Monday, November 29

The GKM Award at Yokohama

Couldn't quite believe it but the Mooneyes guys have asked me to present a GKM Award at their show in Yokohama.

It's strange – and incredibly fulfilling – as I sit here in my little office looking out at the snow, to think that other people (especially of the calibre of the Mooneyes Co) actually see GKM as a proper magazine, with some relevance to the talented individuals able to build bikes I can only dream about.

Anyway, as it's last minute and I can't think of anything better, I will purloin another vintage trophy from my collection to give away. That makes it a personal gift.

Sunday, November 28

Issue 18... for subscribers only

Here we are... a sneak preview of issue 18, featuring Matt from Machine's '50 Panhead on the cover.

If you are an existing subscriber, you may even have received your issue by now.

Otherwise, the issue will go on sale halfway through December, when we will 'launch' it properly and offer new subscriptions starting from the new issue. Why? Because we will be in Japan (for the Yokohama show, then shooting in Tokyo) for a fortnight, and the GKM online store will be closed during this time. The new issue will be on sale on our stand at the Mooneyes show.

Issue 18 will also be available from a small number of retailers during this time until we get back, but if you already subscribe, look for your mag in the post soon...

Saturday, November 27

Where will you be next Saturday night?

I can't wait for this... just got to try to keep it together to get to my stand at the show early the next morning!

It's going to be an amazing gathering of friends from around the globe (Australia, US, UK, Japan)... some of the people I like best in the world will be there, a very happy accident for me.

See you soon my friends!

Friday, November 26

Cycle porn... without the porn

Chris Hunter at BikeEXIF has succeeded in producing one of the most stylish cycle-based Blogs on the 'net.

His new calendar reflects the site... classy and refined. As he says, "the first custom bike calendar that doesn't feature naff chicks in bikinis."

Me? I have the same lovely bitches on my calendar every year: four-pawed and dog-breathed from Staffordshire.

Wednesday, November 17

The Magic Pan too

Sam's comment about the Magic Pan (see post from Monday) made me think what a coincidence it was that two feature bikes, from roughly the same era, should share the same moniker.

Then Casey from G & H Cycles contacted me with the photos above from Street Chopper, April '78, wondering whether it might be the same bike? Other than the Cycle Shack girder and the Invader/Super Spoke wheels, it looks like a different bike... but it is the same one.

The clue is the owner/builder's name... Syd Desoto. Not one you'd forget in a hurry.

Anyway, it neatly sums up how (in my opinion) choppers lost their simplicity of line as the seventies progressed. I definitely prefer the earlier version I posted (from the December 1975 issue of Choppers magazine).

Amazing what a difference a couple of years make... especially in the seventies.

Frank Kaisler writes for GKM

I'm pleased to tell you that Frank Kaisler will be writing a regular column in GKM from issue 18.

As you'll all know, Frank was on the staff of Easyriders for 10 years, and knows more about custom Harleys than anyone I've ever met. He's been "fooling around with custom motorcycles" since the mid-1960s and was also at the helm for stints at American Iron and Hot Rod Bikes magazines, amongst others.

I know you'll enjoy his stories and insights over the months; as he says, "only the names have been changed to protect me from an ass-whooping...".

Thanks again to Irish Rich, a good friend of Frank's, for his contribution to GKM and the loan of some of these photos!

Friday, November 12

GKM Tokyo

If you have enjoyed the reports from Japan in every issue over the past few years, then meet the faces behind the features.

Most of you will have heard of Mochi... he owns one of the coolest Panheads in Japan, runs L7 and is a globetrotting all-round-good-guy chopper freak!

The lovely Miyoko translates Mochi's reports before they get to us. (Yeah, believe it or not, our Japanese is a lil' rusty.)

Mochi says: "She's a wonderful girl and a good friend. She does all the translation for L7."

Thank you my friends, we love you!

Thursday, November 11

When hair and handlebars grew

I'm endlessly fascinated by that period in English biking history when rockers transformed into greasers (or grebos, or 'bikers'). The catalyst seems to have been 'Easy Rider'.

Look at any photos taken at UK festivals from the late '60s to early '70s, and you'll see the emergence of apes on otherwise stock British bikes, surplus WWII German helmets, homemade MC patches... and even real choppers.

I'm researching a piece for the mag on this period (with the gratefully-received help of guys who were there in the thick of it like Quaffmeister)... should be good.

If you have any photos from that period, please get in touch.

Wednesday, November 10

A note to subscribers

We've had word from our shipping company that substantial quantities of their mail was held up at JFK by USPS and not distributed.

This has affected deliveries of the magazine throughout the USA; if you subscribe, we have been assured that mail is now in the system and that your magazine will arrive soon, and that this mistake won't be repeated.

As you can imagine, we are as frustrated as you are by this utterly crap service.

Hopefully we'll be back to our usual mediocre service for issue 18.

Them's the brakes

After riding with zero rear brake function all year, I finally took the time to remove the shoes and send them off to a nearby establishment to learn some respect and discipline.

It looked like grease had got into the drum so it's time for a bit of TLC.

Monday, November 8

Ari Up, gone at 48

I was sad to read that Ari Up, lead singer of The Slits, died late last month after a 'serious illness' at just 48 years old.

The Slits have a special place in my musical memory and were one of a few interesting bands who filled that post-punk void in late-70s London. I have a treasured signed copy of the album 'Cut' and Ari's death has prompted me to give it a well-overdue listen.

Sunday, November 7

It launched a thousand imitators

Yes, I have posted the bike before... but in case you hadn't seen the whole feature, here it is from the September '77 Easyriders.

Saturday, November 6

No responsibilities, just a motorcycle

Wamin, France, '94?

I think of those days often, when my shovel was my only transport and I could jump on it at (almost) a moment's notice and ride somewhere... anywhere. Stop when you're tired. Start riding again when you feel like it.

I wouldn't swap the experience of having children for anything, but the kind of freedom I had in those days has still been a high price to pay.

Thursday, November 4

Those were the days

There are reasons why I could never be a doper, hippy, tree-hugger or all-round laid back dude.

Wednesday, November 3

FOR SALE: Bates ribbed seat & '67 Electra Glide

SOLD: Bates ribbed seat: SOLD: no rips, tears or repairs in leather, which is still supple with just the right amount of wear. Good label on seat pan, leather is stamped 'Bates'. Cover looks like it has been re-attached at some point using original screws, but this in no way compromises the look or feel of the seat.

Email me at for a price and shipping quote. I ship anywhere in the world... fast, tracked service.

1967 Electra Glide: All H-D, no pattern parts. Very original. Try finding another one like this in the UK! Import duties paid, but not yet registered. £8k. Genuine enquirers please email Gordon on or call him on 07762 678364.

Monday, November 1

Thumbs up for Street Chopper

When I turned the GK website into a printed magazine in February 2007, the main motivation was frustration that I couldn't buy a magazine on the newsstands that featured the kind of bikes I liked or wanted to know more about.

I have always bought the UK magazine Classic Bike, and it's still my yardstick for quality old-bike-journalism, but when it came to choppers, the mainstream titles were sadly lacking.

So it was a pleasant surprise to recently flick through the past five or six issues of Street Chopper in one sitting and find a magazine that features my kind of bikes, with almost no duds or filler, decent photography, and proper grown-up writing. I met editor Jeff Holt in LA in June, and he's done a commendable job turning this title around. Grant Peterson writes a lot of the features... and they're good. It may be a little States-centric, but then it's a Californian title.

If Street Chopper had been around in its present guise when I was researching print costs nearly three years ago, I doubt if I'd have had the motivation to produce the first issue of GKM.