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1921 Harley-Davidson Banjo Board Track Racer Wins H-D Design Award

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

At the beginning of last week, bike maker Harley-Davidson announced it is holding a special online event dedicated to all those bike builders who were robbed by the health crisis of the chance of showing their creations in live motorcycle shows.

Called The No Show, the Harley event brought together on Youtube and Instagram around 60 bike builders across the U.S., each showing and advertising their bikes the best they could. Of the 60, Harley chose three to be named winners in various categories – Media Choice Award, H-D Styling & Design Award, and Harley-Davidson Museum Award.

As far as Styling & Design, the bike was selected and the crown was handed by Brad Richards, the man in charge of design at Harley, to a build called 2-Cam Banjo Board Track Racer.

The bike is the work of a man from Wisconsin named Michael Lange. Describing himself as a bike builder for 50 years and a self-employed man for the past 30, Lange decided to bring to The No Show a motorcycle he built way back in 1996, one he was supposed to show at this year’s Mama Tried.

The man’s confidence in the bike paid off, given his build won one of the three awards, but perhaps for him that’s just a small achievement.

Running on massive wheels and packing a host of custom-made parts, from the engine itself to the fuel tank and the frame, the Banjo is of course an odd sight on the roads today, but it is a common one at various racing events still paying tribute to the racing bikes of old.

Lange says he originally built the bike to race it as a privateer, and race it he did for the past 24 years without many major issues. You can watch he has to say about the motorcycle in the short video attached below this text.


1964 FL Panhead Is Today’s Dose of Old School Custom Harley-Davidson

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Ever since Softails have come onto the motorcycle scene, garages across the world flocked to use them as a base for whatever project they had in mind. That means most of what’s out there now is based on newer motorcycles that, despite being generally cool, lack the old school appeal of older Harleys.

Take the 1964 FL Panhead in the gallery above. The FL is one of Harley’s historic lines, having started out in the early 1940s, and is generally seen as one of the best representative of the classic Harley look.

Whereas custom bikes based on more recent Harleys are favorites of the present-day online media, older ones such as this one here are stars of motorcycles shows big and small. But for the first time since ever, a global health crisis ended pretty much all such events planned for the year.

To fill the gap, Harley-Davidson announced on Tuesday (June 16) a week-long online event dedicated to some 60 not-so-famous bike builders that would have been the talk of show-goers at the now-canceled or postponed events.

The custom 1964 FL Panhead in the video below is a build made by one of those 60 builders. Its creator’s name is Eric Stein, and he is by no means a full-time motorcycle tuner, but an “operation’s manager” at some North Carolina company.
Since 2014, Stein used most of his spare time to customize motorcycles. This particular one, the most recent of the batch, is his 11th, and a good looking one at that.

Keeping things simple, the Panhead keeps true to the “older style bikes that are appreciated more” while at the same time adding a custom flavor through fine touches like the rear fender or the unique fuel tank – watch the video below for all the info Stein is willing to share about his bike.


Harley-Davidson Country Cruiser Comes with Two Rear Wheels

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

The European custom motorcycle industry is not even close in terms of size and reach as that in the U.S. but that doesn’t mean there aren’t shops on the continent that strive to keep this segment populated with constant new builds. German Thunderbike is one such shop, and this here machine is its latest customized Harley.

Based on the bike maker’s Street Bob, the bike has been built to highlight what Thunderbike has to offer in terms of custom parts for Harley motorcycles. But it is also described as the perfect tool for riders to “clear your head and leave the stress of everyday life behind.”

The first things that stand out when it comes to this Street Bob are the wheels. The garage decided to fit the motorcycle with two rear wheels for symmetry and more balanced proportions: the front one is a 3-inch wide wheel that usually goes at the rear, while the rear one has been replaced with a 5.5-inch wide one. Both are wrapped in Dunlop rubber,

A long list of other custom parts made it onto the all-black build, most of them of Thunderbike-design. They range from the front and rear fenders to turn signals and exhaust – this last piece of hardware is from Dr.Jekill & Mr.Hyde.

