STURGIS, S.D., MAY 20—Lucky number 13 for the annual “Motorcycles as Art” exhibition at the Buffalo Chip during this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is titled “Ton Up! – Speed, Style and Café Racer Culture,” focusing on the origins and continued popularity of the café racer movement worldwide.

Co-curators Michael Lichter ( and Paul d’Orléans ( have assembled a comprehensive display of 32 machines from 12 makes and six decades—plus unpublished photography—from the original café racing scene in 1960s England to today. The exhibit will also include paintings by Triumph “resident artist” Conrad Leach, images from the Ace Café Collection, vintage leather “Rocker” jackets from the Lewis Leathers archive, the “One-Show” 21-helmet display of custom painted helmets, paintings by Andrea Chiaravalli and photography by Erick Runyon with other artists to be announced.

The more than 30 confirmed bikes for this exhibit include premium examples of ’50s/’60s café racers (Gold Star, Norvin, Triton, Dunstall, etc.) from Herb Harris (Harris Vincent Gallery), Yoshi Kosaka (Garage Co), Mark Mederski (National Motorcycle Museum), Gordon McCall (Quail Motorsports Gathering), plus Willie G Davidson’s #0001 1977 XLCR, as well as machines from Alain Bernard, Arlen Ness, Bryan Fuller, Brian Klock, David Edwards, David Zemla (Burly Brand), Dustin Kott, Giuseppe Carucci, Greg Hageman, Jason Michaels, Jay Hart, Jay LaRossa, Kevin Dunworth, Ray Drea (Harley-Davidson design director), Richard Varner (Champions Moto), Roland Sands, Shinya Kimura, Skeeter Todd, Steve “Brew Dude” Garn, Steve “Carpy” Carpenter, Thor Drake, Vincent Prat (Southsiders MC) and Zach Ness. Also included in the show are original and/or modified machines by BMW, BSA, Ducati, Honda, Harley-Davidson, Moto Guzzi, Norton, Rickman, Triumph, Vincent and Yamaha.

Each year, the “Motorcycles as Art” exhibition garners tremendous media coverage from around the globe, as well as the thousands of enthusiasts attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally each year. This year’s exhibition will get even more recognition as it will live on in the coffee-table book Ton Up – Speed, Style and Café Racer Culture, published by Motorbooks International. Michael Lichter will photograph all the motorcycles in his Sturgis studio for the book, which will also include the jackets, artwork and photographs from the exhibit. Paul d’Orléans’ is writing a comprehensive history of the café racer movement for the book that delves deep in the origins of speed-modified road bikes from the early 20th century to the “classic” period in England during the ’50s/’60s, through its various resurrections in the ’70s and ’80s, and especially, with the advent of Internet motorcycle blogs, TV shows, and café racer-specific magazines leading to the explosive popularity of the style in the 21st Century.

“Ton Up! – Speed, Style and Café Racer Culture” sponsors include GEICO Motorcycle, Handy Industries, Hot Leathers, Keyboard Motorcycle Shipping, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys and Spectro Performance Oils. The exhibition will be open August 3–9, 2013, is located next to the east gate of the Buffalo Chip and offers free admission to the public and Buffalo Chip guests.

The ‘Motorcycles as Art’ exhibitions are hosted each year by the legendary Buffalo Chip, this year celebrating its 32nd consecutive annual concert series that attracts the music industry’s hottest stars to their famed camping resort every August during Sturgis Bike Week. You don’t want to miss it!

-Press Release

Here’s a small sampling of past “Motorcycles as Art” exhibitions at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip:

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