The Recidivist

The world's first tattooed motorcycle.

THE Recidivist is a machine inspired by the art of permanent body adornment. Motorbikes are commonly adorned with tattoo motifs using an airbrush, however the uniqueness of The Recidivist lies in the fact that the bike’s entire construction is covered in tattooed skin branded directly onto the bike’s tyres, tanks, seat, rear fender, lamp and many other smaller elements. Light coloured cow hide leather—similar to the colour of human skin—is engineered onto the bike. Artists from Polish tattoo studios applied traditional works of tattoo art onto the bike using. All of that makes The Recidivist world’s first tattooed motorcycle.

The worlds of motorbikes and tattoos have long been kindred spirits. The theme of the The Recidivist relates to this traditional relationship. Bikers used to tattoo for personal reasons—to express their character and lifestyle—as well as their social attitude. The Recidivist as an artistic vision references those traditions and through its construction and decorations presents a story of a man with strong character—a person, who values individuality, personal expression and sense of freedom.

References to the traditions are expressed not only in bike’s theme, but also in its construction. The motorcycle’s construction include elements that draw from the look of tattoo machines. All of these parts are fully operational elements of bike’s construction, and the mechanisms of these elements operate in the same way as they do in the original tattoo machines:

The bike’s front suspension has the look of a traditional coil tattoo machine.

The exhaust pipe looks exactly like a modern tattoo machine, including the tattooing needles which when you start the bike move exactly as they do when the tattoo machine applies ink under skin.

The machine’s design is based on a number of technical solutions drawing from the turbulent lifestyles of post-war bikers. The lever starting the bike has a shape of a bomb detonator lever. The rear light indicators look like brass knuckle-dusters. The front wheel caliper brakes have the appearance of handcuffs. The front clutch and brake handles are formed in the shape of ‘butterfly’ knives. The break pump lever is shaped in the form of a section sign.

The bike is based on the Harley-Davidson Softail model. Its unveiling took place at the London International Tattoo Convention, the most prestigious body adornment convention in the world.

The sidecar is fully tattooed, both outside and inside. Sidecar tattoos relate to motifs present on the bike, but as it is with tattoos on a human body, with time they change together with the person they are tattooed on. Given elements get bigger, change colours, shapes and meanings. That is why on the sidecar there are tattoos paralleled with the ones on the motorcycle, such as the themes or handcuffs, but it also includes new motifs in the form of relations to the abstract art of HR Giger and Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński, as well as inspirations taken form the real life, such as selected images from the history of Harley-Davidson company.

Construction of the motorcycle and sidecar took 3000 hours. Tattooing of the bike and sidecar took more than 2500 hours.

Game Over Cycles is the official dealer of legendary motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson. It is the biggest Harley-Davidson dealership in Poland and Central-Eastern Europe.

Machines created by Game Over Cycles have won awards at some of the world’s biggest custom bike competitions. In just four years, the company received eight awards at European Bike Week, having won the prestigious People’s Choice Award no less than four times. European Bike Week is Europe’s largest open and free bike festival and one of the biggest in the world. The event has been organised annually in the Austrian village of Faaker-See and according to the organisers, the event sees an attendance of more than 120,000 visitors and 70,000 bikes from around the world each year.

The Recidivist current awards:

  • Best Paint/Airbrush at Custombike-Show, the world’s biggest trade fair for modified bikes (Bad Salzuflen, Germany).
  • Best Painting at Custom Bikes Championships (Wrocław, Poland).
  • Bike of The Year, Chopper Magazine (Wrocław, Poland).
  • Three awards at Custom Festival, Polish Custom Bikes Championship: 1st place in Best Paint; 3rd place in Free Style; Best Bike of the Show from Custom Chrome Europe.
  • Two awards at European Bike Week, Europe’s biggest bike rally (Faaker-See, Austria): 1st place in the Custom category; People’s Choice Award.

Bike photos: Tomasz Pulsakowski. Sidecar photos: Patryk Ogorzałek/POGO Images).

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