Most people who know us as a dirt bike brand may not know that we have some deep roots in custom motorcycle and surfboard building. Over the past several years we’ve found ourselves being drawn from the pavement to almost exclusively the dirt. But really there’s only so much you can do to customize a modern dirt bike. Sometimes we just miss the deeper connection and artistry in designing and customizing a motorcycle for non-dirt activities.
We had been quiet fans of British Customs from afar for some time. As surfers, we loved their Chippa Wilson bike build from 2015 with the custom surfboard rack. That creative thinking applied to making bespoke bikes reflective of a rider’s lifestyle stuck with us.
So we were really excited to meet with British Customs at their headquarters after we were introduced by our photographer friend John Hebert. We’d always wanted to turn our 2006 Triumph Scrambler into something that could work on our backyard trails and race in the desert, but also withstand a Baja adventure, but then also be a daily cruiser with a passenger on the back. Basically we wanted to talk to them about creating a custom bike that can do everything.
Now, if you’ve been following along our journey over the past year, you know that we are a small family business consisting of a couple, 2 sons and a few friends helping out when they can. We operate all parts of the business ourselves, whether it’s clothing design, packing orders, content creation - it’s all the Humphrey family. We’re a very small team and State of Ethos is very much run by us and friends who we consider family, who are often with us for all the projects we do.
We were a little surprised to learn that it’s kind of like that too at British Customs. Led by Jason Panther the founder and owner, BC started from humble beginnings out of his garage and gradually attracted a close knit and passionate team of 10 people over the years, each bringing a crucial specialty to their mission with a unique path that led them there.
Their home base wasn’t just some offices and a showroom. Once we arrived, a tour of the space revealed that under one roof, BC housed a couple offices, a warehouse, bike building lifts and work areas, a parts manufacturing garage, and even a photo studio. It was like a creative compound - they design on site, build on site, manufacture on site, and shoot on site. It kind of reminded us of the Temple of Enthusiasm from our days in Indonesia where we had a bike garage alongside artist studios and music stages. Creativity without bounds.
We sat down and got to talk about our build ideas with Jason, BC’s Creative Director Kevin Pak, and their Head of Research and Development Randy Blevins. We basically told them we wanted the functionality of a Husqvarna 501 dual sport, but just out of a 550lb Triumph. That probably sounds a little crazy to most, but the guys at BC weren’t fazed. Our meeting evolved quickly into an in-depth discussion with radical suggestions, like fitting a 450 front end, or modifying the swing arm for additional travel and having it sit higher. Getting kind of weird with it.
Their suggestions were totally outside anything you’d typically think a street bike is naturally capable of. It stretched our imaginations and matched our passion for thinking off the beaten path. Conversations continued and started turning toward connecting about design, history, photography, filmmaking, riding trips, racing - after a while it was like, what’s happening right now? It became clear by the end that we had become friends, in many ways cut from the same cloth.
Partners and friends of the same Ethos
Needless to say we came out of that encounter with way more than just a bike build. We’ve decided to do a full on partnership, helping BC with our build by getting our brand ambassadors involved in feedback testing, including pro-motocross and supercross racer Gared “Stank Dog” Steinke, 14 year old top amateur motocross & free rider Kelana Humphrey, and recently crowned Baja 1000 Champion Chris Gill.
In the coming months you’ll see photos (like the ones above), films, and written words of the boys testing various British Customs builds, and they’ll be giving their feedback on what the ‘06 will need to make it the best possible set up.
The films will be produced, directed, and shot by Kevin Pak, and photos will be shot by recently unretired photographer Dustin Humphrey, our founder and leader. After 15 years out of the game, the passion for this project has brought him back hungry with plenty of ideas on how to shoot the process.
To kick off this collaboration and brand friendship we’re releasing a capsule collection on Tuesday February, 22nd. With help from our friends at Anderson Bros we have produced 8 pieces that are classic, stylish and premium - just like a British Customs motorcycle. Don’t sleep on being a part of the ethos we’re building with this limited line - which now includes our newfound adventure obsessed friends.