House of Vans custom chopper show is a roaring success

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Custom bike enthusiasts from across the world are descending on south London this weekend for the second annual Assembly Chopper Show.

Hosted by Lambeth-based venue, House of Vans, the free-to-attend-event sees 50 of the world’s best custom choppers under one roof, lined between a plethora of skate ramps, with bikes shipped in from as far as the USA, especially for the occasion.

Opening its doors to the first wave of excited visitors on June 14 at around 10am, the show will remain open until 6pm on June 15 - again opening at 10am.

MCN attended the event on the Saturday and spoke to organiser, 27-year-old Tamara Bell, about the importance of free-to-attend bike shows like this in the UK.

“Our event is free and we wanted to put on a show where people could see all the different types of bikes,” Tamara said.

“I’m so lucky that I can go to loads of these shows for work, but not everybody is lucky enough to see hundreds of cool choppers in one place.”

Tamara, who rides a 1977 ‘Iron Head’ Harley-Davidson herself, then went on to say: “There are so many great shows in the UK that celebrate British chopper culture, but we wanted to do something different, where you can see bikes from all over the world.”

A number of bike builders are in attendance

As well as displaying unique motorcycles, a number of the bikes' builders are also on hand to discuss their creations with fellow enthusiasts.

This includes Ryan Grossman, 34, who as well as building one-off show bikes, also built the machines that starred in the hit American TV show, Sons of Anarchy.

Speaking to MCN, Ryan said: “This event is awesome, man. It’s such a cool venue. Everybody in the custom scene over here has got some style and they’re killing it!”

Ryan, who flew in with one of his bikes especially from northern California, then added: “This is my first time in the UK, as I’m only just starting to travel for chopper shows. London is like a cleaner New York!

“I will definitely be back next year, for sure. You can count on it!”

'It's a hobby that became a profession'

Another builder at the event is Oliver Jones, from Baltimore, USA. Oliver came to the UK solely for the event, however his bike sadly never made, due to a shipping error.

“This started as a hobby, but it’s turned professional in the last 10 years. I have another job, but motorcycling is also full time,” Oliver said.

“I’ll absolutely be back. I’m already looking forward to next year and this year’s show has only just started!”

This year’s show has already attracted a larger crowd than last year, with everyone from casual observers to bike builders looking for inspiration, stopping by for a look.

Joe Edwards and Charlotte Jarvis, both 22, from Leicester, visited the show as part of a weekend away in the capital. Joe has been following the custom scene since he was 14-years-old and came along to talk choppers with some of his bike-building heroes.

Joe Edwards and Charlotte Jarvis visit the chopper show

“I’ve followed a lot of these guys since I first got into this when I was 14, so to see the bikes you’ve only ever seen online in the flesh is brilliant. The chance to meet these guys is too is nice because you can find out exactly why they build what they build,” Joe said.

'It's great seeing the bikes up close'

Charlotte then added: “Hopefully one day I will get to ride, too. It’s been really fun to see the bikes up close and see what people can actually do with them.

“I definitely feel most comfortable here. I’ve always liked motorbikes – how could you not – they are just so cool. Everyone here has been so nice and lovely and it’s so different from the misconceptions people often have about the scene.”

Other attractions

As well as the eclectic mix of motorcycles on display, the venue also plays host to a number of stalls, including Joe King Helmets and The Great Frog jewellers. The on-site cinema will also be showing a number of carefully-selected films.

A new addition to this year's event is a motorcycle swap meet. Located on just metres from House of Vans, on Lower Marsh, this added extra gives visitors the chance to buy, sell or trade parts whilst attending. 

Have a browse for your next bike on MCN Bikes For Sale website.

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade