Exhibition “Custom Revolution” at the Petersen Automotive Museum L.A.

The exhibition “Custom Revolution” opened at the Petersen Automotive Museum in April. At the Museum – one of the biggest car museums in the world – it’s all about two wheels this time. In particular – as the name of the exhibition already suggests – about custom bikes. On display are 23 motorcycles by innovative customizers from all over the world. The majority of the exhibits come from the United States. Just three custom bikes from Germany are represented. We are therefore absolutely delighted that our Speedster is part of this exhibition.

The concept behind this exhibition is to present the best conversions of the custom scene to an audience that usually has little contact with motorcycles. The exhibits had to be spectacular and representative, not ordinary. Paul d’Orleans, motorcycle historian and curator of the exhibition, achieved this with great success. He himself says about the exhibition: “It is a kind of renaissance of motorcycle culture. In the 70’s, motorcycles had their heyday. Those were the days of “Easy Rider“. Then somehow, it was all over. Now there is a real rebirth and a great enthusiasm for motorcycles.“

Those who have the  opportunity to visit the exhibition can do so until March 2019. But for those  who can’t make it, here are a few insights.


Bilder: Petersen Automotive Museum


Ehinger Kraftrad Speedster

Inspired by skinny grass track racers and a tribute to the racing bikes of the 1920s to 1940s, the Speedster is the second part of Uwe Ehinger’s speedbike trilogly that began with the Ehinger Kraftrad Snowracer.

The Speedster features a traditional 45° engine that looks like a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead at first, but is quite different upon closer inspection. Uwe Ehinger designed the Knucklehead cylinder heads with CAD software to fit the 1937 four-cam bottom end of a side valve Harley Davidson U. Other technical gems are the ohv-heads which feature an open valve train and the rockers which are machined out of a solid block of aluminum.

The extremely narrow 1“ primary belt transmits the power to the dry clutch of the Harley-Davidson four-speed transmission. The reward is a unique V-twin engine with 1200 ccm. The concepts for all other details were first designed on CAD and then built with the support of several great co-operation partners.

To achieve an appearance that is reminiscent of the grass track racers of the twenties to forties that were incredibly narrow, the tail section of the Speedster was narrowed and the rigid frame was modified from the original two tubes to a single downtube. The Springer fork was also narrowed, the dogbones are designed by Ehinger Kraftrad and the top clamp is machined out of a single block.

The oil tank, which appears to be missing, is integrated into the glittering banana seat and part of the frame serves as additional gas tank as the capacity of the main tank is rather small. The racing number plates feature the engine‘s original year of construction and the 22“ rear tire is equipped with a psychadelic wheel cover.

Bending the category a bit, the Ehinger Kraftrad Speedster was awarded “Best Flathead” at Born-Free 7 where Uwe Ehinger was the first ever invited builder from Germany.

Photos by Dirk Weyer (http://www.dirkweyer.com)


Brooklyn calling

And you follow the invitation. With the Speedster. To the annual Brooklyn Invitational Custom Motorcycle Show. About 30 motorcycle builders are invited each year to expose their latest build to the public for an extendend afternoon. A large studio, the bikes, some fotos pinned to the wall and a cold one in your hand – that’s all. And of all places and dates on the calender of a custombike fan it’s one of the finest. And a great honour for everyone invited. Like always, the parked bikes on the street are worth a visit alone, when Brooklyn is calling.


Invitation with consequences.

And then there was this invitation to Born-Free 7, one of the most famous and diverse fun-fairs in the Chopper-custom-american-way-of-whatever-bike-universe. Here you see everything, literally e-ve-ry-thing from the wet-T-shirt-contest-girl to the Hipster on the longfork chopper with those ironic subtexted long’n'high-pipes to untouched Japanese stock bikes from the early Eighties. And to all of them the name of the fest is their credo: „Born free“ – feel free to come as you are on whatever ride you prefer and enjoy that great weekend together.

