European Contenders In CCI World Competition
AMD World Champion Revs Closer To The USA
By Bandit and AMD Staff
Two years ago Robin Bradley, the publisher of American Motorcycle Dealer (AMD) magazine, kicked off the World Championship of Custom Motorcycle Builders competition. It began with Robin’s relationship with Custom Chrome and a massive dealer show in Europe. Oddly enough AMD and the World Championship is based in the UK. That’s where the vast worldly prospective came from.
Robin headed up a bike show competition in Europe, AMD ProShow, at the Dealer Show then connected the European winners to America through the Custom Chrome Dealer Show in Morgan Hill, California. Sure, there’s a myriad of bike show competitions exploding all over the country, but the interesting aspect of this competition includes bringing European builders to the states. Talk about opening doors to new waves of custom treatments… Incredible.
This year, the third year of the competition, the winners are expanding as various shows sign up to be accredited for the overall competition. More than just the European dealer show winners are competing to come to America. Stateside winners from the LA Calendar show and various other shows are stepping up to the plate to be invited to the final competition to be held in Las Vegas at the Big Twin West Dealer/Consumer show held in Nevada in November. At that point the best builder in the world for 2005 will be chosen and awarded vast sums of goodies.
We’re proud to give you a peek at the European winners right now. So Hang on.
Thomas Habermann and his partner Dany are no strangers to success in bike contests in Europe. Indeed, Thomas's 'Skull Bike' took third place in the AMD ProShow in Germany in 2002. Since then, we have also featured his 'Ghul' chopper in AMD as well.
As the 71 bikes that entered this year's European Championship were wheeled in for registration the day before the show opened, there were a dozen or so that immediately caught the eye as likely contenders for top honors. 'Caligo' was among them.
Judging at the European Championship, presented by Custom Chrome at their annual Dealer Show in Mainz, Germany, March 19th and 20th, was by the competitors themselves and come five o'clock on the Sunday afternoon and time for the announcement of the winners, Thomas and Dany were "staggered and amazed" to find themselves winners and 2005 Official European Champions.
"We just did not expect this", said Dany. "This is amazing because this means that in the opinion of the builders here, we have entered a bike that they think is the best in the show.
But there are so many fantastic bikes here, built by great designers and engineers, that to have them think that our work is at least as good as their own is just completely unexpected".
Whilst there is not a publication in the world whose production values could do justice to the detail and finish of 'Caligo', it should nonetheless be pretty clear from our presentation here that the most surprising thing about Dany's reaction is her surprise.
The quality of all the bikes entered was superb. The builders themselves, as had been the case with competitors at the first Annual Official World Championship at Custom Chrome's American Dealer Show last October, said that it was the finest collection of custom V-twins they had ever seen in one place at one time. And as at the World Championship, the judging at the European Championship was very close, with relatively few points separating the top twenty or so bikes.
Anyone of the top ten or fifteen customs would have been a fine and worthy winner, but one senses that the view of the judges was that Thomas and Dany's career had been building to a crescendo and that recognition for 'Caligo' was also recognition for years of consistency and commitment to engineering quality and a design ethic that, in European terms at least, is now and forever will be characteristically 'Habermann'.
A rigid fanatic, Dany, as ever, is responsible for the theme of the paint and the graphics and the bike was built as her own personal ride. Her enjoyment of the iconography and imagery of 'the dark side' is nothing if not thorough. Check out the skulls that have been superbly executed from scanned photographs of medieval plague victims by airbrush genius Bianca Hennig.
The exquisite rendering of Dany's vision (nightmare?) is mirrored by Thomas's attention to engineering detail. Based on a frame of their own design and manufacture, 'Caligo' has forty degrees rake in the headstock and five inches of stretch in the backbone and the down tube. The front end is a Dutch made SJP 18 inch over design with a Custom Chrome RevTech 'Creep' 2.15 x 19 inch front wheel and PM six piston caliper.
The bike uses a 93 cubic inch S&S Shovelhead motor with knucklehead rockers that Thomas describes as giving a "Knovelhead" hybrid look. The motor has an S&S Super E carb with a skull emblazoned upswept manifold and cone filter, and uses a Dyna S ignition. The clutch and transmission is a stock Harley 5 speed set up from a 2003 Dyna.
Unsurprisingly, all the bodywork including the gas tank and the custom made exhaust system was done in-house by Thomas. With an estimated three months invested in the construction, the bike was finished in December last year, then modified early in 2005 to take the S&S shovelhead motor as soon as it became available, as an alternate choice to the 1978 Harley original that he had originally assumed he would be using.
The rear end is an Avon 300 on a Custom Chrome RevTech 'Creep' 11.5 x 18 inch wheel that features a 'spinner' designed and made by the Habermann- Performance Team.
