"Here in the UK, we are pretty lucky to be blessed with some awesome pockets of custom bike enthusiasts scattered across our beautiful country, but we’re not so blessed in the way of bike shows and I can’t "
Kingdom of Kicks
Forget your clichés, there's a custom bike for everyone
The American motorbike scene in the UK is an interesting one.
Wind back 20 years and it would’ve just been your local bike club that was rocking the two wheels. You’d spot them a mile off with their leather waistcoats and chains, and that’s no bad thing! I, myself, grew up around bikers and the regular Egg Run, but the motorbike scene (in general) has changed a lot since I was young.
The American bike scene, in particular, is stronger than it’s ever been. More and more people are buying Harleys, especially, but there is definitely more of a love for the big, heavy low-rider bikes than there ever has been.
The custom scene, too, just keeps on growing. Normal people are attempting to build their own motorbikes. Motorbike parts seem to be much more readily available than parts for, say, classic cars, and these being more easily assessable definitely attracts more of a can-do attitude.
Not only that, a motorbike is easily stored – more easily than a car – making it’s easier to crack on and build it. I recently spoke with Kingdom of Kicks chief James Jordan and he told me a few things of which I found very interesting. Firstly, he believes the upsurge in custom building and the popularity of two wheels are due to events such as Trip Out, The Hook Up, and the Assembly Chopper – shows which are gradually pulling more and more people into the scene. Opening people’s eyes to building their own bikes, and getting them to realise they can actually do it themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy, but as times have changed (i.e the introduction of YouTube and internet forums) how tos are available to everyone; beginners and professionals alike.
James started Kingdom of Kicks back in 2011, a brand he builds his motorcycles under. Mainly working on old Harleys (from the 40s, through to the 70s), it’s his excuse to hang out and be creative with his friends, oh, and learn new skills along the way. He is the very proud owner of four Harleys, a 1947 Knucklehead chopper, a 1956 Panhead, that he’s currently building for the Assembly Chopper show on July 22. He also has a 1966 Genny Shovel over in LA, USA, which his friend built for him, and a 1995 sportster, which he’s customised to race in the Hooligan Class of DTRA Flat Track. A two-wheel enthusiast? We think so!
It’s not just James, though, there are a number of these enthusiast ‘shops’ popping up all over the UK. We recently spoke with the team from London’s The Bike Shed who told us similar about the UK’s motorbike scene blowing up. The motorbike community in the UK is just awesome. It’s accepting of people from all walks of life, purely to share that same passion.
Motorbikes are no longer just for that bearded, waistcoat-wearing stereotype I previously mentioned. I lack a beard, I don’t own any waistcoats, and I love a good low-rider. I’m also partial to a sports bike… only not for very long. An hour trip, max!
Now, onto the classifieds.
Images: Kingdom of Kicks
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