First of its kind: The Recidivist by Game Over Cycles

Cheyenne Bike - The Recidivist (11)

Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski

Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski

Whoever thought turbulence could spawn an artistic creation that is not only the first of it’s kind, but most likely the most influential piece of artwork in the motorcycle world? Airbrushing takes time and effort, creating an end product that is usually worth applause and appreciation. But the problem is, it’s just not authentic. When it comes to tattoos, we couldn’t possibly add the same weight to our stories with the stick-on type tattoos you buy in a vending machine. We save our pennies and grit our teeth to get the real deal, the body art that we can brag took hours of pain to accomplish. This makes for a much better and more powerful story. This is how the Cheyenne bike, The Recidivist, the world’s first tattooed custom motorcycle, was born.

The Twin Cam 96'' engine is mostly stock, except for the fine exterior details, which have been customized by Game Over Cycles. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski

The Twin Cam 96” engine is mostly stock, except for the fine exterior details, which have been customized by Game Over Cycles. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski

The Inspiration

Inspired by art of tattoos, the Recidivist is a motorcycle that is unique in that the tattoo art was not created with a typical airbrush, but rather tattooed directly to light-colored, cowhide leather, similar to the color of human skin. This skin was then branded directly onto the bike’s tires, tank, seat, rear fender, lamp and other smaller elements. Kult Motor DRP produced the leather itself and the leather was specifically tested with a process of special impregnation that would work well for the tattooing.

Stanislaw Myskowski, the founder of Game Over Cycles or GOC, is the originator of The Recidivist Project. He joined ranks with world famous brand, Cheyenne Professional Tattoo Equipment, to create the epitome of artistic visions on two wheels. Cheyenne would allow GOC to reach out to more people

Notice the reverse butterfly knife-levers? Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski, Model is  Miss Piggy

Notice the reverse butterfly knife-levers? Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski, Model is Miss Piggy

with the Recidivist project, as Cheyenne is one of the largest tattoo equipment brands in the world. Cheyenne also provided the inspiration to make the customized parts on the bike distinctive. “To emphasize the tattoo theme in the motorcycle, we used real Cheyenne tattoo machines and modified other parts to make them look like Cheyenne brand tattoo machines,” Stanislaw says.

By definition, a recidivist is a person who continues to commit crimes even after being caught and punished, i.e. a habitual criminal. This is where the story of this motorcycle’s ink begins. The designs come together in an artistic vision that references tattooed motorcyclists living a turbulent lifestyle in post war era America. They were active members of the community, yet their lives teetered on the edge of the law. All the

The front end was designed to resemble a Cheyenne tattoo machine. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski, Model is  Miss Piggy

The front end was designed to resemble a Cheyenne tattoo machine. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski, Model is Miss Piggy

tattoos on this motorcycle are based on a person who spent time in prison, but believed in having a strong character, freedom and individuality. “Of course we do not support or appreciate breaking the law at all,” Stanislaw says. “It’s an artists theme, which allowed us to implement all the visual and technical ideas we wanted to create in this machine.”

Stanislaw came up with the idea to create a motorcycle covered with real tattoos about ten years ago. “I have tattoos and I love motorcycles,” he says. “I consider them both 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 and the world of tattoos, to express their respective characteristics, not only in the construction, but also in aesthetics. 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.”

The Bike

Brass knuckle dusters make the Recidivist an ass kicker. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski, Model is  Miss Piggy

Brass knuckle dusters make the Recidivist an ass kicker. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski, Model is Miss Piggy

The constructors at GOC began the project with a stock Harley Davidson softtail motorcycle complete with a Twin Cam 96’’ engine. They chose an American-made bike because America is where the custom bike culture was born, thus enabling GOC to pay homage to where it all began.

After fabrication of custom parts by GOC constructors was complete, only the frame and the engine remained in their original condition. All other components were custom fabricated by GOC to include the following: 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 and front and rear lamps.

All parts fabricated by GOC were designed to resemble the traditional elements of tattoo machines, while remaining fully functional parts of the motorcycle. For example, if you take a look at the exhaust pipe, you’ll see it looks like a Cheyenne brand tattoo machine and when the bike is started up, the tattoo needles move like the tattoo needles of a real tattoo machine!

These firestone tires have more ink than I have. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski, Model is  Kinga Majchrowska

These firestone tires have more ink than I have. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski, Model is Kinga Majchrowska

To conjure your inner demolitionist, you can also use what appears to be a bomb detonator lever to start the bike. And if you’ve ever been a bar brawl, you’ll recognize that the rear light indicators look like brass knuckle dusters and the front brake calipers will remind you of handcuffs. At your fingertips, you’ll notice the front clutch and brake handles are formed in the shape of butterfly knives, in the reverse form and the brake pump lever is shaped like a section sign.

