Motorcycle USA shook off the winter blues by packing up its bags and making the annual run down to California’s state capital for the Easyriders Bike Show. A sun-filled Saturday morning provided the perfect opportunity for riders from around NorCal to fire up their bikes and fill the streets of downtown Sacramento with the sounds of big V-Twin pistons drumming within tall jugs.
We started out our recent trip with a man-sized meal at a downtown Sacramento staple, Jim-Denny’s diner, home of the world famous “Hubcap!” a pancake too big for a plate with eggs for a hub and spokes of bacon. After doing our best “Man vs Food” impersonation, we sauntered down the block to the Sacramento Convention Center where motorcycles were already lining both sides of the street.
With the shooting of the Hells Angels’ San Jose Chapter President fresh in the minds of police, attendees to the show were greeted by pat-downs and metal detecting wands as a preventive measure. H.A. is generally represented by the Sacramento Chapter at the show, so with the September incident going down in nearby Reno, police weren’t taking any chances. This was the first time we recall getting the full pat-down at the door, but it only meant the line moved a little slower before people were shepherded in to the convention center.
Heading into the venue, baggers took center stage as Carl Brouhard Designs got the luxury of being the first booth visitors saw entering the door. Brouhard and Chris Rivas V-Twin brought out “The World’s Fastest Bagger” a 2010 Aero Glide good for a 195.036 mph speed record. Brouhard Designs’ assortment of fine floorboards, shifter arms, assorted covers and other custom parts covered their land speed-racing bagger.
Motorcyclists from around Northern California rode in for the 2012 Easyriders Bike Show in Sacramento.
You can’t handle the ‘Hubcap!’ Jim-Denny’s has been a popular eatery in downtown Sacramento since 1934.
Next to Brouhard, Binford Customs was engaging in an impromptu “booming stereo” competition with the guys from Bagger Nation. While Binford’s rolling boom box bagger was putting out some serious sound, it’s hard to beat Paul Yaffe’s “Game Over,” a bagger/trailer combo with 17 speakers and 2800 total watts. Yaffe still holds court as the bagger master based on his fan base at the show.
Cruising down vendors’ row, jugglers on stilts and roller girls on skates made for a carnival-like atmosphere. The Sacred City Derby Girls were smashing and bashing during their flat track exhibition. Later, Hemme would take center stage and entertain the crowd with a rockin’ high-energy set.
Two of the actors from the popular TV show “Sons of Anarchy,” Tommy Flanagan and Winter Zoli, were one of the major attractions of the day. Flanagan, who plays the gritty SOA Sergeant at Arms, looked as rip-your-face-off mean in real life as Chibs, the character he portrays on the show. Zoli, who plays Lyla, won fans over with her smile as fans waited in line for the chance to take a picture with and get an autograph from their favorite SOA star.
A wide variety of vendors attended the show. One of the more interesting ones were the girls from Damsel in Defense with their assortment of stun guns hidden in aerosol cans and pepper spray concealed in lipstick tubes. This is one booth we didn’t volunteer for a demonstration, but it was a hit with women riders looking for a first line of self-defense.
Sinister Wheel was in the house with its latest collection of custom motorcycle wheels like the machined Sages which Sinister can color match to your ride while the crew from the Arlen Ness shop made the trip over from Dublin to display a handful of production bikes.
(L) The Raider Nation was in the house! We were in the Bay Area, after all. (M) The coveted 1st Place Best of Show trophy. (R) Tommy Flanagan, aka ‘Chibs’ from Sons of Anarchy, had plenty of fans at the show.
While cruising the aisles of custom motorcycles and biker memorabilia, we ran into an old friend who’s actively getting back into the scene after taking time off to have a baby. We featured RJ Parkins’ Iron Slave Choppers and “Old Soul” after his ’81 Shovelhead captured our attention at the Sac Easyriders show a couple years back. Parkins brought out “Old Soul” for a second go-round as the artistry of the bike stopped people in their tracks. While he had their attention he promoted his handmade “Silverback” Apes, handlebars handmade to order from 304 stainless steel so customers can chose the height and amount of pullback. If you’re looking for a different twist to standard Apehangers, RJ’s “Silverbacks” are pre-wired for installation and come with a lifetime warranty for $799.
Right across from RJ were our friends at Knockout Motorcycles. Ralph and Tony brought out their production bike for people to check out along with the Gran Patron custom it built for Lorenzo Lamas Cycles. Be sure to check out our video to hear Tony highlight the features of Knockout’s new production motorcycle. The Arizona-based company continues to actively develop its brand, a move which could be facilitated if the TV show they’re pitching to Discovery moves into the production stages.
NorCal’s Kirk Taylor of Custom Design Studios brought his “Dirty Boot” to the show, a Panhead hybrid that’s a combo dirt tracker/street sled which looks like it’d be just as comfortable ripping down a jeep road on as cruising Main Street Daytona Beach. We learned Kirk and fellow NorCal custom builder Bryan Schimke of TPJ Customs were getting ready to fly over to Italy to represent for the Americans in the Verona Motor Bike Expo. Knowing the quality work of both guys, we know they’ll fare well.
We ended the day by checking out all the cool custom motorcycles entered in the bike show, from a psychedelic 1960 Triumph Cub to a motorcycle hearse to the ultimate Raider Nation chopper. We were in the Bay Area, after all, which is one of the reasons we believe attendance was down this year. Hard to compete with the 49ers home playoff game happening the same day just down the road at the ‘Stick. But from attendance to vendors to the number of bikes entered in the show, numbers were down this year. For those who did show, though, the Easyriders show once again provided a fun environment for bikers to hang out on a beautiful January day in Sac-town.