Now look what’s happened...
A few small voices singing as one, becomes a mighty choir that echoes to the corners of the earth. Or put less philosophically, the ingenuity and exhibitionism of the motorcycle parking zone outside Deus’ Camperdown Temple of Enthusiasm has gone global.
It’s no small matter of pride that, on Saturday, the 26th October in the year of 2013, the Deus Boundless Enthusiasm Bike Build Off brought together four great nations in a simultaneous celebration of the spanner, a border-less brotherhood of bloodied knuckles.
The Deus Boundless Enthusiasm Bike Build Off encourages riders to marshal their energy and skills and “create the most with the least.”
It’s guys and gals building bikes, from individual ideas and old parts. It’s not a custom motorcycle show. It’s not a competition, because the “best” might just be the crappiest and there’s even an award for Best Sense of Humour. It’s just messin’ with motorcycles, is what it is.
The Deus belief is that if more people re-imagine and re-use what’s already good, we’re wheeling our way to a pretty cool and creative future. In the six years we’ve been making our motorcycles, we’ve found people in surfing, cycling, skateboarding, whatever, that feel the same way.
The 2013 D-BEBBO started with – no, it didn’t start with the inaugural D-BEBBO that happened three years ago. (It’s taken us this long to make it annual. From now on. Promise).
It started well before that, with the motorcycle parking zone in Barr Street, Camperdown providing the soil and sunshine for something that just grew of itself.
Most weekends (and too many weekdays), that parking zone hosts an impromptu expo of ingenuity and individuality. It was soon obvious that it wasn’t ego and one-upmanship taking root there, but the exchange of ideas and expertise. We just hung onto the handlebars while this monster steered itself into the inaugural Deus Boundless Enthusiasm Bike Build Off, gathered in our Camperdown car park in November 2010.
There was one, over-arching rule: Create the most with the least.
That was probably the only common thing among the motor-mad Doctor Moreau experiments that turned up. Donor bikes had been busted out of garages, dumpsters, swamps. Inspiration seemed to have sprung no less richly or readily from a BMW R-series, a Deckson Minibike, a Honda CT110 or a Harley.
Some required dental records for identification. Which was exactly what the Build Off is about: busting out a bike, beers, buddies and brain cells, to create something unique and re-defining.
Melbourne’s Nick Eterovic took a 1979 Honda CB 250, rotated the frame, raked out the forks and rode to 2010 glory on Much Much Go. Eterovic, a designer at Ford Australia, is rich only in talent, imagination, enthusiasm and resourcefulness. Those are the riches we recognise.
Dump the clutch to October, 2013. The second great Deus Boundless Enthusiasm Bike Build Off has taken place on four continents. (Or two continents, one island and one island-continent, for the geographers).
On that Saturday in October, the four Deus stores in Sydney, Los Angeles, Bali and Milan were each overrun by 40 to 50 enterprising souls and their home-assembled machines.
It was categorically the most diverse, scrappy, ingenious, lazy, spontaneous, desperate and brilliant collection of motorcycles ever not actually assembled in not the one place.
Create the most with the least. It’s the Deus way, that an owner’s imagination plus a kitchen colander might just equal more fun and pride of ownership than some brand-new, big-ticket bike. Doing it yourself was the way motorcycling was in the beginning, and it’s the way we like it.
Which brings us to rules two and three: these are bikes, not art installations. Entries must run (and stop) under their own power. Rules four and five are about originality in design, and ingenuity in re-interpreting design and function.
Rule six is: if a thing needs more than five rules, it’s too far up itself. There is no rule six.
All of which produced about 200 suitably unruly outcomes, and proved that creativity is a culture beyond national boundaries.
A found Honda Z50 minibike frame and scavenged scooter motor morphed into an unholy, mini motocross sidecar. It looked like Ren and Stimpy’s getaway ride. Meanwhile, down the Bloc, a Jawa 350 oozing 1970s Czech-tech was stripped beautifully to the bone. It was named Bone.
Trail bikes mutated into ’20s board-racers in Los Angeles, kitchen mixing bowls were remixed into aero add-ons in Australia. A Honda CT step-through was the inspiration for a 1950 BMW-styled bobber in Bali. Blink twice at its fellow Balinese entry that had three Honda single-cylinder engines spliced together to create a radial triple.
Each bike is a feat of engineering and imagination that isn’t quite like anything before. Bastards born of backyard skills and junkyard bits, they have no right to look this … right.
The soon-to-be-annual event drew some impressively heavy-hitting judges at each of its four points on the globe. It was their job to weed down the entrants to five national finalists.
In Los Angeles, the five-person panel included custom bike legends Yoshi Kosaka, supremo of Garage Company, and Shinya Kimura. In Milan, no less than BMW Motorrad chief designer Ola Stenegard and Yamaha Europe product guru, Shun Miyazawa.
To the judging list of anyone-who’s-anyone, we added … everyone. The 20 overall finalists were put before the world on this very page to find the Global People’s Choice Grand Champion. The taker of that lofty title claims the hand-crafted and highly coveted Boundless Enthusiasm Trophy - The Spanner of Perpetual Ingenuity.