Old motorcycles are a pain in the ass. There are breakdowns, broken parts, missing parts, hot weather, cold hands, wet clothes, shit roads and shittier drivers. And bugs…the fucking bugs. But that’s the point, right?
Old motorcycles force you to go search for parts or find a solution with what you have. Breakdowns and bad weather leave you somewhere you never would have stopped otherwise. On an older motorcycle you aren’t just passing though the world, you’re part of it and that motorcycle becomes part of your story.
The guys at Cycle Zombies (CZ) get it. Their name came about because their passion lies with bringing old bikes back from the dead. As Scotty Stopnik says, “We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel but only make the wheels turn again.” CZ is built from family, a love of motorcycles and wrenching passed down from the patriarch, Big Scott, to his sons and nephew. “We learned to work with our hands, even if we didn’t like it. My dad always said we would learn a trade.” And it was Big Scott’s guidance that eventually got the boys “screwing around with old motorcycles,” says Scotty, (Big Scott’s son). And in an age where words like “retro” and “vintage” are abused, the Stopniks carry a fluid, effortless style in their bikes that is also prevalent in their surfing and skating.
For Chase Stopnik, the interest in the process of piecing together a bike is just as fulfilling as riding it. “You can look at the bike and it’s got its own stories to tell through not only the life that the parts had before you got them but the way you got them and everything. And you put them all together and then you make new stories with it.”
This past June, Stance sent Scotty and Chase to fly their Cycle Zombie flag in Europe, to visit the Kustom Kulture Forever show in Germany, and the Wheels and Waves event in Biarritz, France. Accompanied by longtime friend and revivalist Brian Bent (you should remember him from the first issue, unless you didn’t read it...), Eat Dust’s Keith Hioco and Rob Harmsen, and photographer Josie Perez, the group experienced the flourishing classic and custom motorcycle/car scene in Germany and France, while each adding their unique style and skills to the recipe.