Sunday, 23 August 2015

OddBike USA Tour 2015: Part I - Prologue

Aprilia Tuono Highway 93 British Columbia


Just a few more months. Everything you are doing is towards this goal. You need this trip. You need this escape.

Don't jeopardize it now.

I've been repeating this mantra in my head endlessly over the past several months, a process of self-medication to try and ease my tortured mind. It's a small but crucial balm to soothe my stress and bring my life back into focus.

Forget the drudgery of the day and the cruelty of working mindlessly, endlessly. The goal is on the horizon. Soon you can escape, however briefly.


Monday, 17 August 2015

OddBike Road Test: Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Demo


"No wheelies, no stoppies, no burnouts, no slingshotting."

It's the mantra of the Canadian test pilot, the phrase ingrained into our collective consciousness through years of steady conditioning. We can rattle off the rules as if they were our name, rank and serial number. Anyone in this country who dares to be so self-entitled as to request a test ride aboard a motorcycle they are considering for purchase will be subjected to the bane of our existence: the heavily regulated demo ride.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Demo

Canadian dealerships are notoriously strict when it comes to lending out bikes. Unless you are a good friend of a high-level employee, or frequent the sort of time-capsule mom-and-pop bike shops that are rapidly disappearing, odds are you will never be allowed to test ride a machine outside of a tightly controlled, fully supervised, predetermined demo route. Riding a bike that you haven't bought yet is a virtual impossibility when you are dealing with big-box dealerships. There are liability issues, don't you know. They could get sued. One moron wrote off a bike on an unsupervised test 10 years ago and they haven't let anyone so much as sit on a bike in the showroom without a salesperson being present and a waiver being signed since then.

So if you want to try out a bike before you sign the paperwork, you'd better sit tight and sign up well in advance for the one demo day that marque is hosting sometime in the next four months. Or do like most of us do: say "fuck it" and buy the thing anyway and deal with the disappointment of the moto rag reviews not matching the reality later.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Help fund "The Story of the Britten V1000" on Indiegogo




The Goal

In October, 2015 a historic event will be held at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. As part of the 11th annual Barber Vintage Festival, a once-in-a-lifetime reunion of the iconic motorcycles produced by the late John Britten will be held, the first such reunion on North American soil. 
A similar reunion was held in Britten's home town of Christchurch, New Zealand in February of this year and it proved to be a moving tribute to the legacy of a man and a team of enthusiastic supporters who left an astonishing mark on the motorcycle industry. The ten V1000s produced by Britten's team represented the pinnacle of road racing technology at the time, mixed with some of the most innovative experimentation in chassis design seen in the 1990s. These machines are icons and continue to stun onlookers some 20 years after John's untimely passing, 19 years after they were retired from racing.

They are my icon, the machine that has inspired me to pursue all that is weird and wonderful in motorcycles and to celebrate alternative ideas - and the people who pursue them. For the past year I have been quietly working on an in-depth profile of Britten's motorcycles, and this reunion represents the best chance I have to document the individual machines and interview the owners, riders, and participants in John Britten's attempt at conquering road racing.

So OddBike needs your help to attend the Barber Vintage Festival to further the research needed to complete this article. John Britten's story has been told many times, but never in a way that has fully explored the truth behind the creation of one of motorcycling's single greatest machines, or how a relatively tiny operation succeeded in doggedly pursuing a series of unusual ideas and advanced technology in a bespoke machine that has yet to be equalled in terms of public impact and racing success.  

The Britten story is one that inspires breathless hyperbole, and for good reason, but the true story of how the V1000 came to be has not been properly addressed outside of a singular biography written by Tim Hanna (which, incidentally, I highly recommend reading). My aim is to apply my inimitable style of honest, accurate, and technically detailed writing to the Britten story and offer it for free consumption online. This work will be the crowning jewel of OddBike's archive of unusual motorcycles. I also intend to document my personal journey in researching this subject and examining the machines with a separate editorial piece.
Your support will directly contribute to the writing of this story, a long-form article that will be published on Odd-Bike.com as a free and honest tribute to one of the greatest motorcycles of all time and the people who made it happen. 

The Expenses

The expenses that I am aiming to cover with this campaign are as follows:

Return airfare from Calgary to Birmingham - 600$

Ticket for "An Evening with Britten" charity dinner at the Barber Museum - Prices TBA, traditionally 150$

Three day admission to the Barber Vintage Festival - 80$

T-shirt and sticker printing, shipping fees, and Indiegogo fees - 170$

Further expenses will be out of my own pocket.


