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Handbuilt Motorcycle Show Hits the Road for LA—Where to Next?

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Handbuilt Motorcycle Show Comes to LA, May ExpandMark Vaughn

For 10 years the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show was the pinnacle of custom bike shows in America. Held in the artsy enclave of Austin, Texas, Handbuilt was a showcase for motorcycle customizers who might not have had anywhere else to show off their custom creations. Nowhere this cool, anyway.

Last weekend the Handbuilt Show expanded to Los Angeles, with a three-day run in the brick-walled confines of LA Auto Storage in the warehouse district of Los Angeles. There were 125 bikes and an impressive number of cars, including three Rod Emory Porsche creations, a row of Jonathan Ward’s ICONs, and numerous other cool cars.

There was even a Wall of Death, one of those large wooden barrels where motorcycle riders ran at full speed up and around the inside of a wooden structure, held on by nothing but centrifugal force and derring-do.

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Owner Scott Williams calls this "The Gentleman Racer."Mark Vaughn

“Southern California is kind of the center of the universe for all things, gearhead-related, and really even fabrication at this point in my opinion,” said Alan Stulberg, founder of Revival Cycles in Austin and of the Handbuilt Shows. “It just seemed like the next logical step to take, and I know so many gifted craftsmen and fabricators in Southern California that it was just the logical next step. It wasn’t even hard.”

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Stulberg said there were 200 different builders, fabricators, and craftsmen/women represented at the show. T-shirt sales alone looked promising. But it’s not about making a bunch of money. Stulberg didn’t break even until after the first four or five shows in Austin.

“It’s not a super lucrative thing,” he said. “To me, it’s a better way of developing a client, customer fan base for not just me, but them (the other builders at the show). And then of course, keep me and my team inspired.”

Stulberg has plans to return to LA next year at a bigger venue. But there are also plans to go to Milan at the time of the EICMA motorcycle trade show, the biggest moto show in the world. After that, he’d like to have events that run with MotoGP.

“We’ve been in contact with the owners of MotoGP to take this to other MotoGP events. So that’ll probably happen as well.”

Just the same as when a Broadway play goes on the road?

“With more panache,” Stulberg said.

So let’s look forward to more of these custom motorcycle shows, and to the panache.