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Sturgis 2020, The History Behind the Badlands

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Worldwide circumstances have conspired to ensure that this year’s 80th anniversary Sturgis Rally won’t be the stellar celebration once planned

By Marilyn Stemp

That said, once August 7th rolls around, the eight-decade occasion will most certainly be marked, if with less fanfare.

As bike riders, we appreciate the significance of an 80-year milestone in motorcycling, especially one celebrated in western South Dakota where the aura of wild west rebellion and revelry so synergistically dovetails with biking.


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Harley-Davidson GP-Style Is the Radical Way to Make a Breakout

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from

“Probably the most radical Softail who saw the light of day” – this is how the Germans from Thunderbike describe one of their builds from two years ago. And just by looking at the two-wheeler, you can tell they’re not far from it.

Thunderbike has been in the business of customizing Harleys for more than two decades now. The shop seems to be determined to break some record or something, as they now have in their portfolio several hundred bikes customized in one way or another.

For its work, Thunderbike uses both stock Harleys, which it modifies, or custom frames built in-house, which they generally gift with Harley hardware.

The one in the gallery above is called GP-Style, and it is somehow related to the Grand Prix we talked about earlier this week – that bike, in turn, is an evolution of another build by Thunderbike, the Outerlimit.

The GP-Style was completed back in 2018, and believed it or not, it used to be a stock Harley-Davidson Breakout from that year. According to the shop, “except for the last screw, the Breakout was disassembled; frames and attachments scanned and were taken as a base for our new parts.” And that shows, as this is nothing like what the American bike maker lets loose in Milwaukee.

The motorcycle comes with more custom parts that we can count. The wheels – both sized 21-inches – are from the Digger series and come with many spokes – that allowed for the installation of a “huge” perimeter brake from Brembo.

The engine is a Milwaukee Eight 114 from the Breakout series, sitting inside a custom frame drawing its fuel from a Thunderbike tank. The entire frame, so different from what Softails are over at Harley, rides on an air suspension system.

As usual, Thunderbike does not say how much the entire conversion cost. If you have the stomach for it, you can head over to the shop’s website, where most of the parts used on this are listed and available for others to purchase, and get an idea.

Racing Red Harley-Davidson Grand Prix Pushes the Outerlimit to the Extreme

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from

Over the past few months, as part of our various special coverages, we’ve talked at length about certain custom motorcycles coming from Germany. As you can see, we’re not quite done yet, because the number of extreme builds a certain shop there is responsible for is huge.

The shop is called Thunderbike, and this weekend we’re showing you a machine it unveiled at the 2016 Custombike show in Bad Salzuflen, Germany. It’s called Grand Prix, and it’s an even more radical interpretation of another build that goes by the name Outerlimit.

The Outerlimit was made for one of the shop’s customers specifically to mirror the design and colors of a Lamborghini Aventador. Built on a custom frame, it sports a Harley-Davidson twin cam 120R engine linked to a 6-speed manual transmission, which gives the bike a power output of 140 ps and 190 Nm of torque.

Likewise, the Grand Prix too uses the same Screamin’ Eagle, packed in a frame that offers a 1,780 mm (70 inches) wheelbase, 132 mm (5 inches) caster, a steering head angle of 36 degrees.

That makes the overall design of the bike pretty similar to the Outerlimit, only there are exceptions, too. The most visible one is the color. Instead of the white used on the Lambo-mimicking bike, this one comes in racing red, hence the name Grand Prix.

The wheels on the build are a tad different, too. The custom shop went for a new design, more aggressive, for the rims (they are sized 23 inches at the front and 21 inches at the rear) to give the motorcycle a more racing-like look.

We are not being told how much the Grand Prix cost to put together, but we do know that a lot of CNC-machining, CAD design and man hours went into making it look like an extreme interpretation of the Outerlimit.


Auction Item from Bandit and Howard Knight

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The Master Leather Worker Supports KidsRide

by Bandit with photos by Howard Knight

The 6th annual Flying Piston Benefit Breakfast, is set to kick off the 80th Anniversary Sturgis Rally. This celebrity-strewn Meet & Greet held Sunday, August 9, brings together custom builders and industry influencers to support veterans and new rider initiatives through Motorcycle Missions and AllKidsBike. It also features the unveiling of the 2020 Tiny Strider Customs.

I was in the process of moving to Deadwood and didn’t have time for a major metal sculpture, but I was inspired by my Howard Knight handmade belt with its intricate leather details. I could make a belt buckle and perhaps he could make a leather engraved belt to match. I could hope. I reached out to Howard and he agreed.