Other ways you can help

To keep expenses to a minimum I humbly ask if anyone in the Birmingham area has a spare couch or bed they can offer please contact me at jasonevariste (AT) gmail.com. I expect to arrive Wednesday October 7th and leave Monday October 12th.

If you are in town for the festival please get in touch with me, I'd be happy to meet with some of my followers for some BBQ and beer while I'm in Alabama!

As with the previous OddBike campaign, a few OddBike logo perks will be on offer to campaign supporters! I thank everyone in advance for helping fund this project, and I hope I can meet some of you at Barber - this reunion will be a once in a lifetime event and I would not recommend missing it!


Monday, 3 August 2015

Bimota DB3 - Much Maligned Mantra


Sacha Lakic Bimota DB3 Mantra
Sacha Lakic Design
For any Italophilic sport rider, there are few marques than can equal the beauty and desirability offered by the motorcycles produced by Bimota. Starting with their fortuitous decision to start building bikes instead of HVAC equipment in 1972, Bimota has earned its reputation producing some of the most delectable two-wheeled exotica in the world by assembling world-class sport machines around proven, bought-in powertrains. They are one of the few companies that can consistently take top-shelf engines from already capable machines and then make those donor bikes look staid, slow and boring in comparison to what the folks in Rimini have been slapping together in their laughably tiny "factory" since the Nixon administration.

The DB3 Mantra is not one of those machines. Nor was it ever intended to be. The Mantra represents one of Bimota's bigger missteps, an attempt to crack into a wider market that failed to win over many fans. It was expensive and saddled with some of the most controversial styling ever put into production. It was also one of the most useable real-world street bikes ever produced by the company, a fact lost in the unending stream of negative commentary that has dogged the Mantra since it was unveiled in 1994.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

OddBike Night Meetup at The Butcher's Dog, Los Angeles, California - Saturday, August 29th 2015

The Butcher's Dog, Los Angeles
The Butcher's Dog, LA

As part of the OddBike USA Tour Part II, I'm pleased to announce the first OddBike Night Meetup, set for Saturday, August 29th at the Butcher's Dog located at 11301 West Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles. Hosted by myself in association with Abhi from Bike-urious.com and Alicia from MotoLady, we will be reserving the patio for OddBike fans, faithful, groupies, and hangers-on from 7 to 11pm.

Come join us for drinks, food, and passionate banter about all that is weird and wonderful in motorcycles. I can guarantee the quality and intensity of my stories and anecdotes will improve in direct proportion to how many drinks I've had. Bonus points if you show up on a cool bike, but don't you fucking dare drink and ride!

Free underground parking (with validation) is available, look for the mass of greenery on the corner of Olympic and Sawtelle and go through the above ground parking lot to get to the garage entrance, located right next to the restaurant.

Look forward to meeting with some of my fans and boring you all to tears in person, rather than in print, for a change. See y'all there!

RSVP on the Facebook event page
Butcher's Dog Website
Bike-urious.com
The MotoLady


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

OddBike USA Tour Part II - Bonneville 2015

In the Fall of 2013 OddBike conducted an experiment. Rather than canvas for advertising or sponsors to fund the continued development of the site I appealed directly to you, the readers and fans of OddBike, to fund a 4000 mile (6500 kms) motorcycle research trip through the Eastern United States. Your contributions, while shy of the ultimate goal, were sufficient to make the trip a reality and gave me the opportunity to gather a considerable amount of photos, stories and research material that have served me extremely well over the past two years. The experiment was a success – the readers of OddBike, through Indiegogo, directly funded the maintenance of the site and the gathering of extremely valuable material for future articles. You helped keep OddBike independent.



The Trip
Given the success of the first OddBike USA Tour in 2013 and the good feedback I received following the publication of the travelogue and related articles, I felt it was due for a sequel. Personal circumstances prevented a trip from happening in 2014, so I'm pleased to announce that the OddBike USA Tour Part II is set to happen between August 23rd and September 5th 2015.


