2017 Motorcycles As Art Exhibit, Old Iron – Young Blood, Takes Custom Motorcycles into the Next Generation

By Jeff Smith

For nearly a decade, the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s® Motorcycles As Art™ exhibit curated by renowned motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter has led some of the world’s most well-crafted and ornate custom motorcycles and related artwork into the legendary venue’s Event Center during the Sturgis rally. The exhibit features a different theme each year that in turn informs the list of invited builders and artists. The 2017 theme, “Old Iron – Young Blood,” displayed the creations of 40 custom motorcycle builders and 18 artists all under the age of 36 and proved that the future of custom motorcycles rests in talented and steady hands. Check out the builders and bikes below and see for yourself!

Custom Motorcycles

Builder Name: AJ Harris
Age: 31
Garage: North Texas Tattoo Company / Royal Enfield Fort Worth / Fort Worth, TX
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Dirt Bauber”

BRAND/MODEL: Royal Enfield B5
FRAME: Over Engineered, Shaved and Stripped
STYLE: Dirt Bike Bobber/Daily Rider
FRONT END: Telescopic forward facing forks topped with a custom yoke from Hitchcocks in England


AJ Harris started building bikes back in 2013 when he bought his first Royal Enfield. As soon as he got it home and with absolutely ZERO building experience, he stripped her down to the frame and started cutting stuff off. Before he knew it, he threw his hat in the ring with some of the best builders in the world. The guys at the Royal Enfield Dealership in Fort Worth thought he was a crazy person for chopping up a BRAND NEW bike, but they soon came to realize that it was just what he needed to do.

With all of AJ’s builds, you will find a certain signature. “I build bikes that people want to ride and CAN ride every single day. I do consider my work ‘art,’ but it is and always will be ‘Art in Motion’ and therefore refuse to build something that isn’t capable of being truly ridden. I do commissions and of course, all of my builds are for sale.”

See More from AJ Harris on Instagram: @northtexastattooco

Builder Name: Andy Carter
Age: 32
Garage: Pangea Speed / Salt Lake City, UT
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Future Man”

BRAND/MODEL: Harley-Davidson UL
FRAME: Pangea Speed
STYLE: Chopper
ENGINE: Big Twin Flathead
FRONT END: Pangea Speed


This bike has been a collection of parts that Andy has been planning for about four years. Some of the parts were gifts, some have some heartache attached to them, some are jokes, and others were last minute additions. According to Andy, the main idea here was to make something that represents who he is and also his relationship with his friends. The bike runs well and stops well; it is something to actually ride.

This bike is for sale. Serious inquiries contact [email protected].

See more from Andy Carter on Instagram: @pangeaspeed

Builder Name: Brad Gregory
Age: 32
Location: Glenwood, IA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Midwest Hustle”

BRAND/MODEL: HD De-Raked Chopper
FRAME: Derake Hardtail Frame, 11″ Up, 0″ Out, 25º Rake Built by Al Emerson
TRANSMISSION: Baker 6-into-4 Speed, Kick-Start Only
STYLE: Chopper
ENGINE: HD Evolution Motor, 80ci, Motor work done by Mike Beland
FRONT END: 6″ Over 39mm Forks with Bling’s Cycles Narrow Triple Trees


Brad Gregory has been obsessed with custom motorcycles for the last 20 years. While earning his Mechanical Engineering degree, he had access to all the tools and equipment the big name builders on TV used to create wild custom choppers. Spending most of his senior year of college in the garage, he started building his first chopper. This project taught him a great deal about building motorcycles, mostly due to the long list of mistakes made during that first build.

The motorcycle that Brad built for the “Motorcycles As Art” exhibition is a deraked, St. Louis-style chopper. Brad’s ”less is more” philosophy caused him to focus only on the essentials, leaving out anything not absolutely necessary to the bike–the definition of a true chopper.

The frame, built by Al Emerson, is 11” up, 0” out, with a 25 degree rake. The steep neck angle, paired with the Bling’s Cycles offset triple trees and 23” wheel sets the trail dimension at 4.2”, the exact same as a Harley FXR (one of Brad’s favorite factory bikes). The Evo motor was dressed up with the Led Sled rocker boxes and then mated to the Baker 6-into-4 transmission by way of the open chain primary. Joe Skinner did the metal fabrication on the bike and Darren McKeag laid down the mind-blowing paint artwork.

See more from Brad Gregory on Instagram: @brad_gregory10

Builder Name: Chris Graves
Age: 35
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Custom Motorcycle Name: “The Flimsy Witch”

BRAND/MODEL: 1959 Harley-Davidson FL
FRAME: Up-Stretched Wishbone
STYLE: Chopper
ENGINE: 91 Inches of Pure Stroke
FRONT END: Denver’s Choppers, 14” Over


According to Chris Graves, his motorcycle obsession hit him hard and without warning. When he was 20, he got his first bike from a guy for $950 and immediately went crazy, “just chopping the shit out of it,” he says. One of the only tools he had was a $40 cut off wheel, and he put it to heavy use.

Nowadays Chris has a lot more tools that make the job easier, but he still appreciates what can be done with only simple means. “And I still use that same damn cutoff wheel!”

His ’59 Panhead was built in only a few months, which meant a lot of late nights and a really supportive fiancé. “I feel like a pretty lucky guy to be doing this and to be enjoying every minute – Happy to have the “Flimsy Witch” at this show, happy to ride it, and happy to continue to learn every day of my life.”

See more from Chris Graves on Instagram: @tooth_and_nail

Builder Name: Christopher Milanowski
Age: 29
Location: New Berlin, WI
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Hotrod 45”

BRAND/MODEL: Harley-Davidson 45
FRAME: 1934 RL
STYLE: Cool Guy Bike
TRANSMISSION: 3 Bolt, 3 Speed Harley
FRONT END: 33.4 Narrow Glide with Custom “Barney Style” Lowers


“Little” Chris Milanowski has been involved in hotrods, custom cars and custom motorcycles for practically his whole life. From pinewood derbies and model car contests as a kid, Chris grew into building custom cars and bikes.

This build focused around the wheels and engine. Aircraft aluminum was machined into the 36-hole hubs, which were spoked to later dirt bike rims. These rims are similar in appearance to early Harley “Clincher” rims, but have modern attributes.

However, it’s the engine that gives the bike its soul. As the longest running production engine Harley ever produced, the dependable “45” is timeless and beautiful. Everything else was built around the rolling chassis, including the tanks that Chris hand made to follow the classic lines of the frame. The narrow glide front end pulls the bike into a changing of times, where the 45 was transformed into the K-model Sportster. Its simple telescopic design is further reduced to the basics with a touch of Chopper Barney’s’ style fork slides, also hand made.

See more from Christopher Milanowski on Instagram: @lc_pojazdu

Builder Name: Christian Newman
Age: 35
Location: Buffalo, NY
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Stainless Steel Knucklehead”

BRAND/MODEL: Mostly Scratch Built
FRAME: Stainless Steel Live Axle Oil Thru Frame
STYLE: Classic Chopper
TRANSMISSION: Harley Gears in Cal Custom Case with Scratch Built Kicker Side
ENGINE: 1940 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead
FRONT END: Stainless Steel Girder with Damping


It was a childhood obsession with all things mechanical that got Chritian Newman tinkering in the garage. Though he’s built a few custom motorcycles including a turbocharged shovelhead, this “Old Iron – Young Blood” bike is his most ambitious project to date.

The “Stainless Steel Knucklehead” is mostly hand built, using no CNC milling or lathing. Almost all parts are hand shaped, welded, ground and polished. Most of the “shine” on this motorcycle is simply polished stainless steel rather than chrome. The frame utilizes a live axle with the bearings in the frame, allowing the sprocket and rotor to sit outside of the frame, making for an exceptionally narrow frame. The oil passes through the frame to eliminate oil line clutter and also act as a coolant.

The transmission uses a stock-style, extensively modified Harley case that incorporates a new narrower kicker design with exposed gearing. This design shaved several inches of width off the bike. The engine is mostly original 1940 HD external parts, but the inside features modern components and 84” displacement.

