locations, routes, times, wristbands, will be made available in document format as soon as they are confirmed. We have another meeting with the police next week to discuss the finer details. We can confirm, however, that we will NOT be riding on any stretches of the motorway.
We would like to apologise to anybody who has not registered however wanted to join us, we thank everybody for their patience and support.
Vic Reeves – Jim Moir, as his Mum knows him, has just bought a brand-new Royal Enfield Classic 500. The TV entertainer and host of’ Shooting Stars’ has been a keen motorcyclist since his youth, previously owning a 1960s Royal Enfield Continental GT.
He saw the latest Royal Enfield when the company supplied a couple of bikes as props for a Hairy Bikers sketch that he was filming for the recent series of Shooting Stars and fell in love with their classic appearance. And it’ll hardly put a dent I his bank balance – the Royal Enfield Classic EFI sells for just £4,590 on the road. The woolly Aran classic bike owner jumper is optional.
Another American motorcycle manufacturer bites the dust as the stock and name of Ridley Motorcycles goes under the hammer next Tuesday.
Oklahoma-based Ridley had been in business since 1995, and, four years later, produced the first fully automatic cruiser, the three-quarter scale Speedster. This was followed, in 2003, with the company’s first full-size motorcycle, the Auto-Glide. The low seat height, light weight and automatic gearbox appealed to many new riders, but, on 29th December 2009, the company filed for Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A meeting of the creditors was held last week, and yesterday the auction was announced at which everything from the name and drawing (lot 1) to a single Pirelli tyre (lot 78) will be sold.
Congratulations to our good friend, Holger Mohr, CEO of Custom Chrome International who was awarded the Easyriders Industry Leader of the Year award at the recent V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati. Holger told BSH, "I look upon it as an award for everyone at Custom Chrome International and Custom Chrome Europe, and proof for the industry that we are back on the right track and looking forward to celebrating CCI's 40th anniversary this year."
It's just been anounced by The Learning Channel that 'American Chopper', the soap opera about the Teutul family, their rows, their tantrums, oh yes, and their bikes, has been cancelled. The last episode will air in the USA next week (which means that we'll probably get it in the UK towards the end of the year).
TLC hasn't given a reason for the apparently sudden cancellation, but the fact that Paul Teutul Sr and Jr are currently involved in a legal battle over who owns the business may be a factor. In December 2009, Paul Sr instigated a lawsuit against his own son Paul over Orange County Choppers, and, according to many reports, the elder Teutul is seeking to buy his son’s shares in Orange County Choppers Holdings, Inc., along with claiming over $1 million in damages.
The show has also lost most of its main characters over the last couple of years - Paul Jr, Vinny, Mikey - and perhaps TLC felt that a series featuring nothing but the grizzled Paul Senior whinging a lot wasn't great television.
When Stellan Egeland unveiled his Harrier BMW last year, many people were sceptical as to whether it was practical, despite videos on YouTube and this blog showing proof to the contrary.
But now Swedish company ISR is offering the NS2 hub centre steering kit and, as ISR was responsible for the steering on the Harrier, it should know what it’s doing. There’s no details as yet as to which bikes the kit is designed to fit.
On 14th March, thousands of bikers will descend upon Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, in a mass ride to honour soldiers lost in Afghanistan. The run will pass through the town, known for its dignified repatriations of soldiers killed in action, and gather on the runway at RAF Lyneham. There, funds raised for the Afghan Heroes charity will be handed over; all proceeds raised from the Mother's Day ride will go to the charity.
Leigh Delamere services on the M4 (Junction 17 - eastbound) will be the meeting point for the mass ride through Wootton Bassett to RAF Lyneham. Each rider will pay £5 and receive a special commemorative Afghan Heroes wristband, which will be their entry pass to the RAF base. You can register at the AFGHAN HEROES web site, where you will need to provide your name and address in order to gain access to RAF Lyneham.
So far, an astounding 7891 bikes and 10,982 people have registered to take part.
Coolest dog of the week is Opee, the blue merle Australian shepherd dog from California, the first dog to ever take part in the Baja 500 motocross race as you can find out HERE. His owner explains;
"My name is Mike Schelin and I race Motorcycles with my dog Opee. We have started a motorcycle mentorship club. We have been teaching autistic and handicapped kids how to ride. Our first race was in November of 2005 at the Lake Elsinore Grand Prix. From November to now we have raced in 10 races. From California to Florida and even Mexico.
"Opee was the first dog in the history of SCORE racing to race in the Baja 500. Opee has had his photo in 20 magazines, on front pages of the 5 papers and a commercial. Opee and I can ride at over 120mph and take over 45 feet off some jumps."
The USA is known as the land of litigation, but an Idaho courthouse is currently hearing a particularly bizarre question as an Oregon man claims that police destroyed the mystical powers of a medicine bag when they opened it.
Craig Clark Show, 49, of Portland, was stopped on US Highway 95 while riding his Harley and arrested on suspicion of drink-driving. During the course of the arrest, the police opened the Native American bag which Show claims provided protection for him and had been blessed by a medicine woman. The bag had remained closed since 1995, but since the encounter with Idaho’s finest, had ceased to work, and so Show is suing the police force for $25,000.
To anyone who lived in or around Accrington, Clarke’s bike shop was an institution. The Suzuki dealership had been trading in Whalley Road for more than fifty years until its sudden closure last month. Now the business has been placed into administration and asset recovery group, Landwood, ordered to sell off the stock of helmets, clothing, spares and twenty-seven bikes. The former showroom will be open on Friday and Saturday (5 & 6th February) for bargain hunters, and the sale will finally close on 19th February.