This year’s USA Tour will be travelled along a new venue. As I currently live in Calgary, Alberta, and "Part I" saw me traverse the Eastern states, it only makes sense that this trip should be along the Western coast. An important event is needed to justify such an epic trip, so what better than a stop at the Mecca of speed and performance in North America – the Bonneville Salt Flats, arriving just in time to attend the Motorcycle Speed Trials?
The basic outline of the trip is as follows:
Approximately 4000 miles (6500 kms) overall.
A period of two weeks aboard my 2007 Aprilia Tuono, camping as often as possible to keep expenses low.
Ride from Calgary through southern British Columbia, then across the border into Washington across the Cascade Mountain Range to join the Pacific Coast Highway.
Visit Mount St Helens.
Ride the PCH through Washington, Oregon and into California
Visit the Solvang Motorcycle Museum in Solvang, CA
Visit the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, CA
Ride the Mulholland Highway and make a pilgrimage to The Rock Store in Cornell, CA
Host an OddBike meet and greet in the Los Angeles area in collaboration with fellow blogger and OddBike supporter Alicia Elfving, aka The MotoLady
Head north through Death Valley and ride across the Nevada desert.
Attend the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Ride north through Utah, Idaho, and Montana, through the Craters of the Moon and Glacier National parks
I will be departing Sunday, August 23th, aiming to return to Calgary by Sunday, September 6th at the latest.


The Budget
Overall budget for this trip is the princely sum of 2000$ USD. In the interest of full disclosure, the funds are to be distributed as follows, padded slightly to deal with unforeseen circumstance while on the road:
400$ for fuel (estimate between 100-125 gallons, at 2.50$ a gallon average - I hope)
500$ for food (~30$/day)
700$ for accommodations (~50$/day)
400$ to cover miscellaneous expenses, gear, emergencies, and maintenance. The trip will consume a set of tires and require an oil change. I'll also need travel insurance and cell phone roaming coverage.


Why should I contribute?
Your support is more than simply paying for this trip. As on the first USA Tour, the material gathered and contacts made on this journey will contribute to OddBike’s future content. Rather than just take your money and funnel it into “site maintenance” (which, truth be told, is negligible you exclude the hundreds of hours I spend writing), I use your support to make these epic trips happen. Motorcycling is my passion and my life, and my only desire is to ride. So rather than have you pay for my work, you pay for trips like this and I keep providing the content for free, and free of advertising. You are supporting OddBike by supporting my personal motorcycling habit; I don’t ask for anything more… And I don’t ask very often.
Naturally, as on the first USA Tour, I will publish a lengthy travelogue detailing the journey and my thoughts.
No ads, no sponsors, no bullshit. OddBike is independent and always will be, and your support will keep the articles coming. With your support, I will only have to answer to one group, and the only group that matters: the readers of OddBike.
Contributors will be able to choose from a variety of little perks - small tokens of my appreciation, and visible ways you can show your support for OddBike. Be sure to include your shipping information to take advantage of these bonuses.
So I extend a sincere thank you to everyone who contributes and supports OddBike. Let’s make the USA Tour Part II a reality that will dwarf Part I in scope and content.
Other ways you can help
While camping is fun, I'm always grateful for a soft couch and a hot shower when spending long weeks on the road so if you live along the route and willing to open your home/garage to me I will be eternally grateful. Please send me an email if you can help.
I'd also be happy to meet OddBike readers along the way for a beer wherever and whenever possible, and I'm looking for suggestions for interesting stops along the way. Please email me if you have any suggestions for venues, or if you just want to say hello.
A huge thanks to everyone who contributes and shares the campaign. The support and kindness of my readers and my fans are what make all of this worthwhile.



The Perks!

Contribute 25$ and get: OddBike Logo Vinyl Stickers

OddBike Stickers

Show your support for OddBike and proudly display your affinity for all that is weird and wonderful in motorcycling with these spiffy waterproof, UV resistant stickers! Slap them on your helmet, your bike, your car... This ain't cheap made-in-China garbage, these are quality items printed in Canada on heavy laminated vinyl by custom motocross decal provider Mark7 Designs - so these buggers are tough but can be easily removed and re-applied. Shipping is included!

Contribute 125$ and get: OddBike Logo T-Shirt (Includes Stickers!)

