2007 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show

SOS! See Our Showbikes!

16th Annual Queen Mary Bike Show Sets Sail

It was hot enough to fire up the long dormant boilers of the famous Queen Mary cruise ship berthed at its Long Beach, California home since 1967 after the Cunard luxury liner was decommissioned from more than 30 years of service. If you were aboard ship, now a floating hotel and museum, you could have poked your head out of one of its 2,000 portholes and have seen a sea of gleaming chrome and scintillating paint bathing the shore.

Yes, once again, like the great migrations of whales, the steel leviathans had gathered for the 16th Annual L.A. Calendar Motorcycle Show. The two-day event, always held in the toasty third weekend in July, attracts entrants See a sea of bikes next to the sea. How do we come up with these? and visitors from around the world including up to 20,000 bike fans and nearly 200 vendors. Buying a show ticket also got you two days of onstage music as well as a complimentary admission to the QM and the Saturday Night Calendar Bike Builder's Party.

All through the weekend, music and eye candy were provided by girl bands including the “schoolgirl AC/DC tribute band” Whole Lotta Rosies plus Nicki Nova and Liquid Blue show, Mary Falls and Reckless Driver, and the high stepping Purrfect Angelz dancers. Celeb spokesperson/hosts included Playboy Playmate Tamara Witmer and Miss Texas Rockin' Robin Cunningham. Oh, and there were lots of bikes, too.

The shindig, produced by Jim Gianatsis of Gianatsis Design Associates (those famous calendar guys), is sponsored by Performance Machine, and it saw three new associate sponsors this year: Star Motorcycles, S&S Cycle and Iron Works magazine, attesting to the show’s growing prestige as  “America's premier custom and performance streetbike Chicks with guitars event.”

And while there were no buried pirate’s chests to discover, there was
“gold” to be had as the show offered $5,000 in cash and $65,000 in awards for the coolest/hottest bikes. As a result, bike builders from around the country trotted out their latest two-wheeled stallions to compete for top accolades as well as recognition for their talent and labors. Several celebrity bike builders were on hand, showcasing their talents, including Ron Simms, Russell Mitchell from Exile Cycles, Roland Sands, Harold Pontarelli, Jesse Rooke and Chica.

Punctuating the sounds of the rock bands up on stage and unending sunshine was the peal of thunder, but it wasn’t Thor slinging his hammer. It was the roar of mega horsepower bikes taking on the challenge at the S&S Cycle-sponsored World Championship Horsepower Dyno Shootout via a Super Flow dyno. It made for some beautiful background music as you traversed the several acres of bikes of all shapes, dispositions and purposes.

    Here’s a few standouts that got our attention.

Always on the lookout for Bikes Gone Bizarre, we took note of a 1957 Triumph-based creation called the “Needle” thanks to its sliver of bodywork; the bike was built by Shinya Kimura of Chabott Engineering. By the way, Chabott translated from the Japanese means “Bantam Rooster.” More info at www.chabottengineering.com/.

If a custom bike and a NHRA drag had a baby, would it look like this?
Speaking of breaking the mold, how’s three wheels for a bike? This trike from Exile Cycles was built for the 2005 “Biker Build-off.” Price tag is about $65,000, but you can buy the kit form for a mere $45,000.

Chica. He's one cool Japanese chopper-buildin' dude.
Chica himself is partial to Knuckles, Pans and Shovels and, of course, rigids and springers. But his thinking is the opposite of rigid and way out of the box. Besides designing and building ground-up customs, he also offers frames, gas and oil tanks, fenders, springers and a clothing line as well as his cool brass parts. Chica’s gained international attention and has appeared several times on TV, including competing in the Biker Build-off programs.

The motto is “bikes and babes.”

V-Rod implements of death!
GRCustoms was first on the block to focus on custom parts for V-Rods, including these very sinister looking oil dipsticks plus a wide range of custom fenders, wheels, seats, handlebars and so on. You name it they got it.

