Game Over Cycles Recidivist Tattooed Custom Motorcycle
To those who are into both custom motorcycles and tattoos, the ultimate confluence of those passions was unveiled September 27 at the London International Tattoo Convention.
It is the tattoo-covered custom bike built by Polish custom bike manufacturer Game Over Cycles (GOC) called “The Recidivist.” It was built in collaboration with German company Cheyenne Professional Tattoo Equipment and Dutch Zodiac Performance Products for Harley-Davidson
The uniqueness of the Cheyenne-branded bike lies in the fact that the bike’s entire construction is covered in tattooed light colored cow hide leather – similar to the color of human skin – branded directly onto the bike’s tires, tanks, seat, rear fender, lamp and many other smaller elements.
Two tattoo artists from Polish tattoo studios Individuum and Steel Will Tattoo-Factory applied traditional works of tattoo art onto the bike using the tools of world-famous brand Cheyenne Professional Tattoo Equipment.
Motorcycles and tattoos go together for many people; they both express their character and lifestyle – as well as their social attitude. The Cheyenne Bike as an artistic vision references those expressions and through its construction and decorations presents a story of a man with strong character – a person, who values individuality, personal expression and sense of freedom.
“The idea of creating a motorcycle covered with real tattoos came to me 10 years ago. I have tattoos and I love motorcycles, and I consider them both as a way to express my own feelings or character. In this project we wanted to create a motorcycle that would be a combination of the automotive world with the world of tattoos and express their respective characteristics, not only in the construction, but also in aesthetics,” said Stanislaw Myszkowski, founder of Game Over Cycles and originator of the project.
“We also wanted this machine to combine modernity with tradition. On one hand we built a motorcycle based on the most traditional motorcycle brand in the world, the Harley-Davidson – on the other we integrated the mechanisms of tattoo machines to become integral and fully functional elements of the motorcycle’s construction.”
Many elements of the bike’s design are inspired by the look and construction of tattoo instruments and operate similarly to how they move in a tattoo machine.
For example, the bike’s front suspension has the look of a traditional coil tattoo machine and the exhaust pipe looks exactly like a Cheyenne brand tattoo machine, including the tattooing needles which move exactly as they do when the tattoo machine applies ink under skin when the bike is started.
It can be seen in this YouTube video showing the process of construction.
Other design elements were inspired by the turbulent lifestyles of post-war bikers. The kick-start lever has a shape of a bomb detonator lever, the rear light indicators look like brass knuckle-dusters.
Front wheel caliper brakes have the appearance of handcuffs, while front clutch and brake handles are formed in the shape of “butterfly” knives. The bike represents the old school style of bike building: the front brake and clutch levers are made in the reverse form and construction includes the infamous “suicide shifter” – a mechanism in which the rider needs to remove one hand to change gears.
Construction of the Cheyenne Bike The Recidivist took five months. The bike is based on the Harley-Davidson Softail model, but from the original machine only the engine – a Twin Cam 96” – and part of frame are left. All other construction elements and mechanisms are original solutions created by constructors of Game Over Cycles.
Elements made by the GOC include:
– frame made of C-bars (modified from HD Softail the frame)
– rear swingarm made of C-bars
– front suspension with shock absorbers
– steering wheel with shift paddles and handles
– brake pump
– foot control
– rear wing
– fuel tank
– seat with mounting
– engine covers along with engine barrels
– air filter
– front and rear lamp
Tattoos covering the bike were done by Polish tattoo artists, Thomas Lech from Individuum Tattoo studio and Christopher Królak from Steel Will Tattoo Factory. The tattoos’ content relate to motifs decorating bodies of people inspired by and rooted in motorcycle communities.
By creating both fictional characters, as well references to real people and events, all of the visual motifs adorning the motorcycle tell the story of a man with a turbulent life. On the construction one can find tattooed arrest warrants, guns, cigar, shattered bottle of vodka, knives, razors, scenes from the times of prohibition.
Starting from a single element on the lamp, where a moth was deliberately tattooed as it is always attracted to light, to complex sequences of patterns forming a larger story the tattoos are strategically placed to convey a story. For example, one of these tales can be seen on the motorcycle’s front wheel, where a sequence of consecutive events is presented – first a bank robbery, then the police catching the perpetrator, putting him behind bars, a visit from a loved one, attempt of a escape from prison and so on.
Image coloring is maintained in the style of retro tattoos. The only clear motive of color are card elements on wheels. They are designed to separate the individual patterns and elements of story, so that they are more readable. The individual stories are also distinguished by floral arrangements tattooed in between them.
The tattoos are applied even on the parts which aren’t visible at the first sight – elements inside or at the bottom of motorcycle’s components, such as internal sides of cut-in-half fuel tank. The work time for tattoos to be completed took 250 hours.
Game Over Cycles is a Polish custom motorcycles manufacturer formed in 2012. Up until creation of the Cheyenne Bike The Recidivist, the company was best known for creating the Behemoth Bike, a custom motorcycle inspired by and created in collaboration with by the global Polish icon of metal music, Behemoth, particularly the band’s leader, Adam “Nergal” Darski.
Last year, the Behemoth Bike won two awards at the European Bike Week (EBW) held annually in Austria. In a Custom Bike Show contest organized at EBW 2013 by Harley-Davidson brand GOC, the machine took second place in the “Radical” category and won the prestigious audience award — “People’s Choice Award”.
At the 2012 edition of the European Bike Week, Game Over Cycles’ chopper was also awarded with “People’s Choice Award”.
European Bike Week is one the biggest motorcycle rallies in the world. There were 110,000 participants in 2012 according to organizers’ data, while as in 2013 year 100 000 participants and 75 000 motorcycles took part in the event.
For additional information, visit Game Over Cycles.