Austin, Texas bills itself as the Live Music Capital of the World, and with good measure. Between numerous downtown venues having nightly shows and the major week long celebrations that are South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, it is a well-earned label.
For one weekend in April, Austin Texas is transformed to the Motorcycle capital of the world.
For one weekend in April, that moniker should best be replaced by “The Motorcycle Capital of the World.” MotoGP over at the Circuit of The Americas is of course what most people think of as the headline event. It is, after all, the premier series for things two-wheeled and supremely fast. There is however another event that has steadily built up its following and cemented its reputation as the place to gather: Revival Cycles’ Handbuilt Motorcycle Show. The show is a full four days of pure motorcycle magic. It kick-starts on Thursday with a party at the boutique South Congress Hotel – also the location of Revival’s edgy retail shop. Then the show proper goes from Friday to Sunday, and winds down with a wrap party at the Revival workshop.
Revival’s stock-in-trade is the custom motorcycle, and the show is a beacon for fellow builders and fans – motonerds – from both near (Austin) and far (Japan!). This year marked the 5th edition of the show and it was the biggest yet with approximately 150 bikes on display and 30,000 motonerds in attendance. There were bikes that are so worked over that it is near impossible to tell what it looked like when it rolled off the dealer floor. On the other end, some bikes had more modest tuning and styling tweaks. The common thread though is the love of the craft, which telegraphed loud and clear from every weld seam and every hand shaped-stitched-polished piece on display.
This year also marked the show’s move to a new spot: the cavernous warehouse space of the city’s namesake paper The Austin American-Statesman. With an impossibly high ceiling, large floor space and dramatic lighting there was enough space for spectators, builders and bikes to mingle. Arranged in clusters of four, each bike island appeared to float in the space, all the better to admire the unique details on each bike – or step back and take in all the sights and sounds all around the show floor.
So if one were in town for MotoGP, can one also take in Handbuilt? Absolutely! The show’s hours on Friday and Saturday are through midnight, and with MotoGP finishing up by 5-6pm on those days it’s a no-brainer to head over afterwards. The show’s location at the doorsteps of downtown Austin’s vibrant South Congress district mean that you’re no more than a few blocks away from great food and chances are, your hotel. During the day there are also shuttles that go back-and-forth between the events so you can split up your day any way you want. Just don’t be surprised if you begin to spend more and more time at Handbuilt (you can always get your MotoGP highlights from the internet, I won’t tell!).
See you in Austin for Numero Seis in 2019!
Equipment: Hasselblad 500C/M, Carl Zeiss Planar 80/2.8
Film stock: CineStill 800T, develop & scan by NegativeLab, Los Angeles CA
For more information, visit the REVIVAL CYCLES on the web.
This article also appears on DRIVETRIBE: Cafe Racer Life