Classic BMWs were a natural fit considering the Bavarian heritage of the building and district that housed the Garage Brewed Moto Show.
The innocuous entrance of the stone and brick building gave little indication to the gathering inside but the motorcycles lined up outside clued us in we were in the right place. An unseasonably warm Cincinnati day allowed many to fire up their bikes and make a bee-line for Rhinegeist Brewery Saturday night, site of the inaugural Garage Brewed Moto Show. Heading up the series of staircases leading into the small doorway of the brewery, I half expected to mutter the secret password for entry into a speakeasy to gain access, but instead was greeted by the buzz of beer-fueled banter and beautiful bikes on beer keg stands in the industrial environs of a historic warehouse in Cincy’s Over-the-Rhine Brewery District.
Approximately 50 motorcycles representing 40 custom builders and shops were on display at the invitational Garage Brewed Moto Show, an event spearheaded by Tim Burke and the Cincinnati Café Racer Club. For a first year show, turn-out was phenomenal, the showcase area shoulder-to-shoulder as people squeezed in to inspect the high-quality craftsmanship up-close-and-personal. Garage Brewed had the proper recipe for a successful show, blending custom bikes with craft beer in a rustic setting, the work ranging from seasoned professionals and savvy collectors to true garage tinkerers. Motorcycles competed in four categories, Pro Custom, Garage Custom, and Classic, with a People’s Choice Award thrown in for good measure. The show had a few unique wrinkles, from utilizing digital voting kiosks so people could vote for their favorite bikes to the Garage Brewed growler trophies affectionately dubbed “Growphies,” most fitting seeing how the show did, after all, take place in a brewery. While REV’IT! was the primary supporter, others sponsors including Workshop Hero (Metal Rescue), DEI Powersports and Dime City Cycles stepped up to sweeten the bounty and reward builders for their hard work while showcasing their brands.
While there were many exemplary works on display, Shawn Fry took home laurels in the Pro Custom Category for his custom 1972 Triumph Bobber built by John Staud of Staud Cycles. Rocky and Beverly Corsmeier of Cincinnati made their mark in the Classic Category, earning top honors for an immaculate 1938 Indian Four. Another Cincinnati local, Tim Reeder, was the big winner of the night though, grabbing first place in the Garage Custom category and pocketing the People’s Choice award as well for his 1980 Yamaha XS400. Reeder’s bike featured a clean fiberglass tail section teamed to a tidy custom leather seat and a gas tank pulled off a XS750 Yamaha.
One of our personal favorites was “Holy Moly,” a split-tank Honda CB450 boardtracker built by Mike McFadden of M&M Customs. It was refreshing to see somebody take the CB away from the standard café route because though bits of the original bike remain, it took close inspection to realize the platform revolved around an old Honda. The dual tanks are split by the bike’s backbone, and though the frame is from the original CB450, the downtube has been drilled-out and the only stock parts remaining are the neck and motor mounts. The flow of the streamline boardtracker tank extends to the tidy tail section, which despite its diminutive size houses the battery and electronics. The slender strip of leather serving as a seat is magnetically connected to a metal brace. Relocating the battery opened up the triangulated section under the seat, the rear monoshock about the only thing now visible in the space. The tubular swingarm, sourced from a prior build and extended a couple inches, houses a 21-inch spoked Ride Wright Soft Lip Exotica Wheel. The CB450 powerplant gets a boost from a 500 kit and dual Mikuni VM34 carbs. McFadden eschewed standard race plates by mounting round fixtures on both wheels, the number 69 of the unique plates inlaid with gold flake. Clean and uncluttered, McFadden’s build looks light, fast, and ready to ride.
Another bike that caught our eye was Bruce Wyke’s 1969 Honda CB350. The supercharged “Wyke Spl.” is said to put down twice the horsepower as the original. Considering it is the current ECTA record holder in the 350cc/4 Modified Production Supercharged category with a time of 145.537 mph, we believe those claims. Considering it was built by Scott Williams, was tuned by Guy Schaible, and its power package was dialed in with the help of Donny Loos and Bill Moeller, we’re not surprised this little 350 can really fly.
And while Harley-based platforms were far and few at the Garage Brewed Moto Show, Curtis Williams ’72 Harley-Davidson “Iron Butterfly” chopper was one exemplary exception. It was easy to spot with its high Apehanger handlebar and raked-out front end in a room full of clip-ons. Its stroker Ironhead features dual-plugged heads, has a skull-faced intake and custom pipes with an upswept bend. The drilled-out back fender, fuel and oil tanks are riddled with spots of rust and raw patinas, contrasted by colorful pinstripes. The hand-tooled leather seat features an ornate sugar skull along with a matching leather single-sided saddlebag slung off the left side. Described as “somewhere between Mad Max and rolling art,” the old Ironhead was built by Chris Gavitt of hometown Cinn City Choppers.
Another pair of exceptional bikes at the show were the 1938 and 1941 Indian Four-Cylinders shown by the Corsmeiers. Both bikes have been restored with immaculate attention to detail, down to the Maroon and Orange paint and green pinstriping on the 1938 Indian Four. While the older model won the top prize in the Classic category, the 1941 model was stunning as well, from its leaf spring fork to the four custom organ pipes streaking down its right side to the signature swoop of its valanced fenders. The Corsmeiers are members of The Indian Four Cylinder Club, an Ohio-based group “dedicated to the preservation, restoration and enjoyment of the Indian Four Cylinder Motorcycle and all other American-made 4 cylinder motorcycles no longer being produced.” The 1941 Four has a great backstory. Current owner Rocky saw the bike at the Four Meet but didn’t have the means to acquire it at the time. Ultimately, he believed another collector had swooped it up. Little did he know it was purchased on the sly by Rocky’s wife Beverly who gifted him the bike on his 48th birthday. Though it hardly resembled the bike in the show at the time of purchase, Rocky spent the next few years lovingly restoring it to its former glory.
With the first Garage Brewed Moto Show being “as big as we feared it would be,” organizer Burke confirmed next year’s show is definitely in the works.
“Our event is free to the public which is a key component to making it a success and opening it up to people who may otherwise not attend a motorcycle show. This helps to build community and grow the sport which is the mission of our club,” added Burke.
The event coincides with the annual Cincinnati V-Twin Expo show, a smart move considering it brings a wealth of motorcycle industry people to town. Rhinegeist Brewery provided a perfect setting for the show, and its bounty of bold-tasting beers like Pure Fury Pale Ale bolstered the vibe. As the night wore on, certain beers were erased from the menu as they sold out.
“When I spoke with the owners the day after the event during tear down, they were very very happy and said that our event was one of their largest ever. Rumor from some of the bar staff is that we broke their sales records,” said Burke.
When word spreads of the fun that was had this year and shots of the high-caliber bikes circulate around the internet, we anticipate the Garage Brewed Moto Show will do nothing but grow in the same manner as Portland’s The One Show. Luckily, we had the pleasure to bask in everything the first event had to offer.