Adam Waheed

Best Custom Bikes From The 2019 Handbuilt Motorcycle Show

Some choice bikes from this year’s show in Austin

The Handbuilt Show has become a must-attend event every year in Austin, Texas, during the MotoGP race weekend. It now rivals the One Motorcycle Show in terms of the quality and quantity of exhibitors as well as for the events that surround the show itself. This year there was a Superhooligan race the day after a raucous kickoff party, and on Sunday a documentary screening of Oil in the Blood by Gareth Roberts.

Although the hoopla surrounding the show has expanded, the bikes still remain the focal point. And as we did with this year's One Show, at Handbuilt we also managed to select some favorites. See what really stood out among the crowd below.

This 2017 KTM Duke 390 is barely recognizable, apart from the orange trellis frame and branded single. Colt Wrangler Lyons gave this machine an apocalyptic makeover with a custom subframe, tank, stacked headlight, and headlight wrap. The surprising bit on this raw motorcycle is the 8-inch LCD gauge panel built into the fuel tank, a nice modern touch to a build this raw.Adam Waheed
Bryan Fuller and Bobby Haas decided to imagine what Georges Roy, the builder of the 1929 Majestic, would have done to a motorcycle 100 years later; “2029” is the result. The builders managed to create a sleek, futuristic build with impeccable detail, but one that also looks like it could have originated in the imagination of a builder from a bygone era.Adam Waheed
Pete Chase took a 1954 Gilera 150 Sport and used simplicity as his project ethos. It took 100 hours to complete, and everything besides the engine, hubs, and fuel tank was handmade or upgraded. It’s elegant and well-conceived, a bike that shows an appreciation for the past and for a less-is-more approach.Adam Waheed
Big Sid’s “Rodsmith Special” is a 1949 Vincent Rapide. This 70-year-old engine looks fresh and fast, and the surrounding frame, tank, seats, and tailsection blend perfectly with the mill. A very cohesive entry that’s just begging to run.Adam Waheed
A three-year conversion project come to life. Matt Chandler’s eye-popping 1973 BMW R75 has gone green, with a Nissan Leaf battery and Enertrac hub motor. He also tossed on a GSX-R750 front end to help smooth out the ride. There were a handful of custom electric bikes on hand this year, but this one really stole the show.Adam Waheed
The “Bullet Bob Special” is a 1976 Yamaha RD400 from Bullet Bob Moto. This build made the cut for us because the inspiration is something many riders can relate to. The “Special” is builder Jared Morris’ tribute to his father’s dream bike. It is, in fact, the bike his dad wanted more than anything as a young man. So many of us got the bug from our folks, and it was touching to come across a project that pays homage to that relationship.Adam Waheed
“Chanel’s Valor” made lots of people stop for a second look.Adam Waheed
“El Scorcho” is inspired by lowrider bicycles and we think it hits the nail right on the head. It’s gleaming, detailed, and true to vision. Maybe not our first choice for a ride down a potholed street, but we can definitely appreciate the craft and attention paid to every aspect of this motorcycle.Adam Waheed
The “Flat Chest Penton” from PJ Grakauskas simply said “custom everything” on the placard. Like Gilera 150, this Penton was a really clean, detailed-yet-reserved build that stood out from the crowd.Adam Waheed
A collection of electric customs.Adam Waheed
Could it be a true custom motorcycle show without a race-replica MV? We don’t think so. The Magni Race Replica from Jim Bush is a 1973 F4 750 with a hand-built frame, Grimeca brakes, Magni exhaust and fairing, and Showa fork.Adam Waheed
DeBolex Engineering brought the “Oil in the Blood” Energica Ego custom, which was built to launch alongside the documentary of the same name. The film was shown Sunday at the show, and this bike is the result of a collaboration between deBolex, Gareth Roberts, TW Steel, and Energica.Adam Waheed
“RK Bearing” is from conceptual builder Rafik Kaissi, and if you’ve ever seen his work before the Bearing would be unmistakably Kaissi. It’s the product of a really free and wild mind, and though we’d be hard-pressed to ride the machine for more than a few feet, it’s still a stunning piece of custom artistry.Adam Waheed
“Rondine” from Medaza Cycles comes from Ireland and is a 2013 AMD World Championship winner. It’s built around a 1973 Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone single that’s been bored out, and has a custom frame and bodywork among many other hand-fabricated pieces. A jaw-dropping custom.Adam Waheed
Not all customs have to be big and bold, and the “Super 73 Copper OG” proves that.Adam Waheed
The TZ750, ready to race.Adam Waheed