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

By | General Posts

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

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.

Harley-Davidson Glamor Is Shovelhead Reloaded

By | General Posts

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

There’s something special about older Harleys. Maybe it’s their looks, maybe the engineering, or perhaps just nostalgia, but there are fans out there, not few, who would always choose an aging Harley over a newer one. And the same goes for custom shops.

In America, there are countless garages who like to take these old Harleys and customize them beyond recognition, as shown in June’s The No Show online event set up by the Milwaukee bike maker. Elsewhere, however, things are a bit different.

Take Europe, for instance. The continent is Harley-friendly, yes, but far less so than the home market. There’s no decades-old tradition there of riding these bikes, not in the way we have it in the U.S., and that means that custom shops, few as they are, usually steer clear of older H-D bikes when it comes to customizing them.

Have a look at one of Europe’s largest custom bike shop, Thunderbike. These guys probably have hundreds of customized motorcycles made over the past 25 years, but most of them are recent Softails, because this is what customers in Europe like.

But there are exceptions, and this here Super Glide is one of them. Also built by Thunderbike, it comes as a testimony of how older Harleys can be better platforms for customization than newer ones.

The bike is an FXE from 1977, and it was given its current shape at the end of a three-month long build that took place in 2016. It sports a Shovelhead engine inside the stock frame, and custom parts all around.

An S&S Super E carburetor, custom struts, special wheels and fenders, and of course a unique fuel tank are just a few of the over 20 aftermarket pieces of hardware that went into building the bike the shop calls Glamor.

We are not being told how much it cost to put the whole thing together, nor what happened to it in the years that have passed since its completion. But it sure looks great.


Harley-Davidson Black Power Is a Cheap Way to a Custom Motorcycle

By | General Posts

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

This year’s King of Kings competition was one for the ages. A total of 15 bike builders from across the world, specialized in remaking Harleys, took the center stage with their incredible creations until one of them, the Apex Predator, was crowned ruler of them all.

Being essentially a competition intended for the bike maker’s international network of dealers, King of Kings (known in previous years as Battle of the Kings) lacks the glamour of other things American. Thus there’s a good chance you didn’t know that much about the bikes and their builders, whom we’ve covered extensively back in May.

This competition has been around for some time, though, and the shows of the past are equally as exciting in terms of projects as the one that just ended. Case in point the Harley-Davidson called Black Power we have in the gallery above.

The bike is the work of German Harley shop Thunderbike itself was not an entry in the competition, but was inspired by one: the 2017 Thunderbike entry known as the Custom King.

Black Power is based on a Harley-Davidson Iron 883, and has been designed in the usual Thunderbike way, with a wealth of custom parts making their way onto the two-wheeler, and then wrapped in a special paintwork which in this case is obviously black.

Following the tradition of the Harley competition, there are fewer custom parts featured on this build than usual, but the result is equally stunning. We have new toppers and new covers for the ignition, new handlebar and new speedometer, new exhaust system and of course a reworked fuel tank, just to name a few.

Thunderbike does not say how much the conversion of the Iron cost, but the parts listed by the shop do not cost more than $2,000 combined – paint job and man hours not included, of course.


Harley-Davidson Blue Vegas Is a $15K Bet on German Custom Bike Building

By | General Posts

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

Harley-Davidson itself has a build-off competition dedicated to its international dealers with a budget cap of around $6,500. The bike maker has this rule because motorcycles can be customized for far less than one would spend on remaking a four-wheeled vehicle, and with incredible results.

Over the past eight weeks or so, either as part of our Harley-Davidson Month or Two-Wheeler Month coverages, we’ve talked aplenty about custom Harleys coming out of a German shop by the name of Thunderbike. Diverse as they are, these creations have in general one thing in common: they’re not that expensive to make, provided you already own the base motorcycle.

The one in the gallery above is different, though. What you’re looking at is a Fat Boy S (which you can get in stock form today for a little over $20,000) modified so heavily that it’s price has jumped by at least $15,000.

That’s the number we came up with after adding all the prices of the over 20 custom parts that have gone into making it. It does not include the man hours put into it, the incredible paint job, and some other parts Thunderbike probably failed to mention.

The build is called as per the Germans Blue Vegas, partly because of the unlikely color chosen for the wheels and the flames on the tank.

Leaving aside the fact that the custom parts (ranging from the wheels and fenders to the handlebar and tank) fit together perfectly, the paint job is one of the main reasons the motorcycle looks so great. It might seem risky business for the garage to go the blue way, but since this was probably made at the request of a customer, the risk was not really theirs.

In the end, the bet paid off, as this certainly is a unique motorcycle in the world of custom bikes.

