A Visit To Warren Lane. Artist, Custom Bike Builder And Metalsmith Extraordinaire.

wl1I have met for the first time Warren Lane and brother Billy exactly 18 years ago. At that time, they did a job for me, widening a rigid frame to accept one of the first 200 mm rear tires wrapped on their own deep dish spoke wheel.

A few months later, both started to make a name for themselves in the custom industry and beyond. At full speed, Billy taking advantage of the media weigh of television, Warren opting by choice for the more traditional route followed by most custom builders, focusing only on his work, achieving admiration and respect one project at a time, through exceptionally beautiful and detailed custom motorcycles like El Rey, Speed Demon, A Fistful Of Dollars, FTP 43 and many others, all widely featured worldwide in magazines and coffee table books.

wl1biswl1terWL2bisWL2terDuring all these last years, and although Warren and myself never lived and worked in South Florida more than one hour of each other, we never had many opportunities to meet, except his rare visits to very selected events he attends each year with his latest creation(s) Then, last September, on the eve of the 2014 Cannonball start in Daytona Beach (see after the jump the 1929 Harley-Davidson JD Model is just finished restoring to participate in the next edition), we had the opportunity to sit side by side to share a meal. Again, Warren is a very discreet man, never “prospecting” journalists to gain media coverage of his work. It’s me who insisted that it was time for me to pay him a visit, to see what he was up to, how his career was evolving, his professional choices, his work in progress, etc.

WL2(1)WL2Warren Lane and helpers operate under the name of Atomic MetalSmith out of a very large and modern warehouse in Miami. No name on the door, only a street number, just to tell you that you are welcome in his temple but only if you are invited, really know about motorcycles and are looking for serious custom work. Not a place for tourists looking for tee-shirts if you know what I mean. As expected, the shop is filled with all the tools and equipment a true metalsmith working the old ways may desire to create his metal art.

WL7WL3WL6WL5WL4WL14The surprise was the amount of old genuine and very valuable parts for an artist and true collector that he found on eBay, in swap meets or through relations – that Warren keeps for future projects, Also the number of classic and antique motorcycles of all brands in stand-by for their owners to be picked up or that Warren keeps for himself, or restore and preserve for many friends and clients.

WL15WL16WL18WL17The shop is – the way I like them – extremely clean with well organized open spaces for bikes display and for different stages of works in progress. Led to Warren’s office, I got a new encounter with 2 of  his most celebrated choppers, El Ray (a twisted steel frame is too easy to fabricate…so let’s do it in stainless steel!) and FTP 43 (a visual delight celebrating the beauty of simplicity), both very fast art pieces built from old re-birthed genuine Harley parts to which Warren added the awesome ones he creates from scratch, most often with his own hands. An opportunity for him to remind me that he will not work anymore with anything other than Harley VL, Flatheads, Knucklehead, Ironhead, Panhead and Shovelhead motors inside their respective period correct frames, even if sometime heavily modified to satisfy Warren’s out-of-the box design ideas.

The most modern part you will find at Atomic MetalSmith is Warren’s iPad on which he showed me pictures of his metal sculptures, furnitures, garage doors, light posts, etc commissioned by famous clients for their waterfront Miami mansions. Proof that his craftsmanship reputation reaches well beyond the motorcycle world, that he is much more than a custom builder, a metalsmith extraordinaire with an acute sense of design to make anything and everything beautiful when seen under any angle. Those looking to know more about Warren Lane, who want to watch updates on his different works in progress – bikes sculptures, etc – go to his Instagram Account or Facebook Page If you have a serious inquiry, contact him at: HNIC.miami@gmail.com.

37 Responses to “A Visit To Warren Lane. Artist, Custom Bike Builder And Metalsmith Extraordinaire.”

  1. 1 TJ Martin Oct 30th, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I had no clue Billy even had a brother .. never mind one who built custom bikes as well . The amazing thing from what you’ve shown is that Warren’s sculpted garage doors are ten times more interesting than 70% of the custom bikes built by others 😉 And those tables ! Fact is I’d be hard pressed to chose between his bikes/metal work /sculptures etc . The man is an artist at the very least … Thanks Cyril !

    PS; Any chance of another view or two of Warren’s midget racer ?

  2. 2 Victor Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Warren Lane is the most under rated builder in the US. Great work. Thanks for publishing.

  3. 3 Shifter Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Warren builds some amazing bikes, extremely detailed and rideable.

  4. 4 Dynamo Jack Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Have seen the El Rey and 43 bikes. Fab is superb.

  5. 5 P. Hamilton Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Knew about Warren’s bikes, but not about his other work. love the garage door and table. Thanks Cyril.

  6. 6 Bruce Pierce Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    The guy knows his shit. Much more than many well known builders.

  7. 7 JohnyLetGo Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Well said, Cyril. A true metal artist.

  8. 8 A 1 CYCLES Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:45 am

    add to that he is now a father…and he cut
    his hair since i last saw him..great guy. see him a couple times a year but my favorite is the dania beach vintage fest..he brings out all of his old bikes for sale..he is a true American picker, craftsman, and all around nice guy

  9. 9 Patrick Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Proof that you can be discreet, refuse to belong to the industry “showbiz” and be successful.

