“Oil In The Blood”: Gareth Maxwell Roberts’ Love Letter To Motorcycle Culture

Whilst Oil in the Blood provides a huge insight in the world of customised motorcycles and handbuilt models, the documentary also covers the people and the culture that underpins the entire scene.

Oil in the Blood

There’s no doubt about it; motorcycles have come an incredibly long way since 1885,when Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach built the first model in Germany. Labelled the Reitwagen (or riding car), this machine featured a 0.5 horsepower engine and a modest top speed of just 11 kilometres per hour.

When you compare this with today’s models (like Harley Davidson’s Milwaukee-Eight engine that boasts over 100 horsepower), you see how the engineering behind motorcycle has evolved over the course of the last 134 years.

We’re also living in the age of the custom motorcycle, which was the topic of a recent documentary called Oil in the Blood. We’ll explore this film further below, whilst asking about director Gareth Maxwell Roberts and his previous career.

Oil in the Blood – What’s it all About?

Whilst Oil in the Blood provides a huge insight in the world of customised motorcycles and handbuilt models, the documentary also covers the people and the culture that underpins the entire scene.

Speaking ahead of a special screening at The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Texas on April 13th, Maxwell Roberts also discussed how the customisation of old and classic motorcycles is becoming an incredible passion throughout the UK.

Robert’s own journey into the world of customised motorcycles began back in 2007, when he was searching the Internet for a classic bike that could be restored. However, he became interested in the rising trend for personalising old Honda CB750 and CB550 models, which at that time would have been out of fashion and largely unwanted.

This trend also emerged at a time when blogging and high-resolution imagery was prevalent online, creating the ideal channel through which to share the details of specific projects and inspire an entire generation of motorcycle enthusiasts.

This also created a global network of people who were customising old bikes and really indulging their creative passions, which stretched from Surrey in the UK to locations such as Finland and Alaska.

Is there Anything Else you Need to Know?

Prominent motorcycle brand Belstaff have sponsored the film, which is fitting given that Roberts bought his first ever jacket from the company after procuring an old vintage Vespa.

This was at the beginning of Gareth’s illustrious career, which has seen him found the Bike Shed club in London and built up a network of contacts that’s almost unrivalled in the industry.

The latter point is reflected by the cast featured in the Oil in the Blood Film, which included Max Hazan, Craig Rodsmith and Rough Craft’s Winston Yeh.

The film undoubtedly encapsulates Robert’s passion for motorcycling, and how a bike can be become an extension of a rider. It also explores the core reason why customised bikes are becoming so popular, as they can be tailored to suit the weight of a rider and their unique driving style.

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