They came in waves, riding tight and fast in formation, synchronized packs weaving in and out of traffic with choreographed precision. They filled the streets around the California state capitol building and the Sacramento Convention Center, motorcycles lining the cordoned-off avenues. Out early and en masse, bikers from around the state converged on Sacramento last weekend, site of the annual Easyriders Bike Show Tour. And while many of them would eventually trickle into the show, there were bigger issues at hand as motorcycle clubs showed up in support of the Motorcycle Rider Unification Rally taking place on the steps of the state capitol in a show of inter-club solidarity.
And while bikers were busy defending our culture and rights outside, the atmosphere inside the Sacramento Convention Center was a little more festive as people perused the fantastic work on display at the custom bike show while music from local band Category 4 filled the air simutaneously. Approximately 140 custom motorcycles, the collection dominated by baggers, FXRs, Sportsters and more from The Motor Company, competed in “Judged” and “People’s Choice” classes in the bike show according to Easyriders’ Event Manager Kari Roben. Amongst the predominantly Harley showing was the occasional Triumph chopper or two and even a (gasp!) custom Honda CB550.
The Ghost Rider ain’t got nothing on this guy. The chain link creation by Arcangel Metal Artworks out of Concord, California brought smiles to many faces.
Boone from SOA had plenty of fans at the Sacramento show.
Part dirt bike, part street bike, ‘Captain Bad Ass’ by Binford’s Customs looks like a wheelie machine!
With so many immaculate bikes to choose from, Easyriders’ judges had their work cut out for them. In the end though, Josh Soto from Boars Nest Choppers out of Oceanside captured one of the ‘Best in Show’ honors in the ‘Judged’ class for his 1977 Shovelhead. The hardtail chopper was rocking a Springer front and high apes, internally wired to keep everything nice and tidy. With a serious velocity stack jutting off the Shovel and clean custom slash-cut pipes streaking down the right side, the stellar work Soto did on the engine was definitely a focal point.
Local Phillip Cannon of Loose Cannon Fabrication also earned ‘Best of Show’ honors with a wonderful custom 1965 Harley. Cannon’s build set itself apart with an intriguing three-piece tank for gas, alcohol and oil. The bike’s V-Twin featured Hilborn injection with a cool carb switch-over. With all of the copper tubing, wing nuts, and boardtracker-style drop bars, the build had a certain steampunk appeal to it. A drilled-out frame and a killer one-off front end were definitely worthy of ‘Best of Show’ laurels, making it two year’s straight the Sacramento-based shop has earned the award.
Dalton Walker of Split Image Kustoms, whose SIK purple chopper we were recently drooling over at David Mann Chopperfest, grabbed the final ‘Best of Show’ award in the ‘Judged’ Class for that same purple 1984 Evo. Walker fashioned up a fantastic tank that’s built into the frame while a custom Springer stretches the front way out. The ‘84 Evo engine is polished to a high sheen and the purple paint really stands out, which is no surprise considering Kal Koncepts did the work.
In the ‘People’s Choice’ category, Codi Fernandez was singled out by the crowd for his 2002 Dyna with the distinct Brandy Candy Wine paint. Kevin Siverson also earned a ‘People’s Choice’ award for his 1999 Special Construction rigid while Stacy McCleary out of Manteca grabbed the final ‘People’s Choice’ award for their ultra-clean bobber.
While those were the top winners in the Sacramento show, there were plenty of other exemplary bikes scattered around the convention center. One of those was built by Binford Customs out of Manteca, California. While Binford has etched out a reputation for building brash baggers, Paul wanted to do something out of the norm so he built a hybrid street/dirt bike. This is a wheelie machine! Known as “Captain Bad Ass,” Paul said he machined the uppers and lowers, fabricated an 8-inch extended swingarm and threw on some Worx Shox with 8-inches of travel so it rides like a dirt bike. It’s got Acerbis handguards, too, to add to the moto vibe. Other features include a Salinas Brothers tank and a 1250 V-Twin with a healthy 13:1 compression ratio.
We also admired the work on Scotty’s wicked 1989 FXR called “Oakland’s Angel of Death.” With its frame’s reputation for being able to run fast and hard, the FXR has endeared itself to the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and “Oakland’s Angel of
We’re not sure whether we want to know if he rode to the Easyriders show wearing that kilt, but we dig his helmet!
