Self-expression is a delicate intention. Social constraints often muffle the voice that would be our own, or remix it into something benignly acceptable. Sure we strive to make personal statements, but in truth, our boundaries are preset. We seek comfort in convention. Well, most of us do.
Rat bikes are a superb example of dismissed inhibition. To be dubbed such, a motorcycle must have about it an air of chaos. There are no rules (although cleaning is generally frowned upon). A rat bike does not merely reflect the singularity of its rider, though. It's a culmination of all the places it has been and the people who have donated to it. Each bike is a two-wheeled time capsule...a rolling museum.
Perhaps it's reverse snobbery, this blatant commotion. Or, a conscious choice to swim free from the pressure of trends. Certainly it's an art form -- eccentric, undulating and original. Here are a few rat bikes that stopped us in our tracks during Daytona Bike Week 1999.
For more articles on custom bikes and articles about how to customize and modify your motorcycle, see the Custom section of MotorcycleCruiser.com.