Paul Yaffe: Through the Years Motorcycle Retrospective
A retrospective exhibit celebrating legendary custom motorcycle builder Paul Yaffe’s storied career was on display at the Legends Pavilion for the duration of Arizona Bike Week 2017.Sponsored by Chuck Franklin Law, Yaffe Through the Years Through the Years Motorcycle Retrospective showcased 19 of the most spectacular bikes that Paul has created during his 26 years in the bike building and custom parts business. Tens of thousands of people cycled through throughout the week, taking in photos and testimonies and witnessing firsthand and up close the beauty and power of Paul Yaffe’s metal masterpieces.
“It all started with a love of motorcycles and a curiosity and desire to see what could be made of them,” says Paul. “I never would have guessed, when I first started experimenting in the mid eighties, that it would have led to where we are today.”An amazing collection of some of Paul’s most memorable custom creations was on display, featuring bikes from all around the country, including one of his take on an aluminum FXR from 1995. Nineteen motorcycles provided a visual representation of the evolution of Paul’s career, from choppers to baggers to pro-streets, including both Discovery bikes (Phantom and Suzy-Q), Whitey (the bike he gave his bride her first ride on) and the world-famous Prodigy.A longtime Hamster, Paul also helped organize and participated in the Seventh Annual Hamster’s Charity “Dry Heat Run,” which drew over a thousand riders and raised over twenty thousand dollars for children’s charity. Beginning at Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation, the ride stretched for 60 miles, winding through some of the most beautiful desert terrain Arizona has to offer, and culminating at Arizona Bike Week for a concert with Creedence Clearwater Revisited.But people were really taken with the Paul Yaffe Through The Years exhibit.“We did a smaller event as part of my birthday celebration late last year,” says Paul. “But we expanded the concept, added about twice as many bikes, more photos, artwork and memorabilia. Plus, it was really special to hold the event here in Phoenix, where I opened my first shop so many years ago.”That first shop was American Legend Motorcycle Co., which opened in 1991. Since then, Paul has enjoyed one of the most illustrious and influential careers in motorcycle designing and building. Today, Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation, together with Paul Yaffe Originals, is recognized as one of—if not the—preeminent custom bike building outfits.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.