The One Motorcycle Show 2017 Report
Portland's hipster bike show becomes even more popular
Each year thousands of motorcyclists and motorheads flock to the rainy town of Portland, Oregon, from all over the continent and even the world to see more than 100 custom bikes of all styles on display. The final count of attendees to the 8th-annual One Motorcycle Show over the February 10th weekend was 17,000, with another 2,000 at the 1 Moto Pro flat-track races on Sunday.
Why so popular? Well, the crew from See See Motorcycles & Coffee created the show with a specific idea in mind: “Take all the knowledge you have accumulated and build a machine that encompasses your vision of the ideal bike. The ONE motorcycle.”
You could ask a few hundred motorcyclists what their ideal motorcycle is and never get the exact same answer. Because it’s so subjective, the show cultivates a massive range of motorcycle builds – you’ll see a Honda Trail 70 with an up-cycled chain hand-shifter next to an Indian Prince that’s nearing 100 years old. Some bikes were pulled out of a barn, loaded into a truck, and parked in the warehouse. Others are ground-up builds with custom frames and incredible engine modifications. All are works of art on wheels.
Roaming through the two-story 130,000-square-foot warehouse, motorcycles were lined up along every wall, tucked into every corner, filling up every room. As you followed the flow of foot traffic, winding your way past vendor booths and themed show areas built into the existing architecture, it felt like a motorcycle funhouse. Upstairs featured an electric minibike race track, Harley-Davidson room, Icon 1000 area and VIP builder room (complete with velvet ropes), vintage racing room, and art vendor area.
Five food trucks parked outside by the front gate, Sizzle Pie served up their famous pizza, and See See provided coffee and drinks (including an amazing Hot Toddy for $6). During the days, families walked around with kids eyes sparkling at the cool machines; at nights the live bands kicked the party into gear. There may be a month-long Pabst shortage in the Pacific Northwest.
The spectacle of Saturday Night Awards should not be missed at the One Show; some big wigs in the motorcycle industry come out of the sea of faces where they once could blend and simply be another motorcyclist in the crowd. Ola Stenegard (BMW Motorrad designer from Germany), Gary Inman (Sideburn Magazine’s Creative Director from England), Japanese photographer Tadashi Kono, and David Borras of El Solitario in Spain are just a few from this year.
The show is completely free to attend, so See See counts on sponsors, donations, and apparel sales to turn a profit and continue their show every year. They work with a photographer to catalog show bikes and release them in coffee table books with build notes, specs, and more. Watching the event grow over the years has been really impressive – they’ve created this little motorcycle heaven where you can mingle with builders, press, and two-wheel-loving kindred spirits.
The city of Portland is very friendly for out of towners who want to trek to the show, with lots of inexpensive and nice hotel or AirBnB options, amazing food, and cheap drinks. Taxis, Uber/Lyft, and rental cars are cheap and plentiful… or public transit is clean and can take you pretty much anywhere. In other words, you have no excuse not to add the One Moto Show to your list of events for next year.
More by Alicia Mariah Elfving