Harley-Davidson Billy Bones Is No Pirate, Still Looks Menacing

By | General Posts

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

Even today, more than a century after the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle rolled, there’s no denying the appeal the Milwaukee-made machines have for the people in the custom industry.

First, we have the countless shops and individuals out there who keep working their magic on decades-old HDs, as highlighted by the recent The No Show ran by the bike maker last month. Designed to help all those builders who had no place to show their creations because of the ongoing health crisis, the online event brought to light a number of very unique creations, some of them amazing.

At the same time, the bigger and more visible shops have shifted their focus to the more recent models in the bike maker’s lineup. That’s not a bad thing in itself, but these newer machines have some too industrial about them. Take the Thunderbike line of custom Breakouts for instance: the Germans have around 40 of them, and despite each one being made to be unique, they do kind of look the same.

The Billy Bones we have here is a tad different, though. Based on the Cross Bones model that was produced briefly not long ago, it has a very distinct look about it, one that somehow links today’s mass-produced Harley’s with the ones of the olden days that are still so appreciated in the modern times.

This particular bike came to be in 2009, at a time when the Cross Bones was still around. It packs a great deal of custom parts (over 20 of them, and we’re told not all have been listed on the bike’s official page) that took about a month to assemble in the shape you see here, a shape the guys at Thunderbike call “vintage.”

The motorcycle has been christened Billy Bones by its makers, probably as a means to continue the pirate-themed nomenclature of the Milwaukee company.

Harley-Davidson Top Chop Is a Panhead Ode to Copper, Brass and Nickel

By | General Posts

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

Nowhere in the transportation industry is metal held in such high regard as in motorcycle manufacturing. When it comes to cars we tend to cover metal in all kinds of colors and paints, as if to hide it, but motorcycles, at least from time to time, proudly display their metal parts with no shame.

Sure, there are custom bikes that get painted extensively to cover most of their bodies, but the engine, for instance, almost always remains exposed in its metallic form. And their a sight to behold, because what are motorcycles if not an ode to carefully shaped metal?

The build in the gallery above takes pride in the materials it is made from. Sure, paint was used on it, but we’re not talking about colors that remind us of trees or the clear blue sky, but ones that scream metal: copper, brass, nickel, and of course chrome here and there.

Initially a 1957 Harley-Davidson EL, the bike was modified at the hands of German custom garage Thunderbike and turned into something they call Top Chop. The idea was to have a motorcycle tribute to the “glittering choppers of the 70s,” and for the most part the Germans succeeded.

Just like when it comes to the rest of the shop’s builds, this motorcycle here is packed with custom made parts (that are also available for purchase), ranging from the handlebar to the fuel tank – it is the tank that gives the name of the motorcycle.

At the core of the Top Chop’s frame sits a Panhead engine with Shovelhead looks, and gifted with a Magneto ignition and a Mikuni carburetor. We are not being told anything about the bike’s performances.

The Top Chop is of course a one-off build (an older one made by Thunderbike) meant to advertise both the engineering prowess of the Germans, and the parts they have in their shop for Harley owners.

Harley-Davidson Ego Shooter Is Not Your Usual Rocker

By | General Posts

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

For the past 20 years or so, the European custom motorcycle segment has been flooded with Harley-Davidson based or inspired builds coming from Germany.

The group responsible for this onslaught is called Thunderbike and as part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage in June we’ve talked about them at length over the past few weeks. Generally, we focused more on their most recent builds, but there are others, much older, that deserve their time under the spotlight.

For the end of this week we chose a build the Germans call Ego Shooter. It was first presented in 2011, at a time when the shop was half the age it is today. Unfortunately, we have no info on what happened to it since, but records, including photographs and a bizarre YouTube video (attached below) are still here to tell the bike’s story.

Built on a Softail Rocker base, the bike is described as “not exactly the first choice for custom friends.” The line was produced by the Milwaukee-based bike builder from 2008 to 2011, and it couldn’t have been more different than the variant portrayed in the gallery above.

As usual with all the Thunderbike builds we’ve covered, this one too is a mobile display of German imagination when it comes to custom parts. From the rear end that can move up and down thanks to an air suspension to the small fender at the front, all speak volumes about what stock Harleys can become in the right hands.

The exhaust system, air filter, pegs and handle fittings, fork, and the handlebar are just a few of the custom parts fitted on the motorcycle, all topped off by a custom paint job (containing more colors than we’re used to seeing when it comes to Thunderbike machines) that spells the name of the shop in massive letters on the fuel tank.