Some oil circuit changes allowed for the use of open rockers. The stainless steel girder fork has adjustable damping and a unique design where the risers pierce the top tree and the inside-out lower links. Headlight and taillight glass is from vintage autos and resides in custom housings. Wheels are custom design, with the front utilizing asymmetrical lacing. BA Enterprises in Lockport NY is responsible for the engine work. Andy Zion in Lockport NY applied the paint. New Church Moto in Bandon, OR covered the seat.

See more from Christian Newman on Instagram: @ctnewman

Builder Name: Cristian Sosa
Age: 34
Garage: Sosa Metalworks / Las Vegas, NV
Custom Motorcycle Name: “SMW 61-B”

FRAME: Modified Stock Frame
STYLE: LSR (Land Speed Racer)
ENGINE: Stock BMW 4-Cylinder
FRONT END: 43mm Telescopic Forks


Pinpointing the style of the bikes that come from Sosa Metalworks is no easy feat, as Cristian Sosa points out. “I’d like to think of Sosa Metalworks as more of a studio where we do one off rolling sculptures from raw materials. We never do the same thing twice, and always try to outdo the last project, improving our skills with every job.”

Cristian works one project at a time from beginning to end so that he can focus his full attention on that one project. “The shop is hidden somewhere in Las Vegas where we don’t advertise, and we work by appointment only. No showroom, no sign outside and we don’t have anything to sell but our time and ideas,” he continues.

“I believe in doing everything the hard way and at the highest level of craftsmanship,” he says. One look at this bike should make that clear.

See more from Cristian Sosa on Instagram: @sosametalworks

Builder Name: Dalton Walker
Age: 35
Garage: Split Image Kustoms / Hanford, CA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Rasin City”

BRAND/MODEL: Harley-Davidson Shovelhead
FRAME: Davis
STYLE: Drag Bike
ENGINE: Shovelhead
FRONT END: Narrow Glide


Dalton Walker built this Shovelhead drag bike for a good customer and friend, Robin Jeans. “It actually was an old Fresno style drag bike that had been wrecked. Someone started to rebuild it but never finished,” he says. A friend of Dalton’s got a hold of the bike and let it sit around for a period of time. Suddenly, Robin mentioned he needed a drag bike in his life. “I told him about this bike, dug it up and before you know it, I finished all the missing parts, all the unfinished fabrication and reworked it as you see it here,” Dalton says.

All of the fabrication was done in-house including the custom-made aluminum tail. Other craftsmen lent their handiwork to the bike as well, like Dickie Benidicts of Cycle Art who applied the gold leaf and Fresno style striping. Anthony’s auto body shot the black paint, Moreno’s Polishing handled the chrome and polish and Danny Gray took care of the seat. The bike is magneto driven, has an SU carburetor, 4-speed transmission and a 15″ centerline rear wheel.

Seeing this bike in the exhibit was truly a rare opportunity, as Dalton points out. “This bike has never been shown before and probably won’t ever be shown again other than Robin having his crazy, high-end clothing draped around it in one of his many motorcycle-inspired stores.”

See more from Dalton Walker on Instagram: @sikdalton

Builder Name: Dan Riley
Age: 33
Garage: Gunn Design / Burnsville, MN
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Maxx Headroom”

BRAND/MODEL: 2017 BMW R Nine T Pure
FRAME: Modified Stock
STYLE: Hooligan
ENGINE: 1170cc Boxer
FRONT END: Race Tech – Performance-Tuned Conventional Fork, Professional Flat Track Use


The start to Dan Riley’s career in motorcycling begins at the roots. “I am a 3rd generation enthusiast & builder. My grandfather was a prolific engine builder, machinist, and bike builder, dating back to at least the 1940s. He also has been coming out to the Rally for 60+ years,” he says. Dan’s father got his start on the minibikes of the 1950s, graduating up to big bikes and an early career in expert flat-track racing in the late 1960s. “I came on the scene in the 1980s, wrenching alongside my dad, building race bikes, and restoring vintage V-Twins,” Dan says.

Dan’s first “official” solo project, was painting a ‘totally OEM and historically intact’ 1972 Z50. Dan took a small bottle of model paint and painted the whole gas tank with a small model paintbrush. Fast-forward to the present day and you can find Dan working as a prolific graphic designer and bike builder.

Like most of the builders, Dan has no shortage of words when it comes to the subject of “Millennials.” “My ‘generation’ has really hit its stride in the last 5 years. Social media, and the internet has brought together like-minded individuals like never before. Hooligan culture is in full-force today, and Gen-Y’ers are creating some of the most progressive builds, and riding motorcycles like never before seen on planet earth. Right now, there seems to be no limit to what a rider can accomplish on their machine, and there’s also no limit to what can be created. I credit my generation as the group who’s carrying the torch, giving nod to the past, and pushing motorcycling to new heights.”

See more from Dan Riley on Instagram; @gunndsgn

Builder Name: Duran Morley
Age: 17
Garage: Roland Sands Design / Los Alamitos, CA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Black Magic”

BRAND/MODEL: 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR
FRAME: Stock
STYLE: Two-Up Cruiser
ENGINE: S&S V111 with a Mikuni and RSD “Slant” Carbon Air Filter
FRONT END: Narrowed Early Sportster with DLC Coated Tubes & Fully Adjustable Internals


Duran Morley is 17 years old and has been passionate about breaking and fixing bikes since he was 10 years old. He started off by restoring old mopeds and scooters and then progressed to custom motorcycles. As the bikes and builds became more complicated, Duran learned by interning at local shops, utilizing YouTube, and asking questions on on-line forums.

This bike started off as a used 1993 FXR. The goal for this build was to create the ultimate lightweight two-up traveler. This build features a blacked-out S&S V111 engine paired with a Mikuni and “Slant Carbon” air filter to give the bike more power. It also features a pair of early Sportster forks with DLC coated tubes and drop-in fully adjustable internals by GP Suspension. “This allows the rider to rail corners with comfort,” Duran says.

Duran used a front setup of dual RSD calipers and rotors with Black Ops “Hutch” Wheels to stop on a dime and reduce rotating mass at the wheels. Additionally, Duran mounted a 10” rise T-bar to a RSD Black Ops top triple clamp to add comfort while riding and added a RSD Black Ops gauge mount housing for a simple stealth setup. Lastly, the addition of a custom sissy bar with a king queen seat that allows comfort for two riders. RSD Traction foot pegs, grips and Radial brake masters keep the bike under control and improve rider feel.

See more from Duran Morley on Instagram: @duransdirtygarage

Builder Name: Dustin Maybin
Age: 34
Garage: Maybin’s Concepts / Hendersonville, NC
Custom Motorcycle Name: “All Metal Bagger”

BRAND/MODEL: Mostly Hand Built
FRAME: Hand Built Steel Chassis
STYLE: All Metal Bagger
TRANSMISSION: Ultima 6 Speed
ENGINE: Ultima El Bruto 127


Dustin Maybin got into custom motorcycles after being inspired by some of Shannon Davidson’s and Martin Brothers Choppers creations at a time when he was focused on building street rods. He had experience in rod chassis, so he naturally progressed into building bikes and bike chassis. Dustin has a passion for craftsmanship, building radical motorcycles from scratch and doing all the work himself.

“The bike before you is an all-metal bagger,” Dustin says. “What sets it apart from other baggers is that it was hand built from scratch.”

Dustin did not start with a Harley. Instead, he built the chassis from the ground up and then hand-formed all the bags, fairing and other tins in steel. After machining all the necessary parts, the bike was 100% Tig welded. The bike is entirely operated from an iPad mini that is flushed into the fairing. The iPad controls everything via touch screen including the start and stop, air ride, bag lids, stereo, lighting, etc. Dustin did all the bodywork, paint and graphics himself.