And if you love old school style, the bike is equipped with a traditional suicide shifter, where the rider has to remove one hand from the handlebar to switch gears.

The Twin Cam 96’’ engine is relatively untouched with the exception of the engine covers, engine barrels, clutch cover and air filter; which were all made by GOC. Connecting chassis to pavement are tattooed Firestone tires.

The detail in the seat alone could have you staring a lot longer than would be polite. Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski

The detail in the seat alone could have you staring a lot longer than would be polite.
Photo by Tomasz Pulsakowski

The Tattoos and the Artists who Inked Them

The retro-style of the bike’s tattoos were inspired by and rooted in the motorcycle community; some are fact, some are fiction. The placement of tattoos was planned from the beginning and none of the tattoos are random. The ink on this motorcycle covers the entire spectrum of the Recidivist’s lifetime to include arrest warrants, guns, cigar, shattered bottle of Vodka, knives, razors and scenes from the times of prohibition. On the headlamp of the motorcycle, a moth is tattooed as “it is always attracted to light.”

Cheyenne Bike - The Recidivist (29) - Premiere in LondonAdditionally, if you glance at the bike’s front end, you’ll notice a story is displayed in chronological order on the motorcycle’s front wheel – first a bank robbery, then the arrest, then the police putting the perpetrator behind bars, then a visit from a loved one, then the escape attempt and so on, with the only visible color being the card elements on the wheels. You can also find tattoos on parts that aren’t immediately visible such as inside or at the bottom of the motorcycle’s components or the internal sides of the cut-in-half fuel tank.

Cheyenne Bike - The Recidivist (22)Two artists from Polish tattoo studios did the Recidivist’s tattoos: Tomasz Lech from The Individuum and Krzysztof Królak from Steel Will Tattoo Factory.

“The decisive issue for selecting those two artists was the fact that I knew them personally and I knew their creative possibilities, which allowed me to place my trust and confidence in them,” Stanislaw says. He also mentioned that another advantage of having Krzysztof and Tomasz participate in the Recidivist project was that they both run their own studios in the same city located a short distance from GOC. “Because the bike was built and tattooed at the same time, it was very important to have frequent consultations and transport of respective elements,” he says.

Most of the tattoos are black and grey with the 'card' elements being color.

Most of the tattoos are black and grey with the ‘card’ elements being color.

The tattooing took place during the last two months of construction, with the final tattoo being completed at the bike’s unveiling at the London Tattoo Convention 2014. Both artists put many hours in the Recidivist’s tattoos, with the final tattoo consuming nearly 40 hours of their time.

Construction of the Recidivist motorcycle took approximately five months and was unveiled to the world on September 27, 2014 at the London International Tattoo Convention. Since then, the bike has won the “Best Paint/Airbrush” award at Custombike-Show in Germany in December 2014.

Cheyenne Bike - The Recidivist (24)You’ll most likely see GOC and the Recidivist at shows and competitions in the future, specifically the Polish Championships in April 2015 in Poznan, Poland. If you love motorcycles and you love ink, the Recidivist is a must-see.

About Game Over Cycles

Game Over Cycles is a Polish company that has been creating custom motorcycles since 2012. Before the Cheyenne Bike The Recidivist, the company was most renowned for creating the Behemoth Bike. This bike is a custom motorcycle inspired by and developed in collaboration with the global Polish icon of metal music, Behemoth, particularly the band’s leader, Adam “Nergal” Darski.

 

Cheyenne Bike - The Recidivist (30) - Premiere in London

 

Schuberth’s New C3 Pro Helmet is Tattoo Inspired!

This is Alice showing off her back tattoo which is identical to the helmet design, already preselected before Schuberth knew Alice existed. It was meant to be.

This is Alice showing off her back tattoo which is identical to the helmet design, already preselected before Schuberth knew Alice existed. It was meant to be.

Schuberth released a women’s specific motorcycle helmet recently that is designed to properly fit to a woman’s head. It’s the first of it’s a kind, so it makes sense why Shuberth would set off an ad campaign that would not grab the attention of not just women riders, but anyone who’d stop to admire a beautiful, tattooed model.

The woman featured in these photos does know how to ride a motorcycle and her name is Alice. She is from the Harz region in Germany, which is close to Schuberth’s factory in Magdeburg. This location is a renowned motorcycling and bicycling destination. I couldn’t find out much more about who took the photos, what kind of bike she rides or who did the tattoo, but what caught my eye was how the tattoo so closely resembled the helmet’s Euphoria graphic.

