In 2007, a group of SoCal vintage bike enthusiasts were looking for a good party complete with cool bikes, tasty grub, cold brew and hot music. Not finding what they wanted and energized with backgrounds in a variety of professions – graphic artists, engineers, musicians, film makers, bike builders, computer geeks – they decided to build the party themselves.

And that’s how the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club was founded, which over the years has orchestrated one of Southern California’s most popular bike events, the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally. The eighth-annual shindig was held Sept 19, staged at the junction of Venice Boulevard and Abbot Kinney, just a stone’s throw from the Santa Monica Pier and the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Several hundred bikes massed for the pre-event ride, the largest congregation of motorcycles in the show’s history. Ten bucks got you into the party.

092515-venice-vintage-motorcycle-rally-8VVMC - VVMC logo

Big presence this year were two famous marques, Indian and BMW. Indian pitched in as one of the show’s sponsors, while BMWs appeared in a variety of show-winning forms. The VVMC’s longstanding guiding force and human dynamo, Brady Walker, again orchestrated another milestone VVMC event, ably assisted by his fellow club members.

The VVMC members greeted everyone with open arms, all bikes welcome. Partially concealed in their midst is the event’s Raffle Bike, a custom Triumph Bonneville.

The VVMC members greeted everyone with open arms, all bikes welcome. Partially concealed in their midst is the event’s Raffle Bike, a custom Triumph Bonneville (more on that here).

This rider/writer has attended all eight events and has always been pleased as punch to discover uniquely cool vintage, classic and custom bikes and the equally cool people that go with them, not to mention a never-ending surprise package of creative talent. So, without further ado, here’s Paul’s Picks and Pix, as well as the VVMR’s bike show winners, all entries at least 30 years old.

The morning ride drew hundreds as paddle boarders and surfers step into a tsunami of bikers.

The morning ride drew hundreds as paddle boarders and surfers step into a tsunami of bikers.

Best Pair of Triumphs with One Named Rosemarie. This pair of riders arrived on a last-year-of-production 1975 750cc three-cylinder Trident T160V and a 1946 hardtail 500cc Speed Twin, a classic superstar of the British marque.

Best Pair of Triumphs with One Named Rosemarie. This pair of riders arrived on a last-year-of-production 1975 750cc three-cylinder Trident T160V and a 1946 hardtail 500cc Speed Twin, a classic superstar of the British marque.

Arriving early, I instantly spotted my prediction for Best of Show Winner. Call me clairvoyant. The project started when Max Dumaz of Santa Clarita bought the leather saddlebags and then decided to build a bike for them.

Best of Show - Barnsdorffer 650 Speedster.

Best of Show – Barnsdorffer 650 Speedster.

Four years went into the design and construction by Max Dumaz of his Barnsdorffer 650 Speedster, a hybrid melding of 450/600/650 Honda engines plus copper bodywork, Yamaha, Harley, Joker Machine and 3-D printing of parts … a true one of a kind. Custom copper fenders cost $500 a pop, and Max had to buy three. And, yes, the bike went on to win Best of Show.

“I build Frankenstein bikes for a hobby, 10 so far,” says Max. “I literally finished it last night when someone told me about the show, so I decided to bring it and see what would happen.”

Retro-mod mind-meld perfection.

Retro-mod mind-meld perfection.

Seamless interface of three engines convinced VVMC judges they were looking at exceptional engineering, not to mention dedication. The bike shifts through a 4-speed XR tranny, one gear removed from the original five in order to make it fit, the motor now bumped up to 701cc with a Falicon rod and big cam. “I added the shield to that single carb because it backfired once and almost burned off my testicles.”

Time to break out the cameras.

Time to break out the cameras.

Paul’s Pick for Best Factory One-Off: Indian“Black Bullet.”

Paul’s Pick for Best Factory One-Off: Indian“Black Bullet.”

Indian had commissioned a series of concept bikes, and a stellar example appearing at the event was a Scout re-imagined by Jeb Scolman as a Bonneville racer. A vintage Batman would look great on this bike.

Unusual footpeg location.

Unusual footpeg location.

There was no rain in the forecast for Elizabeth Deo, crowned the 2015 Miss Venice Vintage.

There was no rain in the forecast for Elizabeth Deo, crowned the 2015 Miss Venice Vintage.

Paul’s Pick of What the F&%! Bike. Worth the price of admission just for the 1970s candy metal-flake chopper seat.

