Michael Lichter’s “What’s The Skinny” Exhibit At The Sturgis Rally

The latest Motorcycles As Art show will feature dozens of light and lean machines

Michael Lichter's annual Motorcycles As Art exhibit at Sturgis
Michael Lichter’s annual Motorcycles As Art exhibit at Sturgis will feature customs rocking the skinny aesthetic.Courtesy Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Every year for the past eleven summers, Michael Lichter has presented his must-see Motorcycles As Art exhibit at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, and for 2019, we're in for another treat. The 2019 edition is called, What's the Skinny: Motorcycling Without The Fat and it'll feature the skinny custom aesthetic on full display in a stunning collection of masterpieces curated, as always, by Michael Lichter.

Dan Rognsvoog’s Peashooter
The What's The Skinny show will display a slew of sleek custom builds, like Dan Rognsvoog's Peashooter, all handpicked by Michael Lichter.Sturgis Buffalo Chip/Michael Lichter

You'll be able to catch a glimpse of the exhibit from Saturday, August 3, through Friday, August 9, 2019. Packing the gallery will be a one-time group of world-class customs built by industry leaders known for their light and lean creations. This is Lichter's Motorcycles As Art series' 11th year at the Chip, and you'll get to see the handiwork of a diverse group of more than 40 custom builders and artists handpicked by Lichter himself. It'll be wide open, as there are no rules restricting the type or size of tire, how much the primary can stick out, or maximum width for the fuel tank and handlebars, and the show will also include bikes with historic significance. The gallery-style exhibit will give guests an open view of the bikes from every angle, with each bike displayed atop an elevated pedestal and lit with theater lights.

So how did Lichter pick them? Each builder’s entry is based solely on past bikes they have built as well as their interest in the “skinny” aesthetic. Lichter says, “One thing I love about the re-emergence of skinny bikes as a style is looking at them from the back; straight on with their thin tires, clean lines, narrow primaries with exposed chains, and handlebars barely wider than their slim tanks. I’m excited to see what these builders are going to bring to the table this year.”

Most of the bikes on display will be built specifically for this show, which means it may be the first time they’ll be seen in public.You’ll undoubtedly witness some incredibly imaginative builds and spot some cool new engineering and the start of a trend or two.

Crowd of guests at the 2019 Motorcycles as Art exhibit.
Lichter's Motorcycles As Art exhibits tend to bring crowds of enthusiasts mixing with the usual industry suspects all there to gape at the wildly imaginative builds.Sturgis Buffalo Chip

The release goes on to state that “…each bike is individually lit and displayed atop elevated pedestals spread throughout the hall,” unlike many other shows where the goods are just lined up in a row or tucked into a shadowy corner. That means you’ll get an open view of the bikes from every angle; this is a real-deal gallery setting. There will also be two-dimensional artworks on display with pieces from premier pinstripe artists, including Ray Drea of Harley-Davidson.

The back of a skinny motorcycle bike at the Motorcycles As Art exhibit.
Lichter says he loves looking at skinny bikes from the back and taking in the thin tires, clean lines, and narrow primaries.Sturgis Buffalo Chip/Michael Lichter

The exhibition is free to the public at the Buffalo Chip’s Event Center 2 to 10 p.m., Saturday, August 3, through Friday, August 9, 2019.

The list of custom motorcycle builders and artists so far scheduled to present their skinny masterpieces at the 2019 Motorcycles As Art exhibit include:

Andrea Radaelli, Radikal Chopper - Milano, Italy
Arlen Ness, Arlen Ness Enterprises - Dublin, CA
Billy Lane, Choppers Inc. - Daytona Beach, FL
BMW North America
Brian Buttera, Buttera's Metal Werx - Lakeland, FL
Brian Klock, Klock Werks - Mitchell, SD
Chris Callen, Flat Broke Chops & Rods - Tarentum PA
Chris Tope - Richardson, TX
Cristian Sosa, Sosa Metalworks - Las Vegas, NV
Cole Rogers - Springboro, OH
Dakota Toomey - Southampton, NJ
Dalton Walker, Split Image Kustoms - Hanford, CA
Dan Rognsvoog, Cabana Dan's Creations - Franksville, WI
Dave Perewitz, Perewitz Cycle Fab - Halifax, MA
Dorin Racz Arpad - Câmpia Turzii, Romania
Freddie Arnold, Hickory Flat Hot Rods - Canton, GA

Hawke Lawshe, Vintage Technologies - Columbia Falls, MT
Jack Deagazio - East Syracuse, NY
Jay Donovan, BareSteel Design - Victoria, BC, Canada
Jesse Srpan, Raw Iron Choppers - Chardon, OH
Josh Sheehan - Minden, NV
Justin McNeely, Hooked on Speed - Jackson, MO
Ken Nagai, Ken's Factory - Nagoya, Japan
Kevin "Teach" Baas - Prior Lake, MN
Kyle Brewer, Paughco - Carson City, NV
Max Hazan, Hazan Motorworks - Los Angeles, CA
Michael LaFountain, Raccia Motorcycles, Santa Clarita, CA
Mike Lange - Big Bend, WI
Nick Beaulieu, Forever Two Wheels - Windham, ME
Nick Pensabene, Mad Pen Cycles - Edgewater, FL
Paul Brodie, Flashback Fab - Langley, BC, Canada
Paul Miller, PanicRev Customs - Calgary, AB, Canada
Paul Yaffe, Paul Yaffe Originals - Phoenix, AZ
Samuele Reali, Abnormal Cycles - Bernareggio, Italy
Takatoshi Suzuki, Seven Motorcycles - Sendai, Japan
Zach Ness, Arlen Ness Inc. - Dublin, CA