Mike Archbold holds the ‘Best of Show’ trophy after winning top honors at the first Rat’s Hole Bike Show held in Texas at the 2010 Lone Star Rally. (below) Miss Ratsmate 2010 sits on the winning 2009 Suzuki Hayabusa.
The Rat’s Hole has been conducting world class custom bike shows for 37 years, but Ted Smith and crew broke new ground this year when it held its first-ever show in the great state of Texas. With almost 80 custom motorcycles lined up on Galveston’s Pier 21 all competing for the vaunted “Best of Show” laurels, a steady stream of motorcycle enthusiasts and onlookers enjoyed the wild and wacky collection of cool customs at the Lone Star Rally’s premier custom bike show.
While the predominant motorcycle competing in the event was a Harley-Davidson customized in some manner, a healthy contingency of garage-style bobbers were also on hand. Baggers, as usual, were well-represented, but there were only a handful of super radicals, which is usually one of the most hotly contested categories at a Rat’s Hole show. There was no shortage of American IronHorse and Big Dog motorcycles at the rally itself, so the low turnout of stretched and raked exotics with big V-Twins, tons of chrome and high-dollar paint is a little surprising but is indicative that this style of motorcycle’s popularity has pretty much run its course.
Chief Judge Jack had his hands full inspecting the bobbers, over 1000cc and Antique classes. He’s been judging the Rat’s Hole Custom Shows in Daytona Beach for just short of an eternity and has honed an expert eye when it comes to recognizing what makes a bike stand apart, from innovation to originality. The consummate professional, he was busy getting down on his hands and knees to inspect each motorcycle up close and personal, scribbling notes on his tally sheets as he made his way from bike to bike. Jack flew in from New York the night before just to judge the contest and had to fly back out the very next morning.
When it was all said and done, All Things Chrome (ATC) rode away the big winner with “Best of Show” honors in addition to bringing the motorcycle that easily garnered the most attention at the competition. Mike Archbold, proprietor of All Things Chrome, a shop out of Hendersonville, Tennessee, has been in the chrome business for over 30 years. His shop specializes in manufacturing custom sport and superbike swingarms, billet parts and fat tire kites with an emphasis on customizing Suzuki Hayabusas.
All Things Chrome was the talk of the show. Not only did it win top honors, but this 2007 Hayabusa with the 1500mm Hoosier rear tire created quite a stir.
The winning bike was a striking 2009 yellow and blue Suzuki Hayabusa. Its front fender features chrome-plated vented screens enhanced by internal lighting. The formidable ‘Busa powerplant, usually hidden behind a full fairing, is illuminated behind see-through engine covers. The front also has a trick rotating light kit. The multi-colored Hayabusa is slammed to the ground courtesy of its Air Ride Suspension and is equipped with a wicked Gatlin Gun rotating exhaust. The fat backside features an All Things Chrome 360 Out Side Drive swingarm. True to its All Things Chrome moniker, plenty of the shiny stuff dresses up the trophy-winning motorcycle, from ATC custom mirrors to its controls.
When asked how it felt to win, Archbold said, “I loved it. I never would have dreamed to get best of show with a sportbike. There were a lot of great custom Harleys and other bikes in the competition, so winning is like a dream.”
But it was All Things Chrome’s second entry that created quite a stir. At the end of the overstretched custom ATC swingarm sits a 1500mm Hoosier right rear outside drive tire, the largest sprint car tire you can buy. We don’t know if it’s official, but we dubbed it “The World’s Largest Back Tire on a Suzuki Hayabusa.” Archbold refers to it as “The Hater Bike” because of all the negative feedback he’s received from superbike purists. But if you’re looking for a motorcycle that draws a crowd, Archbold said with a laugh “It’s just like riding around with Britney Spears naked on the back of your motorcycle.” Cruising around on a customized blue 2007 Hayabasa with a monster Hoosier tire measuring out at about 28 inches tends to have that effect. It was built two years ago for Daytona Bike Week with the ambition of creating a sportbike with “the fattest bike tire around.” At the Rat’s Hole Show in Galveston, it was good enough for second place in the sportbike category.
One of the crowd favorites was a radical chopper with a tank formed in the shape of a cow skull, complete with big horns that wrapped around the stretched fork and paint like the Texas state flag. It also had twisted, barb wire-style handlebars, barb wire shift linkage and a custom seat in the shape of a horse’s saddle complete with a saddle horn and a Holstein patch in the middle of the seat.
The ‘70s era was represented by a raked-out yellow chopper with a crazy-tall white banana seat and sick pipes that curved up and shot skyward equally as high as the seat. The front had curved Ram’s horn bars and a Springer fork set out at a heavy rake. A small, custom tank set on the thin tube of the backbone of the banana yellow frame completed the retro-vibe of this classic scoot.
One of our favorites was a hardcore little black bobber with a drilled out backbone and a custom tank suspended under it with an industrial looking girder fork featuring the same drilled-out design. The look was complemented by drilled
This industrial-looking bobber was one of our favorites. Kick starter, jockey shifter, drilled-out with no front fender or brake. Cool.
out foot pegs and shift linkage. In true bobber fashion, there was no front fender or brake, and the fender on the rigid rear hugged the thin back tire. It had a kick starter, jockey shifter and what looks like a Dennis Goodson air cleaner. It also had a small belt on the left side open primary, and a Flyrite primary rear brake system connected directly to the rear rotor of the final chain drive. Twin custom pipes wrap around the engine and under the simple pan seat that’s equipped with a small spring.
Overall, sunny weather at a great waterfront location brought out an appreciative crowd. With a healthy amount of competitors for a first-time event, the first Rat’s Hole Bike Show was a great addition to the 2010 Lone Star Rally.