  10. 10 Catamini Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Love this blue HD JD. Want one very badly. How much W. Lane would charge to restore one in perfect condition?

  11. 11 Early Iron Motorcycles Oct 30th, 2014 at 10:50 am

    TJ Martin
    Billy was working for Warren before he started Choppers Inc.

  12. 12 Gary Oct 30th, 2014 at 11:09 am

    One of the best builders and one of the less known!

  13. 13 TJ Martin Oct 30th, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    E.I.M . – What can I say other than live and learn [ something new every day hopefully ] Thanks for the additional info !

    As to Patrick’s comment … +1 x 1000 to a factor of ten ! The JJ Cale of custom motorcycles in my estimation . Though I’m thinking perhaps its Warren’s versatility that has allowed him to be successful despite the lack of media attention

  14. 14 SJ Oct 30th, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve been riding in FL for 25 yrs rarely missing a bike event, and have to say that of the 1000’s of bikes I’ve seen “El Rey” and “FTP” are my two fav bikes of all time. I occasinally look online to see if either pops up for sale. Glad to hear that they are in the right place if not my house, the dude is gifted. Good interview

  15. 15 Greeko Oct 30th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    For what I see, great sleds.

  16. 16 Jared Oct 30th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Feature seems well deserved. What about a “close up” on one of his bikes?

  17. 17 nicker Oct 30th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    In the best tradition of the American bike builder.
    An individual with technical, artistic. and business capabilities who doesn’t need a TV budget or beer morn adulation to validate his existence.

    An excellent role model for the younger set.
    Well done Warren.


  18. 18 Donnie Preston Oct 30th, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    For me, all these build-off tv shows were BS. Just inflating the builders’ ego, not the quality of their work. Glad to see that one can be successful without falling for the last decade business model” crap bikes on tv to sell ugly tee shirts to fake bikers.

  19. 19 Paul Shackley Oct 30th, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Nicker, yes…except that Cyril being so influential, with this feature, he may just have turned Warren into a media darling. Ha!

  20. 20 domino Oct 30th, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks Warren for letting Cyril do this article …

    Domino Dave

  21. 21 Speedmetalbuilt Oct 30th, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Honestly one of the most talented bike builders ever. I would sell my soul for ElRey.

  22. 22 Sheridan Oct 30th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Good article, and great to see the recognition of Warren’s work. Definitely an artist in metal, and I’m always amazed at the old motorcycle treasure he finds.

  23. 23 Doug Cahn Oct 30th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    About 2007 Don Rosio who worked for Billy
    turned me on to Warrens’s unbelievable talent. I’ve
    have been a huge fan ever since! He is a low profile
    multi talented artist with incredible vision.
    Thank you Cyril for shinning the spotlight where it truly
    belongs, on the individuals talent!

  24. 24 Paul Tenez Oct 31st, 2014 at 6:04 am

    The red and silver bike at the top looks like my dream bike.

  25. 25 Rosco Oct 31st, 2014 at 6:05 am

    I dig his bikes and furniture.

  26. 26 Sean Oct 31st, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Kewl chops.

  27. 27 Bud Oct 31st, 2014 at 7:51 am

    One of thee, if not thee, most talented builders ever. A modest man that lets his work speak for itself in this industry is truly a rarity. It’s been years….nice to see Warren again.

  28. 28 chopmonster66 Oct 31st, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Great builder and Artist !! One of the best in the U S A . FABULOUS BIKES AND AMAZING ART TOO … His work says it all .. You can tell he truly loves what he dose.. Keep up the great work.

  29. 29 bigalyts Oct 31st, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    He has been in Miami a long time and would show up @ Fund rockers in S.Miami on Thursday nights with some Fast Bikes. The Look was beyond. He is also a Tough Guy and probably taught Billy everything he Knows. But He didn’t teach Billy everything He knows! Great update, Cyril.

  30. 30 Woody's Oct 31st, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Even with the detailed pictures, it’s easy to see one would have to walk around these bikes for quite a while to appreciate the workmanship and details. Good looking bikes for sure.

  31. 31 John E Adams Oct 31st, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Awesome post Cyril, Warrens’ work is off the scale!!! Thanks for sharing -;0)

  32. 32 Dave Blevins Oct 31st, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Nice looking work.

  33. 33 Brandon Oct 31st, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Like what see. Want to see more. Close ups?

  34. 34 Jim Watson Nov 3rd, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Nice looking rides for sure, strong work my friend…

  35. 35 Mazz Nov 3rd, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    wow, just wow.

  36. 36 Ray Llanes Nov 3rd, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I am lucky enough to be friends with warren for many years. I am also one of the very few to own a warren lane built machine. The club of owners is small but elite. I ride my bike all the time because it was made to be ridden. Warren is an absolute master of his craft and one hell of guy!

  37. 37 Blackmax Nov 3rd, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Very nice work !!!
    I was never a big fan of Billy’s work, just did not appeal to me
    The 2nd bike (the gold one) is one I could see myself on
    Not to mention the other work, that’s talent & dedication right there !!!!

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Cyril Huze