2011 World Custom Bike Championship

custom-bike-championship-sThe 2011 Custom World Championship of Custom Bike Building. custom-bike-champs

2011 World Championship of Custom Bike Building

Many internationally known custom builders headed to Sturgis to compete in the 2011 World Championship of Custom Bike Building but it was a  that took the top honors.

After working on his bike for 3-1/2 years,  relatively unknown customiser Ken Tabata of Tavax Engineering in Osaka, Japan, appeared in Sturgis and left as the 2011 World Champion of Custom Bike Building. He describes his winning bike, TAVAX2011V, as being designed to look like a Cheetah about to pounce, all dynamic movement and power.


TAVAX2011V  combines sculpted aluminum bodywork with one-off hand-made pieces that form the suspension and replace the stock engine and transmission covers. The swingarm pivots from behind the rear cylinder, arcing over the transmission, and carrying a linkage system operated single shock, a design similar to that found on many modern sports bikes.

At the front of the machine the suspension begins at the axle as a leading link fork, which then changes via a pair of links to finish as a Springer fork. Wheels are a pair of Marchesini 17in sport bike rims carrying floating rotors and Lockheed brake calipers.


Taking a less complex styling route, Larry Houghton, of Lamb Engineering, secured second place with Son of a Gun. Based around and eBay find 1951 BSA single cylinder engine and Talon motocross wheels, Larry built the rest of the bike himself often collecting material from the scrap bins of friends in the engineering trade. His careful recycling of material meant that he was able to build a World Class custom motorcycle for less than $9,000, including the gold candy of silver metalflake paint.


When it comes to building bikes Satya Kraus’ motto is always for the bike to have everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t. It’s an ideal he has ably demonstrated on Bolide, the bike with which he placed third in the World Championship of Custom Bike Building.

He achieved his aim by putting a 93ci S&S Shovelhead motor in a one-off frame carrying a mono-shocked swingarm, telescopic forks and 17in Alpina spoked wheels shod with Metzeler sport bike tires.


Sport bike influences are also readily evident in the styling of the winning bike in the Performance Custom class. Jim Giuffra and the girls of AFT Customs rebuilt a 1970 Honda CB750 as café racer inspired custom complete with RaceTech suspension, Beringer brakes and numerous one-off pieces.


The influence that café racers are having on the current custom scene can also be seen in the design of the top placed Production Manufacturer class bike. Best known for its line of Chops and Bobbers, Darwin Motorcycles has built what it describes as an American muscle bike. Powered by a 132ci S&S X-Wedge V-twin, the RLX carries a full range of top spec components including Öhlins suspension, Beringer brakes and BST carbon fiber wheels.

A first in 2011 for the World Championship was the entry of a sidecar outfit and it was this outfit, Abnormal Cycles’ Union, that took the honors in the Modified Harley class. The Model ‘U’ powered outfit features a stock frame fitted with a custom sidecar body and a leaf spring Indian style front end, which includes a pair of handlebars created to also look like a leaf spring.


Photography credit: Studio bike shots by Onno Wieringa and Frank Sander; Stage photography by Onno Wieringa.

World Championship Freestyle Class – Results

1st Tavax Engineering   “Tavax 2011V”    Ken Tabata – Japan
2nd Lamb Engineering    “Son of a Gun”    Larry Houghton -UK
3rd Kraus Motor Co        “Bolide ”            Satya Kraus – USA

Modified Harley-Davidson Championship – Results

1st AbnormalCycles “Union”   Samuele Reali – Italy
2nd Iacona Custom Cycles   “Challenger”  Steven Iacona – USA
3rd Shaw Harley-Davidson  “Nascafe Race”r  Shaw Speed & Custom – UK

Production Manufacturer Championship Results

1st Darwin Motorcycles “RLX”   Dar, Tim, Bryan, Justin – USA
2nd Kiwi Indian Motorcycle Co “Kiwi Chieftain 1950’s”  Mike Kiwi Tomas – USA
3rd Zero Engineering “Type 6”  Zero Engineering – USA

Performance Custom Championship Results

1st AFT Customs “Sentoh”  Jim Giuffra / AFT Customs Girls – USA
2nd Fuller Hot Rods “Rodan”  Bryan Fuller and crew – USA
3rd RK Concepts “RK Spring Frame”  Rafik Kaiss – USA


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