Culture Behind Garage Doors: Arjan van den Boom of Ironwood Custom MotorcyclesA series highlighting the talented hands that turn wrenches on transformative machines.
- Words Michael Hilton
- Images Paul van Mondfrans Lindén
- Illustrations Justin Page
While it’s often the machines that take center stage on Bike EXIF and Iron & Air, often overlooked are the creative and ingenious builders from around the globe who demonstrate the dedication, tenacity, and broad vision to bring these custom motorcycles and creations to the world. In this installment of Behind Garage Doors, meet the talented Arjan van den Boom of Amsterdam’s Ironwood Custom Motorcycles.
After too many broken bones and a few nearly fatal accidents, Arjan van den Boom decided to move away from racing Supersport bikes and “set sail in a new direction.” In 2012, the café racer style that first reignited in the United States had reached Europe, and van den Boom liked what he saw: the bikes, the art, the fashion, and the lifestyle. His first project was a 1979 Honda CB550 brat that he put together in his living room, followed by an attention-grabbing BMW R80, dubbed The Mutant, that put him on the map. In 2016, van den Boom’s father passed away suddenly. “It was a big life-changer for me,” he says. “It opened my eyes that life can stop in a heartbeat.” Van den Boom quit his job and went all-in on Ironwood Custom Motorcycles, which became his full-time endeavor with a proper shop space and employees.
To date, Ironwood has produced over 100 builds for happy customers, and van den Boom is looking forward to doing more modern projects — some even for OEMs. He also is entertaining the idea of working with electric bikes. “I’m pretty open-minded and hold no reservations for new things, so although I need a motorcycle to be loud and petrol-smelling, I’m embracing EV developments,” he says. “We will see. Step by step, year by year, I’m learning from each build and developing my own style.”Follow Ironwood Custom Motorcycles
Step by step, year by year, I’m learning from each build and developing my own style.