The most striking feature of 'Caligo' is the massive 95-tooth perimeter chain final drive that emerges unseen from the transmission. Like all good choppers, 'Caligo' is devoid of clutter and unnecessary accessories, but also as with all good choppers, the simplicity is camouflage for design decisions and craftsmanship of the highest order.
Italian made OMP brand grips and instruments are used on a set of Thomas's own made handlebars with a W&W front light. At the back an RST four piston caliper is discreetly hidden under the bodywork and integrated with the sprocket idler shaft on the right side.
Thomas and Dany want us to say a great big thank you on their behalf to their fellow builders and competitors for voting for them in the European Championship. As someone who was standing close to them on stage when the announcement was made, I can vouch that you will never see a more humble and genuinely surprised reaction.
Tel: 0049 (0) 7344 84 16
Fax: 0049 (0) 7344 922630
In CCI World Competition
AMD World Champion Revs Closer To The USA
By Bandit and AMD Staff
FULL METAL JACKET—2nd Place
When Piet Hofman opened the doors of his Violator motorcycle business at Alblasserdam in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, like all builders he had high hopes for his new enterprise.
However, even he can't have expected that within such a short time his company would have a full order book and multiple bike show awards around Europe, culminating in second place at the Official European Championship of Custom Bike Building, presented by Custom Chrome Europe at their annual Dealer Show in Mainz, Germany, in March this year.
Violator's styling and ethic has been European style cutting edge from day one, but 'Full Metal Jacket' represents Piet's own personal styling choices as an aficionado of dragster design.
Piet told AMD that "I wanted to produce a dragster look that combined some of the simplicity of old style thinking and chopper design, with some new technology and contemporary ideas in a clean and tidy package".
As a summary of what he has achieved, it's hard to improve upon that analysis, as, right down to the choice of the two color paint job, everything about Full Metal Jacket is 'black and white'. It has a confidence and certainty about its build that would be the envy of many more experienced custom designers. Full Metal Jacket has no grey areas; it is full-on in every decision made.
All Violator's bikes are based on frames built for them to their design by Penz Custom bikes of Austria. 'Full Metal Jacket' uses a Violator modified single downtube 'Maximus' design. The frame, which has 50 degrees of rake, with an extra 5 degrees in the front fork, has a four inch stretch in the top tube and is two inches lower in the downtube. The muscle for the bike is provided by a 145 cubic inch S&S Cycle Tribute motor. The gas tank is an old-style two piece design made personally by Piet and designed to show off the swooping lines of the frame shape and blend into seat and rear fender bodywork that Piet also made himself.
Using a Baker six speed right-side drive transmission, Primo 1 1/8 inch belt drive and a BDL clutch, the custom made single right-side swingarm houses Violator's own design six piston caliper and an Italian made OMP brand 17 inch by 12.5 inch wide rear wheel designed for the Avon 330 tire.
Piet has used OMP products extensively on Full Metal Jacket, including the 65-tooth rear pulley, the forward controls, the 21 inch x 2.5 inch front wheel and the four piston front caliper.
The handlebar controls and grips are also Italian, by K- Tech; and the narrow looking 'Retro Glide' front end is a Dutch made SJP design frame from GST in the Netherlands.
Full Metal Jacket is a bike characterised by design contrasts. The contrasts of the skinny front end with the fat rear end and the large diameter (21-inch) front wheel with the low seat height, and the monster 145-inch S motor with the skinny Kevlar rear belt are unusual enough.
But combine that with the right-side drive, single-sided swingarm, and a carbon fibre end piece custom exhaust system (for heat dissipation) that exits through bodywork vents on either side and beneath the seat, and it's no wonder that Piet's fellow competitors at the European Championship judged his achievement so highly.
Tel: 0031 651185070
Fax: 0031 786914971
In CCI World Competition (Continued)
AMD World Champion Revs Closer To The USA
By Bandit and AMD Staff
MR MOORE CAME TO TOWN—3rd Place
The first thing I had to sort out with Mika Nieminen was where his business name came from. 'Mr Moore's Custom Craft' does not immediately strike you as an obvious name for a custom v- twin shop in Finland!
"I guess everybody in our school must have been real silly because, when it came to having nicknames handed out, for some reason I was always called Mr. Moore, and it has stuck ever since". So, groping for some kind of explanation, I asked if there was some kind of Roger Moore/James Bond vibe going on at the time. Mika said "Well maybe, but to be honest I have no idea why it's stuck with me.
"Around six or seven years ago, I was lining up with the other bikes to enter my first competition and the guy asked me who had built the bike and I just came out with it 'Custom crafted by Mr Moore' and there it was. Before I realised it, that was my new business name".
Mika has been building bikes since the mid 1980s but first came to prominence with a 1998 project called 'Glowing Dolphin'. He had taken an original 1958 Panhead and thrown the original Springer front end out to 40 inches over. The bike had an axle-to- axle wheel base of 2.65 m (approximately eight and a half feet) and the notoriety the bike gave Mika set him on his way to a full time career in the V-twin industry.
