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MARTIN HODGSON


The year 2020 is not one we will soon forget, but thankfully its nearly in the rearview mirror as we all twist the throttle and round the last bend into 2021. As the pandemic took hold, you showed your spirit and overwhelmed us with an incredible number of entries into The Covid Custom Motorcycle Show. Not only did it provide a welcome distraction, but showed the community and comradery that exists in the scene right around the globe. Inspired the marvellous machines kept being created and to find the very best of the year we put on our masks, brought in some extra sanitiser and convened to compile a list of the years best builds. With great thanks to you all for joining us again on this on the ride, Ladies and Gentleman, you’re Pipeburn Bike of the Year…

10. He made the Top Ten last year and the king of clean is back with one of the most impressive builds of an unlikely donor motorcycle to be seen in 2020. Sean Skinner of Virginia’s MotoRelic took a risk on the quirky Honda Magna V30 from 1984 and hit another home run with a slick transformation. The V4 engine might howl, but its unusual shape in an early ’80s package meant style points started at zero, requiring all of Sean’s skill to produce a bike that was pleasing to the eye and functioned flawlessly; as always he did it and it was a hit amongst readers too!

9. It is without a shadow of a doubt the most controversial material used on motorcycles, but finally a builder had the crowds cheering for the wonders of wood. Real name Sébastien Valliergues this master craftsman operates under the nom de plume George Woodman, and the boy from Biarritz put some beautiful Beech to best use on a Yamaha XSR700. The front fairing alone is a work of art and sets the theme for the cohesive build that gave this entry-level Yammie some serious street cred.

8. Spencer from Parr Motorcycles has carved out a niche in the custom scene for himself and oh boy does he do it well. Retro-remakes of the dashing demons of dirt is what he does best and for 2020 he turned his attention to the beloved Honda XR650R. With Tracker styling, a Honda racing colour scheme and an incredible eye for capturing the detail of the bikes from the period, Spencer had everyone wanting to park his Honda in their own garage.

7. Giacomo Galbiati of GDesign Custom Motorcycle in Como, Italy, is as much an artist as he is a motorcycle builder and his offering for the year set the internet alight. His remarkable 2008 Royal Enfield 500 Bullet is as much Rajasthan as it is old Rome and gave fans of both vintage-styled motorcycles and the RE marque something to sink their teeth into. A truly rideable canvas, adorned in brass and black, Giacomo captured hearts with old school romance from his bronzed bobber.

6. The year saw so many ‘flying bricks’ hit the Pipeburn inbox we could have nearly built a house from them, but none hit the spot quite like the Dixer Parts K100RS. Proving why having a plan is so important, every aspect of the build is well thought out before being executed to perfection. Minimalism, amazing attention to detail and a refusal to use anything but the best of parts produced one of the years cleanest builds. It was a big year for Poland and the boys from the south of the country made sure lovers of Bavarian Brawn got their fill.

5. Proving that good things really do come in small packages, the Yamaha TMAX by Lobomotive first knocked us all over in the Pipeburn office and then created a storm of appreciation across the web. A scooter was playing with the big boys and Xavi went all out for the GP look and feel. Not only are the visuals flawless, but carbon brakes, magnesium wheels and superbike suspension means this twist and go is smile-inducing silliness in the best possible way

4. It’s as much a stunning sculpture as it is a mechanical masterpiece and the Ducati 750SS by Cevennes Retro Motors had us all appreciating that rare french ability to take an already gorgeous creation and make it even more irresistible. Cedric Trenquir built everything but the motor and took the beloved Bologna base and infused it with a combination of artistic flair and unparalleled fabrication that makes it a feast for the eyes.

3. The first to step onto the podium is Jordon Dickson from Union Speed & Style, with his stunning 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead dubbed the ‘SourKraut’. Having been invited to compete in Germany at the AMD World Championship of custom bike building, Jordon is already recognised as one of the finest builders on the globe and he has more than proved his metal with this heart-stopping Harley. Styled on the theme of pre-war race bikes, every inch of the bike is clean and lean, a study in perfection that had purist’s hearts pounding.

2. If we had a time machine to take one machine back to the Ace Cafe of the ’60s to really get tongues talking, this would be it! The holy grail of cafe cool was always the race proven Norvin blend and nobody has ever built one quite like the Italian team at Stile Italiano. Readers were offering up their kidney’s and considering selling their kids to park this piece of two-wheeled Nirvana in their garage and builder Gianluca came so close to gold.

1. But when there can only be one winner, Jim Alonze once again secures the top prize, relishing the closure of Covid to hand-build just about every part on his incredible Ducati Monster masterpiece. With just a set of engine cases in hand, it didn’t matter at Alonze Customs with Jim behind a 60 year-old manual mill making every perfect part. Words can’t do the man’s talent justice, like the works of da Vinci you simply have to drink it in, raw alloy in the finish and nothing but Gold in our eyes.
 
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