After dinner I headed back to the hotel for a good night’s rest since I was incredibly jet-lagged (Europe is nine hours ahead of PST). I woke up rested and headed toward the Verona Fiere, just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The California sun must have finally caught up to me since the first day of the show logged a beautiful 65 degrees, perfect for meandering the MBE grounds. January 20 was stunning. Masses of motorcycle enthusiasts swarmed the Fiere from all around as if a new pope had been elected. I didn’t know what I was in for, but I made my way to the front entrance. As I walked through the security hall and into the outdoor area where people can easily traverse from hall to hall, I was shocked at how many people were there. Italians are passionate about their motorcycles. They’re very handsy with conversation, almost like simultaneously using sign language. Being half Italian, I harken back to my father and grandfather’s fiery conversations, so I get it.
When I ventured inside the halls, I focused on Custom Bike Village, which consisted mainly of three halls out of MBE’s allotted seven. Hall number one housed the main stage of the village where the Custom Chrome Europe Bike Show awards were handed out Sunday, January 22. Yours truly served as a judge…more on that later. Also in hall one was the Lowride bike show. Knuckles, Pans, Shovels, Sportsters, café racers, bobbers, choppers, you name it, were stuffed in between the ropes of the 50x500-foot staging area for crowds, media, and anyone interested in the wares to view. Also in hall one I found Milan-based custom bike manufacturer Headbanger Motorcycles that produces bikes with an old style flair similar to Sucker Punch Sallys here in the States. Headbanger’s booth was packed with people checking its display bikes and the beautiful Italian models adorning them. Also on display in hall one was Cycle Kraft’s work; many of you have seen the shop’s work here in HOT BIKE.
Hall number two was jam-packed with custom bike builders. Notables included Garage 65 Inc., IronBorne Customs, DK Motorrad, Hardnine Choppers, Ehinger Kraftrad, Fred Kodlin Motorcycles, and many more. Also present in hall two was Custom Chrome Europe’s booth, set up with multiple parts on display for eager bike builders to get ideas for their next project(s) as well as parts manufacturers like Avon Grips explaining its products to anyone interested.
Speaking of Custom Chrome, MBE also knows the importance of hosting bike shows, so I was asked to judge two different events, the Custom Chrome Europe Bike show as well as hand out a prestigious Magazine Award to what I believed to be the best bike at Motor Bike Expo. Finding one bike that I deemed worthy for such an award was definitely a daunting task, but I was up for the challenge. I found it toward the end of the day. There it stood in all its fluorescently lit glory, IronBorne’s Borderline Board Tracker. The attention to detail in the Shovel-powered racer was immense. I knew it was the best. To my credit, so did those that judged the Custom Chrome Europe show since Borderline won the Championship Class.
For the Custom Chrome show there were four different categories for builders to enter. The winners are as follows: Championship Class (“Borderline” by Ironborne), Modified Harley Class (“Shovel Racer” by Passion 4 Custom), RevTech Performance Class (“Tazio” by Gallery Motorcycles), and Jammer Old School Class (“Shovel 78” by Garage 69), all of which were awarded First through Third place. With many entries to choose from, the task of judging the four shows was tough but the winners were definitely worthy of their prizes.
Also in attendance were many American bike builders and parts manufacturers set up in the American custom builder village in hall three, which hosted the likes of Arlen and Cory Ness, Jesse James from West Coast Choppers, Brian Schimke of TPJ Customs, Sam Wakim from Ride Wright Wheels, Derk Hinsey from Bad Dad Customs, Rick Fairless from Stroker’s Dallas, Russell Mitchell from Exile Cycles, and many more. Fans swarmed their booths to take pictures with the famed builders and learn more about what they’ve been up to via new products or new custom bike creations.
In total, more than 130,000 were in attendance over the course of three days at 2012 Motor Bike Expo. There’s a reason for the attendance being so substantial and it’s simple, the show is truly spectacular! I’m looking forward to 2013 Motor Bike Expo and I highly suggest you check it out for yourselves. After all, you don’t need a better excuse to go to Italy, do you? Arrivaderci! HB