Happening: The One Motorcycle Show

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The modern motorcycle show is a bit of a conundrum. Bikes are neat because they’re more than objects created for consideration. Bikes are neat because they’re about an experience. But, housed in the sterile environs of a second rate convention center and populated by PR people, shows like the IMS tour or even EICMA fail to offer much in the way of experience. Showgoers can catch a glimpse of a new model, or a model in a bikini, but not much else. What if there was another way? What if there was a way to capture the elusive appeal of the motorcycle in a social experience with appeal spanning demographics, sexes and preference for assless chaps or leather onesies? That’s exactly what last weekend’s The One Motorcycle Show in Portland achieved.

Photos: Jon Humphries and Thor Drake.

Organized by See See Motorcycles with help from Bell Helmets, New Church Customs, Poler, Factory North, Stumptown and Sizzle Pie, The One was organized not in an out-of-town convention hall, but in an industrial loft space just off Burnside in east Portland. Just down the street from MotoCzysz HQ, Michael was able to ride his C1 MotoGP prototype to the show, on slick tires, in the rain. I got in trouble for putting an HFL sticker on it when he wasn’t looking.

A lineup of classic UJMs greeted visitors just inside the show’s entrance.

Other bikes at the show ran the gamut from Twinline’s slick cafe racers to Icon’s rat bikes to ridiculous custom choppers, vintage race bikes, flat trackers and one or two minimotos. The general idea was to bring bike that you thought represented the perfect motorcycle, the one you could ride for as long as you live. But, everyone just seemed to bring whatever neat bikes they had lying around. Whatever, it worked. Also on exhibit were the 21 Helmets, Bell Custom 500s painted by a variety of artists and creative bike types.

To guard the bikes from thieves and errant HFL editors, Thor slept inside the show. That’s a Poler Napsack he’s sporting.

Unlike literally every other bike show I’ve ever been to, The One was jam packed. Not just with flannel clad hipsters, but people who had ridden in all the way from other states, strutting their wet stuff in head-to-toe, DayGlo Cordura, old men in mom jeans and chaps, small children, good looking girls and, gasp, people who don’t even ride bikes.

Roland Sands gave away two of his new jackets to the last man and woman to put an empty on his CR500 cafe.

Stretched over two nights, with a band playing on the second and cheap beer and pizza both nights, the emphasis was on bringing people together as much as it was on walking around, looking at bikes sitting on stands. It’s that last thing that makes The One Show special. It’s unique amongst motorcycle shows because it’s as much about the people as it is the bikes. We’re looking forward to going again next year.

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    Sounds (and looks) like a blast.

  • isambard

    How dare you describe Rosemont’s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center as “second-rate?”

    • Joe

      I challenge Wes to a motorcycle duel at dawn for this affront.

      How dare he describe a convention center that is magnet for sleazy business men from all over the country, and located near a 1 floor casino, “second rate.”


      • filly-fuzz

        Frisky Dingo?

  • Tony T.

    I knew I should have stuck around longer! Balls.

  • Roman

    Is that a Hawk GT frame on the CR500 cafe?

  • Kevin

    With all the great beer in Portland, they drinking ****ing Pabst. What a disgrace.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      There were 2 or 3 local beers on tap, too. At least, that’s what I hazily recall.

  • Chris F

    I hope more pictures are coming for those of us on the opposite coast. Please.

  • TuffGong

    Looks and sounds like a very enjoyable event..Surely there are more and better pics…and the whole PBR thing is pretty silly.It just isn’t very good and the world is full of good beer….

  • http://mansgottado.tumblr.com/ Andy Gregory

    Man, put in the context of IMS shows, this was especially incredible. Good people + strange and beautiful bikes + girls who aren’t paid to be there + beer + free rock and roll + a short walk to bars with girls who are paid to be there (wink wink) = The One FTW.

    Big props to Thor. Portland’s lucky to have him organizing these shindigs. There appears to be some leakage behind him in the sleeping bag snuggie suit pic however. Old habits die hard, I usually piss right outside my tent too.

    For those of you wanting more pics:


    And she’s got a link at the bottom of that page to her flickr, it’s the biggest collection of photos from the show I’ve found.

  • nick

    This is awesome. Now let’s get one on the east coast (Brooklyn…cough cough).

  • Stacey

    I was hanging with friends at Rockaway Beach, OR and my fiancee and I drove to the show.
    As soon as we hit the door, she took off and probably saw more bikes than I did. It was a diverse and cool crowd and the bikes were just gorgeous! Especially the Czyz bike…
    We’ll be back next year (as husband and wife!) and I hope we can find a way to cure her vertigo so we can get her on her own bike.

  • Denzel

    That “line up of classic UJMs” was a sweet assortment of Kawi H2 triples… a highlight of the show….