God from the Machine, the Devil in the Details

For over 100 years, thrill-seeking individuals have found satisfaction in the motorcycle. The earliest models were made of wood and resembled bicycles more than the modern motorcycle. But with an increase in power and the addition of the internal combustion engine, this traditional bicycle style became obsolete and the motorcycle as we know it began to take shape. The first production models available to the public were manufactured in Munich by Hildebrand and Wolfmuller in 1894 and featured both an internal combustion engine and water-cooling system. These two components eventually helped make the motorcycle into the second most popular form of private transportation in the world.

It didn’t take long for the motorcycle to make it into wars, racetracks, and your dad’s garage… Which brings us to the present, where Australian custom shop Deus Ex Machina are busy recreating classic models and inventing new ones. Deus ex Machina (god from the machine) roared into Australia’s cultural consciousness in 2006, with some neatly customized motorcycles and the notion that “doing something is more fun than just owning something.” The Sydney based moto/surf/skate company has made a name for themselves customizing parts and rebuilding replica Harleys, Triumphs, Ducatis, and Yamahas from ground up.

The company has become a staple in the DIY custom motorcycle community. Their success has allowed them to open up a second shop/café in Indonesia and in their newest location, Venice Beach. Deus has used their multiple locations to their advantage, holding swap meets, where passionate gear-heads trade both parts and inspiration. But Deus doesn’t just stop at motorcycles; they also produce clothing, accessories, and posters, rounding out a complete circle of industrial art culture.

Their design is sleek and raw, their attitude laidback, and their business model simple: liberate the souls of stock motorcycles. The idea has its roots in the British café racer culture of the 1950s, but the aesthetic and engineering have moved on a lot since then. Deus ex Machina has mastered a craft 100 years in the making, and without a doubt,  Hildebrand and Wolfmuller would be happy that their craft has created such beauty and power. “We just don’t buy the notion that the coolest means the latest. Not when you can create something that’s timeless.”

You can learn more and see examples of Deus ex Machina’s work at their site: http://au.deuscustoms.com/

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