This year’s IFK Kickstart welcomed over 1,000 bike builders, riders, and admirers from all walks of life, from your classic big, bearded, old-timers to the modern yuppie and everyone in between. And they were all stoked.
Hosted by Ill-Fated Kustoms (IFK) in a hangar just west of the city, you won’t find another bike show like this in Calgary. What started out as a weekly bike night for friends turned into the annual custom bike show to kick-off the riding season here every May.
“We were doing IFK Bike Nights every Wednesday. We would all meet up and go for a ride, picking a new spot every week. Most of the guys were riding garage builds or modified bikes and we found a lot of people would stop to take a look and comment on the bikes. This, and the fact that Bike Night was getting too big, inspired us to start looking at hosting a real event,” explains Kenny Kwan, bike builder, event organizer, and owner of IFK.
Builders are at the core of this event, and not your big-time custom builders, but your everyday garage builders. No judgment, no experience required. To make the event even more down-to-earth and real, instead of a superficial judging panel, the builders are the voters, showing their mutual respect for the hard work that goes into a bike. Builders vote for two categories, modern and vintage, with the crowd voting for people’s choice.
“I wanted builders to vote based on craftsmanship and creativity. The type of bike shouldn’t matter because you can see the quality of work regardless,” said Kenny.
This year, first place went to a 1960 Harley Superior in the vintage category, a 2011 custom chopper in modern and a 1978 Yamaha XS650 Bobber took people’s choice.
All throughout the day as people came and went you could hear the rumblings of excitement for what next years’ show will bring. IFK is doing rad things in Calgary and getting more and more people stoked to play around with their bikes. Watch for the grand opening of their first retail store in Calgary this summer.
Kenny Kwan. Saville Photo.
'96 Sportster 1200 Bobber. Kwan Photo.