You can’t ask for a nicer venue for a bike show with the Queen Mary as the rallying point. Once again some of the best bikes and the people who love them showed up for a great weekend. Next July you’ll find it back in action, a great reason for L.A. locals to head for Long Beach and for more distant travelers to taken in the SoCal sights. More info at www.queenmary.com/.

Nigel Patrick of Patrick Engineering and his fierce and beautiful fuel-injected Twin Cam motor.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and Mr. Headwinds himself was on hand to display his 100-plus custom headlamps for cars and bikes.

Lame Ducks or Lustful Ducatis?

While foraging through the forest of bling and chrome, we came upon a veritable menagerie of critters that some bike fans would label “Lame Ducks.” The bikes all share an uncommon denominator: Ducati motors. We thought these highly modified Ducks were very tasty indeed.

The three builders of the badboy Bologna bikes are Flight Motorcycle Company located in Reseda, CA; 13 Choppers located in Escondido, CA; and Steffano Motors situated in rural Garberville, CA.

Flight Motorcycle Company

FMC is the brainchild of Stuarts who says “My dream motorcycle is one that is simply an engine, a handful of tubes to connect wheels to the ground and a tank to house the fuel in.”

In October 2004, after completing the bike, including a homegrown fuel injection, custom frame, and a conversion to a dry clutch (no small feat) he entered the Monster Challenge competition that took place in San Francisco at which he took top honors going home with the First Place trophy and a free trip to the national finals at Daytona in March '05 where he won his class again.

More info at www.flightcycles.com/
or call 818-421-6969.

13 Choppers

13 Choppers honchos Kris Cordato and Matt Zabas express a bike design philosophy summed up as “Functionality… Lightweight, high performance, custom American-style bikes powered exclusively by Ducati engines. Just as good as daily drivers or at the track with a set of sticky tires.”

Matt explains, “When we designed our choppers we wanted to keep a lot of the original Ducati elements, including the basic frame design, and as a result the bikes we build are very performance capable. They turn very well with plenty of ground clearance and benefit from high performance Brembo brakes, Ohlins or Showa suspension, carbon fiber and aircraft aluminum components are all part of the package. It’s a 414 lb. bike with over 100 horsepower. Do the math.

“We’re just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up with the idea of a radical custom bike that actually works… That corners, brakes and goes.”

As far as reaction from the Ducati factory, when 13 Choppers brought two of its bikes over to Italy for the World Ducati Week 2004 they won the custom bike contest. “That was one of the most memorable accomplishments we’ve had… When the CEO of Ducati and the head of design handed us the trophy.”

More info at www.13choppers.com/
or call 760-8089-9606.

“We’re just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up with the idea of a radical custom bike that actually works… That corners, brakes and goes.”

Steffano Motors

Robert Steffano is one of those maverick minds that in past eras would have been conjuring up Faberge eggs or coachbuilt cars or a combination thereof. He combines a mechanical engineer / designer / artist / gearhead background with over 20 years experience building, restoring, and riding motorcycles. One day he decided to turn his slide rule in for a computer and a socket set and focus exclusively on designing his very personal view of the ultimate café racer. Located in the bucolic hills of Garberville, California, the company conjures up the prototypes for a limited series of “coachbuilt” motorcycles based on Ducatis, Yamahas and vintage British bikes, taking them to a new level that combines intense aesthetics and intense performance upgrades.

As Robert explains, “Our aim is to build the world’s most exotic, custom motorcycles.” He’s aided in his efforts by Evan Wilcox who Robert describes as the company’s “designer, metal-smith, head spiritual advisor” and responsible for all the hand-formed alloy bodywork.

Robert entered his radical one-off “969” Ducati in the 2004 Grand National Show and was awarded Best of Class in “Radical Bike,” besting a herd of Milwaukee’s finest.

More info at www.steffanomotors.com/
or call 707-923- 9525.

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