See more from Dustin Maybin on Instagram: @dustinmaybin

Builder Name: J Shia
Age: 27
Garage: Madhouse Motors / Boston, MA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “The Manipulated”

FRAME: Modified Stock– Extended swing arm, narrowed sub-frame, modified suspension-mounting points
STYLE: Café Racer
ENGINE: BSA 654cc (39.9 cubic inches)
FRONT END: Modified Cut-Down Stock


Coming from a Syrian family of tinsmiths, mechanics, and metal workers, J’s passion for motorcycles has been instilled in her from an early age. The home she grew up in is called “The Madhouse” by locals, littered with dozens of vintage bikes scattered throughout the yard and into the house. When she was an early teenager, her father gave her free range to take whatever junk bikes she found out back and fix them up for herself.

This resulted in bikers showing up at “The Madhouse,” to have their machines worked on as well. Admittedly, J says she had no idea what she was doing but would still take on the projects, forcing her to learn about every aspect of different types of bikes. Once the yard became too small for 60-plus bikes, she decided to open an official business– “Madhouse Motors.”

Although motorcycle maintenance is a large part of J’s daily life, her true passion lies in creating machines that she views as art. This BSA is a collaboration of her aesthetic and also shares the eye of her build partner, Michael Ulman, a sculptor who specializes in repurposing found objects into fine art.

Some of the found objects they decided to use for this bike are an old Boston sewer drain as the rear cowl, carb bowl for the tail light, handlebars for narrowing the subframe, bolt cutters for the brake stay and pull start, chainsaw oilers, sewing machine parts, an old car linkage and many other parts they found, machined or made in-house.

See more from J Shia on Instagram: @madhousemotors

Builder Name: Jake Cutler
Age: 32
Garage: Barnstorm Cycles, Spencer, MA
Custom Motorcycle Name: Sandra Lee

BRAND/MODEL: Barnstorm Cycles Custom
FRAME: Thompson Chopper Heavily Modified by Barnstorm Custom
STYLE: “Wabi-Sabi”
TRANSMISSION: Baker Drivetrain Frankentranny
ENGINE: S&S KN93 “Knucklehead”
FRONT END: Barnstorm “Leif” Spring


Motorcycling runs deep in the Cutler family, as Jake Cutler of Barnstorm Cycles explains. “The “Sandra Lee” was commissioned by my uncle, Leif Bottcher in 2013 and named after his late mother. It is built in memory of her and his two oldest sons, my cousins, Eric and Tony. They all unexpectedly passed away.”

Jake chose to build a motorcycle to commemorate their lives because “motorcycles are a huge part of both of our worlds.” “We saw this as a positive way to deal with the loss,” Jake explains. “The building of this motorcycle, while emotionally challenging, has been an extremely cathartic process for our whole family. Throughout the build, the three of these beloved family members are symbolized in the form of a triple star motif.”

On a technical level, Jake’s goal was to hand make as many components on the motorcycle as possible. “The overall design seeks to evoke a sense of beauty and elegance through interesting lines. These lines are highlighted by the bike’s minimalistic composition, and complimented by the vintage styling of the S&S “Knucklehead” motor,” Jake says. “The front end, which is a take on a leaf spring with some BMX-inspired details, is another key feature on the bike. We call it a ‘Leif’ spring, as a nod to my uncle.”

See more from Jake Cutler on Instagram: @barnstormcycles

Builder Name: Jay Donovan
Age: 23
Garage: BareSteel Design / Victoria, BC, Canada
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Manta”

BRAND/MODEL: 1976 Yamaha XS650
FRAME: Modified 1976 XS650
STYLE: Café Racer
TRANSMISSION: Modified 1976 XS650
ENGINE: Stock with Upgraded Electronics
FRONT END: 2002 Suzuki SV650


Building custom motorcycles is a recent discovery for Jay Donovan of BareSteel Design, and for the time being only part of what he does in his shop. “I think metal shaping and fabrication as well as an appreciation of riding are equally responsible for introducing me to custom bike building,” he says.

Jay’s challenge-driven mentality and constant desire to refine and develop his abilities drew to the art of metal shaping during his Collision Repair Apprenticeship. The versatility and opportunity for growth and creation lead Jay to open his own metal shaping and fabrication shop,

In the tradition and history of Café Racers, Jay wanted to start this build with an original frame and use the existing lines of the bike for inspiration. “I wanted to see how far the original design could be altered in a way I hadn’t seen before and yet still achieve a very fluid, well thought out looking machine,” he says.

The bike is for sale. Please inquire for more details.

See more from Jay Donovan on Instagram: @baresteeldesign

Builder Name: Jesse Srpan
Age: 27
Garage: Raw Iron Choppers / Chardon, OH
Custom Motorcycle Name:

BRAND/MODEL: Raw Iron Choppers/FTW
FRAME: Raw Iron Choppers FTW “One Off” Rigid Frame
STYLE: Classic Chopper
TRANSMISSION: Baker Drivetrain – Powerbox LSD 6 Speed
ENGINE: 124” S&S Cycle Evo w/ Raw Iron Choppers Performance Mods
FRONT END: Raw Iron Chopers / Ebay Special Custom Narrow Glide 41mm w/ Dual 4-Piston Calipers


Jesse Srpan has been building and modifying bikes since the age of 13, but has been exposed to the lifestyle for as long as he can remember. From watching his dad work on bikes to racing motocross, Jesse has always had a passion for welding and fabricating.

During most of his young life, Jesse found summer employment through his father’s family-owned construction company. Jesse had saved enough money by the time he was 13 to buy a mig welder. After purchasing the mig welder, he decided to take an old, rusted mini-bike from the 70’s out of the garage and rebuild it. From that platform he built a custom mini-bike of his own style and liking. He created another custom mini chopper in 2005, which started his career in the motorcycle industry and lead to the start of his company, Raw Iron Choppers.

Jesse’s feeling on this year’s millennial theme is unique to say the least. “As many have said for decades, “I feel like I was born in the wrong era…” Being a person who was born in 1990 and not being able to go back in time…my mindset is to utilize these times of having the greatest technological advances and trying to make a statement about keeping the blue collar trades alive that are used for building a motorcycle; from machining, welding, electrical, auto body, to fabrication skills.”

A lot of stuff is regurgitated these days, but over the last 100 years there’s been so many variations of custom motorcycles that it’s a struggle to be unique. Maybe that’s why my generation just builds whatever we want to. We are constantly changing, some for the good and some for the bad, but there will always be those of us who have motorcycles as a lifestyle throughout our veins.”

See more from Jesse Srpan on Instagram: @rawironchoppers

Builder Name: Jody Perewitz
Age: 34
Garage: Perewitz Cycle Fab / Halifax, MA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Grasshopper”

BRAND/MODEL: 1964 Harley-Davidson Scat
FRAME: Harley-Davidson
STYLE: Wicked Cool Little Bike
ENGINE: 165ci Harley-Davidson
FRONT END: Harley-Davidson


Jody Perewitz has been around custom motorcycles all her life, growing up the daughter of industry legend Dave Perewitz and spending time in his shop, Perewitz Cycle Fab. She now works at the shop, handling the marketing and most of the day-to-day shop activities, as well as working alongside her father.

The Perewitz name is world-renowned in the custom paint world for producing some of the most sought after designs to hit the streets. And now, Jody’s painting and artwork clearly shows she’s got paint in her blood as well.

This exhibition proved to be the perfect opportunity to bring it to life a motorcycle Jody had owned for several years. After accepting the invitation to participate, Jody immediately tore it down and gave this bike a Perewitz touch. The small saddlebags, custom-made exhaust equipped with Brock’s mufflers, a single Brock’s mono shock and the unique paint job quickly sets this bike apart.

See more from Jody Perewitz on Instagram: @jodyperewitz

Builder Name: Johnny Branch
Age: 34
Garage: Branch Engineering / Wildomar, CA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Full Scale”

BRAND/MODEL: Harley-Davidson Panhead
FRAME: In House at Branch Engineering
STYLE: Chopper
TRANSMISSION: 1952 Panhead
ENGINE: 1949 HD FL Panhead
FRONT END: 28” Over 39mm


Johnny Branch started fabricating in his teens, mostly off-road and race-related work such as chassis design, sheet metal and exhaust, but his motorcycle roots have been around since he was a child. In 1983, his dad joined an outlaw motorcycle club and always had a mean black Pan-Shovel in a rigid frame with drag bars and suicide shift. This bike played a big role in forming his style as a bike builder.

