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Top 10 custom bikes of 2014

And it’s not just us saying so…

FOR once this Top 10 isn’t relying on our own subjective opinions here at Visordown Towers but those of some real experts – the judges of the AMD 2014 World Championship of Custom Bike Building.

While the event actually took place back at Intermot in Cologne in October last year, the awesome machines that entered were fighting for column inches against a host of new factory models at the time, so there’s been little press coverage. As a result, there’s a good chance you haven’t seen them.

These are just the top 10 from the Freestyle class. Pictures of all the rest of the entrants, as well as those from the Retro Modified, Modified Harley Davidson, Street Performance and Café Racer classes are all there to be seen at the website of the AMD Championship.

10. Sex Metal by CF Costruzioni Meccaniche

You probably wouldn’t choose a Honda Dominator as the basis for a world class custom bike. But Sex Metal’s Italian creators did, and it works surprisingly well. Ok, so there’s not much Honda left apart from the engine, but the bike is a marvel with a skeletal frame, front swingarm suspension and its fuel tank hidden in the bellypan.

9. La Bestia 1372 by Valtoron

Spanish builders Valtoron used a 1982 Kawasaki as the basis for their creation, and it retains the engine and much of the frame. Interestingly, there isn’t too much expensive stuff here – the forks are FZR600 parts and even the wheels and brakes aren’t massively high-end. This is about building skill rather than a big bank balance, so check out instead the hand-made aluminium bodywork and the pipework to the massive Rayjay turbo, with its specially made ‘Valtoron’ branded heat shield.

8. Knuck Out by Riverside Motorcyclettes

The Euro theme continues with the French-made Knuck Out, which is a totally different proposition to the last two entrants. More like the latest American designs, it combines classic cues like the S&S engine and the springer forks with modern touches like the massive 26-inch alloy wheels.

7. Speedy by Eddie Gustafsson

Over to Sweden this time for the speedway-inspired ‘Speedy’ which uses a 500cc Jawa single from a real speedway bike mated to a Triumph gearbox. In the true spirit of custom building, Gustafsson did pretty much everything himself – even making the wheels using copper pipe and chair bases. He also made the frame, swingarm and bodywork, while the forks are from a Monkey bike! We take our collective hat off to you, sir.

6. Unbreakable by Thunderbike

German builders Thunderbike have gone for something a little more conventional, with a Harley 110cu in engine in their own frame, with their own wheels, swingarm and front end to go with it. Beautifully made.

5. Nut Cracker by Paul Milbourn

Waving the flag for Great Britain comes Bognor-based Phil Milbourn and Nut Cracker. The engine is, weirdly, from a Honda Vigor, which helps keep things compact at the back to emphasise those insanely long springer forks. On a blank background, you might get the impression it’s a mini-bike of some sort thanks to the cartoonish proportions, but that front wheel is 21 inches in diameter, while the rear is 16 inch, so in reality it’s an enormously long machine. Best kept away from corners, one imagines.

4. Graphite Speedster by Rough Crafts

Taiwan might not be the place you’d expect to see a world-class custom bike, but that’s where this machine hails from. Powered by a 1584cc Harley motor, it’s another of the more conventional customs in the top 10.

3. Fiat Arbarth by North Coast Custom

This is more like it, some proper madness. Now we’ve seen plenty of car-engined bikes before, but they’re usually big V8 things, but since NCC is an Italian builder, they’ve used a tiny air-cooled parallel twin from an old Fiat 500, mated to a Harley transmission and their own chassis.

2. WSA by Waylon Machinery

Another of the more ‘conventional’ custom bikes, but you’ve got to take your hat off to the fact that the engine, an 800cc V-twin, is specially made for this bike by its Finnish builder, Veikko Sikiö, who even made the carburettors themselves and cast all the aluminium and brass parts (ie most of it) in house.

1. Nurb’s by Krugger Motorcycles

Belgian builders Krugger have been around for a while and have had plenty of success with earlier builds, but the oddly-named  Nurb’s was a fitting winner for the 2014 AMD championship. In case you’re wondering, that’s a 165bhp BMW K1600 six-cylinder engine, mounted in Fred Krugger’s own frame. The front end, swingarm and wheels are also Krugger creations, specifically for this bike. While we like the BMW R NineT, maybe BMW itself should take a look at this and see what a modern interpretation of a café racer using its parts could be. Krugger has wisely kept all the BMW electrics, too, so there’s traction control, electronically adjustable suspension, anti-wheelie and all the other mod cons of a current top-end bike.

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