Bulldog Is the Alpha Male of Big Dog’s Motorcycle Lineup

By | General Posts

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

Over the past week, as part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage, we talked at length about the custom motorcycles made by Wichita, Kansas-based Big Dog Motorcycles. As the week draws to a close, so do our stories about the group, as we’ve reached the end of the list of Big Dog machines available. And of course we saved the best for last.

Big Dog is among the few shops out there to have turned custom motorcycles into series production bikes. That’s a good way to provide people with the riding thrills they like without sending them into bankruptcy. With this approach, Big Dog managed to keep prices low, as low as $28,995 for the Coyote model.

The Coyote is part of a lineup of bikes that also includes the Boxer and K9, but also the alpha male of the lot, the Bulldog. This is the most expensive Big Dog machine currently available, and there’s a good reason for that.

Technically, the build does not differ all that much from its siblings (with the exception of the Boxer, which is significantly shorter). It also rides on a custom frame, the frame houses the same S&S Super Sidewinder V-Twin engine as in all the other bikes, and the engine is tied to the same 6-speed transmission. Only this time it comes with a reverse gear.

Why a reverse gear? Because what sets the Bulldog apart from the rest of the Big Dog motorcycles is that well, it is not a bike. It’s a trike, one meant to “break the leash” as its makers say.

That’s right, a trike powered by an engine so big (the Sidewinder has a displacement of 124ci/2.0-liters) it comes with “more displacement per cylinder than the sum of all cylinders on today’s biggest inline-four Superbikes.“

Just like the bikes in the portfolio, this one too comes with a wealth of customization options for the body, wheels, and engine. The starting price for the trike is $42,995.

Harley-Davidson Earl Grey Is Cross Bones as Diluted as Milk Tea

By | General Posts

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

Harley-Davidson’s Softail frame has become over the years the backbone of a great number of motorcycles. The Milwaukee-based bike builder currently has 12 bike models using it, ranging from the Standard to the Heritage Classic.

Down the ages – the first time the frame was used as a registered trademark was way back in 1984 – other names were stealing the headlines. There were names like the Night Train, Cross Bones, and of course the Springer.

As do the Softails of today, older ones are favorites of the custom industry, even if perhaps not as much as say the more recent Breakout. And one fine example of custom work on an older Softail is the one we have in the gallery above.

Wearing the name Earl Grey, the build is based on a 2010 Cross Bones and is an older project of German custom shop Thunderbike. Like most of their other builds, old or new, this one too is a mammoth display of custom parts – some 20 of them were used all around the two-wheeler.

The exhaust, handlebar, footpegs and fuel tank are aftermarket parts, as are the tailights and headlamps. The front end sits on a Springer fork, shortened to meet the purpose of the build, while the power of the Screamin’ Eagle 113ci fitted with a race kit is sent to the ground by means of disc wheels.

It is these wheels that are the standout element on this build. Painted all white, they fit the matte paint used elsewhere on the body just right to give you the impression the Earl Grey name is the perfect description for the machine: it looks just as diluted as a cup of milk tea, pale when compared to the other colorful builds out there.

We are not being told what happened to the bike after it was completed, but rest assured this is truly a one-off so chances are you’ll not see it on the road anywhere.

Harley-Davidson Solid Dude Is the Latest Thunderbike Stunt

By | General Posts

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

For the past month or so, as part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage, we talked at length about some of the craziest builds on two wheels out there. A good portion of our attention was focused on a German group called Thunderbike.

In the business of customizing Harleys but also create their own frames for about 20 years, Thunderbike is one of the most active shops not only in Europe, but in the world. The number of bikes they modified over the years is simply huge, and there seems to be no stopping them.

Their latest stunt is called Solid Dude, and is a Fat Boy turned into the “absolute power cruiser.” Previewed this week by Thunderbike, the motorcycle is the usual display of custom parts extravaganza.

As they usually do when modifying existing motorcycles. Thunderbike seems to have spared no expense with this one either. Around 30 new parts have been made to work together and look like a solid piece of engineering on the body of the Fat Boy.

A quick look at the modifications made shows that, aside for the engine itself, there was little that wasn’t touched by the Thunderbike magic. Larger elements like the front and rear fenders are custom, but so are smaller ones like the handlebar or the turn signals.

A highlight of the build are of course the wheels. Sized equally in diameter at 21 inches, they’re of Thunderbike spoked design and painted in such a way as to match the bike’s apparent Nardo Grey paint wrapping. Complementing the whole thing are the pipes of the Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system.

We are not being told who commissioned the motorcycle and not even how much it cost to make, but if you have the time, you can head over to the Thunderbike website for a closer look at each part (and pricing).