Fuel Cleveland 2018

This year marked the fourth annual Fuel Cleveland. The show took place at the Hamilton Collaborative building for the second year in a row on Saturday, July 28th, 2018. We thought it would be cool to give an unbiased look at this year's show by asking Fuel Cleveland attendees for their opinions, thoughts and reviews of their experience at Fuel. We could keep telling you how great it is ourselves, but instead here are four unaltered and unedited write ups from actual Fuel Cleveland show attendees.

- Tyler, Mikey & Jesse

The show entrance. Come on in!

Fuel Cleveland is one of my most favorite motorcycle shows of the year.  This was the second time I have attended, and I always leave with mixed emotions.  I love the show, but I always hate to see the time go.  It amazes me the collection of enthusiasts that attend each year and the blend of people is wonderous.  Around each corner is an immaculate array of genius work, whether it includes the small detail of a custom build, the small brush stroke of an original painting, or the reflection the camera lens captures in the chrome.  It has never been limited by a brand name or title - just the love of riding and the culture that surrounds it.  And the show isn’t limited to the walls of the building, it overflows into the parking lot and the streets. 

Kyle Malinky's 1968 Triumph Landspeed racer.

Fuel is the one place where I can follow someone on social media throughout the year and meet the humbled soul in person.  To drool over the completed masterpiece and feel the aura of the powerful presence it represents is at times breathtaking.  Pictures can never do justice to such creativity, it’s only in the blinding reflection of the sun into your eyes that makes you feel the blood, sweat, and aggravation of the build.  And it gives new meaning to appreciation- of the machine, the builder, and what it took to be there.

The sponsors of Fuel also tear down economic barriers as they present the show free every year and make it possible for every human and walk of life.  It’s the place where I strike up a conversation while admiring a beautiful machine and create a small bond with someone else that loves the curves of the pipes or the danger of the open primary.  The funny thing about Fuel Cleveland is that I never see a straight face or a handshake, only smiles, laughter, and limitless men hugging.  Over the past few years, Fuel has become more than a motorcycle show.  It has become a meeting of some of the most creative people in the industry.  A learning experience with a broad horizon that never ends and never ceases to amaze me.  Those small bonds and chance encounters have been grown through the hashtags after the show; #fuelcleveland, #fuelcleveland2018, #fuel.  And this has become so much more than a motorcycle show, it has become a family reunion. 

The place you walk into, everyone smiles and knows your name.  A place where everyone belongs.  I also love that parents are able to safely bring their children and share the love of motorcycles at such young ages.  And I love even more seeing the excitement and sparkle in those children’s eyes.  Fuel Cleveland is the family reunion of the cream of the crop from the family, the family that you choose.  And now with Flat Out Friday the reunion is all weekend long.  I highly recommend for everyone to attend Fuel Cleveland.  The organization, presentation, and experience are worth the trip.  And the host city of Cleveland Ohio has many things to see and do if you have time away from the Fuel Family.  In the long run, I don’t really have an opinion about Fuel Cleveland, I have a feeling of gratitude for Fuel and the amazing experience I have there year after year.

-Cricket Smith

Some people look forward to family vacations, amusement parks or hotel resorts on the beach, well not me; For me, Fuel Cleveland was the main thing on my mind this summer. Fuel occurs around my birthday every year, so I took it upon myself to have the ultimate birthday. I grabbed my wife, and we headed to Cleveland to have the time of our lives!

Kelley Runion's beautiful Panhead build. Photo by: Nicolas Dellow

Fuel Cleveland was better than I ever could have imagined. Walking into the warehouse was jaw dropping. There was a wide variety of bikes on display from traditional choppers to dirt bikes to bikes that race on the salt flats! One of my favorites was Kelley Runion's Panhead Chopper. The motorcycle was everything I would want in a bike. It had a Panhead motor on a rigid frame and a springer front end, absolutely genius! I enjoyed this bike so much that I couldn't resist coming back to it several times throughout the day. Another eye catcher was the born free build from Justin Wall, it was an absolute beauty. I felt very lucky to be able to see it in person. I saw several custom builds that were imaginative works of art, stuff you wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else! There were also bikes on display that challenged the traditional ideas on how a bike should be built. I walked through the warehouse for hours admiring what someone else had spent countless hours on trying to perfect for this show. The bikes were accompanied by artwork displayed on fences. My wife being an artist, appreciated the art hung all around the exhibit. She was very fond of the details put into everything including a little scorpion embedded in resin on a fuel tank. It made the event something that we both could appreciate!

Drew Cemer's Finch Survivor restoration. Photo by: Nicolas Dellow

As the beers were starting to flow and the good times were being had, we managed to move our way over to the Skidmark garage to relax on the couches and get a good seat for the bands that were going to perform. DD Moto was one of the bands that performed that evening. They absolutely rocked the garage, and we had a blast listening to them. We managed to score one of their records by getting the singer a beer while he was playing! After their set we had the opportunity to chat with the guys, they were some pretty cool dudes that also had an appreciation for the two wheel lifestyle!

All smiles in the food and beer lines.

My wife and I made it a point to stop at each booth and vendor to see what they had to offer. They were all extremely helpful and friendly. There was an overwhelming sense of community throughout the day, which made it extremely easy to find like-minded individuals to share stories with. The time and effort that went into this event did not go unnoticed. They featured vendors from all over the country and had everything from apparel, magazines, hard parts, and even food trucks! A personal goal of my own would be to someday be a part of this event. Whether its building a bike of my own to enter the show, or even volunteering to help. This event was amazing and I hope that it keeps getting bigger and bigger. We will be attending every year no matter what!