“It was about 5-years ago that I decided to build custom bikes as a hobby,” Johnny says. Now four bikes later, he doesn’t see it slowing down anytime soon. “This bike that I just finished was more of a test than anything. I reverse engineered an early 1980s Revell model that I fell in love with because of its wacky stance and cartoonish feel. I knew it would be ridiculed by many, but I do what I want and it is what it is,” he says.

He started with a 1949 Panhead motor that had an Arkansas title, a 52 transmission and a few other period correct parts, took dimensions off the model frame he had and got to work. “Figuring out measurements from something 1/8 the size of the real thing was the hardest part,” Branch said.

“The front end is a 39mm super skinny 28″ over stock setup and the frame is raked at 18 degrees to give the look you see. The first show bike I built was lucky enough to be in the Motorcycles As Art™ Naked Truth exhibit two years ago, and I’m beyond grateful to have this bike showcased in this “Old Iron – Young Blood” exhibition,” Johnny says.

See more from Johnny Branch on Instagram: @branchengineering

Builder Name: Justin McNeely
Age: 33
Garage: Hooked On Speed Cycles / Jackson, MO
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Space Cowboy”

BRAND/MODEL: Harley-Davidson Shovelhead
FRAME: Rigid
STYLE: Chopper / Daily Rider
TRANSMISSION: 4 Speed Ratchet Top
ENGINE: 80ci Shovelhead
FRONT END: Narrowed 33.4mm


Justin has been around motorcycles and hot rods his whole life. It wasn’t until about 8-years ago that he decided to start building bikes on his own. His first build was an XS650, and from there he’s built numerous bikes for himself and friends. “My bikes mean a lot to me – I don’t have a fancy shop or access to tools that some do, everything gets fabricated and built in my small garage at my house,” Justin says.

Space Cowboy, like most of Justin’s bikes, has a hot rod-inspired feel to it. “I wanted to make sure it not only looked tough, but it was also able to go fast and stop fast,” Justin says. “My wife wanted the bike’s paint job to be out of this world. Luckily I can rely on Shawn Long to make paint dreams come true. This might just be my favorite bike yet,” he said.

See more from Justin McNeely on Instagram: @ratfink44

Builder Name: Karlee Cobb
Age: 23
Garage: Klock Werks / Mitchell, SD
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Project Princess”

BRAND/MODEL: Indian Scout
FRAME: Twisted Chopper’s Rigid
STYLE: Chopper (First Scout Chopper)
ENGINE: First Fully Polished 1103ci Scout (Thanks Steve at Elite Polishing)
FRONT END: Shaved/Filled/Chromed Scout Legs/Custom Trees


Since age 11, you could find Karlee Cobb hanging out at Klock Werks shop in Mitchell, SD. Known for being a young land speed racer with Bonneville records, she first stepped into her own design at age 19 when she did a custom Triumph for the Tony Hawk Foundation. Next came “Outrider,” the first custom Indian Scout, debuted at IMS in New York City when Karlee was 21.

Karlee’s third custom project was a major undertaking in removing the cast stock frame and creating a chopper based on the Indian Scout platform. Fuel injection, wiring, ECM and a radiator were just a few of the challenges faced on this build. Normally one to prefer black and coatings, the polished and chrome route along with candy paint was a new stretch for Karlee. Working at Klock Werks has exposed her to many styles and love for motorcycles in general. “Project Princess” allowed Karlee to make her first attempt at welding on the custom tank.

“I am honored to work with Jason Kangas and Twisted Choppers on the design of the rigid frame, controls and triple trees as the basis for this bike. This led to the formation of a new friendship, which is what motorcycles have always been in my life,” Karlee said.

Brad Smith shined on the candy paint, Steve Langston rocked the polished motor and parts and Jennifer Bainbridge and Randy Rothlisberger at the shop “are the greatest teachers ever,” according to Karlee. “The team at Klock Werks has been super supportive of my design efforts, and I cannot thank everyone involved enough for the opportunity. Having come to the Michael Lichter show’s since my step dad Brian has been entered in them has been a treat, now I am honored to be alongside all the great builders this year as we carry the torch forward.”
See more from Karlee Cobb on Instagram: @karleecobb

Builder Name: Len Kodlin
Age: 26
Garage: Fred Kodlin Murdercycles / Borken, Hessen, Germany
Custom Motorcycle Name: “SM 750”

BRAND/MODEL: Harley-Davidson XG 750 Street
FRAME: Len Kodlin
STYLE: Supermoto Style
ENGINE: XG 750 Street


Len Kodlin’s roots go back to before he was born, when his father Fred, then based in Jesberg, Germany, expanded his business after 1982 so that it became the world-renowned custom-shop creating show-winning one-off extreme bikes.

Len often sketched parts – and sometimes even completed bike designs, which his father then hammered into metal. Growing up in and around the workshop also gave him the skills for sheet metal work, welding and – thanks to being young – the attention to pay to the new fields of customizing: electronics, fuel injection and other things that have become more and more important on today’s custom bikes.

For the “Old Iron – Young Blood” Exhibition, Len chose an obvious base for his custom project: The Harley-Davidson 750 “Street,” a new and modern motorcycle manufactured by the 114-year-old brand that has been the source of so many great custom creations. In typical Len Kodlin fashion, he completely re-styled the stock bike into a breathtaking “Super-Moto” version by transplanting the water-cooled twin into a unique handcrafted frame. Len utilized KTM suspension components, which he rates as some of the best in the world, plus numerous other newly designed parts, which will certainly raise the eye of many “Street” owners. The new swingarm, handcrafted tank and seat, special-made exhaust and new headlight mask all add to the “Super Moto” style of this unique Len Kodlin Custombike.

See more from Len Kodlin on Instagram: @len_kodlin

Builder Name: Matt Harris
Age: 34
Garage: 40cal Customs / Alcoa, TN
Custom Motorcycle Name: “The Malungeon”

BRAND/MODEL: 1929 Harley-Davidson JD
FRAME: 40Cal-Frame based loosely on original 1919 HD patented design. Constructed entirely of flat plate instead of tube shaped and formed into various angle and channel iron configurations.
STYLE: “Speedster”
TRANSMISSION: 1923 Harley-Davidson 3 speed
ENGINE: 1929 HD JD 74” Engine. Engine is completely stock, retaining all factory internals Inc. factory, standard bore, iron pistons.
FRONT END: Harlot Cycles and 40cal, designed loosely from orig. 1919 HD patented fork design.


The Malungeon’s history is a tale as old as the hills from which it came. Malungeons were a society of people living in the Appalachian Mountains with no certain history, race or identity. No one truly knows where this tribe came from or to where they disappeared. Much like the 1929 Harley-Davidson JD engine that powers this bike, its history and background are unknown, and the bike’s unique styling is difficult to place in a single category.

The idea behind the Malungeon was to build a bike based around an all-original 1929 Harley-Davidson JD engine. Retaining all stock internals, the engine still runs and performs well. The 74 cubic inch engine is an 88-year old work of art in itself, and had to be framed appropriately.

The frame design stems from a patent HD held in 1919. The chassis lines have been made unique, but the overall thought process of being constructed of flat plate has been retained. Each angle and channel have been hand formed into their current shape. One cannot hang a standard fork on such a chassis.

Also in 1919, HD held a patent for a unique leading link frontend, which was used as the fork design on this build. Though the Motor Company never produced the front end made of flat and stamped plate like the one on Malungeon, they did produce the same fork configuration using conventional tubing in limited numbers on specific bikes over the few ensuing years.

The list of handmade details throughout this build is as limitless as its racing heritage. Boardtracker style seat, 1925-29 Bugatti Type 35 style wheels,

Hillclimber bars, Road racer stance…All are a nod to the historical figures that lived for speed and performance in an era when motorcycles were dangerous.

