By the time you read this, I will hopefully be on my way out of Portland, Oregon — having just attended The One Motorcycle Show. I say hopefully because the Polar Vortex dumped a bunch of cold fluffy white stuff on the ground on Friday, and the Portlandians have been calling it a snowmageddon ever since they slowly began littering the streets with stranded vehicles.
The weather may have been wreaking havoc on the highways and in town, Portland is after all where Volvo station wagons go to die, but it didn’t keep the hordes of motorcycle fans away from the show — in fact, some intrepid souls even road their way to the packed two-floor exhibit.
As one can expect from the Portland motorcycle scene, the atmosphere was hipster-chic, and laden with PBR cans, form fitting jeans, and epic beards.
Not exactly our cup of tea here at Asphalt & Rubber (I wore my best plaid shirt in an effort to blend with the natives, but was easily called out for my blasé attitude towards free-trade coffee), but that’s just fine — we like motorcycles just as much as the next guy or girl, and that’s what it is all about. Right?
For those who aren’t familiar with the concept behind The One Motorcycle Show, the idea is pretty simple and centers around the idea of that one motorcycle that fits all your tw0-wheeled needs and lusts.
It is about bikes that incorporate maybe the best aspects of all the other motorcycle you have ever owned, and represents everything about your two-wheeled life. Needless to say, the resulting builds had some interesting crossovers in style.
2014 marks the fifth year that The One Motorcycle Show has been put on by Thor Drake and his cohorts, and the once niche gathering has blown up quite a bit in that timeframe. With headline sponsors like BMW Motorrad USA and ICON, you could get some jabs in about the show “going corporate” (there was a stock BMW R nineT on the show floor, after all).
But at the same time though, the increased exposure and professionalism brought in a bevy of high-quality bikes and builders; and if you were in attendance this weekend, you could only be impressed by the overall exhibition (or is it a party?) and its unique character.
If more big name sponsors mean even more bikes, more world-class builders, and even bigger crowds looking to get their motolust serviced, then I say bring it on. As for the bikes themselves, you can break things down into four categories: the choppers, the street-trackers, the cafe racers, and everything else.
For their sponsor dollars, BMW brought with them a number of boxer-twins, all of which fit perfectly with the genre at hand (you have to admit, the R nineT does embody the spirit of the show’s one bike mantra). Of course there were a few Honda CB’s amongst the lot, but not so much that you noticed and felt like you were reading the BikeEXIF calendar (go buy yours today, and help support Chris Hunter’s awesome site, by the way).
Our favorite bike was “Mabel” by TPJ Customs, which was more streetfighter than street-tracker in its form, though you could probably get away defining it with either label. Super clean lines, subtle design elements, and sporty components — it’s right up the A&R alley, and gets bonus points for being a NorCal outfit too.
With other bikes from Roland Sands, Classified Moto, Deux Ex Machina, Dime City Cycles, and others in attendance, you could spend hours on each bike picking out the details and admiring the effort and craftsmanship that went into each of the motorcycles’ elements.
In addition to the bikes, The One Motorcycle Show offers a bevy of original art pieces on display as well. Paintings, photos, sculptures, and drawings of all aspects of the motorcycle lifestyle abounded. Additionally, there was the”21 Helmets” exhibit, which was sponsored by Bell Helmets and celebrates the company’s 60th anniversary.
A good time out, and if you find yourself in the Portland area this time next year, we highly recommend adding The One Motorcycle Show to your list of things to do. You don’t have to be a wayward lumberjack to attend, though it might help, and Portland has much to offer a visiting motorcyclist outside of the show’s events. Just be sure to check the weather before you leave.