-Adam Valle

Our first time to Cleveland Ohio; the reason why? The Fuel Cleveland show!! I am “The Ornery One” along with my wife, Stephanie. We traveled from Northwest Arkansas to Cleveland Ohio hoping to see some kickass bikes and meet some inspirational people. Not knowing what to expect we went in with eyes wide open. Honestly, I do not think I blinked from the moment we pulled up.

Bikes parked blocks down and passed the venue.

We arrived around 3:00pm and the streets were full of bikes and people. Any type of bike you could think of or dream of was there. It was already getting a little rowdy and the characters I saw throughout streets made me feel like I was going to fit right in. We walked through the chain-link gates of the parking lot in front of the warehouse which is where I thought the show began. However, little did I know, these were people that rode in and parked out front.  There was so many rad bikes in the parking lot and outside of the venue, that it took us over an hour to make our way to the entrance. Once we stepped into the warehouse, the atmosphere and the excitement filled the air. The warehouse walls alone were fascinating and lined with great artwork and inspirational photographs. I was SOLD! The Fuel Cleveland show was not what I had planned but bigger and more impressive than I had imagined. The freakin bikes, I was taken back with. Each individual bike held so much originality and uniqueness. You could tell that every piece was well thought out and designed just for that bike. I walked through the entire warehouse seven times; my feet and my back where starting whine.

Skidmark's member PJ Grakauskas' Canam cafe.

From there we moved onto the vendors, which were unique themselves and more than willing to take their time with you and share stories. As we made our way outside there were several food trucks which provided a variety of grub to select from. Just on the other side of the food trucks was what looked like another warehouse. I was shocked as we walked into the “Skidmark Garage” and being able to walk through this ongoing working community to see first-hand personal bikes being built. This community garage is where different skills can be learned and used to build the best bike, a place where everyone can feel comfortable with no regard of their skill level and where art comes to life!

Towards the end of the garage, we found their sweet lounge and bar which was perfect to relax for a moment, listen to live music and enjoying a cold beer. As we sat there kicked back, taking in our surrounds… I could not help but think how every town needs a Skidmark Garage.

The evening was not over and the night was young as everyone made their way over to the after party at Hoopples. We ate, we drank, we laughed, and we made lifelong friends. Hoopples is a small quaint bar with an awesome outdoor patio and an amazing view! The only down side of Hoopples: they do not have pickles for your hamburger. Overall, the entire experience of Fuel Cleveland definitely left a mark on our lives and was a remarkable event!

-TJ & Stephanie Thompson

Don Miller's Tracy body Triumph flat track racer.

Motorcycles have been my life forever, building, riding, racing, showing, you name it, myself or my company Metro Racing has been a part of it for my 55 years on this planet. I’ve attended more events than I can count, some great, some not so great.I usually still eave with a smile on my face, because motorcycles were involved.

My review today is on “Fuel Cleveland” Within the past few years, I have been an invited builder to a similar event “Mama Tried” in Milwaukee. Great event! This year, 2018, I received an E mail from Mikey “Revolt” Arnold, asking me if I would bring bikes to the show? Very well worded and detailed e mail. Not your run of the mill, “Hey Dude, wanna come to our show?”

Don Millers insane Triumph Chopper.

Cleveland is only a 5-6 hour drive, looks good! Upon further e mails, I was made aware that this was a free show. They even provided my company with a vendors space for free. They said the main sponsors of the show paid the freight, so this could be a free event to everyone, show participants, vendors and spectators. To me, that was a really great selling point! The links to social media were also well covered, the past shows looks good, so it was a no brainer to load up and attend the show. The whole time, communications with the staff was on point. No stone left unturned and they had an answer for everything. That’s always appreciated with any event.

Chris Tope's 1967 Immaculate Hodaka

We loaded our stuff fin early, nice vibe to the space, It’s in an old warehouse, in a decent part of town. At no time did I get a bad feeling that this was not the place to be. Actually I was quite impressed with Cleveland on a whole. Nice place, can’t wait to visit again. Again, the staff was great to work with on loading in. Very well organized people. Before the bikes were put in place, they had a professional photographer there to shoot every bike in the show, very nice touch.

We attended the race bike show at Rock&Roll HD.Very nice, staff was great, they provided us with good food and drink tickets for the pre party. Unfortunately, Mother Nature ended the show a bit early. Right after that, we went to the pre party in the down pour. Lets just say this wasn’t my favorite part of the trip, one bartender and no food. We needed food, so we went elsewhere.

Early Saturday morning vibes. Photo by: Nicolas Dellow

We attended and raced in the Friday night Flat Out Friday at the arena nearby, Great addition to the show and always a great event. I enjoy that some shows lately give you more than one thing to do and it lasts a couple days. Travel isn’t cheap, so a few more things to do is always nice while you are there.

Saturday for the show we got there early and everything was set up and ready to go. No last minute insanity to get things done before the spectators arrived. Everything had a good look to it, the music was at a respectable level, there was A very nice selection of bike, something for everyone. Well thought out. I was impressed. I hate it when you can tell what the person in charge likes because that’s all that’s there. This was not the case here. Locally it was well advertised too, we seen stuff everywhere we went, seen a promo on the news, it was evident their marketing by the crowd of people that were there.

So many nice bikes outside.

It was well attended, the bikes parked outside and along quite a few blocks were just as good to see. A lot of nice stuff attended. The crowd that attended was good too. Very polite pleasant bunch of people. The array of vendors was good too. Very well diverse on the products. Skid Mark Garage that is attached to the warehouse offered a great display in their shop, very inviting. So overall, I give the events 2 thumbs way up!! It’s a great event ran by great people. Well worth the trip.

Ride fast, take chances,

-Don Miller


Danny McGill starting up his belt drive 1911 Harley-Davidson

Next photo series by: Alec Ozawa @alecozawa

Next photo series by: Nicolas Dellow @nico_voit

Next photo series by: Mikey Revolt

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