Showcasing one-off craftsmanship in Austin, Texas – Custom bikes, custom people, and custom ideas. It all comes together for three nights each year at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Austin, Texas.
When it comes to custom motorcycle shows in the US, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better example than Austin, Texas’ Handbuilt bike show. For three nights each year, downtown Austin is the place to be. If you want to see one of the finest collections of truly custom bikes in the world.
The Handbuilt Show runs parallel with another savory attraction. The Red Bull USGP, taking place at the nearby Circuit of The Americas. Yet, even with the buzz at the track, on Friday night, it isn’t unusual to see mechanics from the Repsol Honda garage moseying around the venue. Drink in tattoo-armed hand, taking in the properly mood-lit sight of dreamy one-off, well everything… Name a brand, and you’ll likely find a perfect ten example. Despite spinning wrenches on the most high-tech and exclusive prototype race machine on the planet – the equipment money can’t buy… There’s just something cool about seeing a turbocharger wedged into an old Kawasaki KZ1000 street bike.
While most bike shows are, well how do you say this nicely? American-centric. The Handbuilt is a come one, come all example. A place where it doesn’t matter if you tinker on Harley-Davidsons or Hondas. The only prerequisite is how big your dreams are at night. And your skill with a welder. Of course, the amount of time you dedicate to a project after tucking the kids into bed at night is also key. Let’s just say, single guys have an advantage.
This year’s show grew a bit. Moving from the condensed downtown warehouse it had been at for the last couple of years, to something more open and inviting, just outside of town. Of course, it wouldn’t be a real motorcycle show without a visit to the Wall of Death. Taking place outside, as the name insinuates, the WoD is a daring carnival-like stunt show. Where men, and woman, ride their clapped out machines round and round a two-story-tall wood-plank silo.
Motor’s roar, gravity is defied, while the crowd jeers on. The fans balance their excitement with the mind-numbing effects of a cold draft beer mixed with whiffs of unburned fuel from the old carburetor-equipped motorcycles.
While the daredevils run, food trucks serve, what certainly quantifies as exquisite cuisine in other parts of the country. But in Austin, it’s just standard fare. After all, everything is bigger, and tastier in Texas.
If you haven’t penciled it into the calendar, the Handbuilt show is just another reason to plan a trip to Texas next spring for MotoGP. Come for the race. Stay for the bikes, camaraderie. And most importantly, the inspiration for that project gathering dust in the garage.