Blackbridge Motorcycles — A Pioneer of Beijing's Custom Scene
A Partnership Between Neocha & MAEKAN
Photos & Video by Jia Li
Photos & Video by Jia Li
As one of our highly anticipated developments of 2018, we’re excited to present an ongoing series of stories in partnership with Neocha, a fellow Asia-based creative publication. The diverse region is full of rich stories that Neocha has been bringing to its multilingual audience through words, images and video since 2006.
In this first story, we take a look at Blackbridge Motorcycles, the brainchild of Adrien Macera, longtime Beijing resident and trailblazer of the Chinese capital’s custom bike scene. Enjoy the video below (right click, “show controls” for audio) and the images to follow.
Blackbridge Motorcycles is the custom motorcycle workshop of Adrien Macera which focuses on racing and building bespoke motorcycles for China’s budding scene. Named after the artist colony of Blackbridge on the outskirts of Beijing, the shop is a real wonderland for motorcycle aficionados. Every detail is a reflection of Adrien’s passions and interests.
Born in Egypt and raised in Italy and France, Adrien considers Beijing his home of the past 20 years. After art school in Beijing, Adrien had a number of office jobs before his interest in motorcycles took over. Four years ago he started his private workshop in the Blackbridge area, a self-sufficient creative community where spaces like the shop can exist.
I've been here 20 years. When I arrived, there were no private cars. There were no cars, so there were no motorcycles.
Motorcycles have a bad rep in China, or let's say had a bad rep. Older people will think it's for gangsters or bad guys. Or it's for countryside people.
His dogs and pet pig roam the grounds where racing bikes, vintage bikes, and custom builds are worked on by his three-person team. Besides crafting custom builds, Adrien also leads track races in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, and in Zhuhai, Guangdong for his friends and customers.
“If you really like motorcycles and it is going to be your form of transportation, you’re going to want to have more than one,” Adrien says, “which is OK, because they don’t get jealous of each other. You can have different motorcycles for different purposes.”
China is quickly catching up to the global trend of more and more custom shops. “In Beijing, I know 200, maybe 300, people who spend a lot of time customizing and building their motorcycles,” he says.
These days, motorcycles are still considered dangerous and somewhat unsavory in public opinion, but that is an attitude which is shifting as more and more people are influenced by BMW and Harley culture seeing it as a sign of wealth. While custom builds can take years and become very expensive, Adrien says some of his favorite bikes are passion projects that are more about taste and self-expression than luxury.
It's a very challenging industry. It's five or six different professions into one object, one product.
— Adrien, on the intricacies of custom motorcycles