Sunday, April 3, 2011

2011 Donnie Smith Custom Bike Show

Last weekend, we went to the 2011 Donnie Smith Custom Bike Show in downtown St. Paul. My wife loves looking at lots of different kinds of motorbikes, so I took her to the show.

She really enjoyed looking at all the different motorcycles. This one was her favorite: “Dream Evil” a 1971 Harley Davidson



This was my favorite Harley there: 2007 XR1200 Grand National Replica (It has a Buell XB1200 engine, does that count?)


This 1922 HD was my second. Notice the copy of Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly catching the leaky oil underneath. It’s very absorbent!

1922 HD demonstrating one of MMM's many uses

A couple old sidecars:



Some of the motorcycles had interesting mods:


and interesting accessories:


Some great paint:


and funky designs. Don’t get your pant caught in that belt!


This KZ650 was rebuilt by some local high school students in 100 hours. Including the custom paint. Nice!


I liked this motorcycle’s focus on the color scheme that carried to unique parts – like the wheel hub and caliper.


even the spark plug wires were yellow.


This one looks like it could be very painful should something go wrong…


Jack Riepe, this one is for you. I mentioned your name, and she gave the big smile below.


Lots of motorcycles, people, and vendors. This being my first “custom” bike show. I was surprised how many people had an adult beverage in hand. I’d guess at least 50% vs the less than 10% at the IMS show. I know it’s a different crowd, but an interesting observation.


Full Flickr set with 131 photos.

I gave my wife my GoProHD and told her to get some footage of her favorites. She hadn’t seen Gary’s video, but I was able to edit something similar together. This is my version of Gary France’s custom bike show vid.

YouTube Video:


  1. Wow, that is a big custom bike show and certainly way bigger than the ones we get in the UK. I enjoyed looking at your pictures, but especially the video which adds so much more detail of the bikes and of the atmosphere than a still camera. The light must have been quite good as the images are very clear from the GoPro and I see your wife did a good job by getting in close to the bikes so they were not lost in the wide-angle view the camera gives. Good job!

    I am not sure about the red H-D with the spikes on the seat, tank and rear fender – that bike could end up being a real pain in the a$$! With your wife liking all sorts of bikes, can I see a new ‘custom’ addition to your growing collection?!?

  2. Gary: Thanks again for the inspiration for the video idea. It was fun to make, but way to long to edit. I can imagine yours took even longer. I liked the effect of the video, and I hope I can make more at future events. Yes, she did a great job with very little direction. We looked at most of the bikes together before I gave her the camera. Then we split up to get footage/photos. (PS: she says thanks!)

    I would have though London would have had a bigger custom bike show than the Twin Cities, but I guess there are more custom builders in the states?!

    If a custom comes into the garage, it will most likely be hers. probably not mine. I'd rather spend thousands on another bike instead of on paint. I do enjoy looking at other people spending that kind of money to make their bikes look good though! :)

    I hope you get over your pneumonia soon!

  3. Dear Chris:

    I loved this blog episode. I love looking at bikes like these too. I loved the painting of the woman's face on the gas tank and the doll under the kickstand.

    And I remembered the model on that bike too. The memory made me smile.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  4. Dear Jack: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was an event that was funner than expected.

  5. Was that an old goldwing modded to have all those cool colors and with a custom seat, etc? I suppose it could be a lot of things, but it looks like the boxer motor from the early 80s.

    I'm impressed they got that bike done in 100 hours. That is hot. I wish they offered something similar in my high school. I would have either spent half my life with more direction or be dead from racing ratty bikes in my teenage years.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  6. Brady: Not sure. I didn't get a photo or video of the sign to be sure of what it really was.

    The highschoolers had some cool bikes. I'm jealous they had a program like that. They were even mentored by Donnie Smith himself. He wasn't the instructor, but he did come and help a bit. We only had metal class where the instructor electrocuted himself with an arc welder. :)