28 August 2019
Is fast becoming one of the most popular and accessible platforms for custom bike building the Battle of the Kings competition showcases the almost endless possibilities it offers.
Increasingly, the Street® platform is being seen as the ideal starting point for custom building, with endless possibilities for developing striking and original creations within a reasonable budget. Harley-Davidson dealers worldwide have embraced the platform and produced some truly exceptional custom builds over the last five years of the Battle of the Kings competition. Here we take a look at some of the standout entries…
Harley-Davidson® Prague: SHDB 04 (2015)
Classic café racer styling combined with flawless hand-beaten metalwork gave the Czech Republic top honours in the 2015 Battle of the Kings contest with this immaculate build. Ondřej Odenhal, master builder at H-D® Prague, drew inspiration from two other innovative motorcycles - the Lotus C01 and Shaw Speed’s ‘Nascafe Racer’. Further modifications on SHDB 04 included a new rear subframe, rear-set foot controls and new lighting front and rear. Every part of the bodywork was either modified or handmade for this build, and even the instruments were removed and replaced by a smartphone interface.
Nine Bridges Harley-Davidson®, Ahmedabad, India: Miraki (2018)
‘Miraki’ was designed as a modern twist on the classic café racer style – fast, nimble and with attitude in spades. Dushyant Ingle of Nine Bridges was the creative mind behind this build, which used inverted forks, uprated rear suspension, rear-set foot controls and clip-ons to give the classic café racer stance, while retaining the modern technology of the Street® platform. A seat pan rebuilt on a skateboard deck effectively concealed the wiring and electronics, while a chopped and narrowed fuel tank, bigger white-wall tyres and rebuilt exhausts changed the aesthetics of the bike, giving it a wholly contemporary attitude with classic style.
Harley-Davidson® Varese, Italy: Spitfire (2019)
Performance was the key motivator for the H-D® Varese team – they used racing components extensively throughout their Street Rod® build, while staying true to the key design elements of the original bike. The result is a bike that the team describes as ‘impetuous and irascible’. Performance fitments include a new control unit and ignition block, and free-flowing exhaust system to maximise the useable power. Stylistically, the Varese team has chosen new handlebars, grips and controls, a transparent air filter holder and LED lighting front and rear, while a new paint scheme and red anodised finishes ensure that ‘Spitfire’ stands out at the track as well as on the street.
Silver Lake Harley-Davidson®, Belgium: Street XRTT (2015)
Belgian technician Joeri Van Ouytsel used the low and nimble lines of the Street 750 to create an undeniably beautiful homage to the racing XRTT bikes from the 1970s road racing era. Joeri used a 30-litre tank from a Laverda and the fairing from a Paton race bike to completely transform the look of the original bike, matched with a shorter tail unit, 21-inch wheels from a Sportster® Seventy Two, clip-on bars and rear-sets, and piggyback shocks from a XR1200®. Colour-matched brake lines and that eye-catching historic paint scheme completed the transformation into ’70s racer.
Konark Harley-Davidson®, Bhubaneswar, India: The Golem (2018)
The team at Konark H-D® took a radical approach to their Street® build, aiming to recreate a time when custom motorcycles were stripped back to bare bones and comfort came second to style. ‘The Golem’ used the base chassis from a Street 750, but it was chopped from the centre and a hard-tail rear end frame was constructed and installed; meanwhile, at the front the telescopic forks of the original bike were replaced with springer forks and suspended headlamp to complete the ‘old skool’ look. A sprung seat and chopped stock exhaust for a menacing look completed the makeover.
Harley-Davidson® Tarraco, Spain: Golden Wing (2019)
The team at Harley-Davidson® Tarraco chose a different inspiration for their iteration of the Street Rod® – Harley-Davidson Grand Prix racers from the AMF era, when the Motor Company won four road racing world titles with race legend Walter Villa. Chief designer Joaquin Pons and the H-D® Tarraco build team evoked the look of a ’70s GP racer by modifying and fitting a full road-race fairing complete with inset lights, new exhaust and wheels, performance upgrades and a striking Villa-inspired orange-and-black paint scheme. The finished model bears race number 23, a tribute to dealership owners Motor Group 23. The result? A bike that would not look out of place on any road race circuit, then or now.
Harley-Davidson® Østfold, Norway: Street Racer (2015)
H-D® Østfold went for a slammed street racer look with this entry, led by Svein Erik Simensen. Sportster® suspension was used to lower the bike’s stance, while the profile of the original Street® donor bike was transformed with an elegant new rear end, kicked-up rear fender and a slimmed-down seat. A classic orange-and-black paint scheme and repositioned instruments and lights enhanced the dynamic racer look.
Harley-Davidson® Centre, Cyprus: Revolution X (2015)
The Cyprus dealer team decided to give the Street® a more aggressive and muscular stance. New triple trees and beefier forks at the front and a short cowl seat at the back – matched with twin headlights and streetfighter bars – gave a nod to the street racer style, while aluminium race wheels, a new front brake system and a racing muffler completed the aggressive new look.
Spice Coast Harley-Davidson®, Kochi: Rattler (2018)
‘Rattler’ showed the potential for custom builders to take the Street® platform in a totally different direction when it emerged as a serious off-road behemoth. The major changes for this build could be seen in the radically increased suspension height at both ends, with motocross guards and a flat track style seat unit, spoked wheels and knobbly tyres making a serious statement of off-road intent. The fuel tank was chopped and customised, and an eye-popping dual-tone paint job completed the dirt bike transformation.
The Battle of the Kings competition has grown since 2015 to become the biggest dealer custom bike build competition in the world, with more than 200 dealers competing to build a unique custom bike using a budget no bigger than half the cost of the original model. Once the National Winner for each nation is selected by public vote, a panel of experts will crown the ultimate winner at this year’s EICMA motorcycle show in Italy.
Find out more about the Street platform here.
Have these builds got you inspired to embark on your own custom project? Talk to your local dealer for expert advice here.