motorcycle builder guy tinkering

There are two types of biker, those who do and those who don’t. If you’re a ‘don’t, this means that you can buy a stock bike and be perfectly happy just to put gas in it and go. Does it matter if you park up somewhere and a guy or gal, pulls in right next to you with exactly the same factory custom hyperbike in limited edition green? Of course, it doesn’t. You probably just think, ‘hey man, you’ve got great taste too.’

There’s no problem being a ‘don’t.’ Aftermarket accessory stores may cross you off their Christmas card list, but motorcycle manufacturers love you, after all you make up the bulk of their target audience. And when you’ve traveled enough times between points A and B with the minimum of fuss and your mileage looks like a telephone number, you’ll just part-ex it for an updated version of the one you have now.

Ok, so how do you tell if you’re a ‘do’. Simple, take this one-minute test. Firstly, go to your nearest multi-franchise two-wheel emporium and choose a motorcycle to look at. If whilst staring at said motorcycle, an image of an angle grinder pops into your head, then my friend, you’re a ‘do.’

This antisocial behavior towards perfectly nice motorcycles that have had millions of Yen thrown at them in development to make them user-friendly, is invariably down to either a genetically inherited predisposition, or learned behavior from elders or siblings. But don’t worry, the ‘Surgeon General Has Determined’ that the removal of a stock item from your motorcycle is in all cases, 100% therapeutic.

So how will you customize your motorcycle? Well, my friends, the answer to that is, any damn way you please. Once upon a time, all we had were really basic categories of custom bikes, like Chop, Café Racer and Bobber, each determined by the height of their handlebars and never the twain shall meet.

These days with a new generation of custom bike builder throwing the rulebook out of the window, we’re limited only by the outer reaches of our own imagination.

Forget the glitzy TV shows that churn out 50 grand long neck choppers for B-list celebrities, we are now in the era of the Street Scrambler, Ratfighter, Bobtracker Dragchop, Bratbobber, Café Tracker and everything in-between. Self-built in sheds and garages by enthusiastic riders or workshops owned by artisans with real-world engineering skills and creative passion.

According to industry figures, American motorcyclists alone spend a staggering 2.5 billion dollars per year in aftermarket accessories. And this doesn’t take into account the countless boutique bike builders and back street chop shops producing limited edition or bespoke custom bikes and parts that are sprouting up everywhere from Philadelphia to the Philippines.

Gone too in this brave new world of customizing, is the straightjacketed belief that certain genres of custom bike could only be built around specific types of engine. Café Racers are no longer only based around parallel twins, Street Scramblers aren’t necessarily committed to mid-sized single cylinder engines or Choppers to V-twins.

As can be seen everywhere from the winners of international custom shows, such as the AMD World Championships, (Café Racer Winner, 555cc Jupiter 2-stroke engine, overall winner, Fred Krugger’s 1600cc BMW or Irish winner, Hinckley Triumph engined Board Tracker), to the bikes parked outside your favorite watering hole, quite literally anything can be customized and in any way you like. And best of all, no one can tell you it’s wrong. Viva la difference.

Guest Post Courtesy of Jason @