The special thing about being invited was that Ehinger Kraftrad was one of the 24 „Invited Builders“ asked by the hosts to show one of their recent builds. And with Uwe Ehinger being the first German ever to be invited, we had to ride in with something above average. That’s when the Speedster came in handy.

Following the style of early 20th century speedway bikes, the very slim Speedster carries a small tank, a 22“ rearwheel with a hypnotic cover, an oiltank housed in the flaky banana seat, a slim 1“ Belt-Drive, and enough other stuff to keep experts and wannabes talking and judging.

But for Uwe Ehinger the fun always starts with the engine. And this one is indeed special: looking like a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead on first glance, the cylinder heads were newly designed with CAD software to fit the 1937 four-cam bottom end of a side valve Harley Davidson U. And that’s only one of the nifty detail.

In the end, the Speedster not only won the „Best Flathead“ Award at Born-Free 7 but brought some more invitations…


Socking good times…

we had once again at the KUSTOM KULTURE FOREVER Show in Herten, Germany at “Zeche Ewald”,  an abandoned cool mine, sorry coal mine. For years, THE show to set the bar for classic Kustom Kars and Krafträder… apropos: we were invited by Stance (now you get the headline, don’t you) to park our 1940 Flathead at their booth, only a few steps away from the 1940 grey Knuckle, which we spotted amongst a swarm of awesome builds on a weekend hotter than a burnout. The perfect setting for beer fueled tech talks between gearheads. And that’s what we’ll come back for this year, at this socking good show.


Wheels, waves, wet…

Everyone thought the Southsiders MC was doing everything right with claiming a June weekend for their Festival of Custom Culture – but then: rain. Lots of.

But it takes more than water to spoil the plans of a determined party crowd. And as we were invited to join the exhibition with two of our bikes, we always had a solid roof above our heads. Hence our 1948 Grasshopper Panhead and the 1940 EL Knucklehead not only kept us dry but also kickstarted a lot of good talks.

Why not take a short ride around the block, check out the tents. Wherever you went, there was constant roaring, the air was vibrating and everyone was relaxed, despite the sheer mass of people looking for the next highlight like the Punk’s Peak Race.

Despite the rainy weather, Wheels and Waves turned out to be a big success once again and is already scheduled for 2016 in Biarritz. May the Southsiders MC have another fantastic party that’s as relaxed as this year’s. With a little more sun. This place is too good to be wet.


A grizzly on two wheels.

How could you prepare yourself better for a relaxed sun & fun meet on the beach than riding hundreds of miles through sun, rain, wind and even snow in the Pyrenees. It’s called Grizzly Ride and was organized for 40 people by the Southsiders MC. A nice, fine club and the host of Wheels & Waves – an event that will draw again thousands of visitors and riders to Biarritz in June, to celebrate vintage and artfully customized motorcycles of all styles and makes.

We proudly announce, that we not only were a part of the Grizzly ride but invited to bring 2 bikes to the W&W Show – we just have to roll the dice on which bikes we take. If you want to see what finally made it to the show:  June 11th to 14 th, Biarritz, France.

Photographer @Laurent Nivalle


A weekend on the couch.

Sounds like relaxed hours, but the couch was placed in Bad Salzufflen at “Custombike”, Europes biggest custombike fair. With more than 30.000 visitors you can imagine that some of them dropped in at our booth – hundreds to be precise. But we admit, we had parked some real stoppers in front of our couch, so those flakeystuff- and fat-tire-tired eyes would see: here’s the place to give my tortured retina a rest. The black Flathead from 1940, a ’39 and a ’40 Knucklehead, the ‘Grasshopper’ Panhead and two more Flatheads, the red one from 1939 and our famous Snowracer kickstarted some good conversations and new friendships.

Not to forget the 3 motors we displayed as a reminder, that “Rusty Diamonds” the book on Uwe Ehinger’s trips into motorcycle history  is available now.