O.G. Riderz were having some fun at the Sac Easyriders Bike Show.
Death” is a prime example. It starts with some incredible metal work shrouding the headlight and grips of the club’s “Death’s Head” emblem by metal sculptor Bert Jackson. It is complemented by diamond-cut cylinder heads on the TC96 V-Twin, the Harley engine paired to a Rivera Primo 6-speed transmission. Custom Renegade Wheels also bear the signature “Death’s head” design, while Eightball Rods applied the custom paint and MB leathers stitched up the custom seat.
Another red and white bike of a completely different kind also caught our eye. This one happened to be an immaculate 1948 Schwinn Whizzer built by Joe Criddle out of Vacaville, California. Whizzers were slick little engines built in the U.S. from 1939 to 1965 sold as kits that could be affixed to bicycles. The first kits featured a four-cycle engine that produced 1.375 horsepower and came with a 2/3-gallon tank. Whizzers have a storied history as the company was able to maintain production during World War II after lobbying the U.S. government, arguing that they were viable forms of transportation for defense workers needing to get to and from work. While we were there, we met a gentleman who has amassed a nice collection of them numbering in the teens. He said he had one growing up and held onto it into adulthood, albeit crated and pieced out. He would eventually clean it up and get it back into working order again, and what started as a hobby grew into a passion that evolved into his current collection.
Other tidbits we gleaned from the show is the addition of long-time friend of Motorcycle USA Natalie Jackson to AFT Customs. AFT’s Jim Guiffra said Natalie has been helping out in the shop recently, as AFT spokesgirls differentiate themselves from other show models because they learn the trade by working hand-in-hand with Guiffra on custom projects, learning everything from fabrication to welding. Jackson has been a fixture in the motorcycle scene for years, from writing performance reviews to appearing on programs from American Thunder to Two Wheel Tuesday. She brings a strong sportbike background to the program which Guiffra highly appreciates.
We caught up with our friend Bryan Schimke of TPJ Customs who is one of the guest builders in the Hot Bike Invitational Bike Build-Off. Hot Bike Director Jeff Holt came up with the brilliant idea to invite a bunch of builders to participate in a bike show where everybody will ride what they build in the Hot Bike Tour. For five days straight, they’ll jump on their bikes and ride to a new destination. Once they reach that day’s endpoint, Hot Bike will hold a local show where people will vote on the bike they like best. At the end of the five-day tour, all the votes will be tallied and a grand champion will be decided. Schimke’s style has always concentrated on minimalism and functionality, so the Hot Bike competition is right up his alley.
Satya Kraus of Kraus Motor Company is also one of the invited builders. While we didn’t see him at the Sacramento show, his father Alan was there representing who shared with us a great hydraulic-operated twist throttle/brake combo he
David Mann’s artwork was on display at the show, the long-time Easyriders artist’s work still appreciated by many.
There’s a lot of talent in this picture (L-R) Bryan Schimke of TPJ Customs, Jim Guiffra of AFT Customs, and Alan Kraus of Kraus Motor Company.
created. Twist it backwards and it’s a standard throttle, but turn it forward and it activates the front brake. Besides cleaning up the look of the bars, he said it’s functionality is popular with vets who ride that have been injured in combat. The bars he demonstrated it on for us also featured a twist clutch.
While plenty of vendors on-hand hawked their wares, the girls of the Purrfect Angelz entertained the crowds with high-energy dance moves and an Easyriders apparel show. Long-time Easyriders photographer Michael Lichter was busy shooting show winners as the band Category 4 played everything from ‘70s funk to classic rock-n-roll. Sons of Anarchy actor Mark ‘Bobby’ Boone was a popular draw as the SOA star signed autographs and took photos for fans, albeit for a price.
There was plenty to see and do at the Sacramento Easyriders Bike Show, but the number vendors and attendance numbers were definitely down this year. A few years back, booths packed the convention center, from the doors to get in to the stage up front. Part of it is a sign of the times, but the industry has shown signs of rebounding lately. Holding it on a weekend that coincided with the San Francisco 49ers happened to be competing in the playoffs certainly didn’t help. Easyriders’ Event Manager Roben did say they were moving the show back next year, and maybe the later date will bring more people through the doors in 2015.