Biker heavyweights, fans to gather in Honolulu
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
If you can think of it, the motorcycle maniacs on "The
Great Bike Build-Off" will make it. Sometimes, while we
The Great Bike Build-Off and Show
Ride: Registration at 8:30 a.m. Sunday,
Moanalua Gardens; last bike out at 10 a.m.; $10 entry
(first 300 sign-ups get a free T-shirt)
Show: 1 p.m. Sunday at the Hard Rock Cafe;
entertainment by Willie K; Lanai and Augie to emcee;
Also: bike-building classes and competition;
voting on Arlen Ness and Cory Ness bikes; 330-2919
In today's world, custom-made bikes are the rage thanks
in large part to Discovery Channel shows such as "The
Great Bike Build-Off," "American Chopper," "Motorcycle
Mania" and "Motorcycle Women."
They are to the Discovery Channel what "Queer Eye for the
Straight Guy" is to Bravo. Even nonmotorcycle enthusiasts
watch these shows with amazement as choppers meticulously
come together piece by piece.
Hawai'i's scenic backdrop is being added to the mix this
Arlen and Cory Ness, a father-and-son motorcycle- building
team, have been tooling around the Big Island on their
custom bikes. On Sunday, they and thousands of Island
bikers will assemble for a gathering at the Hard Rock Cafe
on O'ahu called The Great Bike Build-Off and Show.
The Discovery Channel and Original Productions crews taped
a special here (no air date yet) that will focus on the
choppers created by Arlen and Cory Ness, and their Hawai'i
While Harley-Davidsons are favored by many bikers, a range
of brands will be on display.
"It's the biggest one-day biker event (in Hawai'i)," said
organizer Chris Tronolone, who expects several thousand
bikers to gather in the morning at Moanalua Gardens, then
take to the streets on their choppers via H-3, Waimanalo
and Hawai'i Kai to wind up in the afternoon at the Hard
Rock. There, a bike show with classes, displays and
best-in-show voting will be held.
"It's all happening here because of Arlen and Cory," said
Tronolone. "They built their bikes in California, but
Arlen was here earlier on a vacation, when we had our
first annual choppers show last July. We invited him to
come spend an hour, and he spent the whole time with us."
When The Discovery Channel contacted Arlen Ness two months
ago to do a build-off episode facing off with his son, he
said that would be fine, if they could build the bikes in
California, unveil them on the show "but shoot in Hawai'i,
because of our gorgeous scenery and great weather," said
Tronolone. "Yes, weather was a major factor."
Tronolone said Ness contacted him a month ago and asked if
a Hawai'i biker gathering was doable.
"Our big plans were for a Fourth of July show this
summer," Tronolone said so he had to hustle to put
Sunday's event together. "This one is coming together
Mark Deacon (known simply as Deacon, who owns Pro-Street
Custom Cycles and is associated with the Hog Pen, said
landing this weekend's show is a big deal for Island
"You're talking about some heavyweights participating in
the Islands," he said. "It's not only an amazing coup for
us, but for the whole industry."
When hobbyists and serious riders and builders create
wheels that cost $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000 apiece to
build, they're in a league of their own, Deacon said.
Deacon, who has been a motorcycle fan since he was 15,
turns 50 next year. "Things and feelings have changed
about bikers," he said. "The old image the roughness of
the bikers has really changed. It's all about freedom of
expression, but with wider acceptance."
Tronolone estimates there are at least 7,000 registered
Harley bikers here and a host of riding clubs.
He attended a bike build-off on the Mainland each of the
past two years, including one at Sturgis, S.D., which
attracts 500,000 to 600,000 bikers. "It's absolutely
huge," he said of these events. "Riders ship their bikes,
or ride to the event, so having one here is good to put
Hawai'i on the map. These guys (and women) spend money."
The riders come from most states and from such diverse
international spots as Japan and France. And they come
from all walks of life business, education, with public
servants such as firefighters and police officers among
the biker brigade.
"The motorcycle industry is booming," Tronolone said. "A
lot of the success is due to the shows on Discovery
Channel. 'American Choppers' is the No. 1-watched show on
Discovery and a boon to the motorcycle industry."
As for The Discovery Channel program, Hawai'i was embraced
as a destination. "The Big Island was chosen because of
the wide open road, with less traffic, so helicopters did
some filming from above," said Tronolone.
Reach Wayne Harada at email@example.com,
Posted on: Friday, February 13, 2004
Lifted from: http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2004/Feb/13/il/il02a.html