Love 'em or loath 'em, the effort that's gone in is incredible
THE annual AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building has come and gone once more – showcasing a host of the planet's maddest, weirdest and most intricate modified machines.
It seems that there's a bit of a steampunk bent in the world of custom bikes at the moment, with the top three finalists all displaying plenty of brass where traditional customs might use chrome, as well as shunning modern technology like disc brakes. Or even front brakes for the 2nd and 3rd place bikes.
Further down the list of finalists, gawp at Rafik Kaissi's plain insane “RK Thing” that finished in 9th place. An Aprilia RSV1000 engine bolted to a weird trike arrangement with a 26 inch front wheel, crazy front suspension based on pulleys and cables with Ohlins steering dampers as shocks, tiny 10-inch rear wheels and a seat that looks like a piece of torture equipment. We'll have some of what Rafik's drinking, please.
For sheer attention to detail, though, the winner – PainTTless by Harley dealer Thunderbike of Hamminkeln, Germany – is a worthy victor. There's no need to describe it – just spend a few minutes trying to find something less than immaculately finished on the pictures of the bike.
The top 10 and details from the AMD below:
Thunderbike, of Hamminkeln, near Essen in Germany, was chosen by fellow competitors and selected VIP judges to have built the stand-out 'class of 2012' custom motorcycle with 'PainTTless', a hand crafted one-of-a-kind tour de force that oozes stunning design and engineering craftsmanship from every angle.
Using a restored and modified 1000cc Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster engine in a one-off, hand-built custom swingarm frame, Andreas Bergerforth and the dedicated team at Thunderbike (www.thunderbike.de) have cemented their reputation as being among the world's foremost motorcycle customizers, following up on their multiple AMD European Championship wins and AMD World Championship top-five placings.
Second place went to noted up-and-comer Jeremy Cupp (LC Fabrications - www.lcfabrications.com) of Crawford, Virginia. Jeremy came to AMD World Championship program prominence in 2009 with a 6th and 14th finishes.
This year his 'Old Black', a hill climber based on a 1976 Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster engine in a custom made rigid frame made Jeremy the winningest American competitor and secured him a place on 'Team USA' 2013 to go and compete in the 10th annual AMD World Championship at the Big Bike Europe expo at Essen, Germany in May 2013. (www.BigBikeEurope.com).
Third place was taken by Sam Reali and the team at Abnormal Cycles, near Milan, Italy (www.abnormalcycles.com) with 'Speed-Demon', a lovingly recreated homage to the days of Harley-Davidson board track racers. Featuring a 74 cubic inch Harley-Davidson JD engine from 1919 in a 1930 VL frame.
Fourth place went to George Tchor, of Kreater Custom Motorcycles, Toronto, Canada (www.kreater.com) with '18', a 96 inch Harley-Davidson Twin Cam engined rigid in a Kreater 'Steam Punk' hardtail custom frame.
Fifth place was scooped by Sweden's Claes Warefors and his collaborators KDK Performance with 'Gryphon', which features an 88 cubic inch Swedish built Mectec engine in a KDK built custom swingarm frame.
Sixth place went to Kenny Williams, KW Customs, of Angier, North Carolina, with 'Tantalizer', the much admired Mike Garrison 120 cubic inch engined 'bagger' with which he scooped the 2011 US Championship at Daytona Bike Week.
Seventh place, and the third of the 'Team USA' qualification places, went to Larry Moore, Moore Customs of Wichita, Kansas, with Bad Influence, an 80 cubic inch Harley-Davidson engined, Redneck Engineering rigid framed stretched-out Pro-Street style chopper.
Eighth place was taken by fourth placed George Tchor with his second entry in the field this year, 'Vitalogy', a Zipper's Performance Modified 124 inch Harley-Davidson TCB engined trike - one of two trikes to make it into the top ten at the AMD World Championship - the first time any three-wheelers have done so well.
The second of those trikes was World Championship regular Rafik Kaissi's 1000cc Aprilia engined 'RK Thing' in ninth place (RK Concepts, Round Rock, Texas - www.rkconcepts.com).
The top ten in the FreeStyle 'Class of 2012 was rounded out by Jon Shipley, of Hoosier Daddy Choppers of Bloomfield, Indiana with 'Whiskey Bent', a 1977 Ironhead Sportster engined, Dirty South Choppers Pro-Street style rigid retro chopper.
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