For the past few years, Honda Motor Europe has invited customizers from various European countries, as well as the UK, to participate in its themed annual custom motorcycle contest at Wheels and Waves in Biarritz, France. What’s the theme for 2023? Avid minimoto fans will be happy to know that it is, in fact, time for the Honda minimoto lineup to shine.
Wheels and Waves 2023 runs from June 21 through 25, and if you’re there in person, you can, of course, see the pair of ST125 Daxes, pair of MSX125 Groms, and trio of Monkeys that make up the seven custom builds that are competing in this year’s contest. As in years past, you don’t need to worry if you aren’t there in person, either. You can vote online for your favorite from anywhere in the world via the link in our Sources.
In 2023, Honda paired up custom bike builders with visual artists who primarily work in other media, from seven different countries across Europe. Each pair then defined a vision for each bike and worked together to create something unique for Wheels and Waves 2023.
Gallery: Honda Custom Minimotos at Wheels and Waves 2023
Hold On! Is a Grom crafted by artist Matt B and builder Guy Willison, both based in the UK. It’s got a turbocharger, it’s got nitrous, it’s been stretched, and it’s definitely been slammed. If ‘90s and early 2000s tuner culture was distilled into a single minimoto, this might just be it.
Driving Me Mad is a Dax done entirely in bold primary colors by Spain’s Coco Dávez and builder UFO Garage. Dávez said she was inspired by one of her favorite childhood games in creating this graphic scheme. While she didn’t specify which game, the essence of childhood joy is clearly writ large all over this composition.
Monkey x Business hails from Austrian artist Boicut and customizer Titan Motorcycles. The pair came up with a seriously raked ‘70s chopper design for this creation, complete with a banana-yellow saddle to contrast against the other bright colors used in its paint job. Chrome fishtail pipe that sweeps up to exit pretty close to the rear of the saddle? Check.
Furiosa is a Dax crafted by Portugal’s Tamara Alves and custom shop Art on Wheels Garage. As the name indicates, it’s a post-apocalyptic Dax, and it stands in stark contrast to most of the other bright, colorful, joyous minimotos that make up the bulk of this year’s competition.
Tokyo is a Monkey that hails not from Japan, but from French artist Grems and custom builder George Woodman. To say that it’s done in bold, bright colors would hardly differentiate it from the other bikes on this list alone. Instead, we’ll say that it’s obvious that this bike’s bold splashes of color blocks are clearly anime-inspired in nature, utilizing both colors and shapes to create an appearance as though it’s an animated bike that suddenly found itself in our three-dimensional world.
Let’s Grom, besides telling you which model it is in its name, is a collaboration between Italian artist Francesco Marchesani and Alex Polita. Since Marchesani is best known for his graffiti art, and Polita was a racer, it’s not difficult to see where the compactness and attitude of this bike came from.
Manjushage is a café-racer-styled Monkey created by German artist Lana and builder Maximilian Zech. Performance upgrades include a Yoshimura slip-on exhaust and aftermarket rear shocks with remote reservoirs. A delicate spider lily motif (the aforementioned manjushage in Japanese) adorns the tank and informs the color scheme and detail design.
How To Vote Online for Your Favorite Custom Honda Minimoto
Honda Europe has made it very easy to vote for your favorite custom at Wheels and Waves 2023, even if you’re not at the event. Simply visit the Honda Customs website that’s linked in our Sources, and you can click on any of the bike photos there to learn more about each build and its creators, as well as see more detailed photos of the project. You can also find links to the social media accounts for each creator so you can follow the ones you like in the future.
From there, you can also vote for your favorite by simply following the directions on that page. Although Wheels and Waves 2023 only lasts a few days, Honda’s custom minimoto contest voting is open through Thursday, August 31, 2023. Can’t decide which one is your favorite? Don’t worry, you have time to think about it—just don’t let time run out before you make your choice.