Wednesday, June 15, 2011

THE BLITZ BOYS


Fred and Hugo from Blitz Motorcycles in Paris brought two of their latest creations to Toulouse for a ride, and managed to park themselves in front of The Vintagent's camera so many times, and so successfully, that a Blitz photo album basically created itself.

While this portfolio certainly looks like an advertisement, are we selling custom motorcycles, rides in the French countryside, beer, or handsome young men with beards?!  Perhaps all of the above.  Of course, a little advertorial ambiguity never hurt commodity fetishism...'selling the lifestyle'... (and if you haven't read your Kapital, just remember Karl Marx famously quipped "I am no Marxist.")

I did toss the little Yamaha SR-based special around a gravel road near the village of Milieu de Nulle-Part, and found the bike light and extremely manageable while machine-gunning pebbles into the blue fluffy-cloud skies of southern France, fishtailing madly down the lane on full throttle.  While this machine is intended to battle traffic on the gladiatorial streets of Paris, its flat-tracky visual cues were borne out on the loose stuff - big fun.

I didn't ride the BMW special, but heard it described by another rider as 'a Punk bike', which is a far cry from the 'rubber cow' nickname given the early R75/5.  Perhaps Blitz is onto something; inexpensive, low-sheen, vintage-based customs meant to do well in modern traffic.  Fred and Hugo certainly thrashed the beasties along the gravel-spotted country roads of the Midi-Pyrénées, proving at the very least, faith in their own handiwork.

In the 1980s, such stripped-down and punked-up bikes were the hot ticket for Tavern to Tavern racing in San Francisco, but you could never buy such a machine, unless a friend was upgrading (often to a '60s Britbike), then usually the 'stock' parts were bolted back on, as there was zero resale value for a stripped motorcycle.  Scrounged together on very limited budgets, we rode them everywhere, hard and fast, cherishing our youth and the erotic possibilities of speed, pack riding, and harmlessly transgressive behavior.  Bikers, in short.
Blitz has taken this concept - the urban custom - and run with it, pushing what was originally a junkyard aesthetic to new and occasionally controversial places.  At their core, these Blitz machines are 'biker's bikes', built to be ridden.

8 comments:

David Blasco said...

There is the term I've been looking for to describe what I like about some bikes: "low sheen." Thank you!

The Vintagent said...

Low-Sheen...another handy product from the Naming Factory, brought to you free every week on The Vintagent.

trent reker said...

excellent as always. love the low-cost metric and euro bikes and blitz has a great style. low sheen, indeed.

Ty said...

It is great to see that French motorcyclist are really into that new era of Cafe-racer.
Paul, did you plan travelling to Italy soon? I would love to show you around our Bologna's Atelier.

GuitarSlinger said...

# 1 Who cares what you're " Selling " ? Give me more !

#2 That Beemer is the ticket , with the Yamaha a close second

#3 But please don't tell me you're trying to promote riding over posing with these Low Sheen Bikes ( sarcasm intended )

#4 Damn French ! ( jealousy intended )

Barryrobin said...

I know I'm dating myself here Paul, but didn't we just call them rat bikes? (Named after the East Bay Rats, if I recall)...

-barry

Anonymous said...

wow, remember the days when The Vintagent was about vintage motorcycles and not about poseurs in designer rags pretending to ride old motorcycles...

jourden said...

If being a poseur means buidling yourself the bike you want to ride and cannot find / afford yourself among the existing, then yes, we surely are poseurs :)
With dirty nails. And long beard.

Paul, you are a poet, no doubt about it !