Motor Bike Expo: Biking Italian Style

Story by Marilyn Stemp
Photos compliments of Motographer Horst Rösler, Madness Photography/Onno Wieringa and by M. Stemp

It was five years ago that I first went to Motor Bike Expo (MBE) in Verona, Italy. I recall being astounded at the remarkable attendance, the enormous spectacle and the exuberant ambiance. Then, riders gushed with gusto into the venue, driven to learn what was new, anxious to see stunning custom bikes, and eager to share the time with other riders.

This time, in 2018, all of that remained, exploded times two! You can discuss all you like the reasons that European shows like MBE hold such massive interest: motorcycling as transportation, a broader POV, a more accepting culture for various brands. Whatever it is, the rest of the world needs to pay attention because they sure know how to make the most of motorcycling!

This year marked the 10th year of MBE in Verona, resulting in a fourth day added to the show and instigating several new features: a helmet painting contest, the Indoor Trial Italian Championships, and the King of Verona crowning – won by a custom called MAG 1919 from Abnormal Cycles in Milan. Custom Chrome Europe named Italian champs in their International Show Series – Rocket Bob’s Pete Pearson from the U.K. took top honors with a bike called Swamp Water. And top Euro magazine editors named winners in the Magazine Awards. With over 500 custom bikes on hand, it was a challenge for judges to narrow the field.

Speaking of customs, bobbers, choppers, old school builds, café racers and scramblers ruled the scene. Baggers? Not so much. Handcrafting was widely evident and imaginative details ran the gamut from engineering genius to frankly functional. American, United Kingdom and European builders were joined by those from as far as Asia and Africa.

The Veronafiere venue had eight packed halls and five outdoor pavilions, 700 exhibitors, swap meet, used bike sales, food and drink, stunt shows, a dozen OEMs, demo rides, hot rods, racing… all presented with fierce excitement and unchecked delight. Attendance was recorded at 167,000! Bald heads were airbrushed, pretty girls showed off bikes, and wine flowed.

First, look at the pictures we’ve collected for you here. Then make plans to be at Motor Bike Expo next January to experience a biking event unlike any you’ll find stateside.