“They were looking for a woman for a big photo shoot involving several motorcycles. They wanted someone beautiful and classy and also strong looking,” says Shuberth’s Media Representative, Sarah Schilke. “The C3 Pro Women Euphoria graphic was already slated for production when they started the casting and someone happened to notice on one of the set cards that Alice had a tattoo that resembled the graphic. This was exactly the moment when Schuberth’s Marketing department made the decision to put her into a campaign for the helmet.”

Schuberth is the only company to offer a motorcycle helmet specifically tailored to fit a woman’s facial structure, as their engineers found third party research indicating that women typically have a narrower jaw and higher, more prominent cheekbones. “We re-contoured the helmet’s interior to accommodate this for both enhanced safety and comfort,” Sarah says.

Schuberth has been making motorcycle helmets since the early 1920’s and they continue to keep the other manufacturers on their toes with improving innovation. To find out more about Schuberth helmets, click here.

You’d be right to visit Lefty’s Tattoo

IMG_1462Tattoo Shop: Lefty’s Tattoo

Owned by: Jason Martin

Address: 467 N. Tustin St., Orange, CA 92867

Phone: 714/997-4882

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Artists on staff: Jason Martin, Myke Rivera, JayDawg, Josh, Jeremy, Ryan, Nhan and Chris

Shop hourly rate: $150 per hour

All artwork on the walls has been done by artists who work at Lefty's Tattoo

All artwork on the walls has been done by artists who work at Lefty’s Tattoo

Since I had heard about Lefty’s from so many different friends in Orange County, I just had to check it out. Lefty’s Tattoo is a small, modest tattoo shop located close to the beach on the south end of Orange County. Owned by tattoo artist Jason Martin, the shop opened in 1998 at a location just across from where they are now, but with heavy overhead threatening to take Jason out of the game, he moved the shop to the 467 Tustin St. address.

Lefty’s tattoo got it’s name literally from Jason’s and Myke’s left hands, as most of their clients would say, “Oh look at that, you’re both leftys.” Although left handed tattoo artists are far and few between, Jason insists being left handed has had no affect on his learning curve and his work proves this fact.

Josh busy on a leg piece.

Josh busy on a leg piece.

All the artists who work at Lefty’s are not necessarily left handed, but they have pretty much started their careers there and even Lefty’s most fledging artist is a four-year tattooing veteran. Jason isn’t the type to be showy and unlike others who’d turn themselves into a brand to get as big as possible, he just wants the shop to remain small so he can spend time with his family and so his clients can continue to enjoy a cozy, familiar environment.

A plethora of books show the amount of work each artist has done during their tenure with Lefty's

A plethora of books show the amount of work each artist has done during their tenure with Lefty’s

Not too many celebrities frequent Lefty’s tattoo, but make no mistake, the people who return are more than willing to spend the dimes it takes to get quality work done by all artists in the shop. The artists at Lefty’s all are capable of doing different types of tattoos, but Jason specializes in realistic artwork such as portraits of people and animals. Although Jason has been determined to remain as humble as possible, his work and artist JayDawg’s work have been featured in magazines such as Tattoo and Skin Art.

Jason and his artists are currently booked solid for pretty much the rest of the year, but they do hold promotions in the mean time and you never know, there could be a cancelation. Don’t be afraid to stop by and check out this amazingly clean and inviting shop. Based on what I saw and Lefty’s five-star Yelp rating, I’d say the work is well worth the wait.

Visit Lefty’s Facebook page to see examples of their work.

IMG_1446

Jason Martin, owner of Lefty's Tattoo

Jason Martin, owner of Lefty’s Tattoo

About Jason:

Jason’s body is roughly 75 percent covered in tattoos and he gleaned his first tattoo at the tender yet unlimited age of 13 years old. An army brat living in Germany, Jason would hike up his T-shirt sleeves so everyone could see the tattoo of the Iron Cross, which is still visible on his arm. Jason says at least ten friends and artists have touched needles to his skin since then, making him pretty much a living, walking collage of history. His favorite tattoo is one of his pit bull on his neck and his second favorite is that of a 1941 Ford classic car on his inner, right arm, that he got when he was 20. “It was my dream car,” he laughs. “I ended up getting it, and then I had to build it because I had the tattoo.”

Both Jason and JayDawg are motorcycle lovers, with Jason owning a Harley Deluxe and JayDawg being a fan of street bikes. Since Jason’s hit-and-run accident last year though, his family is pressing him to sell the bike and he might have to acquiesce for the sake of his obligations to the shop. Still, he happily regales his trips to Laughlin as if it were yesterday and I’m not quite sure the two wheeling gene will completely dissipate from his system any time soon.

Text and Photos by Rachael Maltbie