See more from Matt Harris on Instagram: @40calcustoms

Builder Name: Matt Olsen
Age: 32
Garage: Carl’s Cycle Supply / Aberdeen, SD
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Matt Olsen’s ‘Old Iron’ WR”

BRAND/MODEL: 1946 Harley-Davidson WR
FRAME: Gusseted and reinforced 42 WLA Frame
TRANSMISSION: NOS WLA case and covers converted to close ratio specs by Ralph Camp
ENGINE: WR left case, WLDR right case, 46 cam cover, Now oil pumps, pop-up pistons, WR manifold, KR carburetor
FRONT END: “I” Beam WL for 1937-1939


Matt Olsen has had the bones of this 1946 Harley-Davidson WR for more than 14 years, “going back to when I traded a bunch of labor on a 1952 WR restoration for the beginning pieces,” he says.

“This bike is a bit of a mutt,” Matt says. “The left case is a WR, the right case is a WLDR and the top end is a 1948 to 1952 WR. The magneto is a front mount Wico mag that I’ve known the history on since it was new. I wanted this bike just to have fun racing around on, and I’m sure that is what I’ll do,” he aid.

“I’ve grown up working on old bikes and hanging with old guys all my life, so consequently, I sometimes sound more like a grumpy old codger than a 31-year-old,” Matt says. “I think that it’s great that people my age are building bikes and having fun with them, and I really don’t care what type of bikes people build or how old they are as long as they are having fun with their hands and doing something that makes them excited about motorcycling.”

See more from Matt Olsen on Instagarm: @matthewolsen

Builder Name: Matt McManus
Age: 31
Garage: Carolina Classic Cycle / Indian Land, SC
Custom Motorcycle Name: “McManus’ Old Iron Knuck”

BRAND/MODEL: Harley Davidson / EL Knucklehead
FRAME: Stock 1942 HD
STYLE: Original w/ Period Accessories
TRANSMISSION: Stock 4-Speed Harley-Davidson
ENGINE: 61ci EL Knucklehead
FRONT END: Stock 1942 Springer


Matt McManus has been around motorcycles all of his life. “When I was around 10 years old my father purchased a 1957 Panhead from a guy in the town where we lived. We rode it home from the guy’s house, and I thought it was the greatest thing ever. That was when antique motorcycles were first introduced to me, and they have been on my mind ever since.”

In Matt’s late teens, he started going to the Antique Motorcycle Club of America meets all around the country with his father, taking his obsession to another level. Knuckleheads, made from 1936-1947, became his main focus, and Matt’s desire to learn about how to make them run is still wide open today.

Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the bike Matt built for this exhibit is a 1942 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead. He started with a basket case and added all the missing pieces to complete the bike. Mechanically, it is all rebuilt, but everything on this bike is original except for a few pieces of hardware, some of the wiring harness, and wear items such as the battery, chains, and tires. Most of the paint on the bike was done recently and aged to look old.

“This particular bike has the complete Deluxe Chrome Package, and since it’s a 1942, it has the most chrome that you could get on any Knucklehead from the factory,” Matt says.

“It also has a few period accessories like the chrome wheel covers, chrome Murphy Handlebar grips and the Atlas Handlebar riser that raises and rubber mounts of the factory handlebars. This is how a lot of the motorcycles from the ‘30s and ‘40s were accessorized,” he says. “My goal was to build a bike that is as original and correct as I could possibly make it, while making it look like it has never been taken apart,” he continues.

See more from Matt McManus on Instagram: @Matt47FL

Builder Name: Matt Walksler
Age: 35
Garage: Period-Modified / Waynesville, NC
Custom Motorcycle Name: “JDH-XR”

BRAND/MODEL: 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH
FRAME: Period-Modified Reproduction HD Keystone Factory Racing Frame
STYLE: Dirt Tracker
ENGINE: Original 1929 JDH Two-Cam, Dual-carbureted


Beginning at an early age, Matt Walksler was drawn to vintage and antique machines as he watched his father build, restore, and collect rare and primitive American motorcycles. His passion lies in rebuilding and restoring vintage American racing machines and putting them to use in competitions around the country. Whether on dirt, pavement, sand or ice, he builds machines to race, and he goes to great lengths to build a level of performance into each machine that exceeds what was available from the factory when they were new.

This 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH-XR was handbuilt specifically for dirt track racing. Utilizing HD’s famed two-cam JDH engine, which was produced in very limited numbers for only two years, the machine displaces 92 cubic inches and is equipped with specially cast, twin-carbureted cylinders never before incorporated into pocket-valve design. Worked over inside and out, the engine produces nearly double the horsepower it did when new.

Built around an accurately replicated factory “keystone” racing frame, the bike features lower center of gravity, lighter overall weight and increased maneuverability than what was available to everyday customers of the day. The bike transmits power through the original 3-speed transmission and grips the curves with 4.00×19” Firestone ANS tires.

Rather than completing the machine with new paint and plating, the decision was made to finish the machine in HD Racing Orange, aged to perfection to make the bike look like it has remained intact for the past 90 years. While it may look weathered and worn, this machine has never been so ready for action.

See more from Matt Walksler on Instagram: @matt.periodmodified

Builder Name: Max Hazan
Age: 35
Garage: Hazan Motorworks / Los Angeles, CA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Supercharged KTM”

FRAME: Scratch Built– Frame, forks, hubs…Chromoly and Aluminum
STYLE: Basically a supercharged bicycle!
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed, built in
ENGINE: KTM 520, Roots Supercharger
FRONT END: Hazan-Chromoly Cantilever


“The term millennial isn’t something that gets me excited,” Max Hazan of Hazan Motorworks admits. “It makes me think of a generation of over educated underpaid 30-somethings, struggling to find jobs they hate to get by in industries that offer little reward,” he says.

“I fell into the millennial routine, ‘spinning the hamster wheel,’ commuting on the subway to NYC every day working hard to save nothing and have nothing to show for it. I rented a small space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for my contracting company (when it was affordable), which soon turned into the workshop where I started building bikes after work,” he recalls. Max built and sold a couple of bikes for fun, but it was his dad who told him to pursue it full time.

“Motorcycles have always been special to me as long as I can remember, so I’m blessed to do what I do for a living and be part of the group of young builders who still build real motorcycles. We don’t just use them as something to sit on for Instagram posts or to sell Redwings, and we know there are many more profitable occupations out there,” he says.

“This year’s “Old Iron – Young Blood” exhibition has assembled a group of talented young people who build bikes for the love of doing it – no trends, no big paychecks…a trend that I hope catches on.”

See more from Max Hazan on Instagram: @maxwellhazan

Builder Name: Nicholas Pensabene
Age: 26
Garage: Mad Pen Cycles / Edgewater, FL
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Pipe Hitter”

BRAND/MODEL: 1974 Harley-Davidson
FRAME: One-off single loop/lugged custom hard tail built by Speedmill Customs
STYLE: Chopper
TRANSMISSION: H-D 4-Speed Ratchet Top
ENGINE: Cone Shovelhead
FRONT END: Ron Finch/Doomstown Choppers


Nicholas Pensabene has been building bikes since he bought his very first Harley and bolted on all the accessories at age 18. Realizing this wasn’t enough for him, he set out to create bikes that showcased his personal style.

Nicholas and his buddies lived at the shop in his hometown of Long Island, NY, and they worked all hours of the night on each other’s bikes. “I was hooked and spent every dollar I made buying tools, machines, and welders to build up a shop.” After that, Nicholas moved to Florida to go to motorcycle mechanics school, he realized he didn’t want to just work on bikes– he wanted to build them.

After Nicholas left school, he bought a 1978 Shovelhead and got rid of everything except for the motor and transmission, The bike, “Shovel Puzzle,” was the first build where Nicholas’ hands touched and modified every piece and part.

Nicholas doesn’t believe the word “Millennial” has anything to do with a certain age bracket or the year someone was born, but has everything to do with how they were raised. “If you walk out the door every morning thinking the world owes you something, then yes, you are a ‘Millennial,’ Nicholas says. “If you wake up every day, work hard and stay humble and true to your craft, then you are defying the stereotype,” he says.

