From concept to kickstart The Build offers a linear explanation of the many steps to building your own custom motorcycle, with expert guidance from five of America’s most influential builders. These characters—John Ryland (Classified Moto), Alan Stulberg (Revival Cycles), Jared Johnson (Holiday Customs), Jarrod DelPrado (DP Customs), and the legendary Max Hazan (Hazan Motorworks)—create and drive trends subconsciously, following their own intuition and unique design sensibility, rather than follow what’s hot as deemed by others.

Written by prolific author and motorcycle enthusiast Robert Hoekman Jr, The Build is first and foremost a tool to enlighten first time builders. Whereas most motorcycle-focused hardcovers are simply photo albums of best and most beautiful builds, Hoekman’s rendition is more of a guide, with more words than images (gasp!), and enough insight and direction to actually steer its reader in the right direction. (There are also plenty of nice pretty pics too. Don’t worry.)

Many things have contributed to the rise of custom vintage motorcycle culture around the globe, but perhaps more than any other is the black-box-ness of life in 2016. We now know so little about how the things we use most work. The iPhone is the perfect example. It’s a strikingly beautiful combination of aesthetics and function, but what the hell is inside it? By design it’s a mysterious black box that cannot be opened or manipulated.

“It’s just too hard to bond ourselves to something we can’t peer into. It’s our hardwired urge to want to be able to understand things we use. We want to see in to the soul of the thing,” writes Hoekman Jr in The Build’s introduction. “Motorcycles are an answer to that. Compared to the magic and enigma of a smartphone, motorcycles—and vintage bikes, especially—are boneheadedly simple. They’re primitive. They have souls. They have stories.” And though this may seem sort of “duh,” it’s actually a very important point to make. And it’s especially true for those of us who grew up with black-box technology, a mere fee years removed from analog life. With this learning to tune or even build a bike one wrench at a time becomes something so much more meaningful.