OddBike T-Shirt

Sponsor OddBike for 125$ or more and received a handsome black OddBike logo T-shirt, with shipping right to your door. These shirts are 100% heavy cotton and are printed in Canada. To keep the order process simple the shirt will be made to your specs in a bulk run following the end of the campaign: so if you select this perk please message me to specify the type (mens or ladies) and size (S-M-L-XL-XXL). Please allow 4-6 weeks for production and delivery following the close of the campaign.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Guest Post: The Honda RC213V-S - What's the Point?

Honda RC213V-S

This week on OddBike, we present a guest contribution from Rob Fogelsong offering an alternative perspective on Honda's much anticipated and apparently highly disappointing RC213V-S.

With the fanfare of the initial announcement over, Honda’s RC213V-S streetbike has been garnering mixed “reviews” as the impact of the “latest and greatest, fastest ever, MotoGP bike for the road”-type headlines wear off.  Most of the news following the initial press reaction has been centered on the price and the power output of the bike.

The RC213V-S has been one of the most anticipated headline bikes for MotoGP fans, literbike lovers, and Honda diehards for the better part of the last 2 years. Rumors about the possibility of a Honda MotoGP bike for the street have been circulating amongst V4 fans since the sport-touring VFR800 was replaced by the “Goldwing with 170 HP and sport ergos” VFR1200 in 2009.

Honda RC213V-S
The rumor mill started gaining traction when a few Japanese magazines started showing renderings of what such a bike would look like. Eventually (after a seemingly endless period of half-baked speculation - Ed) Honda confirmed a prototype was in the works and late last year at EICMA we finally saw the bike in the flesh, albeit as what Honda called a mere “concept”.


Monday, 22 June 2015

Editorial - The fall of Erik Buell Racing and why it is your fault

Erik Buell Racing



As you have likely heard by now, Erik Buell Racing is in receivership with no apparent hope for a bailout. For the second time in a decade Erik is facing the abyss, except this time he has 20 million dollars of debt hanging over his company's head and his Hero MotoCorp investors have apparently washed their hands of the whole operation despite owning a 49.2 percent share of the company. For those of us in the industry who long to see some fresh ideas in a market that favours bland conservatism and pragmatic design, the closure of EBR is a huge blow. Buell has long been the underdog, the classic American innovator fighting the status quo and achieving remarkable results despite going against the grain in every respect: he made a name for himself by breaking traditions you didn't even realize existed until he designed something different, something better.

EBR 1190 RX

The release of the 1190RX and SX gave us renewed hope that Buell could go toe to toe with the big boys in his own quirky way, and in so doing accomplish something unprecedented: building a competitive American superbike, when everyone else in the USA is content with either aping Harley-Davidson or being Harley-Davidson. With EBR on the rocks, once again we've been disappointed, and once again Erik has to fight and scramble to keep building his inimitable bikes.  

And it is all your fault.

Friday, 29 May 2015

OddBike Road Test: 2007 Aprilia Tuono 1000R

Aprilia Tuono Highway 93 British Columbia

"Ultra Classic - that's a Touring model right? Not a Softail or Dyna?"

The customer stares at me blankly for a moment. He came in asking for an aftermarket stator for his Harley, which I've already told him is a bad idea because the only ones I can get through my suppliers are garbage, and we've already had an incident where one caught fire the first time the bike was started after installation. But he was having none of it, because somebody, somewhere, told him that HD original stators were shit and he needed to buy the cheap Chinese ones instead, because apparently those are fantastic when they aren’t shitting the bed, self-immolating, or just not fitting the application they are listed for.

After a moment he responds. 'Um, can I talk to someone more experienced than you? No offence, but you don't even know what an Ultra Classic is.'

Monday, 4 May 2015

Editorial - Evolution

Aprilia Tuono Big Sky


In the course of working on this site I glean over a lot of road tests, previews, reviews, and rider feedback for whatever weird bike I happen to be in the process of profiling. It gives me an opportunity to get period insight into the machines, and the context surrounding their introduction, which plays an important role in telling the story. For me context is just as important as hindsight when talking about some long-dead company or motorcycle; we have a tendency to view the past through our own lens, which isn't fair or a good way to preserve history. The fact that we motorcyclists are some of the most fickle, prissy and critical assholes out there doesn't help when you are trying to do justice to a design. We will sooner remember it as a worthless piece of shit than the forward-looking product of a starry-eyed designer who must have thought he/she was going to change the world. Or vice-versa.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I've noticed an even more interesting undercurrent in the numerous articles and comments I constantly sift through, and that's a noticeable change in the quality of motojournalism. When you read reviews from the past four or five decades and compare them to the work being published today, you notice some peculiar trends. You can trace the evolution of motorcycle journalism. And it's not good. I'd like to address it, and in so doing lay out a new model for what I'm doing here on OddBike.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Mondial Piega - Honouring the Favour