“The people I choose to surround myself with are these people. We work our day jobs and stay in the shop all night. We build bikes where we can, whether that be a shop, garage or just a living room. I have become a slave to my passion and art and wouldn’t have it any other way.”

See more from Nicholas Pensabene on Instagram: @madpencycles

Builder Name: Nikki Martin
Age: 31
Garage: Roy’s Toys Customs / Centennial, CO
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Lucky 13”

BRAND/MODEL: 1999 Kraft Tech Chopper
FRAME: Softail, 8 up, 34 rake
STYLE: Chopper
ENGINE: Harley-Davidson 80ci Evo


Nikki Martin has been the Chief Operating Officer at Roy’s Toys Customs since age 16. At a very young age, she learned that if she wanted to spend time with her dad, the garage is where she needed to be. Growing up in the garage, her passion started out with hot rods and turned to motorcycles. She’s now been building motorcycles alongside her dad, Roy Martin, for 15 years. With Roy’s day job in law enforcement, Roy’s Toys Customs has nontraditional working hours – they run the shop at night!

Nikki’s feels stereotypical “Millennials” are very impatient, tend to search for instant gratification and have a sense of entitlement. “But while I may fit the age requirement,” she says, “I was brought up on old school family values like ‘you don’t get anything unless you work for it’ and ‘your word means everything,’ ”

“Without your word,” Nikki says, “you have no honor, integrity, honesty and loyalty. Work ethic can’t be taught– it is self-earned. You can be inspired by hard work, but it does not create it in someone. You must have the drive and commitment to put in the long hours if you want to achieve your goals.”

See more from Nikki Marin on Instagram: @roystoyscustoms

Builder Name: Paul Miller
Age: 27
Garage: PanicRev Customs, Calgary, Canada
Custom Motorcycle Name: Ram Air 650

BRAND/MODEL: 1972 Yamaha XS650 TRANSMISSION: Yamaha XS650
FRAME: Handbuilt Chromoly Stress Member Frame with a Trellis Swingarm
ENGINE: Yamaha XS650
FRONT END: 2008 CBR-600 RR Forks with Handbuilt Triple Trees


Paul Miller hails from Calgary, Alberta where he has a little shop named PanicRev Customs. A few years ago, he was watching a ton of flat track racing and decided he needed to do it. “I saw people turning Yamaha TT500’s into flat trackers, so I got on the classifieds and found one for sale three hours away.” The next day Paul brought home a basketcase of a bike with the intent to create a race bike he could tour around the province racing.

Paul says his Street Rod / Hot Rod background influenced him to give attention to every detail. When the TT500 found a buyer only days after being completed, he decided he was in the motorcycle business.

The latest build from PanicRev Customs is a 1972 Yamaha XS650 in full Flat Tracker trim. The project started with a motor, lengths of chromoly tubing and a sheet of aluminum.

“I made up the bottomless frame using the engine as a stress member, as well as a trellis style swing arm with a single-sided rear shock. The tail section was hammered out of a sheet of aluminum, as was the tank that has the air intakes for the engine incorporated. Foam air filters sit behind the grills in front of the tank, and tubes run through the tank surrounded with fuel before reaching the carburetors. The front suspension is off a 2008 CBR600RR, and the triple trees were made on manual machines. The rear shock is off a 2008 R6, and the brakes came off a Ducati Monster and a GSXR1000. The wheels and break rotors are from Roland Sands. Everything else on the bike down to every last inch was completely handmade in-house.”

See more from Paul Miller on Instagram: @panicrevcustoms

Builder Names: Mike & Peter Müller
Age: Mike– 29; Peter– 33
Garage: Federal Moto / Chicago, IL
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Grand Trunk Express / Fed-011”

BRAND/MODEL: 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT
FRAME: Hand-made subframe w/ custom swingarm for Triumph Speed Triple mono shock
STYLE: Café Racer
TRANSMISSION: Royal Enfield 5-Speed
ENGINE: Royal Enfield 535cc Single
FRONT END: Royal Enfield Telescoping Hydraulic Forks


During the research phase of this build, Mike and Peter Müller noticed that Royal Enfield branding and styling are very much in-line with its British history despite being an Indian company since the 1950s. For that reason, they decided early on to highlight the company’s Indian heritage with this motorcycle, taking primary inspiration from one of the oldest and longest railway lines in India, the “Grand Trunk Express,” or “GT Express.”

Once the build theme and direction were set, the motorcycle was completely disassembled and stripped down to a bare frame. The subframe was cut away and discarded together with the original twin shocks, seat, gas tank, rear cowl, side covers, battery and electronics tray. The original swingarm was modified and re-manufactured with new framing to accept a modern monoshock taken from a late-model Triumph Speed Triple, rebuilt and powder-coated in Tracker Yellow, which connects to a newly fabricated minimal subframe powder-coated Cadet Blue.

The engine, fresh from its initial break-in period, was disassembled and fully inspected before the EFI system was trashed and replaced with a custom high-performance carburetor conversion kit from Indimotard’s Greasehouse Customs in Bangalore. The motor’s exterior has been finished in satin black with bare aluminum covers sporting a hand-brushed finish, and all hardware has been replaced with stainless steel.

The exhaust has been reduced to a straight-through, side-dump drag pipe with a full 18-inches of internal baffling, wrapped in black with a custom-fabricated heat shield. The original Brembo brake system remains intact, but is now flowing through Goodridge Sniper II high-pressure brake lines. A custom wiring harness was made to accommodate the new electrical and charging systems, capped off with low-profile, high-output LED signals, an LED taillight, a vintage bucket headlight, and a single speedo/tach/indicator combo gauge from Koso.

The original wheels and hubs were powder-coated gloss black, reassembled with stainless steel spokes, and fitted with fresh rubber from Metzeler Tires. Finally, the original gas tank was replaced with a mid-1970s Honda unit modified to fit the Continental GT frame and painted in a combination of Cadet Blue & Gumball Blue. The custom seat pan was upholstered in diamond-quilted full grain brown leather with matching Biltwell Thruster grips.

See more from Mike & Peter Müller on Instagram: @federalmoto

Builder Name: Ryan Stephen
Age: 35
Garage: FreestyleSupermoto.com / Mount Pleasant, WI
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Xerofour”

FRAME: Chromoly Steel, Trellis
STYLE: Street Tracker


Ryan Stephen began his journey as a builder through racing bicycles and motorcycle as a kid. From there, he decided to go to school to become a mechanic, which served him well for almost 10 years. This evolved into a mechanical designer role, which he enjoys to this day.

“As a designer, Supermoto racer, and a hands-on person, I love to build things,” Ryan says. “Our ice racing seasons in Wisconsin have been short these last three-years and the long winters stir creativity, so I’ve been building bikes to push my fabrication and design skills ever since,” he says.

“I take pride in knowing the bikes that come out of my shop are hand built by me from the ground up; design, fabrication, paint, mechanical and finish. Shaping metal and welding up parts from nothing more than sheet metal is amazing and a rewarding experience to see these creations come to life.”

The last few years Ryan has lived by two statements. The first; “If that guy can do it why can’t I do it?” and the second, which fits for the “Millennial” theme of this exhibition; ”Thirty is the new Twenty, Lets keep this party rolling!”

See more from Ryan Stephen on Instagram: @freestylesupermoto

Builder Names: Ross and Mike Tomas
Age: Ross would have been 23 in 2017
Garage: Kiwi Indian Motorcycle / Riverside, CA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Ross’ Race Bike”

BRAND/MODEL: 1947 Indian Chief
FRAME: Handmade Kiwi Rigid
STYLE: Bobber
TRANSMISSION: 3 Speed Plus Overdrive
ENGINE: 88ci Kiwi Flathead
FRONT END: Kiwi Indian


Ross Tomas was taught at an early age that if you want something in life, you have to work to get it. This Indian motorcycle was a project he spent all his extra time after school working on at age 15 alongside his father in 2009. He then became Bonneville’s youngest Indian motorcycle record holder on this bike when he completed his best pass of 98.035 mph.