Paul’s Pick of What the F&%! Bike. Worth the price of admission just for the 1970s candy metal-flake chopper seat.

The two-stroke 1970 Kawi custom that brought smiles and the bike show trophy for owner Caroline Paterson from Pasadena, who coincidentally is a close friend of Brady Walker, emcee of the bike awards.

And, yes, it was the VVMC Best Mini Winner.

And, yes, it was the VVMC Best Mini Winner.

“When I first got it, the bike was set up for the dirt, and I rode in (the dirt) a lot,” says Caroline. “I even went to Japan with it and then decided; let’s make a chopper out of it. This bike wouldn’t be anything without Ron One Two Many’s seat, and I found the ape hangers at the Barber Museum event swap meet. My boyfriend happened to surprise me with a new tank and side panels.”

Trophy for Best Japanese Bike. All the amazing miniature VVMC show trophies were crafted by metal magician Joseph of Lucky Droid Metalworks.

Trophy for Best Japanese Bike. All the amazing miniature VVMC show trophies were crafted by metal magician Joseph of Lucky Droid Metalworks.

Paul’s pick for Best Café Racer

Paul’s pick for Best Café Racer

“Miss Thriller” is name of radical café racer designed and built by Spirit Lake Cycles in L.A. Based on an R100/7 BMW merged with GSX-R suspension parts including monoshock rear end. The shop specializes in custom BMWs and had won Best of Show at previous VVMC event.

The Spirit Lake team of Brian Sloma and Ken Chan receive trophy for VVMC Best Café Racer. The guys live in their shop so actually embody the live, breathe, eat, sleep, dream motorcycle mantra.

The Spirit Lake team of Brian Sloma and Ken Chan receive trophy for VVMC Best Café Racer. The guys live in their shop so actually embody the live, breathe, eat, sleep, dream motorcycle mantra.

VVMC Best Two Stroke – from Czechoslovakia with love.

VVMC Best Two Stroke – from Czechoslovakia with love.

Okay, you can call this scooter a Pig because its name, Cezeta, translates to porker in Czechoslovakia when the country was still around, the place of its birth in 1957. Even the clock still works. In fact, owner Paul Greenstein has three of them, picked up in Germany some nine years ago. He says when it runs, it smells like bacon. Or maybe I just made that up.

VVMC Best Indian: 1910 “Small Twin”

VVMC Best Indian: 1910 “Small Twin”

Owner Paul Greenstein says the bike’s fragments were found outside Goldfield, Nevada. A trucker friend of his had stepped out to take a leak in the desert when he spotted a shallow depression with a bunch of junk including the Indian frame.

115 years young and still running.

115 years young and still running.

The Small Twin wasn’t popular as a seller when new, since Indian offered big Singles and Twins, so few of these bikes survived to the present, making them rare. Asked how fast you could go on it, Greenstein says, “If safety was a factor, just about as fast as you could push it. It’s an extremely sketchy bike to ride because there’s no clutch and virtually no brake, so you basically hang on. But it is good for about 45. Back in 1910 there were few cars, no stops signs or traffic lights, no right of way. And then this bike was state of the art.”

Dressing for Vintage Success. (left to right) Bihou, Jenna, Christopher, Ginger, Kallah Maguire, Kim and Russ gather in front of Kallah’s 1964 Jet trailer that serves as her mobile vintage fashion boutique. Russ, far right, an IT guy by profession, races vintage bikes including the Isle of Man TT event.

Dressing for Vintage Success. (left to right) Bihou, Jenna, Christopher, Ginger, Kallah Maguire, Kim and Russ gather in front of Kallah’s 1964 Jet trailer that serves as her mobile vintage fashion boutique. Russ, far right, an IT guy by profession, races vintage bikes including the Isle of Man TT event.

Band GLR (Garrett Lee Robinson) played unique riffs reminiscent of Jim Croce meets Springsteen meets Dylan.

Band GLR (Garrett Lee Robinson) played unique riffs reminiscent of Jim Croce meets Springsteen meets Dylan.

Best Accidental Signage Captioning: “I am trying to stop!”

Best Accidental Signage Captioning: “I am trying to stop!”

Best Kiss Your Rear-end Goodbye Bike.

Best Kiss Your Rear-end Goodbye Bike.

Best Mini-Power Rangers, a.k.a. Attack of the Groms.

Best Mini-Power Rangers, a.k.a. Attack of the Groms.

