What happens when you blend some of the best Speyside whiskeys in the world, an outspoken culinary master and a bespoke motorcycle builder? You get gross. Raw craftsmanship, This is. The online series, produced by the Balvenie distillery, highlights rare artisans in the United States who share their craft with an audience of nearly 40 million viewers since 2015. Producer of some of Speyside’s finest single malt Scotch whiskey, the famous spirits brand called on Anthony Bourdain, the author, television personality and celebrity chef to host the series.
Now in its third season, the show has explored a variety of trades, including shoemakers, typographers, whiskey distillers, and even a cutler who handles meteorites for cutlery. The latest episode debuts today, one that stars motorcycle builder Maxwell Hazan from Hazan Motorworks.
Max Hazan and Anthony Bourdain hit the road
Photo: Courtesy of Balvenie
Hazan produced 15 custom bikes during his career, ranging in cost from $ 30,000 to over $ 100,000, with high-end bikes taking over six months to build. Its unmistakably styled bikes feature vintage motors, hand-formed aluminum and, at least in one case, a blown-glass oil tank.
As the episode began filming in downtown Los Angeles, RobbReport.com had the chance to sit with Hazan and Bourdain in the Hazan Motorworks workshop. The 800-square-foot enclave, perched high above the Fashion District and beyond the vibrant chaos of fruit vendors and assorted textiles, is a gearhead’s paradise – a studio where bikes are both functional and formalities materialize in motorized sculptures like no other.
Antoine, why did you choose Max Hazan as the subject for this series?
Anthony Bourdain: She’s a remarkable person who makes extraordinary things by hand, in direct contrast to conventional wisdom and the expectation of what one should do with one’s life – it’s a romantic notion that I feel. attracted.
What was it like to ride a Hazan Motorworks motorcycle?
AB: We were in what is called Pinto Valley, and it was awesome. I’m a novice and he showed me how to do it given my limited skills, it was amazing.
Hazan Motorworks Supercharged Ironhead Ducati
Photo: Courtesy of Shaik Ridzwan
How are Max’s motorcycles different from others you’ve ridden throughout your life?
AB: Well, I think you just have to look at them to understand the work that goes into it, that each piece is made by hand, it shows at first glance. They ride like any bike I have ever experienced.
Is it their aesthetic that you find so convincing?
AB: Yes, but they are also fully functional. There are no superfluous design features on its bikes. Everything works, everything has a purpose. They are quite minimal and beautiful.
I can appreciate minimalism and maximalism. I tend to aspire to austerity. It is in a way the Japanese minimalist approach, a flower in a vase rather than an entire bouquet, beauty reduced to the essential. But I like something really extravagant and baroque sometimes too, it depends on my mood.
Max Hazan and Anthony Bourdain in Max’s studio sharing a glass of Balvenie whiskey
Photo: Courtesy of Balvenie
Max, what do you find so distinctive about your motorcycles?
Max Hazan: I was ready for that question, because I thought Anthony would ask me. On paper, there isn’t much of a difference. There are two wheels and a motor. But you don’t have to be a motorcycle enthusiast to love my bikes. Suppose someone walks by the parked motorcycle, they don’t need to know what kind of bike it is, but it does affect them. I think that’s the difference. It’s something that appeals to everyone, whether they understand the mechanics or not.
Does every bike have an owner before it is finished?
MH: Now it is. And that’s how I like to build bikes. It was a little scary at first when I was going to spend six months building something and didn’t know what was going to happen. So when I have a commissioned project, that’s fine, because I have a schedule to build it, and I always stick to the schedule. I treat it like I treat my old business [an interior design & contracting company in New York City]. I have to finish on time, I have to deliver and it should be.
Is there anyone else involved in the building process?
MH: I have part-time help coming in but it’s really difficult when you build a one-off creation to delegate the processes. I have tried and I usually end up with someone looking at me. It’s hard. If someone asked me to build an exact replica of an existing bike, I would have a team of three. We would finish it in a month. But there would be nothing unique about the bike. That’s why it’s starting from scratch every time.
It seems to be part of your creative force. You approach each bike with a fresh outlook, challenging your own artistic personality.
MH: I still think that maybe one day the well will run dry. What will happen when I can’t think of anything? But usually at some point in each project I have an idea for another. So far, I haven’t missed one.
Does each bike start on the drawing board?
MH: I usually start from an idea of an engine, a valuable engine that is a unique mechanical part. Usually the engine will dictate what I want to build around it and then I start to introduce it.
Hazan Motorworks Supercharged KTM Motorcycle Featured In Raw Craft Episode
Photo: Courtesy of Shaik Ridzwan
Where do you find your inspiration?
MH: I find that if you take care of the rest of your life, your health, your personal relationships, and you think with a clear mind, then it will come. I’ve always been obsessed with making things no matter what, I just loved building things from my imagination. I didn’t have a predetermined goal to become a motorcycle builder. I built a few motorized creations from bike parts in my dad’s garage when I was injured from an off-road driving accident and unable to work. I suddenly found myself making custom motorcycles.
How has your building process evolved over the years?
MH: I’m self-taught with all of this, I didn’t do my apprenticeship with anyone. Usually it’s all in my head unless it’s a precision part for an engine, so I’m going to write everything down because there is a control and, with the engine, there isn’t a lot of room to error, everything must be done perfectly.
When I first worked for myself, it was hard, because you don’t know when you’ve done enough; there is no reference for when the day begins or ends. So now I work ten hours a day and then I go home. I find that after ten hours productivity, like the efficiency of the brain, drops. You start to make mistakes and go down the wrong path.
Do you have a favorite bike that has been around the world? Or is it still to come?
MH: They’re all coming. I really like the process of building the bikes. A lot of people ask me if I am sad when they leave. Not really. I’m usually ready for the next one. I mean, I have a little attachment to everyone, but it all comes out for me during the creation process, and I can move on.
For more information or to place an order, contact Max Hazan at [email protected]