Traveling with his parents Mike and Carolyn, the motorcycle industry watched Ross grow up. Whether on his dirt bike, an antique Indian or his Honda street bike, Ross was always on two-wheels. It was his belief that the only reason to be on 4-wheels was to go get motorcycle parts that were too big to put on his bike!

Ross grew up working in the family’s Kiwi Indian business. His knowledge of Indian motorcycles would rival the elders in the antique motorcycle community. Even though he knew he was going to eventually take over the family business, Ross made the decision out of high school to take a job for a few years working for CST suspensions. Unbeknownst to his parents at the time, Ross’ reasoning for not jumping right into the family business out of high school was that he wanted to gain business knowledge from another company with the hopes of bringing additional value to the family operation.

Unfortunately Ross was never afforded the opportunity to come back and run the family business due to a tragic motorcycle accident in Riverside, CA that took his life July 22, 2014. This bike is here as a tribute to a young friend and motorcycle builder taken from us all way too early.

See more from Kiwi Indian Motorcycles on Instagram: @kiwiindianmotorcycles

Builder Name: Savannah Rose
Age: 31
Garage: A kitchen / Viola, WI
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Kitchenmade”

BRAND/MODEL: 2000 Harley-Davidson Sportster
FRAME: Modified Stock with Road 6 Customs Hardtail
STYLE: “Short Chop” (By Sugar Bear’s Definition)
ENGINE: S&S 1250 Super Stock
FRONT END: 2” Under Stock


Savannah Rose is new to the building scene. She doesn’t have a fancy garage, big toolbox, or any real training – and this is her first full bike build. She started working at S&S Cycle a year ago, doing Social Media and Content Marketing – and had the goal of finishing her personal bike in time for the riding season in Wisconsin when she was approached about being part of this exhibition.

“I bought this bike from my mother,” she says. “It was her first Harley and my second. I’ve actually done most of the work in my kitchen, as a cold garage in winter is just no fun. I’ve made sure to have my hands on every part of this bike and to be involved in every step,” she says.

”I did the paint job with House of Kolor and PPG products, tore apart the engine for an S&S Super Stock top end upgrade, Super E carb and teardrop as well as the full Powder Coat treatment. I modified, shaved or made as many parts as I could, including the sissy bar, handlebars, neck, frame, and my favorite piece, the custom Schwinn Sweetheart style sprocket.” Savannah says

A positive Savannah sees with her age group is that girls are no longer afraid to do what they want – especially when it comes to motorcycles! “You can be a girl, wake up, put on makeup and then go get dirty in the garage building your dream bike. Or, better yet, build it in your kitchen!”

See more from Savannah Rose on Instagram: @themouseandthemoto

Builder Name: Steve Dietzman
Garage: Studio Cycles, Milwaukee, WI
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Working Class”

FRAME: Hardtail ­– Shovelhead front loop with Panhead rear section
TRANSMISSION: Harley-Davidson 4 Speed Ratchet Top
ENGINE: Harley-Davidson Shovelhead
FRONT END: 6” over 41mm Forks in HD Wide Glide


Steve Dietzman’s first experience with motorcycles was at the age of sixteen when his friend Evan had multiple cycles and let him tool around on them. “We rented a one-car garage in high school to stash our bikes since we were hiding them from our parents and dubbed the space ‘The Studio,’ ” Steve says. In his senior year of high school Steve participated in BUILD, a program that paired high school students with bike-building mentors and this kickstarted his passion for custom motorcycles.

Steve says growing up as a “millennial” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he saw motorcycles everywhere. “At the time, vintage bikes were not as ‘cool’ but were affordable for a millennial. Choppers really caught my eye, but when I looked around, the quality of bike I wanted wasn’t on the street yet. I knew what I had to do to achieve the style I wanted and knew I was capable of working for it,” he says.

The inspiration for his title, “Working Class,” embodies Steve’s work ethic. Building this bike has been his most challenging project to date. “I emphasize hard work and attention to detail,” he says. ”I put motorcycles first and have spent countless nights in The Studio since I was sixteen, casting the ideas I have in my head into reality and perfecting them.”

See more from Steve Dietzman on Instagram; @cowboysbuttsdrivemenutts

Builder Name: Taco Rodriguez
Age: 30
Garage: Taco Kustoms
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Ol’ Fancy”

BRAND/MODEL: 1962 Harley Panhead
FRAME: Bling Cycles Signature Frame
STYLE: Frisco / Lowrider Chop
TRANSMISSION: Harley-Davidson 5 Speed
ENGINE: ‘62 Panhead
FRONT END: Tricky Air & Billet (Cantilever Air Ride)


Taco Rodriguez has always been captivated by motorcycles and has been working on them since getting his first bike—a 2002 Suzuki Marauder–at age 15.

It was during this period of Taco’s life that he was molded into who he is today. “I had finally gained the courage to begin working on my own motorcycle after walking into local shops in Miami and was completely ignored due to their assumptions of me not having the money to fund anything,” he says.

“I came across a shop in Overtown Miami, and I became the newest shop rat.” After gaining as much knowledge as he could from working around the shop and watching some of the greats on TV, Taco made the decision to chop up his own two wheels. “If I was going to screw anything up, I knew Fabian of Wizard Custom Cycles could make it right again,” he says.

“I had great influences growing into getting my feet wet. Guys like Fabian Balbin, Rey Perez, and a few others who may not be labeled as ‘famous builders,’ hold my utmost respect,” he says. ”These guys gave me my first shot and the opportunity to use their tools and resources to learn what I do and love today. I’ve been lucky for all of these influences I’ve had in and out of Wyotech as well as many extremely talented shops throughout the state of Florida.”

See more from Taco Rodriguez on Instagram: @tacokustomsoriginals

Builder Name: Terence Musto
Age: 29
Garage: Fabbro Industries
Custom Motorcycle Name: Type 57x

BRAND/MODEL: 1966 Harley-Davidson
FRAME: Fabbro Industries Type 57x Integrated Hydraulic Suspension Frame w/ 34º rake
STYLE: Chopper
TRANSMISSION: 1966 Harley-Davidson 4-Speed w/ Kicker
ENGINE: 1966 HD Flatside Shovelhead
FRONT END: Replica Springer


Terence “T” Musto began building bikes professionally at the age of 21 when he began an apprenticeship with Copper Mike Cole of Gravesend Cycles in NY. T is mostly self-taught, building his first chopper in his parents’ garage while attending Babson College in Boston, MA. After graduating from Babson and completing his first bike, T decided to dedicate his life to the soul craft of motorcycle building and applied for an apprenticeship with Copper Mike. T completed his apprenticeship after a year, and quickly became Copper Mike’s lead fabricator and shop foreman.

In 2013, T struck out on his own and established Fabbro Industries with the goal of creating a modern R&D shop to develop innovative products for today’s motorcyclist that capture the soul and feeling of a vintage motorcycle while also producing a limited number of custom builds each year. T views the term “Millennial” as a challenge – a challenge to push the boundary between what was and what could be; a challenge to respect the history and nostalgia of the American motorcycle while simultaneously moving the industry forward.

The “Type 57x” is Fabbro Industries’ first response to this challenge. Its radical motorcycle frame incorporates the rear suspension into the existing frame members, utilizing existing space more efficiently and eliminating the need for a pivot axle mounted in the center of the frame. This patented frame allows for the crisp, clean lines of a rigid-style frame with the added benefit of modern swing arm suspension. It also eliminates the need for bulky, externally mounted shock absorbers.

See more from Terence Musto on Instagram: @fabbro_industries

Builder Name: Jake and Zach Hindes
Age: Jake– 28; Zach– 30
Garage: Prism Supply / Charlotte, NC
Custom Motorcycle Name: “Paradise”

BRAND/MODEL: 1948 Harley-Davidson Panhead
FRAME: Rigid Frame w/ the Neck Up 2”, 2” Back and 34º of Rake
STYLE: Chopper
TRANSMISSION: 1948 Harley-Davidson 4 Speed
ENGINE: 80” Harley-Davidson Panhead
FRONT END: Rigid Front End Built by Prism Supply


Prism Supply, created by brothers Jake and Zach Hindes, has been in business since 2012. Initially the company began by designing and manufacturing high-quality custom motorcycles and parts, but after realizing the lack of quality-made clothing and motorcycle accessories available to the public, they decided to expand the business to all things motorcycle-related.

