If you have been a reader of Hot Bike for any length of time or don’t live under a rock, you are privy to the fact that the Mooneyes Hot Rod and Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan, is probably the coolest (and we think the best) chopper shows in the entire world. Sure, it’s not all about the styles of bikes we here in the USA think are tops (like bobbers and baggers), but it is the quality their custom bikes, cutting-edge handmade craftsmanship, and massive attention to detail that get accolades from the rest of the world.
For 23 years now old-engined custom bikes like K-Models, Knuckleheads, Shovelheads, Ironheads, and Panheads have been in force, which is truly an amazing sight to see. This year we also saw a large number of Evos and even Twin Cam-powered showbikes and streetbikes popping up in every nook and cranny of the Yokohama Pacifico Convention Center.
Shige Suganuma, the main man at Mooneyes, is the person who heads up this show, and every year he seems to make it new and exciting for the more than 15,000 attendees from more than 25 countries.
This year there was a spotlight on Digger-style bikes, and a few of Japan’s favorite American chopper builders were flown over with their bikes to make the scene. Brent Rodgers brought his stellar purple panel-painted 1946 Born-Free Best of Show Knucklehead. Tom Fugle brought his 40-years-in-the-making 1948 Panhead. Kosuke Saito had his Motorcycle Cannonball-raced and Born-Free Builder’s Choice 1936 Knucklehead. Oliver Jones came with his all-black “Cute Rate” 1977 Shovelhead. Paul Wideman brought his 1940 Knucklehead. Kutty and Jamie Noteboom brought their killer tarot card-inspired 1960 Flathead-powered trike all the way over from Hemet, California.
If you are into real-deal choppers and custom bikes with a ton of skill and artistry put into them, this show is a can’t-miss. Yes, it’s a nine-hour plane ride to a country that doesn’t have a 7-Eleven or Applebees on every corner (this could actually be a good thing), but you should for sure put the Mooneyes HCS on your bucket list, as attending this show will truly change your life and perspective on all things motorcycle. For more info, hit Shige and the Mooneyes crew up at mooneyes.com.