The One Moto Show 2017

The One
Portland’s Premiere Moto Show Never Disappoints

By Bryan Harley

The paned windows of a dilapidated industrial building in a sleepy Portland district flickered with newfound life, ignited by the din of a thousand conversations filling its chambers and an incessant flow of people through its doors. The 100-year-old foundry was an ideal backdrop for The One Moto Show, a showcase of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and fabricating skills. The entry line stretched from the chain-link fence surrounding the building the adjacent street as approximately 15,000 fans filtered in over a three-day period to check out the curious collection of customs, curios, moto-themed artwork, and photography. Show organizers See See Motorcycles says approximately 164 bikes were entered in the show, a loose number because “some builders snuck in more than one.” Just inside its doors, an immaculate 1937 Knucklehead with a 1930 sidecar sat front and center, while not 40 feet away was Suicide Machine Company’s carbon fiber-clad Street 750 flat tracker. This diversity makes The One special, and never knowing what you were going to see around the next corner added an extra layer to the 2017 experience. When you’d pick a favorite, you’d walk into the next room and fall in love with another.

Matt Harris of .40 Cal Customs award-winning 1923 JD Harley-Davidson racer called the “Tennessee Waltz.”

While singling out one motorcycle in a building filled with exemplary builds is nigh impossible, show founder Thor Drake presented Matt Harris of .40 Cal Customs “The One Show Award” for his 1923 JD Harley-Davidson racer called the “Tennessee Waltz.” Harris’ metal shaping skills are evident in the aluminum bodywork surrounding the 1923 flathead nestled in a handbuilt frame, from the twin-saddle tanks to the purpose-built shrouds shielding the bar and downtube to the dorsal finned tail section. It’s easy to envision this thing on the Salt, Harris reaching under the seat to grab another gear while manipulating the rear-set foot clutch with his right foot as its twin all-white Coker tires spit up salt. This beautiful build has indeed been Bonneville-tested, as Harris squeezed 89 mph out of a 74″ engine with a three-speed tranny and 9 hp.
“The [.40 Cal Custom build] seemed to permeate the spirit of the The One Moto Show the most. The 1923 JD Harley-Davidson was built to race and built to break records on the salt flats of Bonneville and built to be ridden. Congrats to Matt and all of the other award-receiving builds,” stated the One crew.

Sosa’s custom Knuck

An equally deserving build sat not far away, Christian Sosa’s low-slung Knuckle-powered creation with a stout leaf spring fork. The fact that you could barely get close to this bike due to the crowd constantly surrounding it, coupled with the fact that we kept gravitating back to it like moths to a flame, is a testament to the caliber of work that went into it. From the beads of the welds on the handcrafted frame to the flawless shaping of the fuel and oil tanks, Sosa is indeed a master of his craft. His attention to detail is over the top, from the one-off cast brackets connecting the tanks and backbone to the plunging rod running through the tank to the cylinder head. The rod is part of his intricate system of universal swivel joints, homemade gears, mounts and rods that make up the bike’s throttle linkage, Sosa’s crowning achievement on this build.






(From left to right: 1959 Panhead, an Amen Savior frame chopper, & Iron Society’s ’55 Pan Shovel.)

On the opposite end of the spectrum to .40 Cal Customs and Sosa Metal Works vintage vibe, Denver-based Threepence tapped into current trends with its dressed 1981 Ironhead. Though the bike’s style is current, Threepence deserves props for dressing out a Sportster instead of the more commonplace Dyna. With its tall risers tucked neatly behind a club-style fairing, a tail trimmed down to next to nothing, a sweet diamond-stitched leather seat and shiny chromed pipes, Threepence’s “The Fixer” looks primed to loft its front Lyndall wheel skyward. The bike’s split rocker boxes have been rounded out cleanly and a Ribsey air cleaner from Boyle Custom Moto dresses up the old Ironhead. Then there’s the paint. The airbrushing job by Joshua at The Forge and the generous amount of gold flake dazzles the senses.