“To give the Country Cruiser more visual highlights we have installed our covers “Drilled” on the primary, ignition and grip ends. The flat torque handlebar with our Base Rubber grips offer good grip and a relaxed seating position that is already in the bobber style,” Thunderbike says about the build.

As with most of the other project the garage is responsible for, the Country Cruiser as they call it uses the stock Harley engine. In this case, we’re talking about a 107ci Milwaukee Eight with no enhancements.


Pack of Custom Harley-Davidsons Out Hunting, Apex Predator Leads the Way

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com/

In April 2020, Harley-Davidson concluded a custom build competition called King of Kings. Dedicated to its network of international dealers, the contest saw some incredible machines coming out the door of garages spread throughout the world.

King of Kings was the coronation of an older, similar Harley initiative called Battle of the Kings (BOTK). It brought together 15 shops that have won BOTK in the past, competing against each other to get the majority of the 50,000 public votes cast during the event.

Over the past month, we brought you each and every one of the 15 builds in detail, as a testimony of what a little imagination and some technical expertise can do to an otherwise stock Harley. We finished our run through the list on Saturday, and now it’s time to have a look at the entire pack of motorcycles that have wowed the crowds online.

As you already know by now, the winner and the holder of this year’s King of Kings title is the Mexican-made Apex Predator. Based on a Sportster XR1200 with the stock engine, it is supposed to be a “retro-futuristic XR-based track monster meets street fighter,” and managed to attract the majority of the 50,000 votes.

Built by a dealer in Mexico’s Queretaro, it features custom parts like front fork covers, dual air intakes, wave-style brake rotors, and a seat wrapped in Alcantara as a touch of class. The bike also received a TFT Bluetooth instrument panel, and a hand-built 2-1-2 exhaust system.

Runner-up was the Greek-made Gryps, a Sportster designed in such a way as to be a mix between a real-life two-wheeled machine and a creature from the ancient Greek mythology – it is shaped somewhat like the mythological griffin of millennia ago.

The Gryps is perhaps one of the most intricate builds of the competition. It sits a tad lower than the base model, the fuel tank is at a different angle on the frame, and it is wrapped in reworked, cold silver panels that are supposed to give the impression this is an actual living, breathing beast: the tank is the body, the front fairing the head, while the side fairings are both the wings and the legs of the monster.

The German Thunderbike Emperor was awarded a popularity award of sorts, and despite losing the popular vote competition to the Mexican build, it was hand-picked by Harley-Davidson’s styling team as the best looking of them all. And it is sure worth it, considering how extreme this makeover is compared to all the others.

Starting off from a 1995 Sporster, Thunderbike went the chopper way and gutted, replaced and improved pretty much all elements of the motorcycle to achieve this real custom look. Modifications can be seen all around: to the fork, handlebar, tank, oil tank, seat, fender, struts, exhaust and shifter.

Of the 15 bikes that have lined up at the start of the competition, though, we would have chosen the French’n Cheap. The work of a Harley dealer in La Rochelle, France, is one of the cleanest, sharpest-looking motorcycles we’ve seen in a while.

The smooth appearance has been achieved on this lowered 2019 Sportster XL 1200T through a smart choice of paint, sleek tires, and ingenious solutions like hiding all the cables inside the handlebars.

These four are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this year’s King of Kings competition was all about. Each of the dealers that took part (aside from the bikes above, there were entries from South Australia, Brazil, UK, Spain, Benelux, and Japan – you can see all these bikes in the gallery above) did its best to come up with some incredible machines.

For the most part they succeeded, and managed to prove there is talent in customizing motorcycles outside the U.S. as well.

Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight Gets Low Stance and High Exhaust

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Two weeks after we started, we came to the end of our Harley-Davidson King of King’s coverage. Of the 15 bikes that took part in the competition, only one is left, the one its builders call the Harley-Davidson XL 1200 FT.

The creation of Harley’s dealer in Bordeaux, France, the build started life as a regular Forty-Eight, and received a number of changes meant to alter its appearance and performance and make it suitable for the Harley-designed contest.

