This is our final best of round-up, following the Best Spreads and Best Artwork of 2022. Photos are much harder to choose, because we use far, far more of them. Like previous years, this is our third at choosing Best ofs, I've decided not to use old photos, even though we run some very evocative ones. These are either specially shot for us, or contemporary photos we've tracked down and used.
The magazines from this year are issues 48 to 51. We offer each issue for sale individually or you can buy 48-49-50 as a three-issue bundle. Buy Sideburn magazine. Thanks.
In no particular order, here are my ten best SB photos of 2022.
1. Minibike Mayhem by Warren Matthews
We had just started putting together Sideburn 50 when Warren emailed with a few details and photos from a very under the radar event that takes place on a farm in Massachusetts. The image of 15-plus fellas piling into turn one, all bare biceps and morning-after whisky breath put a smile on my face. Race what you want, when you can. If you win that's good, but if you came second to last and still had fun that's almost better.
2. Matt Helders by Ed Subias
We first featured Matt in Sideburn 23, back then it was with his Mule Triumph twin. Matt happens to be one of the best rock drummers in the world (according to Iggy Pop and others) and provides the beat for The Arctic Monkeys. We kept in touch occasionally, and knew Mule was building him another bike. It took a long time to complete, but we got advanced warning and managed to get this exclusive shoot. We had Ed Subias arrange it and take Matt on his local trails in Silverado Canyon. It worked out a treat, with Matt being super easy to deal with (again). The sky, the mountains, the trail vanishing behind, Matt hauling. the mail on his new bike. We put it on the cover.
3. Gabrielle Hughes by Tristan Afre
I love what Royal Enfield have done with all their dirt track effort, from the top to bottom, but the Build Train Race programme is something else. It always looks such fun, so cool, friendly at times, fast at others. It's hard to know yet if it is encouraging more women into racing, or onto Enfields, but it has to be having a positive effect.
This photo of Gabrielle ticks all the boxes for me. The bike looks great, the daytime lighting on the subject makes it 'pop', Gabrielle looks like she's having the time of her life. We chose Gab among the other riders, because she co-owns Lowery Racing wheels, who made the wheels in her bike, and wanted to learn more.
Incidentally, Tristan Afre was commissioned by Royal Enfield to shoot for them all season. He's also a hell of a BMX photographer.
4. Goldammer NAF by Grant Robinson
I'm not quite sure why I like this photo so much, but I do. There are at least two light sources which elevates it above the plethora of snaps on social media. The subject is Canadian bike builder Roger Goldammer's NAF - Not A Framer project, and it was shot at various stages of its development by Grant Robinson. I knew Canadian Grant from when he lived in England, he actually raced at the very first Dirt Quake, before moving to British Columbia. I also knew Roger from meeting him at Bonneville Speed Week, before Sideburn was launched. He was racing one of his hand-built land speed bikes there.
5. Kully by Logan Pickner
Smiling people and show-stopping bikes. That's what I like. I find so much moto photography loved by social media to be repetitive and forced and derivative, but there's a warmth and casual feel to this Logan Pickner shot that the social media superstars rarely deliver. It's a guy proud of his bike, and smiling after a sunny day ride, nothing more or less. Kully Millage has a great story, and we share it in SB51. His Ironhead Sportster street tracker is a very original and radical take on tried and trusted formula.
6. Twins by Evan Senn
Action photography has played a huge part in Sideburn. While good static images are essential in mag world, there are very few of a bike on its own that stick in my mind, but there are loads of action shots that do. This beauty is by filmmaker Evan Senn. He followed Jeffrey Carver to a few American Flat Track races in 2022 to witness his comeback on the Harley XR750. The races Evan chose kept getting rained out, so he had to go to the next one to capture what he set out to.
This cracker went on the cover of SB51.
7. SMCO GT466 by Jose Gallina
You know all that I just wrote about static bike shots? It can be disregarded with an unusual crop or angle. This photo, from SB48 has both. Jose Gallina supplied shots of a raft of Suicide Machine Co's bikes and the brothers behind the company, the Guardados. I love the brutalist architectural feel of this composition and I always like a bike shot from above.
8. Sand Flea by Charlie Davidson
This one is a bit of a cheat because this actual shot didn't appear in the SB51 feature on the bike. Instead, we used it on the website and on a postcard too. The Sand Flea is the first custom bike we'd built in a while, and was a collab with Dometic, who make those fantastic coolboxes and a bunch of other stuff for camping, van life and outdoor living. It's a Suzuki Van Van 125 in case you don't know.
George and Amy from Greenfield modelled for us and Charlie Davidson shot the set on a beach in North Lincolnshire. The whole day was another example of the plan coming together with the absolute minimum of hassle thanks to working with laidback people.
9. Bonzorro & Tracy Triumph by Sam Christmas
Londoner Bonzorro has a magpie eye for stylishly odd and oddly stylish. Look at the Lewis Leathers jacket he's wearing, that was one part of the feature in Sideburn 50. It's asymmetrical, hand-painted, inspired by Eddie Kidd and old race leathers. The other part of the story was his road legal racer, with its Tracy body and Kimtab wheels. It was all captured by Sam Christmas.
10. Paul Hartman by Ed Subias
Another shot by Ed Subias in this top ten, and a return to the magazine for Paul Hartman, who keeps building (and racing) bike I love. This photo was taken on the Biltwell 100 course. The bike is a 1940s Harley Flathead 750 with a remade Vard front fork setup. Modern or vintage, desert or dirt track, Paul pins the throttle. This is him just taking off. There's another frame of him 3ft in the air that we didn't use, and I'm not sure why (Andy the art ed chose). Perhaps it was slightly out of focus.
Ride them, don't hide them.
Want more? See other Sideburn Best Of selections