Tattoo Inspired Moto Gear

From sprockets to skulls to filigree etched on jacket sleeves, it’s clear tattooed culture has finally inked is relevance in permanent fashion on this year’s moto gear.

You can find hints of the inked lifestyle just about everywhere now, but it can no longer be denied that tattooed culture has influenced the folks in those big marketing offices to the point where their ideas have been stenciled into the manufacturing presses and distributed like wild fire to the moto population. Take a look to see how tattoos and gear have finally made each other’s acquaintance while protecting the real tattoos underneath.

Speed and Strength
With their Wicked Garden and Moto Mercenary lines, SS Gear has figured out that just because some riders have tattoos, it doesn’t mean they have to risk their skin to show off ink.


Bell Artist Series Helmets

These three-quarter helmets boast pin striping and graphic art designs based on original old school concepts. These designs were inspired by the industry’s best custom painters and artists, including Roland Sands Design.


Ride Rich Clothing

You’ll love the shirts, sweaters, hoodies and bandanas from Ride Rich. Their swag encourages individualism just like tattoos encourage expression. Ride Rich clothing inspires people to ride for the love of it. It’s about riding apart from the crowd, being independent and displaying a passion for what you do no matter what the haters say. Ride because you love it. Be inked because you crave it. Be rich with what you have. Ride Rich.

Shoei Helmets

Check out the new Brigand TC-5 from Shoei. Just like the Phantasm design from the previous year, this design boasts a pirate skull with the detail and shading worthy of a tattoo artist’s applause. With this helmet, there’s a little Captain Jack in all of us.


Icon Airmada

Probably the most iconic of tattoo-inspired helmets, Icon is still the most creative when it comes to one-off helmet graphics. If you’re looking for a helmet that people will want to stare at, the Airmada has you covered, literally!


5th Gear Sprockets

Just like you can walk into a tattoo shop and request a specific tattoo design, so can you submit your design to 5th Gear and they will create a rear sprocket design that only you will have! Just ask Tony Carbajal!

Scorpion USA

Perhaps one of my favorite designs is the one used on the all new EXO410 Departed full-face street helmet. Complete with filigree and a full-size, intricately drawn monster girl, this is the epitome of tattoo inspired helmet art work.


Factory Effex Graphics

Who says your bike can’t be inked too? Factory Effex makes a full graphics kit from scratch resistant Ultracurve vinyl that features skulls with glowing eyes. There’s even ink bleeding back to the swingarm for a complete, finished look.


Biker’s Choice

Even the folks at the distributors know if you want people to order parts from you, you gotta have a killer ad campaign that is hard to look away from. So they enlisted alt models like Alloy Ash and others to put tattoos and pretty faces on the cover of every catalog nationwide.


A Country Girl with Moto Ink

She is so dedicated to her passion for riding, she tattooed carburetors on her chest. What's not to love?

She is so dedicated to her passion for riding, she tattooed carburetors on her chest. What’s not to love?

It takes a serious moto fan to tattoo Kevin Windham and Chad Reed on your body. In fact, Nanette Bailey did just that and her tattoos are based on photos she took while attending the races. “I love photography as much as I love riding,” says Nanette.

I found Nanette on Instagram doing my usual searches for anything moto and tattoo related. The first thing I noticed about her was that she was covered in ink – specifically moto-ink. It takes a serious enthusiast with a true dedication to the moto lifestyle to donate must of your skin to dirtbikes, helmets, chains and even carburetors that Nanette wears across her chest proudly.

Most of Nanette’s dirtbike tattoos were done by Jonny Crist at Mainstreet Studios in Ashland, OH. Jonny races dirtbikes himself and was the perfect artist to make Nanette’s dreams of MotoInk come to life. She also has other tattoos that were inked by Tina Sekanic in Cleveland and Jay Hess of Niagara Falls. The newest realistic tattoos of Kevin Windham and Chad Reed were done by Jonny.

Jonny tattooing Nanette, one dirtbike rider to another.

Jonny tattooing Nanette, one dirtbike rider to another.

Nanette has been riding all her life since she was five years old. She’s done some motocross racing, but mostly rides for the hell of it on her Honda CRF150R. And what better reason to ride is there? She likes to ride on the track and also on trails near where she lives in southern Ohio.

Curtis Northcutt’s Dirtbike Sleeve Tattoo

Curtis's dirtbike-inspried sleeve by Mike McMahon.

Curtis’s dirtbike-inspried sleeve by Mike McMahon.

Curtis Northcutt is a former AMA motocross racer who grew up racing dirt bikes. Riding has been his whole life for as long as he can remember. “That’s pretty much all I know,” he says. He loves motorcycles so much, he went to All or Nothing tattoo in Atlanta, Georgia, and had artist Mike McMahon create a dirtbike-inspired tattoo sleeve that would take Curtis back “to the good ole’ days.” If you look closely, you can see all kinds of dirtbike parts in the tattoo. The lining is near perfect and the color really pops.