As usual, the shop had to respect the budget limit imposed by Harley for the bike to be admitted into the competition, so the changes that have been done to the stock machine are not necessarily extensive, but they are effective.

To give the bike – officially called XL 1200 FT – a meaner appearance, the rear has been shortened and the exhaust has been raised to a higher position. At the front, the fork has been paired to high performance shock absorbers that also help give the motorcycle a lower appearance, and there’s also a special housing for the headlights.

Engine wise, not many modifications have been made to the stock engine. The shop did add new camshafts and a high-flow air filter, but that’s about it.

“Our XL 1200 FT brings together modern and historic elements of the brand to make it a somewhat timeless motorcycle,” said the French dealer about the build.

As did all other bikes that have been entered in the competition, this too needed public votes to win. In the end, it failed to do so, and the title went to a Mexican build named Apex Predator.

King of Kings was a competition dedicated to Harley’s international dealers. 15 bikes were featured on the roster from all around the world, all built following the same rules: changes to be made within a €6,000 ($6,500) budget on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, at least half of the parts used for the tuning to be taken from the Harley inventory, and the finished product be road legal.


Harley-Davidson Iron RR Is How an 883 Looks Like With Stage IV Tuning

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Two weeks in, there are not that many bikes left to talk about in our coverage of the Harley-Davidson 2020 King of Kings competition. Only two are still to be admired, and one them is this Polish-born Iron RR.

The build-off event dedicated to Harley’s international dealers concluded in April, and it has already crowned its winner, the Mexican-made Apex Predator. But each of the builds that entered, 15 in all, had something special about them.

Most of the bikes we’ve seen so far have been all about crazy looks and only minor mechanical upgrades. In the case of the Iron RR, the ratio is somewhat inverted, as the Szczecin-based shop focused more on performance than extreme looks.

The build is based on an Iron 883, but one that got its tendons replaced and its heart pumped. The garage replaced both the front and rear suspension, added a new fork, and fitted the two-wheeler with sports brakes.

All these changes were required because the motorcycle’s 883cc engine got tweaked with the inclusion of the Harley-Davidson Stage IV tuning kit. The new hardware is backed by a new exhaust system.

The Poles did a bit of work on the bike’s appearance as well, just to make sure the build sends the right message. There’s a special paint scheme on the bike’s body, but also a new LED light system up front.

All the modifications made by the garage did not exceed €6,000 ($6,500), which was the budget limit imposed by Harley-Davidson for the participants.

The other rules of the competition stated that the base motorcycle needs to be a Harley-Davidson, at least half of the parts used for the tuning to be taken from the Harley inventory, and the finished product be road legal.

As is the case with all the other builds from King of Kings, this one too is a one-off.


Pandemic Panhead Project, Part 2

By | General Posts

The tanks and fender are out to Deny 925, the master of patina paint, for a scallop classic paint job.

In the meantime, I needed to install the Morris Mag, decide on a carb, install the front brake, finish a handful of welds, work with the guys at Bates on a clutch cable, make an old clutch lever work, hell, make the brake lever work and find a brake cable, take the springer apart and add Paughco inner springs, install the headlight and taillight, make a muffler bracket and mo’.




Harley-Davidson Daytona’s Red Has a Transparent Fuel Tank

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

There have been 15 entries in all in Harley-Davidson’s King of Kings custom bike building competition, and the winner was crowned the Mexican-made Apex Predator. The bike is, of course, a great build, but that doesn’t mean the ones who lost are anything less.

King of Kings was the culmination of a years-old custom bike challenge called Battle of the Kings (BOTK). All the entries for the final, bikes customized by the bike maker’s international dealers, were previous winners of BOTK.

Among the most exciting projects was that of the Harley-Davidson Barcelona shop. The bike, called Daytona’s Red, was initially a Harley-Davidson Roadster, and even if the custom work done to it didn’t make it something else entirely, this two-wheeled machine sure does look different than any other roadsters out there.