"The funny thing is I still have that bike and I still ride it most weeks", Mika confessed proudly. "In 2001, I moved to Sweden, originally intending to stay there for a year, and my first job was with Unique Customs Cycles (www.uccycles.com) of Haninge".
The Swedish bike scene is a hugely close knit community where loyalties and friendships are life-long and Mika came down to the show in Germany with Gordon Rooth and the UCC team, who own the bike 'Statement' and took away tenth place.
After a year or so working for UCC, Mike started his own business. 'Viridian' started out as a twinkle in the eye of MCM Magazine owner Inge Persson-Carleson who first approached Mika about the project in 2002. The parts for the bike were sourced by Martin Lang, the Zodiac International Sales Manager for Sweden who, having spent many years living in Italy (having originally been from Switzerland), got noted Italian parts designer Alessandro Pacelli involved.
Originally involved with the OMP brand, Alessandro's current business, Kustom Tech, provided the 'Fin Line' hubs for the Zodiac/Morad spoked rims, the handlebars, hand and foot controls, and, most impressively, the custom made rear drum brake.
"I was looking to build as many features into the bike as I could that hinted at American fifties Hot-Rod styling and the idea for the drum brake came from the '58 and later Buick, right down to the starburst style cover".
Much of the rib effect seen around 'Viridian' is a styling cue that has been common to Swedish custom bike building for decades. The origins of it go back to that same era that Mika was shooting for. Scandinavia in general, but Sweden in particular, has been heavily influenced by American styling and thinking in all sorts of ways, for decades. For example, outside of the United States, Sweden is where you go to see one of the highest ownership per head of population of faithfully restored and lovingly cared for Americana in general, and fifties Detroit output in particular.
Among the signature part used on 'Viridian' are the Swedish made Roban's Speed Shop finned primary covers. The finned motif is revisited again and again on 'Viridian' wherever good taste permit.
The front wheel is 21 inch build item with a Kustom Tech/ ISR (Sweden) caliper, with a 5.5 x18 inch rear. The front fork started out life as a European made Samwell item, extended to 20 inches over. The gas tank started out life as a Mustang piece but as you can see was heavily modified by Mika.
In addition to the custom made drum brake two of the major technical features of 'Viridian' are Mika's own made and designed frame and the exotic two into one custom exhaust system.
Mika makes his own frames on jigs in his workshop and he explains that "I wanted to eliminate as many of the straight lines as I could. So wherever possible I have created curving shapes that again brought to mind 1950s American Hot-Rod styling. A lot of Swedish style choppers are very angular but I wanted a shape that compensates for the effect of the front end".
The exhausts wrap around the lower part of the cylinders where the fins have been shaved and they meet in a tapered colector that is finished with a fin cover just above the engine cases.
"They told me that it could not be done; that the engine would run too hot and that the pipes would not be able to deal with the heat", Mika said.
"But actually, the bike runs fine. These days if anybody asks me about it, I simply say yes, it is the 'hottest chopper' in the country!"
The fin motif is completed with the use of the Drag Engineering nose cone cover. Mika says that he found a guy in Sweden who had managed to get three of these. Mika bought two of them; one for use on 'Viridian' and he says that he is going to keep the other for a personal project that he has in mind in a few years.
The S&S shovelhead engine was prepared and tuned by Spok Motor of Helsinki in Finland, and features an S&S 514 cam, Zodiac tappets, Jim's pushrods, a Mikuni HSR42 carb, and a Mr. Moore custom made velocity stack bellmouth.
The spark plugs have been relocated in the cylinder heads to allow for the exhaust port modifications, and Mika has used the distributor style ignition from an Indian.
The transmission is a Zodiac 5-speed, with a Zodiac belt primary and clutch. Zodiac also supplied most of the other parts used including, one of their own brand Bellweather rear fenders and the lights. Much of the rest of 'Viridian' has been hand made by Mika, down to and including the 'Speed Shell' oil tank and the pipes .
The paint job is House of Kolor 'Organic Green Candy' on a gold base, by Joakim Krantz, with pin-striping by Ettore Callegaro in Italy, and chroming by Metallsliperi in Stockholm, Sweden.
If you plan to visit the Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building, to be presented by Custom Chrome at the Big Twin West Dealer Show in Las Vegas, November this year, be sure to check out 'Viridian' for yourself. Look out for Mika, his wife Sarita and the crew from MCM Magazine.
To judge by their excitement and their enthusiasm when their success was announced at the European Championship in March, I suspect that there will be quite a crew travelling over for the event, all with permanent 24/7 party-heads on!
MR MOORE CUSTOM
Tel: 00358 33 75 1000
Fax: 00358 33 75 1010