Wheels and Stones - Sankt Wendel - 2019
Bikes, especially those from the 1970ies, are another passion of mine. And hanging around in custom events is quite some fun. Not just the bikes and a living custom culture are worth seeing - the people as well. Despite the tattoos, the hard rock look the people are friendly and surprisingly open to be banned on photos.
The lack of "bling-bling" and need to show social status is refreshing. The common denominator being bikes, exhaust sound, the smell of gasoline, just having a good time, some beers with friends regardless of age and social background.
The pictures here are taken at the annual "Wheels and Stone" event in Sankt Wendel/Germany. Still a smaller event that emerged a couple of years ago. Not to be compared to "Glemseck 101" close to Leonberg or even "Wheels and Waves" in Biarritz who have become huge and much more commercial than in the early days. Interesting to see how the custom scene evolved throughout the last couple of years.
To my opinion the peak has been reached and we see a decline as quite some custom builders have closed their shop in 2019. Living from custom bikes seems to be hard, if you can not create a brand and merchandize. Examples are definitively "Deus ex Machina" who created a global brand - selling mainly outfit and lifestyle products - or European brands like "El Solitairio" in Spain (being quite eccentric and not everybody's piece of cake), "Fuel Motorcycles" (I actually own a pair of their motorcycle pants) or "Blitz Motorcycle" in Paris ("très branché" as a Parisian would say - commercially successful? Not sure).
Plain bike builders will have a hard time to survive and need to find a niche with customers willing to pay the prize needed to cover the immense time to create a custom build.
Only passion can be used as argument to keep on going!