Why you should care
Because hot ideas for cold steel are the name of the badassed motorcycle game.
Somewhere — maybe deeply hidden, maybe not so deeply hidden for some — there’s a place where the elementally unbridled appeals to the unbridled in you. And while what it is might in general be formless and frameless, as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once famously said when trying to describe pornography, you’ll “know it when you see it.”
So it goes with Stanislaw Myszkowski’s Game Over Cycles, or GOC. Based in the relatively quiet town of about 13,000 in southeast Poland called Lubaczów, closer to the Ukraine than anyplace else, GOC is precisely the kind of thing you’d expect to pop up in a place where no one is really paying attention. Mostly because in places like this, it’s probably almost certain that because no one is caring what you do, you can do anything.
The anything in this instance? Making and modifying some of the craziest-looking motorcycles and choppers (and cars, if you insist) around. A task made significantly harder because of TV shows like American Chopper, which ran for a decade on cable here in the States, and American Muscle Car, both having been busy schooling most people on the outer parameters of what “crazy” could be in the context of two- or four-wheeled vehicles. Which is why Myszkowski upped the ante and brought in a tattoo artist.
Steel, chrome, smoking rubber, cutting torches, sculpted steel and the mechanics to make it all happen, but a tattoo artist? “He tattoos the leather,” Myszkowski says, and then you notice the apex of custom craziness as the spidery green and black lines spread out over the tanned leather coating one of GOC’s creations, the Cheyenne Recidivist. So it goes since 2012, when Myszkowski and a bunch of friends, artists and motorcycle junkies decided to go all in on what had previously been “just” an obsession.
The toughest part of actually making bikes like these work is the real hardcore engineering that keeps the operators from killing themselves.
Race car fabricator Greg Davis
“We’re building custom machines, process production models, manufacture parts, sell those parts — and we have been,” says Myszkowski, calling bullshit on the whole “just” part of it. But in the circles of people who give a rat’s ass about these types of motorcycles, choppers and hot rods? Well, 14 awards in Poland, as well as worldwide notice in South America, the Middle East, Australia and Vietnam, might make it a bit easier in figuring out why.
That and the fact that some of these things retail for well over $100,000, and not only are heavy metal bands buying in — the bike GOC designed for the leader of Polish heavy metal band Behemoth is just that — but the company is debuting some of its gnarlier creations at metal festivals, and doing it well enough to still be in business. “The toughest part of actually making bikes like these work,” says race car fabricator and former owner of X-Fab custom shop Greg Davis, “is the real hardcore engineering that keeps the operators from killing themselves.”
“We’d be bad business people if we killed our customers,” Myszkowski laughs. And when you see GOC’s drag racers hit the track — not just the show models, but the real roadworthy speed machines — you get that same visceral cool shit thrill. Even if traditional motorcycle fans sniff about these “hunks of junk,” it’s really less about treating the motorcycle traditionally and much more about re-creating it like artists do when making art.
“Beauty is always going to be in the eye of the beholder,” says San Francisco Bay Area custom car creator Bill Pappas, “and not everybody likes Picasso. But judging these things on merits, I’m going to have to vote for badass.”