So here we are, standing at the finish line for 2016. And although we’re out of fuel, tired and more than a little dirty, there’s still one last thing to do. There’s one last thing before we pat this totally crazy year on the back and kick it to the curb, and that’s to give away one more of our exhaust-shaped stainless steel beauties, also known as a Pipeburn Bike of the Year award.

Now in its seventh year, the Pipeburn Bike of the Year Award has just one aim – to honour the world’s best bike builders and all their hard work. It’s important to remember that for every amazing custom bike that appears on our site, there’s someone out there who’s got the skinned knuckles, sore back and empty bank account to show for it. This is our way of giving a little back to the scene and saying thanks. As always, we’ve reviewed every single one of our 2016 bikes and reader comments, along with tallying Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest likes to get us a top 20. We then nut out a final ten bikes in the order we feel best portrays their creativity, build quality and all-round coolness. Here’s the results…

10. ‘Brass Rajah’ Royal Enfield 350 – Mid Life Cycles

In what can only be described as a late dash for the finish line, this 350 Classic was built by Charlie Hallam and the rest of the team at Melbourne’s Mid Life Cycles for an Australian Royal Enfield bike build-off held here in November. It just goes to show that perfection doesn’t always take time. With a design based on the brand’s Isle of Man racers from the 1930s and a look that could only be described as beautifully timeless, the bike is one of those rare builds that simply doesn’t have a single thing out of place, except maybe for the fact that we’re not riding it.


9. Twin Turbo BMW R100 – Boxer Metal

Position number nine is filled by a bike that proved to be one of the year’s earliest BOTY contenders. After a gold-winning performance at Portland’s The One Show, where it took home the prestigious BMW-sponsored ‘Motorrad Award’, were we lucky enough to snag the exclusive. The brainchild of Chris and Rebecca from California’s Boxer Metal, it’s probably the one bike in the list we’d most like to misbehave on. Tyre fry-up anyone? Just imagine that sound! Phwoar…


8. ‘77 Yamaha RD400 – MotoRelic

A classic ‘quite achiever’, this two-stroke from Virginia’s MotoRelic takes the ‘why the hell didn’t they build it like that the first time’ award for its combination of sporty looks, restrained styling and 70s two-stroke smoke nostalgia. Made by MotoRelic’s Sean Skinner for a friend, it racked up some big numbers in early August with its textbook demonstration of what can happen when there’s implicit trust between a builder and their customer.


7. ‘V05’ BMW R80RT – Vagabund

With an approach that reminded us ever so slightly of this year’s overall winner, Austria’s Vagabund seemingly came out of nowhere in early November with this, a (note the trend here) BMW R80RT with some real world-class craftsmanship and a bunch of cool creative ideas to match. But it was the bike’s simplicity that really had us weak at the knees. If we were giving out prizes for minimalism, you’d be looking at this year’s winner right now.


6. ‘Little Bastard’ Suzuki SV650 – Krautmotors

Delivering a twin blow with its innovative looks and jaw-dropping engineering, this was clearly one of Glemseck’s shining lights. Devised as a factory entry by Suzuki Germany, their masterstroke was to hand the keys of a rather innocuous SV650 to local custom meister, Rolf Reick of Krautmotors. The bike’s minimal bodywork is swappable, allowing it to transform from urban scrambler to sporty trackster at the pull of a split pin. And how cool is that through-the-tank air filter? Don’t get us started.


5. ‘AgoTT’ MV Agusta Brutale – Deus Ex Machina

There were plenty of punters who would have been more than happy to pronounce Australia’s Deus ex Machina and their many international incarnations a spent force. Largely responsible for much of the initial fervour in this new wave custom scene, it would be easy to write them off as has-beens. But to underestimate Michael ‘Woolie’ Woolaway and his bike building skills would be a grave error. And his late August reveal of what would have to be one of the nicest MVs we’ve ever seen proves the point perfectly. We couldn’t think of a more fitting Giacomo Agostini tribute if we tried.


4. Yamaha XV750 – Peters Dog Cycles


When it comes to trends in the custom scene, Yamaha Viragos seem to have a never-ending head of steam. Originally pioneered by the now legendary John Ryland and Greg Hageman, their ability to transform themselves into whatever they please is enough to give Optimus Prime a major hissy fit. Straight outta Lithuania, the Peters Dog Cycle’s boys Gediminas and Gytis put their minds to seeing where else the platform could go. And the results? Those David Bowie headlights saw one of the busiest days for the Pipeburn servers all year.


3. ‘78 Honda CX500 – BBCR Engineering

And now for the top three. It’s no exaggeration to say that we receive more Honda CXs submissions that almost any other bike, so you’ll understand that there’s a certain amount of fatigue that sets in. But wow, what a way to clean out the cobwebs. Another giant-killing contender from Eastern Europe, Maldova’s BBCR Engineering has proved that those who still dare to call the CX a ‘Plastic Maggot’ have got rotten flesh where their good taste receptors used to be. Congratulations to Andrei for a well-deserved third place.


2. ‘60 Triumph TR6 – The Gasbox

The proof of a truly great builder is their ability to outpace both our expectations and their own laurels. And from their 3rd place in the 2014 awards, Jesse Basset and the team from Ohio’s The Gasbox have done just that with an honest to goodness genius pre-unit Triumph restomod. It’s simplicity is undeniable, but the levels of polish and attention to detail should rightly see this bike arrested for assault with all those jaws hitting floors. We’re stoked to be able to call this incredible 1960 TR6 our 2016 second place winner.


1. ‘DA#4’ BMW RnineT – Diamond Atelier

If you’ve perused these Bike of the Year posts before, it will come as no surprise to you that a certain Maxwell Hazan from Los Angeles has had quite the run of number ones. In fact, for as long as we’ve been giving out trophies, he’s been winning ’em. To be honest, we were concerned that he would go and do it again in 2016, making the whole thing look rigged. Then Max sent word that his next big build wouldn’t be ready until early 2017. Enter Tom Konecny and Pablo Steigleder, Munich locals and the creative force behind Germany’s supremely talented Diamond Atelier. Without a word of a lie, we knew from the moment we laid eyes on this slammed racer that nothing short of a bike submission from the Gods of Custom Motorcycles themselves would keep them from the top spot. As you’ve probably already guessed, the Gods were a no show. And so we’re proud to announce that the winner of the 7th annual Pipeburn Bike of the Year Award is the ‘DA#4’ from Diamond Atelier.


We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us make this award, and Pipeburn itself, happen. Cheers to our writers Martin, Marlon and Ian. Hats off to Jackson, our coding and WordPress guru. Massive thanks to Paul McKinnon from Evolution Motorsports in Sydney who makes our trophies, and to Standard Motorcycle Co. for the trophy background photo. We’d also like to express our never-ending gratitude to all the builders who supported us in 2016 by letting us show their hard work to the world. And lastly but not leastly, to all the Pipeburn readers; without you guys we’d be nothing. Here’s to an even greater year for custom bikes in 2017. See you there.