The thing that stands out the most is the crazy fuel tank the bike is fitted with. At its origins a stock Harley tank, it has been modified by hand to include a transparent section through which the gasoline and even the fuel pump in operation can be seen.

The garage chose the Roadster for its project because “it is the most racing bike in the Harley-Davidson range.”

“We have been inspired by the history of Harley-Davidson racing looking for a more racing style of motorcycle, differentiating ourselves from the most common styles in customization contests,” the garage says.

The bike has been modified with more than just the exclusive tank. Several other parts were added, most of them built in house, including the exhaust, grips, and headlights. As a touch of class, the turn signals were integrated in the brake lever, it too built by hand.

Even with all those remade parts, the Barcelona crew stayed true to the rules of the competition. They state that the base motorcycle needs to be a Harley-Davidson, the customization be worth at most €6,000 ($6,500), and the bike be road legal.


Spectacula Motorcycle Is Proof Some Builds Are Better Than Custom Harleys

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Absolutely awesome. These are the words used by a German custom bike garage to describe the Specula, a motorcycle the like of which the European continent had never been gifted with before.

Used to seeing incredible motorcycle builds coming from the U.S., the world is at times blind when it comes to noticing other incredible machines rolling out garage doors elsewhere in the world. In Europe, for instance, the last couple of decades have seen some stunning bikes roll out into the sunset.

One of the main custom garages there is Thunderbike, a German group that started out as a repair shop for Japanese motorcycles, and then moved on to customizing Harleys and making their own frames. The bike in the gallery above, called Spectacula, is part of the latter category.

The design is 15 years old, but despite not being the newest kid on the block, it’s still one of the most extreme.

Unlike many of the Thunderbike designs we talked about recently, the Spectacula is not powered by a Harley-Davidson engine, but uses a TP-Pro one. It is rated at 120 ps and resides in the middle of a custom frame that has been built from scratch, as did every other part of the motorcycle, for that matter.

Shaped like no other bike out there, the Spectacula carefully hides all of the working parts so they are not visible: throttle, clutch, brake, gearshift and air suspension, all seem to have not been visibly linked to the fork or frame.

It took the Thunderbike guys six months to bring this project from the drawing board into the real world, with a full month of that time being spent on carefully applying 28 layers of paint on the bike’s body.

The Spectacula is not for sale, as it was intended only as a show build.

Harley-Davidson RS Lambo Is How a Supercar Looks Like on Two Wheels

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com/

For years, our lives have been flooded with incredible custom motorcycle builds made in the U.S.A, thanks to the avalanche of TV shows that over the past two decades have focused on the different garages there. But incredible custom bikes are being made elsewhere as well.

Germany, for instance, is the place where for the past two decades incredible Harley-based machines came to be. Whether we’re talking about remakes of existing Harleys as a whole, or adaptations of some Harley parts into a custom frame, the things the German garage called Thunderbike can do are incredible.

The group has begun toying with motorcycles since the 1980s, when they came into being as a repair shop for Japanese bikes. They kept doing that well until the early 2000s, when a switch to Harleys made the birth of these insane machines possible.

We’ve already talked about 2019’s Imola Softail conversion, or the CVO 110-powered Flawless 3, but it’s time for something a bit more extreme, because it seems there are so many ideas popping into the heads of these guys that they even dreamt up a motorcycle dedicated to a supercar manufacturer.

Enter the RS Lambo, a Thunderbike design created as a “tribute custom bike to the Italian sports car manufacturer [from] Sant’Agata Bolognese.”

The build uses an older Thunderbike frame kit called Dragster RS, inside which the engine and transmission from the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 110 series were fitted. The frame rides on Lowrider wheels and an air suspension that allows ride height to be adjusted in order to increase or decrease ground clearance.

The Lamborghini tribute can of course be seen as the paint chosen for the fuel tank, frame, and even wheel rims.

As many other Thunderbike builds, this is not just a custom project, but a show of force. One that kind of makes us wonder how would a build-off competition look like between a U.S.-based team and one from elsewhere in the world.