Maxwell Hazan’s exquisite bespoke motorcycles

Painstakingly produced connoisseur pieces that fuse function and art

Hazan Harley-Davidson
Hazan Harley-Davidson

Means of transport? Or rolling work of art? The lines between the two are decidedly blurred in the case of the creations of 33-year-old New Yorker Maxwell Hazan, who, as well as having a degree in psychology and a sterling reputation as a designer, also has a passion for building delicious-looking, one-off motorcycles.

Ironically, it was a serious motorcycle accident that led Hazan to where he is today. After convalescing at home for three long months, he decided to fill his time by fitting an engine to a “beach cruiser” bicycle – and quickly discovered that he had a calling to make beautifully modelled and painstakingly produced motorcycles for the connoisseur.

As a result, Hazan Motors was established in Brooklyn, New York, in 2012. It moved to Los Angeles in early 2014 and has since produced machines at the decidedly hand-built rate of around two per year.

Hazan works by starting with an attractive-looking engine, around which he develops the overall look of the machine. His third build was inspired by a photograph of a Royal Enfield Bullet, which his sister had rented in India. The Bullet has been in continuous production for longer than any other motorcycle and its single-cylinder engine has come to be regarded as a supreme example of form and function.

Having chosen the engine, Hazan set to work crafting everything else, from the beautifully designed, swing-arm trellis, with its underslung shock absorber to the classic “springer” fork and drilled, lightweight front-wheel hub.

The slim, elegant, dual-fill fuel tank he beat out by hand; the snaking, high-rise exhaust he bent from a single length of piping; and the smooth, softly contoured seat he carved from a solid lump of wood, enhancing it with the sort of high-gloss finish more usually seen on a Riva speedboat.

The result is a Royal Enfield (CHF115,000, about £75,340, second picture) unlike any other: long, lean and spare with a natural patina that puts it in another era, yet with an attention to mechanical detail that makes it entirely practical for the 21st century.

More complex is the machine Hazan built around a 1981, 1000cc Harley Davidson “ironhead” engine, conspicuously fitted with twin carburettors breathing through highly polished “bell mouth” air intakes and featuring Hazan’s own front-suspension design – topped with a salvaged tractor light (about £75,340, first picture).

The fuel tank is long, narrow and tapered, almost like a component from a Zeppelin airship. It flows into a minimalist, sprung seat, which rides low above the large-diameter rear wheel. Add to that a hand-change gearbox, flat handlebars and straight-through exhausts and the result is undeniably a work of art.

Unlike a Picasso or a Monet, however, it’s one that just begs to be ridden…

Hazan Royal Enfield
Hazan Royal Enfield

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