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New Petersen Museum exhibit to feature some of the best custom motorcycles of the last decade

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Kingston Custom’s White Phantom BMW R/80. Photos courtesy the Petersen Museum unless otherwise noted.

On the heels of the successful Harley vs. Indian motorcycle display, which ended its run on March 7, the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, California, will be opening a new bike-centric display this month, curated by author, photographer, and vintage motorcycle historian Paul D’Orleans. Entitled Custom Revolution, the display brings together 25 of the most recognized and influential custom bikes of the last ten years, as chosen by Paul with support from the Motorcycle Arts Foundation. Many of the featured bikes have been seen on his popular internet site and represent new innovative designs from well-known builders in the US and abroad.

Alp Racing Design’s “Asymmetric Arrow.” Photo by Derek Athen.

The exhibit, staged in the museum’s Richard Varner Family Gallery, will have a a preview reception on Friday, April 13, followed by the grand opening to the  public on April 14. The motorcycles will continue to be on display until mid-March of next year, though its possible that the display will be updated throughout its stay. Original designs such as the Rondine, built by Irish design company Medaza, which won the 2013 World Championship of Custom Bike Building award in Essen, Germany, will be part of the display of 25 motorcycles, as will designs from Deus Ex Machina Customs, El Solitario, Chabott Engineering, Falcon Motorcycles, Alp Racing Design, and Revival Cycles. Well-known builders, Shinya Kimura, Roland Sands, Mark Atkinson, Michael Woolaway, and Ian Barry will each have at least one of their designs represented.

Mark Atkinson’s “BMW Alpha.” Photo by Mike Flores.

Curator Paul D’Orleans was quoted by Cycle World as saying:

These builders have millions of fans around the world watching their every move (including the design teams at the big factories). Each has been approached to collaborate on prototypes or show bikes by the likes of BMW, Yamaha, Harley-Davidson, or Ducati. Some have created iconic machines using factory support, and the influence of all these designers on the motorcycle industry over the past 10 years is clear.

Medaza “Rondine.” Photo by Philip Tooth.

Paul also states that “Factory design teams readily admit following the lead of these alternative custom beacons, whose work is now being acknowledged as seminal to a new vision of motorcycling itself.”

Roland Sands Two-Stroke Attack “Born Free.”

The April 13 opening reception will include a panel discussion with guests like comedian and collector extraordinaire Jay Leno, actor and motorcycle builder Keanu Reeves, automotive journalist Charles Flemings, exhibit curator and author Paul D’Orleans, Petersen chairman Bruce Meyer, and board member and donor of the display space Richard Varner.

Shinya Kimura’s “Needle” at El Mirage Lake.

For those in the Los Angeles area, reservations for the opening reception on Friday night are still available. Visit for more information at or call  323-964-6331.