Mondial Piega
Image Source


Take a long-dormant name, add a proven heart, clothe it in Italian design, surround it with high hopes, then end the whole project with crushed expectations, insolvency and some ancillary criminal escapades. It is the classic story of the failed motorcycle company, a trope that gets repeated over and over every few years when someone seeks to play on nostalgia and resurrect some long-dead company to sell vapourware to unsuspecting enthusiasts... Except this story is a bit more interesting and a bit more nuanced, and the revival came that much closer to succeeding. This is the story of the Mondial Piega, a machine that was set to conquer the superbike market through an unprecedented partnership that had its roots in a simple gesture of good sportsmanship that occurred over 50 years ago.


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Editorial - Eulogy

Ducati 916 Tank


As my upcoming article is taking quite a bit longer than expected to finish and awaiting feedback from a few sources, I'm taking a break this week to present a personal editorial. Enjoy.

It's August, 2006 and I'm dicking around on the computer during a work break. I'm working for minimum wage as an unlicensed mechanic in Montreal at a British bike specialist while I attend McGill, completing a degree in history while getting my hands dirty during the summer months. I've been working on greasy old Brit iron for several months, fixing all manner of Triumphs, Nortons and the odd BSA or Enfield. Everything from show winners to bodged-together relics pass through the shop and while I'm semi-capable of doing the work I'm truly out of my element. I'd consider my skills somewhere around advanced-shade-tree, likely far from what you'd want to have working on your pride and joy but you really could't expect much for 55$ an hour. I muddle my way through it with the guidance of the grizzled owner without making too many egregious mistakes - though there were a few, thankfully none that manifested themselves outside the walls of the shop.

Suzuki SV650 Streetfighter

I'm idly browsing the Auto Trader wistfully looking at bikes for sale. I'm currently riding a '04 SV650 I bought new in the fall of 2004. Being a cash-strapped student I financed it for approximately a trillion years and skipped full coverage insurance because as a then 18 year old rider my insurance company seemed to view my premiums as a way of balancing their books against all those born-again middle-aged HOG riders they were undercharging. It was a fateful decision, because in 2005 I made the bonehead move of lending my SV to a coworker who claimed to be a proficient rider. After he skidded across the road in front of his house, narrowly dodged a passing car, and then flung the bike into a five-foot ditch not 100 yards from his front door I had learned, the hard way, he was completely full of shit. With no collision coverage and the bike effectively written off (severed forks, split rim, busted radiator, crushed exhaust headers, twisted bars, etc…) I made a deal with Fucknuts to fix the bike myself using GSXR takeoff parts, which is de rigueur for anyone who wishes to address the main shortcomings of the SV (i.e. garbage suspension and mediocre brakes) while still saving money compared to buying OEM replacement parts. I diligently showed up at his workplace every payday and escorted him to the nearest ATM until his debt was paid, and I ended up with a neat streetfighter once all was done.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Editorial - Industry Observations 2015


Kawasaki H2R Super Charged

It's the new year, and a time to take stock of the new series of motorcycles that has been trickling out of the gate over the past few months. It’s also the nadir of our Canadian winter here in Calgary, so of course this is the perfect time to attend a flashy, disappointing motorcycle show to examine this year's newly minted cash grabs and dull rehashes in the hopes of finding a few gems in this post-Economic Apocalypse era.

Ducati Scrambler

For some sadistic reason all the major Canadian motorcycle exhibitions are held in the middle of our bitter winter, when we are at least three months away from turning a wheel in anger. It's a chance to admire shiny new contrivances of the two wheeled variety to briefly distract ourselves from the misery of our cold, cycle-free season. Really it seems idiotic. Despite optimistic displays loaded with the latest (and leftover) gear and temporary finance offices throughout the show floor, this isn't the time of year when you are going to be buying bikes. Even taking delivery of them is a chore, shuttling them home on a trailer or pickup just so you can wistfully gaze at them in your garage for 4 months, then take your first wobbly, familiarizing ride on sand and salt caked roads the moment the snow recedes... Test rides are virtually out of the question at Canadian dealerships any time of the year, outside of heavily regulated demo days where you’ll have to sign up well in advance to ride the latest base model at 5 under the speed limit for 30 minutes.

