In a landscape typically dominated by sprawling traffic and screeching taxis, the 2016 Brooklyn Invitational proved to be a perfect welcome to the New York experience. Before I arrived at the stretch of 14th Street where the event was being held, I found myself surrounded by other riders. Ducati Scramblers and Triumph Thruxtons darted through the streets as though they were guiding the way… and they did not disappoint. As I pulled up to the Roots Photo Studio, where this year’s Invitational was hosted, I was greeted by four city blocks of motorcycles. The diversity was stunning; old, weathered Matchless twins and World War Two-era Indians parked next to home-built cafe racers - all framed perfectly by the industrial backdrop of Greenpoint’s shoreline.
Outside, there was a constant show to see. Riders were coming and going by the dozen, leaving death-defying wheelies as parting gifts and an exhaust roar loud enough to ensure the city that never sleeps stayed that way. Inside the studio, there were some of the most impeccable custom-built bikes in the nation. Revival Cycles out of Austin, Texas built an immaculate Velocette cafe racer, complete with bubble fairing that would be equally at home on the track as it would be on display in The Museum of Modern Art. The Roland Sands Indian Scout combined flawless vintage styling with modern technology… and a crimson paint job that begged for speed. One of my favorite builds of the show was the Ducati Monster parsed down by Tyler Lunceford of Moto Pistole. The bike had a pure essence of functionality, with every unnecessary part stripped away to showcase the mechanics of the machine - exhibiting that less truly can be more.
It was bittersweet leaving the show… knowing I’d have to wait a full year before I’d see so many fantastic machines in one place again. Here's to having something to look forward to in 2017!
-Scott Bradley, Guest Contributor for Cafe Racer XXX