Prism believes the “Millennial” generation is and will continue to change the motorcycle industry. Manufacturing technology is improving at a crazy pace, and they feel it’s mainly the young guys that are learning how to use this new equipment.

The bike they built for this year’s exhibit is a 1948 Harley-Davidson Panhead, aptly named “Paradise” for its 1960s-style accents and sea foam green paint color. They pulled inspiration for color, chrome, overall stance, and molding from this decade for the build. The bike is fully custom (frame, front forks, tanks, etc.) and everything was hand crafted in the Prism shop (including the paint and bodywork).

See the entire build progress and more from Jake and Zach Hindes on Instagram: @prismsupply_

Builder Name: Zach Ness
Age: 29
Garage: Arlen Ness Enterprises / Dublin, CA
Custom Motorcycle Name: “The Allstate Dragster”

BRAND/MODEL: One-off Ness custom build
FRAME: One-off single loop/lugged custom hard tail built by Speedmill Customs
STYLE: Drag Bike
TRANSMISSION: Victory 6-Speed
ENGINE: 225 HP Prototype Victory 106 with Intercooled Procharger Supercharger
FRONT END: Arlen Ness 63.5mm Triple-Trees & American Suspension Fork Legs


Zach Ness followed in the footsteps of his grandpa Arlen Ness & father Cory Ness, building his first full custom motorcycle in his dad’s garage at the age of 15. Now at 29, with almost 15 years of experience in the motorcycle industry, he shares the responsibility of designing the Arlen Ness product line and plays a large role in helping run the family business.

In addition to Arlen Ness Enterprises, Zach has had a long standing relationship with Polaris industries that includes consulting on design for the Victory motorcycle brand, Zach Ness signature series production motorcycles, several concept bikes, and creating OEM accessory lines for Polaris’ motorcycle brands. Zach is also involved in several other areas of the industry, which include him being an ambassador for Allstate Motorcycle Insurance & Magnaflow exhaust.

The Allstate Dragster Zach built for the 2017 Motorcycles As Art exhibit is a full custom build based on a 225hp Supercharged Victory engine commissioned by Allstate Insurance. Zach reflected, “My goal when designing the bike was to mix the Digger style my grandpa Arlen helped pioneer in the ’60s with modern style and performance technology. The frame is a one-off, constructed from varying diameters of chromoly tubing and features a triple backbone. The rigid frame, which weighs in at about 30#, uses the engine as a stress member and all of the bodywork is handmade from aluminum. I am very happy with the finished product, especially for it’s clean lines and in the way it seems to be different from most other bikes out there.”

See more from Zach Ness on Instagram: @zness03


Artist Name: Alex Hamilton
Age: 26
Studio: Hamilton Design Co. / Prescott, AZ
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: 1-Shot Lettering Enamels; Gold Leaf, PPG Clear

See more from Alex Hamilton on Instagram: @hamilton_design_co

Artist Name: Amy Hood
Age: 30
Studio: Hoodzpah Design / Newport Beach, CA
Medium: Linocut Printing

See more from Amy Hood on Instagram: @amyhoodlum

Artist Name: Andy Cunningham
Age: 30
Studio: AndyCunninghamDesigns.com
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: Acrylic Paint

Medium: Screen Printing

See more from Andy Cunningham on Instagram: @ahamm87

Artist Name: Brenden Parsons
Age: 28
Studio: Parsons Auto Inc. / East Brookfield, MA
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: Glasurit Basecoats and clearcoats with SEM Color Horizon flakes and candies. 1-Shot Lettering Enamels.

See more from Brenden Parsons Instagram: @bpcustoms1

Artist Name: Brittney Thomas
Age: 26
Studio: Bombshell Deluxe / Oxford, FL
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: PaintHuffer Metal Flake/Pearl, Matrix/HoK Kandy, US Chemical Clear Coat

See more from Brittney Thomas on Instagram: @bombshell_deluxe

Artist Name: Carter Asmann
Age: 27
Location: San Diego, CA
Medium: Graphite and Coffee illustrations on 110# cotton paper

See more from Carter Asmann on Instagram: @CarterCartier

Artist Name: Christina Platis
Age: 30
Location: Long Beach, CA
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: 1-Shot Lettering Enamels and Gold Leaf

See more from Christina Platis on Instagram: @tattoosbytina

Artist Name: Claudia Liebenberg
Age: 30
Location: Stellenbosch, South Africa
Medium: Water Color on 300gsm Hahnemühle cold pressed paper

See more from Claudia Liebenberg on Instagram: @claudia_liebenberg

Artist Name: Cory Jarman
Age: 32
Location: San Francisco, CA
Medium: Ink on paper

Embed Instagram Post:

See more from Cory Jarman on Instagram: @corydjarman

Artist Name: Narihiko Kumagae
Age: 28
Location: Long Beach, CA
Medium: Digital Photographic Prints

See more from Narihiko Kumagae on Instagram: @heekofink

Artist Name: Jody Perewitz
Age: 34
Studio: Perewitz Cycle Fab
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: PPG paints and PaintHuffer MetalFlake

See more from Jody Perewitz on Instagram: @jodyperewitz

Artist Name: John Bartels
Age: 27
Studio: Walkers Point Tattoo / Milwaukee, WI
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: 1-Shot Lettering Enamels

See more from John Bartels on Instagram: @bartstattoos

Artist Name: Josh Kurpius
Age: 35
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Medium: Digital Photographic Prints

See more of Josh Kurpius on Instagram: @kurpius

Artist Name: Kayla A. Koeune
Age: 33
Studio: Inferno Art Studio / Longmont, CO
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: 1-Shot Lettering Enamels

Oil Painting:

Pen and Ink:

See more from Kayla A. Koeune on Instagram: @kaylainfernoart

Artist Name: Matt Ross
Age: 33
Studio: Matt Ross Custom Paint / Orange, CA
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: Urethane paint

See more from Matt Ross on Instagram: @mattrosscustompaint

Artist Name: Mikey “Revolt” Arnold
Age: 32
Location: Low Brow Customs / Cleveland, OH
Medium: Digital Photographic Prints

See more from Mikey “Revolt” Arnold on Instagram: @mikeyrevolt

Artist Name: Samson Hatae
Age: 30
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Medium: Digital Photographic Prints

See more from Samson Hatae on Instagram: @samsonkhatae

Artist Name: Taylor Schultz
Age: 33
Studio: Schultz Designz / Petaluma, CA
Medium: Biltwell Helmet
Materials Used: House of Kolor paint

See more from Taylor Schultz on Instagram: @schultzdesignz

The amount of artistic talent and custom motorcycles on display at this year’s exhibit was absolutely staggering. You could’ve spent the entire rally at the Motorcycles As Art exhibit and still not have taken everything in fully. Follow all of these talented builders and artists, and be sure to follow @MotorcyclesAsArt on Instagram to see more content from the show!

Check out more Motorcycles As Art photos shot by Buffalo Chip photographers in the Motorcycles As Art Photo Gallery!

Did you snap any cool motorcycle shots while on vacation at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip in 2017? Tell us what you saw in the comments below!

Presented by the Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Known as The Best Party Anywhere®, the Legendary Buffalo Chip believes festivals should be fun like a high five, reenergize you like a broken rule, and romance you like someone you just met and have to take home.

This nine-day festival of concerts and motorcycle events promises to bring you exciting events like flat track races and live performances from artists like Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Willie Nelson, Five Finger Death Punch, Kid Rock, Rob Zombie and many more.

Find out more or get passes to the Best Party Anywhere at www.buffalochip.com and find out why it continues to be one of the most televised festivals in the world.