Germany’s Wannabe-Choppers

Germany’s Wannabe-Choppers

Wannabe Choppers

German professional motorcycle customizer Enrico de Haas hand-crafts beautiful machines at his Wannabe-Choppers workshop in Giessen. His love of the art and passion for fine craftsmanship come through in each detail he adds. Recently filmmakers Thorsten Indra and Thomas X. Stoll made a 4-minute video profile of Wannabe-Choppers, highlighting Enrico’s maker mindset.

Enrico speaks of the joy of making and pays homage to old school knowledge in the video:

When I build a motorcycle, it’s about more than something to ride around with. It’s about a craft, aesthetics, perfection, and the oneness of man and machine. Each new work I take on is a step out of a familiar world into a new one. And even when the last creation may have seemed complete, the next one will be even better. The experience I have and the feeling I have developed for my trade allow me to merge my passion and my job. And I thank God for it.

I use techniques, which only a handful of people still master, and most of it I have learned from men who could be my grandfathers. My strength and my passion is to let this old school live on, so that we can continue to enjoy these traditional trades today. And each motorbike I build is a witness to that endeavor.

But what’s most important to me is that each bike which leaves my shop rides better than when it came in. The goal is that the rider sits in the machine, not on top of a motorcycle. He must become one with the technology and riding must become a natural motion for his body.

The love for detail, the last touch which makes the difference between something being good or perfect, is an essential part of my work. Therefore I try to buy as few parts as possible. I’d rather work on an exhaust bracket for a week, than to use something which is not perfect.

In my process, my hands and my knowledge are still my most important tools. Each new morning I approach the day’s work with all these gifts, intentions, and ideals.

Building motorcycles is an art, but what’s truly beautiful about this art is not gazing at it but getting lost in it, and — uninterrupted by the world — simply riding, in solitude.

Enrico won Custombike‘s 2012 Rookie of the Year award for the bike below, named “Messed Up”:

wannabe choppers messed up

wannabe choppers messed up2

wannabe choppers messed up3

Check out more chopper eye candy and a look at the Wannabe-Choppers old and new workshops in this gallery:

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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