One of the coolest things about Choppers is their historic relevance to the motorcycle community. The wild chopped, bobbed, and stretched style of the chopper exploded in the 1960s, becoming the officially unofficial chariot of bad asses. They were shot into the lime light by celebrities and movies like Easy Riders, and made a permanent image associated with bikers by artists like David Mann in Easy Riders Magazine (and others). Giving people an opportunity to check out a snapshot of the biker lifestyle and chopper essence, Mann’s artwork is still inspiring artwork and custom motorcycles to this day. Keeping the old school chopper style alive, and evolving with the times.
That’s one of the main reasons Chopper Fest is such a rad event. You can see the whole progression of chopper style from back in the day through present day.
The “If You Build It They Will Come” All Brand Motorcycle Show presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys in the 13th annual Chopper Fest event this past Sunday brought a whole field of two wheeled art. Raked out choppers, classic bobbers, and wild concept builds brought big crowds of happy families, entertained by live music including a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. With free bike show entry, people are happy to take a weekend trip out to Ventura, California.
This year I was invited by the amazing Jessi Combs to join her and her business partner Theresa Contreras at the Real Deal booth representing their business encouraging women and young people to get into welding, making, building, creating, racing and more. Jessi did welding demos while Theresa gave people a crack at pinstriping, and I brought my leather craft tools as well. It was a fun opportunity for people to participate in a small part of the process in making their favorite two wheeled toys!
As a member of the Real Deal team, I joined Jessi and Theresa in judging the show—the Ladies Class being our exclusive responsibility, along with adding our votes in to Best Pan, Knuckle, Shovel, David Mann style, and Best of Show.
Taking the time to really walk through and look at every bike's creative deatils a joy of custom motorcycle shows we often forget. You really notice the handicraft, little things like shot glasses made into tail lights, eyeball headlights, stash compartments, and so much more. Unique styles and excellent fabrication work flooded the show.
With the custom bikes, swap meet and vendor areas, food, beer, live music and the best of show winner earning $2,500... it's easily one of the coolest shows of the year. Come drink, dance, bring your own bikes and take a stab at the grand prize next December! Stay tuned to chopperfestival.com for all the details.
Bobbers are quite possibly the original performance custom motorcycles. Riders have been stripping extraneous parts and “bobbing” fenders since knickerbockers and straw hats were in fashion. The idea is simple: take an ordinary motorcycle, remove anything not related to going fast, including rear shocks, side covers, and passenger seats and pegs, chop off the fenders to their most minimal size (or better yet, toss them in the bin with the other bits you’ve removed) and soup up the engine.
Part of the whole point, of course, was to build your own. There was no such thing as a “factory” bobber—and how cool could one really be? Admittedly, my expectations upon arriving in Madrid, Spain, for the global launch of the 2017 Bonneville Bobber were modest.
Oh, the bike looks awesome, and it’s one of the most anticipated new models to be announced this year. Triumph itself has made it clear that it built the Bobber to appeal to customers looking for a certain aesthetic—but so often in the past, building for style has also meant a compromise in performance.
Cycle Trader partnered with Ride for Kids and the new Rever App to present a fundraiser for children with cancer - and ended up surpassing their goals, and agreeing to send 3 childhood cancer survivors to college.
Swiss Rider Urs “Grizzly” Pedraita set a new Guinness World Record for global circumnavigation on a motorcycle- he made it around the world in 119 days and 21 hours. His predecessor, Nick Sanders, did it in 120 days and 2 hours).
To those of you local to southern California, you’re probably fully aware that van culture is still alive and well on the west coast—and really, all over the country. Not aware? Never mind the ice cream-mobiles and creeper vans you’re probably thinking of. Imagine crazy paint jobs, groovy window panels and interior remodeling that enables van lovers to live their lives comfortably from the passenger area of their vehicles. Surfboards, motorcycles, couches, beds…they all fit comfortably inside these machines.
We got the inside scoop from Matt Grayson, the Los Angeles local who created Rolling Heavy Magazine. Keep scrollin’ for his story on Vans, Motorcycles, and unfortunate legal issues.
What is Rolling Heavy? Why did you decide to create a van-culture magazine?
MG: “Rolling Heavy Magazine is a Custom Van magazine that focuses on Vans from The Heyday of Vanning if you will. We mostly feature vans from the 60’s, 70’s and some early 80’s. I started the magazine as a form of art therapy after nearly losing my life in a motorcycle accident in October of 2011.”
