Colin Cornberg is the founder of No. 8 Wire Motorcycles in Missoula, MT. His custom builds have been featured in Pipeburn and Silodrome. He was invited by Thor Drake of See See Motorcycles to put his latest custom motorcycle on display at the 2016 One Moto Show in Portland, OR.
British Customs: What do you think makes The One Moto Show the One Moto Show?
Colin Cornberg: There’s no other show with the same kind of diversity or vibe as The One Show. The whole scene is just awesome, and it’s the whole package that makes a show like that tick. It’s free, and there are live bands. The industrial warehouse they hold it in with that huge vintage mechanical press is the perfect venue. The entire event is handmade, from the bikes to the art on display to the event itself. Thor knew exactly how he wanted it to be, what sort of atmosphere and environment he wanted to create. The whole execution is dialed, and you’re just in awe the whole time. It’s the best of all worlds in one event; you can’t make it better. It was so…cool. I almost didn’t feel cool enough for it even though I had a bike in the show.
BC: What does is mean to you to have the sense of community that being a motorcyclist creates?
CC: It’s really hard to pinpoint. Motorcycles transgress barriers unlike anything else. When you’re out riding a motorcycle with your buddies, you’re really bonding. You’re sharing those experiences, and that brings you together.
BC: What is your approach to creating a custom build?
CC: I just dream them up. It’s all internal. I can’t draw. I’ll have an idea in my head for a bike, and I know what bike would suit it. Or a client gives me a bike and I’ll have some inspiration. Customers usually have a pretty strong idea of the direction they want to go with it, and they usually have a lot of faith in me giving me some creative control at it. I like to spend time looking at the stock bike and thinking about how to customize it. You have to have some vision for the build in terms of its aesthetic, whether you want it to look polished and showy or raw. Once you’ve got the bike or you’re even just looking at pictures of it, the inspiration just starts to flow. Everything I build is meant to be ridden though; they aren’t show-only bikes. Pragmatic designs inspire me. My builds have to be for more than just going to the coffee shop.
BC: How hard do you think it is to take the first step towards customizing your own bike?
CC: It usually always comes down to money and how much you want to spend, regardless of whether you’re doing it yourself or you’re paying someone else to do it. If you ride motorcycles, you probably always have that desire to make it different than how it came stock, aesthetically or functionally. You can also heavily customize a bike with bolt-on parts, and that’s incredibly easy and accessible. Most people can do that kind of work themselves, and it’s more affordable. It depends on how heavily customized you want to go, and how much work and money you want to devote to it.
BC: Where do you think is a good place to start for someone who wants to get into customizing a bike, but doesn’t know where to begin?
CC: Find inspiration. Check out some of the awesome blogs with awesome bikes, like BikeEXIF or Silodrome. Or go to events like The One Show and see them in person. If you don’t have the inspiration to start a build, you can find it somewhere, whether it’s online or in a magazine. Or even look at what other people are riding. If you’re doing a bolt-on custom, you should start with swapping out the seat. Changing little things like your bars or your cockpit are easy to start with before you get into doing full custom work. If you’re going wild, you need to learn to cut stuff up and weld; that’s key. The main idea there is to tear everything down and pull off everything you don’t need. You can get a more aesthetically pleasing bike just from that process alone.