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A Look at the New Electric Motorcycles from Soriano

By | General Posts

by Andrew Wheeler from

The Giaguaro motorcycles come with a three-speed manual gearbox and 15 or 20kWh battery packs.

Most electric vehicles (EVs) propel themselves with electric motors that use energy from battery-stored electricity collected from a charging station.

And electric automobiles are steadily gaining in popularity among mainstream automotive manufacturers and automobile customers. In 2020, you can buy the Chrysler Fiat 500e, which has an all-electric powertrain, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Hyundai Kona, the Honda Clarity Electric, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model X and so on.

But what about electric motorcycles?

There are more than a few to choose from, and that list now includes the V1-R, V1-S and V1-Gara series motorcycle from Soriano Motori Corp. The company was founded in 2020 and was spun off from its parent company Soriano Motori Factory SpA, which was founded in Madrid in 1939.

The Giaguaro (Italian for Jaguar) V1 Gara goes from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and runs from a 75kW electric motor with 100 horsepower. Propulsion engineers from the United States and the European Union worked together to create the series. With a 72kW motor and 96 horsepower, the Giaguaro V1S is still powerful, but accelerates a bit more slowly than the V1 Gara. With 96 horsepower, the V1S accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, as does the third new model, the Giaguaro V1R, though it has a less powerful motor (60kW) with less horsepower (80).

Bottom Line

Each Soriano Giaguaro comes with a manual three-speed gearbox. They range in price from $28,000-$34,000, which is expensive for motorcycles. Part of the increased cost is due to the limited number of units available. The current plan, according to Soriano, is for a production run of 100 units. The company is currently taking preorders.

Harley-Davidson Vancy Has Both Thunderbike and Roland Sands in It

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from

Just like garages specializing in tuning or rebuilding cars, custom motorcycle shops are a dime a dozen. Nowhere in the world are there as many in the U.S., though, and over the years some incredible two-wheeled machines have been revealed here.

But that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is sitting idle. From Asia to Europe and Australia, shops are doing their best to come up with their own worthwhile designs. Most of the time, they fail, and the number of such high profile organizations outside the U.S. is not that big.

In Europe, the most active Harley-Davidson shop are the Germans from Thunderbike. Over the past 25 years or so, they came up with literally hundreds of builds, both based on stock Harleys, or using custom frames and Harley engines.

Being so active means Thunderbike was quickly noticed by the big names from across the Ocean, and the shop has been a constant presence in the H-D build-off competitions over the years. At times, some collaborations were born.

So is the case with this bike here, one the shop calls Vancy. Based on a Harley-Davidson Iron, it came to be as a product that uses parts made by Roland Sands, the American motorcycle racer turned designer of custom motorcycles.

Built as “the perfect example for the fact that you can get a new custom Harley with relatively small money,” it features a new suspension system, a new exhaust and a new air filter, but also parts meant to make it look better than stock, such as a new seat, new grips, and of course a custom paint job on the rear fender and fuel tank.

We are not being told exactly how much this customization work is worth, but the Germans are know for coming up with great designs for prices that are often under $10,000, not including the base motorcycle, of course.

The Best Times Bikernet Weekly News for July 9, 2020

By | General Posts

Good times at the Smoke Out!

And It’s Just Getting Better


This week was tough. I had some interesting interactions with folks in the industry. I won’t go into them except to throw some of my adages out there.

First, other than the Covid nightmare, we are living in the best of times. The edges may be rough, but think about it.

I have always supported our Presidents, I don’t care what party they came from. When a man or a woman is President of the United States, they have the toughest job on the planet. In this case he’s trying to make America Great again, while fighting the worst Pandemic in almost 100 years.

Before you know it, there will be a vaccine and the world will rock again, until the next time.

Think about the best of times. We couldn’t possibly be able to move as fast with efforts to curb disease without the technology we have. I just moved to Deadwood, and I had a tough time finding a town without franchise joints on every corner. I turned the lights on, and the heat worked. There was food in walking distance and medical support in Sturgis with a considerable VA hospital. Life is incredible. Motorcycle parts are delivered every day, amazing.


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By | General Posts

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Over 300 motorcyclists’ rights advocates representing a wide collection or state motorcyclists’ rights organizations; a dozen motorcyclists’ rights advocates who specialize in motivation, lobbying, communication, and all the nuts & bolts needed to strengthen and hold organizations together.