KTM Booth

Calgary seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to the show circuit. I've attended the Montreal and Toronto shows in the past, and they are usually well stocked and exceptionally well attended (i.e. crowded as all fuck). This in spite of the significant anti-biker sentiments and associated legislation (not to mention obscene insurance/registration fees) in Quebec and Ontario. Alberta is one of the most free and accommodating provinces in the Confederation and exhibits precious little meddling with its motorcycling population. From my perspective in the industry, motorcycle sales here are fantastic given the population size, with a perpetually booming oil economy feeding an amazing level of disposable income in the general population – rig pigs like their toys. Not only that, but we are less than an hour away from the Rockies and a lot of beautiful motorcycling routes, and not that far away from British Colombia where you can find some of the best roads in North America. Unlike out East, sales of shitty cruisers don’t dominate the market and colour the entire industry with a faux-badass chrome and leather sheen. Here capital-A Adventure bikes are king, along with pure off road machines and a good smattering of tourers, standards and sport bikes. Metric cruisers are sales floor deadweight. People out here appreciate bikes that are versatile and can go around corners, though there are plenty of dorky hipster gangs with unrideable choppers and cafĂ©-poseurs to keep things balanced.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Millepercento Moto Guzzis - Filling the Void

Millepercento Alba Moto Guzzi
Image Source

Moto Guzzi has lost its way.

The boys at Mandello del Lario represent the oldest continuously operating brand in Europe in spite of operating in a near-constant state of flux due to catastrophic insolvency and unstable sales. Over the years the products emblazoned with the eagle crest have attempted to fill nearly every conceivable niche - sometimes successfully, more often not. Despite their attempts to crack into various categories with sometimes ill-advised oddball machines, Guzzis of old channelled a certain spirit that made them appealing to a certain type of rider who lusted for something peculiar. They were sporting machines, but not sportbikes. They were a bit rough and charmingly unpretentious, but refined enough to be pleasant. They were unique, but somehow familiar, and backed up by decades of heritage – passionate machines with antiquated guts. Moto Guzzi excelled at building the prototypical gentleman’s sports machine, exemplified by iconic models like the Le Mans, the V11, and the Daytona. They were not the fastest, or the most agile, or the most useable – but they were some of the most charming.

Millepercento Alba Moto Guzzi
Image Source

But it was not to last. With their finances in shambles and profits needed to keep the lights on, a new strategy would be needed. It was a boring solution, with practicality and rationality taking precedence over passion. When the Piaggio Group took over Moto Guzzi in 2004, the company gradually phased out the true heirs to the company’s heritage in favour of dull, safe products that would appeal to the masses. Thus we ended up with wallflower machines like an asthmatic retro throwback, a chrome-addled American-esque cruiser, and a Teutonic-aping capital-A “Adventure Tourer”. Guzzi weathered their near-demise to fight another day, but at the cost of all that made them interesting.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Bienville Legacy Motorcycle Commission - Interview

Bienville Legacy Motorcycle
Image courtesy ADMCi
James McBride from Silodrome.com asked me to interview JT Nesbitt about the now nearly completed Bienville Legacy motorcycle. This is the result. 

“So tell me what you think, man.”

JT is wearing a shit-eating grin and holding a tallboy of Coors. He’s beaming because today is the first time his incredible creation has been rolled out of his New Orleans workshop into the public eye. I’m standing outside the Motus factory in downtown Birmingham, Alabama on a warm fall evening in October 2013. I'm barely able to process what I'm seeing, let alone formulate any meaningful opinion about it.

I recall my immediate reaction as being “What the fuck does it matter what I think?”

The thought comes in a moment of pure intensity for me. It followed a long, difficult day spent running around in muggy Southern heat while attending the Barber Vintage Festival. I've dragged myself here to meet the man who I've been following and conversing with for several months, an enigmatic and controversial motorcycle designer who has been keen to share his ideas with me. Today is the day his baby gets unveiled to the public. This marks the first time I've met JT Nesbitt in person, and it’s the first time I've seen his handiwork outside of a computer screen. And I'm completely awestruck.


Bienville Legacy Motorcycle Front Suspension Detail
Image courtesy ADMCi