Party verona style
Verona's Motorbike Expo is one of Europe's best custom shows.
The Motor Bike Expo of Verona is one of the biggest meets in the custom world. It’s made for us punters, not for industry people to strike deals so hordes of bike aficionados come down to see the crazy ideas of the best custom builders, the deals of the retailers, and pretty much everything else the bike world has to offer.
It’s four days of mayhem and I arrive for the opening on the Thursday morning. The atmosphere is cheerful and relaxed, and many exhibitors and visitors seem to know each other. With several halls, each dedicated to a particular area of motorcycle culture, there is something for every taste. Yes, there are the major brands like Guzzi, Yamaha, Harley etc showing their models and commissioned customs, but the vast majority are independent garages who build specials, parts manufacturers, event organisers, magazines, clothing brands etc. The retailers selling gadgets, tools and clothing are mostly grouped in a couple of halls, together with the adventure bikes, a section for second hand classic motorcycle sale, and even a live music stage.
The new-age cafe racers, street trackers and scramblers are all gathered in two adjoining areas, while all the choppers, concept bikes and hard-rock gear is in another huge hall. There is a lot of merch to buy and food to consume, but just about every cool crew showing here is stocked with drinks and food, making it a real social event. These Italians know how to host a bike show.
In the sun outside you can get your fix of action with an international motorcycle stunt competition starring Valentino Rossi’s father Graziano, and back inside there’s indoor trials. The top 10 bikes of the show were selected by a panel of judges including Go Takamine (creator of Brat Style), legendary motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter, customisers Zac Ness and Danny Schneider, and… Italian porn actor Rocco Siffredi – go figure!
Amongst the bikes on Built’s radar are South Garage with a classy Beemer and Abnormal Cycles with best in show with a pre-war type concept based on an Indian. After a day of discovering amazing new stuff, it’s time to get out and head for the legendary Mr Martini’s, a well-respected personality on the international motorcycle scene. Every night of the show there’s an afterparty at his garage, and this evening he’s joined forces with Italian magazine Ferro for a custom build awards celebration.
The next morning I’m glad to see that I’m not alone in my slow motion tour of the show – everybody has been partying! I get into the day by visiting my Greek friends from DNA and C-Racer (remember them from Built #10?), and visiting the guys from ‘The Reunion’, the popular custom and cafe event hosted at the famous Eni Circuit in May, also involving one of the Sultans Of Sprint dates.
But I need to leave soon and I want to go say hi to Mr Martini and talk future projects at his Harem in hall two. That’s right, his brilliant set-up involves a Harem, complete with men in turbans and a beautiful sexy bride, a food and drinks oasis, and some stunning builds for good measure. Everybody knows Mr Martini and he’s a busy man, but finally I catch him and between a laugh about the previous night and the first beer of the day I finally feel normal again in his fabulous set-up. What better ending?