Here’s the simplest take on the Sea Sider: It’s a lightweight motorbike with select bicycle parts and custom-built front basket and surfboard rack. The bike’s purpose is clear, carry one or two people and a surfboard to and from the water. Once you mention its origin, custom bike shop Deus Ex Machina, however, the story gets more complicated.
The Sea Sider remains a statement about surfing and highly functional two-wheeled mobility. Deus Ex Machina, however, or “Deus,” is much more than a one-off custom bike shop.
Deus’ headquarters is in Sydney, Australia, but there are also locations called “flagships” in Bali, Tokyo, Milan, and Los Angeles, plus a second Australian location in Byron Bay. Each flagship has a nickname. For example, the Tokyo store is the “Residence of Impermanence.” You’ll find “The Emporium of Postmodern Activities” in Venice, California, “The Portal of Possibilities” in Milan, Italy, and “The Warung of Simple Pleasures” in one of two locations in Bali. Each location’s name speaks to Deus Ex Machina’s creative intention.
In addition to creating custom motorcycles and sponsoring annual global custom bike “Build Off” competitions, Deus sells bicycles, surfboards, wetsuits, and accessories. The company produces and sells music on vinyl in limited pressings, creates videos, and distributes its t-shirts at hundreds of locations worldwide.
Clearly a firm with a mission, Deus has created a culture of creativity. At Deus flagship locations you can munch on a panini and drink an inventive barista creation as you choose a wetsuit or buy bicycle tires — all while listening to music few others have heard in the background.
But back to the Sea Sider, which was created by the artisans at Deus’ store in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia, The Temple of Enthusiasm. Deus sourced and restored the vintage bicycle handlebars and front light. The crew hand-built the front basket, inspired by one they saw on another old bicycle.
The donor motorcycle, which appears to be a Honda Supersport 125cc, was stripped of all unnecessary parts. Everything that remained was restored and polished. The exhaust and surf racks were handmade and the seat was constructed by a neighboring leather shop. The lightweight rims were imported from Japan.
The resulting ride can take one or two people and a surfboard to the beach, maybe with a packed lunch in the front basket, but it represents so much more.