Probably one of the coolest shows on television in my opinion is “Great Biker Build Off” on Discovery channel. The whole premise of the show is it takes two of the best motorcycle builders in the country and gives them the task of building the best bike they can in only ten days. The builders then present the finished motorcycles at a bike show where the winner is picked democratically through the votes of riders, enthusiasts, and industry insiders. A myriad of styles and personalities are represented in the different builders. They all hail from different parts of the United States and even the world. Some of the builders are amazing artists and true mechanical visionaries.
For instance there’s Sinya Kimuras’ “Zero Engineering” who hails out of Okazaki City, Japan. This dude builds bikes from the ground up reusing old parts off older motorcycles. In addition, he employs old fashioned, almost primitive, bike building techniques. He is an artist in every aspect of the word. Every bike he builds is a fusion of old school and new, parts and ideas. Like any honorable Japanese man, Kimura is always humble and respectful and every bike he builds is an homage to the past. If I were loaded I’d probably shell out the 40 G’s to buy a zero bike.
My absolute favorite builder however is Billy Lane who represents “Choppers Inc.” out of Melbourne, Florida. This guy is the ultimate. Not only does he build the coolest bikes on the planet, he himself embodies the rebel biker ideal. Lane is built like a tank, tatted up, and has crazy black dreads which hang down to his ass. Not only is he physically imposing, his bikes are monstrous. Unlike a lot of the other yuppie builders, Billy Lane rides his bikes. He rides them hard. Like classic biker bad boys of yore such as Sonny Barger or Indian Larry, Billy is willing to ride across the country in any weather conditions for the pure joy of riding. Billy Lane rides, parties, and builds better than anyone out there. In addition, this guy is smart as hell. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from Florida State university. He is a motorcycle innovator. It’s actually Billy’s six-gun parts innovations which first put him in the game. Now he’s the one at the top of the heap kicking everyone’s ass. I’d like to see him go up against Jesse James one of these days cause I know Billy would outdesign him any day of the week. Jesse James is overrated. Paul Jr. from “American Chopper?” Don’t even make me laugh. Billy builds retro-inspired works of engineering perfection, not gimmick bikes with a bunch of welded-on junk.