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Squamish custom motorcycle builders win big at North America’s largest motorcycle show

How a 1978 Honda became a showstopper: C+R Moto Co.’s award-winning journey.

Squamish custom motorcycle builder Clancy Peterson says he was chatting with another shop owner during the award announcement, so it took him a second to realize his shop's bike was up on the stage as the winner.

Peterson is the founder of C+R Moto Co., located in the Business Park, which he runs with business partner and award-winning actor Ryan Robbins.

The pair was recently invited to show their latest creation at the biggest custom motorcycle show in North America, The One Moto Show, in Portland, Oregon, from April 19 to 21.

Out of thousands of submissions worldwide, only a few hundred make the cut to be in the show. 

C+R Moto Co.'s entry, a custom-crafted 1978 Honda CB400T, made the cut. 

Then, there were only 12 awards given out at the show. 

The Squamish contingent won the 2024 Builder Award, affectionately called the Polished Turd, meaning the bike started ugly, but the customized end result is pretty.

The Squamish contingent had considered leaving early as they had to get back over the border for work on Monday but luckily hung back until all the awards were announced. 

"They called our name, and we pretty much had our backs to the stage," Peterson said. 

Robbins added that suddenly their bike was up on the stage and reflected on the huge screen. 

Peterson let out an expletive of astonishment, Robbins said, with a laugh.

"Then we just looked at each other and everybody's applauding and basically shoving us towards the stage. Next thing you know, we are on the stage,” said Robbins.

Peterson noted that motorcycle shows are often quite "Harley-centric," so to win with a Honda build added to the pride.

"We are very proud to represent Squamish on the world stage of the motorcycle industry and bring home another accolade for a Squamish small business," Peterson said.

About the bike

Peterson spent countless hours and even sacrificed parts from his personal bike to customize the winning bike, which came to him as "just a pile of parts." 

"It's notorious for being a bike that has no business being customized," Peterson said while staring at the matte black bike, which is back in the shop lobby in Squamish.

"It's the nerdy cousin of the Honda motorcycle world from the 70s. So, not a lot of people work with these ones. But we love a challenge."

It took close to 300 hours to build it from start to finish. 

"Pretty much everything on the bike was an experiment. And went from a sketch to real life. And it worked. Everything seemed to work. We engineered our way through it to what it is today," Peterson said.

At the Portland show, other bike enthusiasts often were stopped by the bike's seat, which looks like a floating piece of metal. 

"The most common thing you'd see people do is try to shake the seat to see how sturdy it is. It is extremely sturdy. And it's shockingly comfortable," Robbins said. 

Like much of the bike's parts, the seat was crafted by hand. 

"A lot of the stuff we have to hand make, being a bike that's 45 years old, some of the stuff is really hard to get, " Peterson explained. "You have got to think outside the box and build the parts ourselves in-house here."

The hardest part of the build was making the suspension geometry work, Peterson said. 

"You're re-engineering some things; you want to make it safe, you’ve got to make it ride well and do all the things that you need to do. But the geometry of making all that work was definitely probably the hardest piece."

Robbins added that there is a lot of engineering involved, "You cut a bike in half and then have to rebuild a subframe."

The bike already belongs to a local business owner in town, Peterson said, but if it were for sale, it would go for somewhere in the $35,000-ish range.

Humble beginnings

Robbins said another part of the thrill of winning this award is that they started building motorcycles in his garage for fun, then opened a small shop and then, just before the pandemic, opened their current shop.

"A lot of the builders have been doing this for 20 years ... and for us, we've had been here for just shy of five years," he said.

"It was this incredible experience and the greatest validation is the love and appreciation from your peers that you get."

He said lots of people love motorcycles in Squamish, and motorcyclists love to ride from elsewhere to Squamish. 

“It’s a beautiful riding space,” Robbins said. 

"I feel like we're helping Squamish, and Squamish is helping us, because Squamish is such a beautiful character in our story."

Robbins, who has about 150 film credits to his name, said that a lot of film industry people are into bikes. He pointed to a bike being worked on in the back that is for a stunt actor.

The pair say you can't really pigeonhole the demographic of who their clients are.

"It is a really eclectic group. It's not a group that you can easily label other than we all just love the art of motorcycles," Robbins said. 

What is next?

The shop will be the Squamish host for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride on Sunday, May 19.

The global ride brings together classic and vintage motorcycle riders to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health.

The public is invited to visit the shop at Unit 17, 38936 Queens Way, to see all the bikes at that event. (Viewings at the shop are typically by appointment only.)

Next, they’re taking their already award-winning bike to the 2024 Handbuilt Motorcycle Show in Los Angeles from May 24 to 26.

Find out more about the shop, on its website or Instagram