Back in the day, these would’ve been called minibikes, but Honda’s 125cc street-legal Grom is just so cool I want to hug it. Yes, it’s on my leaky bucket list.

Paul’s Pick Best Lady Rider on Honda Rebel Chopper with Sissybar and Bubble Snake Graphic Helmet.

Paul’s Pick Best Lady Rider on Honda Rebel Chopper with Sissybar and Bubble Snake Graphic Helmet.

Paul’s Pick for “Best Mobile Curiosity Shop.”

Paul’s Pick for “Best Mobile Curiosity Shop.”

Says owner Jerry, “It’s a ’78 Yamaha XS650 but I call it a XS Six Filthy. It took me three years to put together after buying the gas tank. I ride it everywhere. It’s got suicide clutch and hand-shift and my skateboard if I need backup. My favorite piece is the one-off CycleResin.com Jesus taillight.”

Paul’s Pick For Best Crusty Cool Bike.

Paul’s Pick For Best Crusty Cool Bike.

Marco’s “Mad Maxified” 1980 Honda CB650 custom was built in just two months at his El Diablo shop in Los Angles. Features include massive shotgun-style velocity stack/carb setup, vintage DeSoto hood ornament tank art, acetylene headlamp, spark plug-studded rear fender and car snow tire.

The sign says it all.

The sign says it all.

Best Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

Best Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

Beautiful Rainbow. Miss Venice Vintage 2014 was about to pass the sash to the new winner.

Beautiful Rainbow. Miss Venice Vintage 2014 was about to pass the sash to the new winner.

Best Mix and Match New Triumph/Vintage Look.

Best Mix and Match New Triumph/Vintage Look.

092515-venice-vintage-motorcycle-rally-raffle - posterJust 10 bucks bought you a chance to win a very tasty classic ride in the form of a custom-built 1973 750cc Triumph built by Doug Stedman, an aerospace electrical engineer by profession. Asked how the build went, Doug laughs and sums it up with one word: “Arduous.”The bike, a ’73 750cc oil-in-the-frame model, was a personal ride with some history. “I love the old English bikes and asked the club if they wanted me to build it. The bike had been on a lot of runs and just a fun bike to ride, capable of blasting 90 mph no problem at all. So I knew the bike well and that helped since I had a short build cycle to get it ready for the VVMC event.”VVMC Black Knight Raffle Bike. Builder Doug Stedman second from left.Several sponsors provided a bunch of goodies to add to the mix, including Cone Engineering’s trick stainless steel exhaust system plus an advanced electronic ignition Power Arc and Harley-style Dyna coil set-up matched to a MotoGadget CPU “brain” provided by 7th Gear Designs. All the wires are new silicone pieces, so spark is good for one-kick dependability. The seat is Italian leather hand-crafted by Ron One Too Many. The clunky stock airbox assembly was tossed and new side panels fabbed with a bunch of stainless hardware.092515-venice-vintage-motorcycle-rally-raffle - ovhd tankOther notable touches include a powdercoated frame and wheels, Buchanan stainless spokes, LED headlamp and tail light, with new brake rotor provided by Steadfast Cycles. Doug also fitted new bearings all around, new fork tubes and seals, and Hagon shocks. The fork was lowered and topped off by vintage Flanders dog-bone risers holding Brit-made Norman Hyde bars.092515-venice-vintage-motorcycle-rally-raffle - Benly lamp

Stepping out of the box, Steve grafted in a 1960s Honda Benly headlamp. The rebuilt motor, fed by a single Amal Concentric carb, allows for a two-into-one ram air type system Steve designed. The motor also wears chrome originally done back in the day and now gleams again.

And the Winner Is?

The winning raffle ticket was plucked out of the bin around 6pm, and it turned out to have been purchased online. Much cheering as well as plenty of jeering was heard from the crowd who had hoped for a live body to have been in attendance. To quell the mob’s rising uproar, Brady Walker dialed the winner’s number on his cellphone and held it up to the microphone. The winner, Eric Stein, wasn’t at the rally because he had his hands full at a kid’s birthday party, but he said he would try to bop on over. And he did just that, throwing his leg over his new Triumph before the end of the day. One lucky guy.

Not to worry, plans are already afoot to build new righteous Raffle Bike for VVMR #9. Stay tuned.

  • JMDonald

    Looks like a great event.

  • Buzz

    Damn, if I had known about this, I might have cruised up.

    That’s my old ‘hood!

  • Gee S

    Youse guys can’t do math.

    That Indian is 105 years young.😛