[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Taiwan International Motorcycle Show featured something new this year with its version of a custom show called the Custom Mega Bike Contest. We thought it was kind of a funny name for a custom bike show that mainly featured scooters, but it was certainly “mega” with three pages of entries and about $100,000 New Taiwan Dollars up for grabs! To be fair, there were some bikes entered, too, in a separate category. But the wildness was on full display in the custom scooter categories.
Taiwan is full of scooters, so it’s safe to say they’re more than a little passionate about them. One estimate we heard was there are 10 million scooters on the island that only has 20 million people! As a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk, you have to watch your back because a scooter rider will go wherever they want to and doesn’t care if you’re in a shopping district where you’d think the streets are closed off. Oh no, there’ll be a scooter up your backside in a Taipei minute if you don’t pay attention.
As a judge of this contest, we were asked to rank the bikes on a scale of 1-100, which seemed a little… perhaps, mega is the word! At one point during the judging there were a half dozen models on stage and someone with a microphone called us up to wave to the adoring fans and paparazzi. Talk about lost in translation! We’re more comfortable being behind the lens, but this time at least we had models to shield us from the snap crazy press, or whoever they were. It reminded us of watching one of those Japanese game shows, but then we had to get down to judging and to scrutinizing every nut and bolt.
There were some clever rides and some nicely thought out ones as well. In the end, we gave the highest marks to the Monkey Bike with the meticulously detailed CNC-machined billet aluminum frame. That was our favorite followed by a military-themed trail bike. Sadly, most of the motorcycles that were entered did nothing for us. There was an older Harley that looked like it hadn’t been ridden or cleaned in a number of years, and a couple of cafe racers too, which were pretty standard fare.
The winners were announced on Saturday at the end of the Taiwan International Motorcycle Show and it was the Devil Panther in first place, Skeleton In Flames for second place and the Military SYM in third place. The show was supposed to showcase made-in-Taiwan products and ingenuity, and we think it achieved this goal if we could tell exactly what the products were. Next time we’ll take off the sunglasses.