These individuals are from our collective ranks.  They have “been in the trenches” of their home state legislatures and Washington, D.C.  They have well over 200 years of collective motorcyclists’ rights advocacy experience between them and “quit” is not in their vocabulary!  It’s time you met this list of freedom fights and use this link and register at Meeting of the Minds 2020.  Hotel info is on the same site.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Charles UmbenhaurKickin Ass and Taking Names – Pennsylvania’s 35-year winning quest for freedom of choice is the workshop title and it could just as well be an underscore of Charlie’s accomplishments on behalf of motorcyclists’ rights advocacy.  With over 40 years riding and almost the same amount advocating motorcyclists’ rights in Pennsylvania, a charter member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, inductee into two motorcycling halls of fame (Easyriders Hall of Fame, Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame); recipient of two Lifetime Achievement Awards (NCOM and AMA); plus numerous other awards and recognitions for his years of advocacy on behalf of freedom and motorcyclists.  Charles Umbenhaur’s workshop, taken from the playbook of his experiences, can be applied to any legislation supported by our grassroots organizations.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Brian “Skinny Bob” Clifford – Riding since the 1990s, but new to motorcyclists’ rights in 2015 when he joined ABATE of Georgia because he “found a cause that blended his passions and skill sets.”  Skinny used his acquired skills from his experience with Habitat for Humanity International and fighting for housing rights for the poor to fighting for bikers’ rights. Currently, he works for a nonprofit supporting military and veteran families.   His workshop – Media Madness: How to Survive these Wild Times without exaggerating the comments from his 2019 presentation at the Meeting of the Minds “…is essential to the movement’s future.”  Attendees will leave his workshop with 2020 media techniques and how to adapt them to drive membership, message and mission and should be “mission critical” for your SMRO.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Rocky Fox – Do not be deterred with his “zero years riding experience.”  Instead look at his ten-plus years of experience as a registered federal lobbyist, plus his experience as a former staff member on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and a member of every SMRO he’s visited, and know that  Rocky is the non-riding half of our D.C. lobbying team. You’ll be “Finding Opportunities for Policy Wins During a Crazy Year” as he brings you a summary of the MRF’s legislative accomplishments.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Cathy Brush – Six years riding, six-year member A.B.A.T.E of Illinois, newsletter and public relations coordinator, among other local and state offices.  VP Public Relations of her local chapter of Toastmaster International, Cathy will bring 30 years customer service experience to her workshop on making good public relations better with a hit list of Do’s & Don’t for great Public Relations.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Ryan Hubbard – Navy Veteran, 45 years riding experience, and 19 years A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois membership, holding a multitude of elected offices including State Coordinator. With ongoing and extensive Federal Election Commission training, Ryan Hubbard’s workshop – Political Action Committee? Why the Hell does a Biker Need One?  will provide attendees with enough reasons to form a PAC that you will wonder how your SMRO survived without one.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Dave “Chubby” Charlebois – Member of ABATE of Wisconsin since 1998, holding a host of state offices, including Executive Director since 2012.  His workshop — With Freedom comes Responsibility – takes our quests for freedom beyond the flash of daily headlines and provides attendees not only food for thought, but direction as well.

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” & who’s involved?

Meet Mark Buckner – Active in bikers’ rights since the mid-80s including four years ABATE of Colorado State Coordinator, two years MRF Board of Directors and six years MRF President and member of three halls of fame (Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame, AMA Hall of Fame, and MRF Hall of Fame).   Mark Buckner’s extensive business background gives him more than “street cred” when it comes to working closely with the MRF helping to facilitate the organization’s strategic planning activities. His Meeting of the Minds presentation provides attendees with the same information tailored to helping your SMRO become internally accountable with a strategic plan that works!

What’s this “Meeting of the Minds” who’s involved and why?

It’s motorcyclists’ rights advocates coming together to meet old friends, make new friends, hone skills that may have gone soft during the lockdowns.  It’s brothers and sisters knowing about freedom and wanting more information on how to protect their rights, their motorcycles, and their lifestyles.  Now’s the time to use this link and register at Meeting of the Minds 2020.   Hotel info is on the same site.

That’s what this Meeting of the Minds is all about.  We endured the lockdown. We social distanced. And the MRF never forgot why we were founded – to advocate and protect the rights of all motorcyclists.  The 2020 Meeting of the Minds provides you with the tools to help protect your rights, your motorcycle and your lifestyle!!! See you in Indianapolis!!!