Threepence’s ’81 Ironhead

Further demonstrating to what extremes the Sportster platform can be taken was Gary Winebrenner’s 1957 “Newton” chopper. Talk about a garage build. The 1957 Ironhead engine rests in Winebrenner’s rigid square loop frame with a homemade leaf spring backbone. Automotive-looking side panels are bolted to the frame and double as rear-axle supports. The tank is mounted below the super-stretched neck. It has what Winebrenner dubs Cadillac ride suspension, runs Halibrand Magnesium Dragster Wheels from back in the day, and has only a rear brake run off the bars. A bucket housing from Peterbilt holds the twin headlights in place. The placard accompanying the bike states it was built to test Newton’s Laws, and we believe it. Winebrenner’s originality did not go unnoticed as he was presented the “Style for a Mile” award from the Icon1000 team.
Being a Portland-based business, Icon had an undeniable presence at the One, filling a corner of the foundry with edgy, in-house customs. The avant-garde gear manufacturer hosted a VIP/builder lounge in an old locker room tucked into a corner of the second floor, complete with an Evel Knievel pinball machine and PBR flowing from a makeshift bar in an old shower room. Saturday night, Bud Adams of HamaHama Oyster Co. was serving up freshly shucked fresh oysters out of this shower room, the oddity of the arrangement quintessentially Portlandic.
With its multitude of sights and sounds, the 2017 One Moto Show served up a heap of sensory overload. Cheers and laughter erupted from the room hosting the electric mini-bike races. People squeezed in tightly around the makeshift race course constructed of plywood pressboard planks as each round four racers were pulled from the crowd to battle on a beer-sodden track. More often than not the rider who washed out the most received the loudest applause.

Every wall of the old foundry was kaleidoscopic, from black and white photos of past Pacific Northwest TT and motocross races, to a collage of prints from the always offbeat Dirt Quake event, to the haunting death-faced

Christian Sosa of Sosa Metal Works

Two bearded buds yuck it up! Commonplace at The One.

boardtracker of Christopher Galley’s Holeshot painting. Music streamed from the stage in a corner of the grand ballroom, from hard-charging, guitar-driven riffs to tambourine-tappin’ ’70s-style psychedelia.
On Sunday, the show culminated in some serious bar-banging action. For the second year in a row, The 1 Pro flat track races went down at Salem Speedway, with skill levels ranging from pro to the always entertaining super hooligan races. Intensity levels amped up this year because The 1 Pro was the first race in the newly founded 10-round RSD Super Hooligan National Championship Series. The snarl of angry exhaust began bellowing from the bowels of Salem Speedway early and lasted all day, as approximately 2,000 race fans gathered to witness the spectacle.

A $6,000 purse in the Pro main attracted plenty of Pacific Northwest A-listers, from Davis Fisher to Slammin’ Sammy Halbert. While Halbert shot off to a strong start, Jeffrey Carver was not to be denied this day as he carved through traffic, into the lead, and never looked back. Carver also won the Pro Dash for Cash, making it a clean sweep at the second annual The 1 Pro races.
In the Super Hooligan main event, riders stampeded like bulls into the first turn. Chris Wiggins was indeed a Speed Merchant as he made a mad dash to the first corner, the amateur rider beating the pros out for the $300 K&N Holeshot award. After that, though, the skill set of AMA Pro rider Halbert started to shine as he snatched the lead and held it to the wire, pocketing the $250 bonuses from both Dunlop and Bell Helmets. Halbert roasted the tire of his Roland Sands Design (RSD) Indian Scout Sixty hooligan bike at the end of his victory lap much to the delight of the crowd.
Somehow, Thor Drake and the See See team keep finding ways to make each One Moto Show more memorable than the last. Even Drake admitted that outdoing the spectacle that was the 8th annual show will be a difficult task as it’s one-and-done for the building that hosted it this year. But if there’s anyone who can pull it off, it’s the sly See See fox with the sweet ‘stache.