Thursday, June 13, 2013

DAILY INSPIRATION: Q&A With Max Hazan and His 1996 Royal Enfield Bullet 500

In design school we were encouraged to not evaluate our work based on the other students in the class, or even the school, but to evaluate our work against all designers. With online portfolio hosting sites like Coroflot popping up this was now a very real and tangible goal. It was about setting the bar higher and pushing yourself to do better then you thought possible. Zig Zigler once said,  
 "A goal properly set is halfway reached."
It's easy for us to get immersed in our immediate surroundings, setting the bar at "best-in-class" and losing site of our initial goal. Then every once in a while something, or someone, comes along and causes us to recalibrate what we held highest; adding another wrung to the ladder. It's the feeling I got when I first laid eyes on the work of Shinya Kimura, and it's the feeling I got when I first laid eyes on the 1996 Royal Enfield custom below, by Max Hazan of Hazan Motorworks.

I had the chance to shoot some questions back and forth with Max over e-mail recently in an attempt to learn a bit more about himself and his experiences.

Q. Can you explain your background and what it was that lead to motorcycle customization?

Max:  I have always built things, painted and are my favorite medium. I started building bikes following a motorcross accident. It left me on the couch for 3 months with a broken leg, staring at my beach cruiser bicycle on a shelf in my living room. I motorized that, then built another from scratch with a 350 motor. I scared myself going 90 on bicycle tires and started building motorcycles thereafter. 

Q. What was it that drove/sparked the overall design of this build?
Max:  My sister went to India about 5 years ago and rented an enfield for 2 weeks, I loved the shape of the motor. I used to build boats...I guess that had something to do with the seat. 
Q. What is your process like?
Max:  Non-stop, it comes home with me. I try to never do the same thing twice. I find that people tend to gravitate to what they are good at and develop a style based around that skill set. I try to step out of my comfort zone with each can be frustrating doing everything for the first time, every time.

Q. Where do you usually pull your inspiration from?
Max:  From anything and everything. It could be from a kid's toy or from a plant or animal. Anything can spark an idea, I just try to keep my eyes and mind open.

Q. How much time did you spend on this build?
Max:  I moved shops right in the middle of the build so I lost track of the hours, but I would guess 2 months of solid work.
Q. What led you to using an Enfield as the foundation?

Max:  The Motor...which was extensively modified by Chumma from Ace Fireball Engineering, doubling the power with only 35cc over stock.

Q. What are you most proud of in this build?

Max:  The details. This was the first time that I built EVERYthing from scratch. Every lever, linkage, cable...each part was made to been seen.

Q. What skills do you wish to acquire or develop further next?
Max:  I find that I develop the skills as I need them for each project. I am lucky to have the skills that I do already, and to be a fast learner.  For me the ability to stay in the moment and be creative is the most valuable skill to making beautiful pieces. No amount of time on the English Wheel can create a good idea. The mind has to be right before the hands get moving.

You can also read up on this build in Iron & Air's Issue 9, where Max holds the cover.
 Photography by David Hans Cooke and David Browning of E3MC.


  1. Amazing story, really nice work Max and good write up Dave

  2. This is perhaps the most captivating build I have seen in a long time.. Great to hear more from the builder

  3. Its a piece of art! the fact that Max loves what he is doing, simply shows in the build!! really really beautiful!

  4. Very, very nice. How does the rear fork work? because it's most traction than compression alowed in that place.

  5. Stepping out of the comfort zone really gave us a feast..... This is a really beautiful Custom..

  6. Steve knows the history of the area, and made numerous stops to let us take photos and absorb the surroundings. wellington electric bikes