Curtis back in his racing days. Photo by Bhenson Photos.

Curtis back in his racing days. Photo by Bhenson Photos.

From stunts to tattoo machines: What you might not know about Mike Metzger…

Mike with the former Vanilla Ice! Ice! Baby! Yeah!

Mike with the former Vanilla Ice! Ice! Baby! Yeah!

Mike working at an event.

Mike working at an event.

Mike Metzger is one of the Godfathers of freestyle motocross. He’s taken home X games gold, and set a world record performing a backflip mid-air over the fountains of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, becoming only one of two riders to successfully land “the impossible jump.” But there is more to Mike than crazy stunts, big air jumps and the crazy moto lifestyle. Mike is also an artist and a tattooist. He’s sold his paintings to buyers all over the globe and owns a tattoo shop called Mob Syndicate Tattoo Art Co. in Lake Elsinore, CA. He recently suffered a bad crash, but when has an injury ever held Mike back? We contacted Mike and he shared a little about himself and his art with us. Check it out.

MI: When did you first start painting?

MM: I have been drawing and painting since I was a kid. I took art classes in school and started airbrushing around the age of 13.

MI: What inspires your artwork?

Mike's daughter Michaela is learning to tattoo early. Future prodigy maybe?

Mike’s daughter Michaela is learning to tattoo early. Future prodigy maybe?

MM: I have always been inspired by cartoons, bright colors and bold lines. There are many artists whose art and style I enjoy. My most favorite is Robert Williams and Greg “CRAOLA” Simkins.

MI: What types of paint do you use?

MM: I use everything: Acrylic, oil, spray cans, watercolor and whatever is around to use that day.

MI: How many paintings have you sold and where have they gone?

Mike taking a time-out at the track to tattoo Breeann Poland, Manager of Team Vesrah Suzuki.

Mike taking a time-out at the track to tattoo Breeann Poland, Manager of Team Vesrah Suzuki.

MM: I have sold over a dozen paintings and have sent them around the world; mostly Australia because my moto fan base there is massive.

MI: What is it you love about art and riding?

MM: I love that they are two things I can do by myself. My art is bright, bold and loud usually.

MI: How did you learn tattooing?

MM: I have been tattooing for 18 years. I never apprenticed. I was self-taught. I learned by doing it and making mistakes. I just picked up a machine and tattooed myself. A week later, I was at a shop making money learning what not to do. But I don’t suggest learning this way. For someone who is interested in learning to tattoo, I suggest finding a real tattoo artist and apprenticing under them before you go messing someone’s skin up.

MI: How often do you tattoo?

Tattoo by Mike Metzger.

Tattoo by Mike Metzger.

MM: I tattoo quite a bit, sometimes at my shop in Lake Elsinore, CA. I also do conventions and travel with my tattoo equipment where ever I go.

MI: How many tattoos do you have?

MM: I have no idea. I will probably be covered one day. I have several tattoo pieces, some done by James Strickland, Rich Pineda, Mike Spazbo, Daniel Reese and Randy Janson, among others.

MI: Are you still riding, jumping or racing?

MM: I am healing up from a massive crash I had four months ago. I crushed my right femur, dislocated my right hip, suffered two broken ribs, a punctured lung and I tore my shoulder.

Photos from Mike’s personal Facebook page

Examples of Mike’s artwork

Our Good Friend Candy Garza.

Candy chillin’ in Daytona. You lucky girl!

Candy is a pretty cool chick. She’s one of those laid back, cool friends you can confide anything to. But she also likes surprises. We work together and on my 30th birthday, I came in a little late, thinking no one would notice. Low and behold my cubicle was stuffed with birthday goodies and decor so thick, I couldn’t even to my chair. But that’s Candy. Go big or go home, especially when it comes to celebrations.

Candy and Veronika at the MSF class

I just want to congrats to my girl for taking the MSF class and getting her motorcycle license. Up until now, she’s spent most of her time riding in the dirt or tearing up the dunes in her family’s Kawasaki Teryx. So maybe when she’s not spending time ‘The Bob’ as she affectionately calls her one-year-old son, we can finally go for a ride sometime?

Candy’s ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ Skull tattoo by Dan McNab.

Candy also has a pretty cool Dia de los Muertos skull on her upper arm. It’s a pretty awesome rendition of the classic old school style of tattoo mixed with brilliant new school color. The tattoo is by Dan McNab of Tattoo Gallery in Huntington Beach, CA. Why this tattoo? “I love sugar skulls!” she says. She’s got a full sleeve planned out and Dan is waiting with sketches. So if and when she decides to go back for more ink, we’re hoping to have a glimpse of the final work here.