Petersen Museum’s Custom Revolution Recognizes Imaginative Motorcycles

Each year a group of inspired bike builders create fantastical yet functional works of art as unique as the personalities behind them. The new Peterson exhibit pays tribute to 25 of creative bike builders and their mesmerizing machines.

“This is the first-ever hand-built [motorcycle] exhibition in a museum, and we’re very proud of that,” said Terry Karges, executive director of the Petersen, at a preview reception on the evening of April 13. It’s also the 42nd exhibit that we have opened since we reopened the new museum two years ago. So, it’s a proud achievement and we’re especially happy that we’re doing this with the motorcycles here tonight.”

13 Responses to “Petersen Museum’s Custom Revolution Recognizes Imaginative Motorcycles”


  1. 1 richards Apr 18th, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Recently, there have been some REALLY bizarre “custom” bikes posted. It looks like it’s becoming a trend. These, are maybe some sort of art form…and add to my “bizarre” description, reinforcing that trend.

  2. 2 Woody's Apr 18th, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Sigh, if I’d only chromed the last bike I totaled instead of letting the flatbed carry it off, it’d be in Petersen’s by now.

  3. 3 highrpm Apr 18th, 2018 at 9:06 am

    the beemer’s always looked unfinished to me. beauty in the eye of the beholder, i guess. (woody, my sentiments, too.) perhaps the effect of leeching tattoo oils into the creative centers of the brain is why petersen’s market driven to this art style?

  4. 4 SoCalPhun Apr 18th, 2018 at 9:48 am

    I plan on riding up to LA this weekend and checking this out, along with the Porsche exhibit.

  5. 5 Broca's Brain Apr 18th, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Custom is supposed to be about innovation which is what the bikes at the Peterson are : not endless mindless repetition

    Begging the question after reading over a few of the previous comments ; Is it any wonder the motorcycle industry / hobby is stuck in a xenophobic time warp fearful of innovation recreating the SSDD time and time again even going so far as trying to make EVs look like ICEs as motorcycling falls into a fatal tailspin of its own making leading to its eminent demise ?

    The answer is a definitive and unequivocal —- No !

  6. 6 rebel Apr 18th, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    first is an ant eater, seconds a 45 pistol

  7. 7 Roger Apr 19th, 2018 at 7:14 am

    I’m not sure what Boca’s Brain wrote, but I think I agree. Wish I were closer to the exhibit so I could visit.

  8. 8 Woody's Apr 19th, 2018 at 7:48 am

    BB, except there is no innovation in these bikes. They are the equivalent to the fanciful drawings we did on the covers over notebooks in grade school. As far as being motorcycles, they technically are, but they are really just artwork and can be enjoyed as art work, but they Sunshine upside down.

  9. 9 Woody's Apr 19th, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Sorry about the end of that last text, guess I shouldn’t try using voice to text in a crowded restaurant 🙂 I have no idea what the Sunshine part was about so no sense for anyone else trying to figure it out either 🙂

  10. 10 highrpm Apr 19th, 2018 at 9:08 am

    ? is ?, independent of what petersen chooses to exhibit. attracting eyeballs is petersen’s business model: like advertising, throw something out there that folks will pay to look at. similarly, jay leno’s museum ain’t about innovation. rather, preservation. innovation is where one finds it, typically around the hands-on tinkerer. and not all tinkerer’s output is a homerun, either. more misses than hits.

  11. 11 RBinTEX Apr 19th, 2018 at 9:12 am

    The BMW sure looks like it NEEDS a rear fender?

  12. 12 GYM Apr 19th, 2018 at 11:06 am

    These bikes have more conversational value than actual functional use. In that arena I guess this show could be said to be a success, but I fail to see the use in looking at a can opener that take three hands to use or a light switch mounted on the floor. Form and function can and should be paramount when striving to reach a higher standard in my opinion.

  13. 13 hacksaw Apr 23rd, 2018 at 9:11 am

    not my cup of custom earl grey.

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