“I was stuck in bed and homebound for a long time after getting out of the hospital and had been an avid collector of the first decade of Easyriders Magazine. I had read every issue I had from #1 till the early 80’s cover to cover. I had my van at that time to haul bikes with as most do and I just wanted something to do to get me out of my head and keep busy. I thought that no one had ever done something like a van version of Easyriders….So a couple other dudes I knew threw down and eventually the 1st issue of Rolling Heavy Magazine happened. This was right around the time that Instagram had come on the scene so I created an account, got that first issue done and kept pushing forward.”
What’s your connection to the motorcycle world?
MG: “I had been on 2 wheels off and on my whole life. Mini bikes and BMX to motorcycles and road bikes, etc. I wasn’t really doing anything in the motorcycle “scene” if you will. It was mostly just bikes for myself and as something I was into as transportation in town and to get away. With the fuel prices and parking costs in LA, a motorcycle just made the most sense in the world.”
Do you feel that you’ve been able to tie the van and motorcycle cultures together?
MG: “Bikes & Vans have always kinda gone hand since the van craze started in the 70’s. If you look at Vans & Bikes from back in the day, you’ll see they always seem to be together. The styling, paint jobs, party atmosphere and aspects have always just kinda jived together. But things come in waves. So when it came time to figure out which direction to market the magazine towards after it started to do something, I really kinda looked at things. The motorcycle community was what I knew best. I started to advertise Rolling Heavy with Chop Cult and to this day it was one of the best moves I ever made.
What happened with your motorcycle accident, legality-wise?
Matt’s accident involved t-boning an SUV after a car in oncoming traffic failed to yield and turned left in front of him. Matt spent months recovering from multiple surgeries, which included reattaching his leg after it was severed 98% of the way off after colliding with the SUV.
Although Matt’s been successful with the creation and distribution of RH, in the background he has simultaneously been in and out of courthouses fighting insurance companies for the money he was owed from the accident.
MG: “We spent about a month and a half in California Superior court from what I can remember. Basically we had gone to settle with the insurance company of the driver who hit me, and they tried to pull some really sneaky uncool stuff on us that my attorney caught them on. They blew our terms of settlement and my attorney in the end took them to court on a Bad Faith case. So we went before a judge and jury and they ruled that it was in fact a bad faith case. After that, we went back into court for the accident and the judge and jury again ruled in our favor and awarded us a settlement based on the facts that were presented. After all, [the SUV Driver’s] insurance company refused to pay what the court had awarded us flat out. So there we go, back in court for the next few years. They took it from Superior to Federal, and then we had to take them to Appellate. In the end, the Court System ruled in favor of the Big Insurance Company. We filed a Petition for Rehearing and were denied.”
What advice can you give to others looking to find an attorney for their case?
MG: “After finding out that we had lost, I called around to a couple other attorneys to see what their thoughts were and I remember speaking with Chuck Koro from over at Russ Brown. We spoke about my case and how it had gone down. Chuck was familiar with who my attorney was and backed that he was in fact an outstanding and well respected attorney in town. But Chuck’s one of those guys that’s gonna tell you how it is and in a way that pretty much anyone can understand, which I was really grateful for. If you can, find an attorney that’s gonna talk to you so you get it. The guys over at Russ Brown seem like those kinda guys.”
Trying to figure out what to by your motocross-loving relative or friend?
Do you race MX, but aren't sure what to put on your list this year?
Have no fear- Dirt Rider's new gift guide articles seem to be here to save the day.
During our continuous search for the best gifts possible for motorcycle fanatics, we found this "Five Days of Xmas" series written by Sean Klinger, one of Dirt Rider's feature writers and test riders. While you can find gift idea lists for motorcycle riders practically anywhere on the web, it can be hard to pinpoint what exactly will serve best as holiday presents for motocross/supercross fans...
With this specific article, though - gift ideas between 20 - 40 dollars - it looks like you'll be sure to find something for that difficult-to-buy-for someone on your list, or that you'll know what to ask for this year! Check it out and be sure to visit this article's predecessor for gift ideas under 20 bucks - looks like there may be more to come, too!
Tis the season for giving and what better way to show those in your life who ride you care than very moto and off-road specific gifts. Yeah, we know that parts and gear can be pricey but that is why we are starting off this week with the UNDER 20$ selection of our 2016 Dirt Rider Holiday Gift Guide. These gifts are perfect for slipping into stockings and are needed by pretty much anyone who rides. On the first day of Christmas, my moto love gave to me…