El Diablo Run 2019

Custom motorcycles invade San Felipe, Mexico, for the biennial EDR

“Warlord” Shovelhead chopper by Andy Miller and Highwayman Co. parked among the bikes at Kiki’s.
The “Warlord” Shovelhead chopper by Andy Miller and Highwayman Co. parked among the bikes at Kiki’s.Morgan Gales

The El Diablo Run is one of the last true biker parties. Starting from wherever you want and ending in San Felipe, Mexico, the event was developed for older, custom, and hand-built motorcycles, but anything is welcome. There isn't really an organized ride; everyone just groups up and makes their own. All you need to do is show up in San Felipe with a good attitude, ready to party.

Bikers on the beach and vendors selling hats, sunglasses, and chicharrones.
Bikers on the beach and vendors selling hats, sunglasses, and chicharrones.Morgan Gales

The weekend's hub is a campground called Kiki's, located right on the Sea of Cortez. About a dozen suspended huts are available on a first-come-first-served basis, allowing attendees to set up their tents and hammocks above the parked bikes and festivities below. Live bands played while riders drank, danced, and socialized around the bar and down by the beach. A wide range of bikes covered the parking area at the center of Kiki's, mainly Harleys and choppers but lots of weirdo bikes and metric stuff as well—even a couple of modern touring bikes like Gold Wings and Chieftains.

The motorcycles parked at Kiki’s lined up all the way to the sand.
The motorcycles parked at Kiki’s lined up all the way to the sand.Morgan Gales

Across the street from the campground is a large dirt lot that housed the Circle of Death, a makeshift flat-track-style course that hosted races among all sorts of bikes you’d never expect to see racing on the dirt—the rigid class was our favorite. Yard games happened here as well, such as slow races and the balance beam, always a crowd pleaser and a good way to break up the day if you get tired of sitting on the beach drinking (strangely, I never did).

Passengers take the reins while the bike’s owner sits on the back.
One of the slow races during Saturday’s yard games had the passengers taking the reins while the bike’s owner sat on the back.Morgan Gales

Sunday was the big bike show located along the town's main strip, also known as the Malécon. Choppers Magazine ran the show so—you guessed it—it was mainly choppers, but there was a good range of diversity among them. No trailer queens were allowed in the show; everything entered had to be ridden down there. So while there were a couple of Panheads and Knucks, mainly it was Shovelheads, Sportsters, and a few XS650s. There was even one Sportster chop with a recliner as the seat, lovingly named the "Sofa King Chopper."

Ducati chopper whipping around the Circle of Death.
A killer little Ducati chopper whipping around the Circle of Death.Morgan Gales

The really amazing part of EDR is that everyone actually rides there. There are a few chase vehicles, but the question is almost always “What did you ride?” not “Did you ride?” and if your bike breaks, that’s on you to fix it or figure out how to get it home.

El Diablo Run occurs once every two years, so if you missed this one, you're gonna have to wait a while for the next go-round, but we promise it's worth it. Check out the official El DIablo Run page here.

Danger Dan racing the Circle of Death on his Shovelhead.
Danger Dan racing the Circle of Death in the rigid class on his Shovelhead.Morgan Gales
Dyna versus Bonnie on the Circle of Death.
Dyna versus Bonnie on the Circle of Death.Morgan Gales
Shovelhead choppers lined up at the bike show on the Malécon.
Pretty Shovelhead choppers lined up at the bike show on the Malécon.Morgan Gales
Panhead chopper displayed at the Choppers Mag bike show.
A nice clean Panhead chopper displayed at the Choppers Mag bike show.Morgan Gales
Shovelhead chopper with three-color flames.
One of our favorites from the weekend, a tight Shovelhead chopper with well done three-color flames.Morgan Gales
Riding on an original Denver’s chopper.
An original Denver’s chopper ridden all the way down from Southern California.Morgan Gales
Bike loaded up with luggage and fuel reserves.
Most bikes were loaded up with luggage and fuel reserves—that last stretch of desert is long!Morgan Gales
Couch seat on the Sofa King Chopper was sacrificed to be used as a stand.
When a bike needed a new belt, the couch seat on the Sofa King Chopper was sacrificed to be used as a stand.Morgan Gales