Next up in our Highsnobiety Visits series is Los Angeles’ very own Powerplant Motorcycles.
Started by Yaniv Evan in 2002, the shop has since gone on to become one of the city’s most respected, due in large part to their unique approach to building.
Each bike is built by hand from the ground up and combines Yaniv’s love of racing, aviation, hot rods, and vintage motorcycles to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Perhaps what sets Powerplant apart from other shops in the area the most is Yaniv’s use of found objects in each creation.
We’ll let him explain that and more in the brief Q&A below.
Please introduce yourself. How long have you lived in LA?
My name is Yaniv Evan and I’ve lived in LA for 30 years.
Discuss how you incorporate “found objects” into your designs.
I’ve always had an affinity for vintage crafts. But I got into building custom cars when I was 16 because I had no money and no choice. After apprenticing and working in the aircraft field for a bit following high school, I started building bikes at age 20 (when I had become a little more knowledgeable and experienced).
What is your educational background? Are you self-taught?
You can say I’m self-taught. My style is a bit atypical because instead of just designing the overall bike, I first like to start by designing the shapes of the metals and materials – the details – used to make up the overall design. I re-appropriate uniquely shaped metals that are found from discarded items such as old stoves, cars, airplanes, boats, furniture, etc…Then, I incorporate them into my bikes so that everything has character and an organic shape and feel.
I’m also self taught in leather crafts, custom paint (sign painting and lettering), welding, iron smith work, etc…
Tell us about motorcycle culture in LA.
The motorcycle culture in LA is pretty rad – just like every big industry, there’s lots of competition out here. It makes me want to stay fresh-minded, so I try not to look at the scene and what’s on trend because I have to stay ahead of the game. In turn, I treat the game like fashion – I have to switch it up every few seasons to keep things from feeling mundane.
Talk about one motorcycle build project you’re most proud of.
The project that I’m most proud of is always the one that I’m currently working on. I get super stoked on what I’m building at a given moment – I give 150% of myself to it – and then I move on to the next project. I have to be proud of every single bike that I build equally or I don’t feel right.
Do you have any celebrity clients?
I’ve been fortunate to build a clientele of really cool people that afford me with full creative reign over what happens to their bike. They let me do whatever I want and don’t get in my way and try to dilute my brain with their own ideas. So rockstar or not, you gotta be a down to earth person who I get along with before you’re considered a client.
How many bikes do you own personally? What is your favorite and why?
I own many bikes from different eras: a 1926 Harley, a 1970s Montessa, and a couple 1960s Triumphs. But, my favorite three bikes are: my P16 Panhead, my 1947 Knucklehead and I never go anywhere without my FXR (the fastest on the street).
Favorite route to ride?
If I had to choose one route that I love to ride, it would be Malibu Canyons and PCH (near Topanga) – you get a burst of different climates in just a couple hours and then you’re back to reality…Los Angeles!
- Photographer: Silas Lee