Sunday, April 29

Taku's Knuck

If you remember Taku's amazing Panhead from issue 15, you'll know this man has taste.

And here's proof in the shape of his latest project.

We'll have a feature soon. In the meantime, check out Taku's blog Lowrider Mania.

Friday, April 27

Don't come home a-drinkin'...

Love this song... good to hear it on the radio last night (Bob Harris!). For all the wives and girlfriends out there.

Wolfie tees back in stock, all sizes

Yep, we've just restocked our GKM t-shirts – in S, M, L, XL, XXL – and you can buy them in the GKM store for just $25 INCLUDING shipping to anywhere! Hand screen printed in bone onto Gildan heavy cotton black shirts, these top-notch togs are what every beardo needs to be wearing at the chopper shows once the sun comes out!

Each tee will also come with one of our new super-thick, screenprinted stickers... printed in California, natch.

Thursday, April 26

Dr Sprocket is ready to operate

You may know him from the great photos he took in the sixties and posted on 4Q (like the one above), on Applied Machete or the the article he wrote about the history of bobbers on Occhio Lungo... you may even have seen his bike when we featured it in a past issue of GKM.

But now I'm pleased to say that Rich Ostrander, aka Dr Sprocket, will be starting a regular column in the next issue of GKM (#27), bringing you his first-hand experiences of fifty years in the saddle... and the chopper scene back when everything was radical and new. 

The Doctor writes: "Guy said it's my turn in the barrel. Frank Kaisler and Irish Rich are two hard acts to follow. I'll be putting down some tales and photos of yesteryear's modified machines, their riders... and adventures of both. I come from a small northwestern town in Pennslyvania less than 100 miles due south of Irish Rich's first home  and about 150 miles due north of Oakland Max's first. Dad brought us out via Route 66 in a Model A in 1950 to settle in Torrance, Socal. My High School was on the corner of Artesia Blvd. and Atlantic Blvd. in North Long Beach. I graduated in '66 with draft papers in hand. Got back in '70 and moved to Norcal in '75. In over 40 years of building and riding modified motorcycles I've been lucky enough to be in many places at just the right time to see many great machines and talk to their riders and or builders. You'll meet some of them on the pages of GKM. We grey beards need to pass on these tales to the younger riders that are following in our oil spots. See you down the road, Rich."

Tuesday, April 24

LLH 2... the view from the pavement

Been doing a lot of watching from the sidelines over the past 9 months...

Born Free four

Couple of nice tasters for what the invited builders are preparing for this year's BF4. Proud to be a sponsor of this show again... and you should really try to go if you can. Unfortunately I can't make it again as it clashes with Linkert Attacks! in France. Is it an exaggeration to call BF4 the best chopper show in the world? No...

Monday, April 23

LLH Best of Show

The Best of Show trophy at Low Level Hell went to Dave 'Red Face' Tucker and his just-completed Indian Chief. Sweat and tears have gone into this build... and we'll be bringing you the story in GKM soon.

Nice one mate. Very, very well deserved.

Sunday, April 22

Hell is beautiful

Lee and Stevie are two of the best people you will ever meet. So if they put on a party, you know it will be as good as you imagined.

I'm tired.

Wednesday, April 18

Itou's Panhead

Tokyo stylin'... coming to you in issue 27.

Feature, as ever, by our good friend Mochi.

Tuesday, April 17

Club class

This is probably my favourite HA England bike from the ones I've seen at shows and in mags over the past 20 years... Bjorn's Evo.

These photos are from the 1997 'Big Red Machine' mag.

Sunday, April 15

Knucklehead electric front brake?

We've featured a couple of Mark Austin's bikes in the magazine over the years, and his shop Pacific H-D north of Sydney is like a museum.

My good mate Roger Chambers stopped by there recently and snapped Mark's 'Great Race' bike, this period accessory-laden Knuck featuring something I've never come across before: an electric front brake!

Apparently they were a period aftermarket accessory and it works well (though I have no idea how). Can anyone shed any light?

Saturday, April 14

"There's a sub-culture growing..."

So begins this feature in IronWorks magazine from March 2001.

It's not that long ago in the grand scheme of things, but being into 'our' kind of bikes meant seeking them out in the background of magazine photos taken at hot rod shows. A bit like how it was when choppers first emerged in the sixties.

As this article on the second Anti-Blessing in Orange points out, the 'rat rod' scene was where you'd find many of the young traditional chopper and bobber riders back then; and I think it's still true that a lot of us feel more in common with hot-rodders than other 'bikers'.

I remember poring over these photos of Chopper Dave's Panhead, drinking in the cool details... after all, finding bikes like his in print back then was pretty hard. The rest of this issue is back-to-back Bourget/Billet/Martin Bros/Billy Lane/fat tyres and rancid paint schemes.

Perhaps in another ten years we'll be back to searching for tit-bit references to 'old school' bikes in the custom bike magazines again.

Friday, April 13


Thinking about June and the magnifique 'Linkert Attacks!' party in France.

It's a great country to ride a motorcycle in. This photo was taken 19 years ago somewhere in Normandy. Let's hope my '52 Pan gets me there as reliably this year as my '76 Shovel did back then.

Thursday, April 12

Weep, weep, weep

This just came on my iTunes while I was at my desk.

It's one of those tunes that still gets me... the melody, the trill on that guitar riff, Leonard's voice, the sax underpinning the chorus, his band's shouts in the background... after a few drinks I start banging the table along to this. I used to dance to it, when I still could.

Chopper racing

I tried all the 'slide your chopper into the mud' and 'get your chopper dirty' headlines but they all sounded too pfnar-pfnar, so I stuck to the facts. At Sideburn Magazine's forthcoming Dirt Quake event on May 19, you get the chance to take your chopper where it simply shouldn't go: onto a race track.

Fancy it? Then check this out.

Obsessive completist? Need GKM issue 1?

The question I get asked/emailed most is "do you know where I can get a copy of the first issue?".

Well, er, yes. I just spotted issues 1 & 2 for sale together on the Jockey Journal. If you have to have 'em, I've seen them go for a lot more than this...


Wednesday, April 11

Shocks of Mighty

Weird how things you haven't thought about for years come into focus suddenly through random association; after reading Paulie's post about his time as a skinhead a while back, I had a conversation shortly afterwards with Bill Mize about skinhead girls' haircuts. (I know.)

Anyway, it reminded me of a book I first read in my art college (hey, I was a former punk!) library by Nick Knight (later a well known fashion photographer) called 'Skinhead'. First published in 1982, it features some iconic black and white shots of skins around London, and a guide to their music and fashion. I dug my copy out and snapped a couple of pages.

My experience of skinheads was a couple of beatings and regular escapes from gangs of them in north London in the early eighties. They were everywhere during the '70s-80s revival; I even ill-advisedly adopted the 'look' for a short while which resulted in an attack in our local high street from the real thing. Ha! The friend I was with was kicked on the ground simultaneously by about six skinheads, which lifted him into the air off the pavement and into the road in front of a bus: an achievement I've never witnessed since.

When I lived in Australia, one of my ex-pat mates was Scott Russell, a proper ex-skinhead from Catford who had '70s skin tattoos nestling amidst his sleeves and had great stories about fights and gigs and the scene back then that were almost unbelievable in their ferocity and violence-as-leisure offhandedness.

Anyway, if you haven't got 'Skinhead', it's a good read: you can get reprints on Ebay.