Jeremy Cupp’s FreeStyle Class winner started as a 1976 883 Harley XL before it was transformed into this vintage hillclimber.
The Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show swept into Charlotte for the 11th round of competition this past weekend, setting the stage for the grand finale in Daytona Beach during Bike Week 2012 where winners of each round will compete for the title of overall champion. The Charlotte show brought out a curious collection of custom motorcycles, from a patriotic Semper Fi trike to Dale Walksler’s ‘The Time Machine’ to a crazy custom with front wheel drive and hydraulic rear wheel steering.
This sense of the unconventional carried over to Jeremy Cupp’s FreeStyle Class winner, a 1976 Harley-Davidson 883 XL called ‘Old Black.’ It’s hard to recognize many remnants of a Sportster in the motorcycle’s new hill climber-inspired design which now looks more like a 1932 DAH Hillclimber. Cupp of LC Fabrications built a hill climber-style chassis to house the Harley 883 which is topped off with a custom open rocker valvetrain and dual Amal carbs with two rear heads. A sturdy Springer anchors the minimalist front with a notable absence of a brake which Cupp compensated for by outfitting it with dual rear drum brakes. He hooked up a sweet jackshafted dual chain drive to get the power to the rear, which is wrapped by a mudguard-style fender. The tank suspended below the backbone is a thing of beauty, as are the copper accents spread throughout the bike. Cupp reportedly researched hillclimb race bikes by contacting the aforementioned Walksler, who happens to be curator of the Wheels Through Time Museum, to ensure that he captured the style and look of the original. After winning the $3000 first prize in the FreeStyle Class, we’d say he nailed it on the head.
Something about the name of the Retro Mod winner strikes a chord in us. It goes to show Ben Jordan, the owner of ‘Basura Blanca,’ has a good sense of humor. Jordan can laugh all the way to the bank after winning first place in both Charlotte’s Modified Harley and Retro Mod Classes. His Retro Mod entry, ‘Basura Blanca’ (White Trash) was built primarily from swap meet parts. The frame is off a restored 1955 Harley that now houses a 1949 Panhead and a Harley tranny which he salvaged, too. At the end of the tight rake of the Harley Big Twin Springer front end sits a spoked 16-inch wheel wrapped in Shinko rubber. The small seat pan is slung low on the rigid rear and is tucked in behind the raised hump of the clean Frisco tank, making it a good reach to the drag bars. The vintage-looking scoot has a brass PIMP kicker pedal from Fabricator Kevin and has an old brass door knob for a shifter handle. A snakeskin seat and some cholo paint applied by Ryan Young fit the bike’s name well.
(L) Who’s ready to hit the board track on Star Racer? (M) Neyon Paint put its touches on this 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa, the winner of the Performance Custom Class at the Ultimate Dealer Custom Bike Show in Charlotte. (R) Quantum Leap was often the center of attention at the Charlotte round of the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show and won the ‘People’s Choice’ award.
Jordan’s “In Hoc Signo Vinces,” which translates to “In This Sign You Will Conquer,” a quote that dates back to the Greeks and Constantine I, is also an appropriate title after Jordan conquered the competition in the Modified Harley Class. Jordan’s ‘47 Knucklehead has more of an art deco vibe courtesy of the concentric circles of the disk covered rear wheel, tiny brass tail light and small round headlight. Throwback traits like a tank shift and kick pedal combine with a slew of single year and rare production parts to make a bobber worthy of the $2000 top prize in Charlotte’s Modified Harley Class.
On the opposite end of the spectrum to Jordan’s vintage Harleys is the 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa owned by Cale Lohr that won the Performance Custom Class. Its name, ‘Power Corrupts,’ must allude to the 1340cc Hayabusa Engine that’s been rigged with an RCC Stage 1 turbo, as if the stock bike wasn’t already fast enough! The black widow of ‘Busas has been stretched courtesy of an extended swingarm and slammed via its Air Ride suspension. Five spoke carbon fiber wheels replace the stock units and its webbed design was laid down by the crew at Neyon Paint.
The Retro Mod winner, ‘Basura Blanca’ has a frame from a 1955 Harley that houses a 1949 Panhead engine with an old salvaged Harley gear box. We dig its Frisco tank, too.
But the motorcycle which created the most buzz in Charlotte was the People’s Choice winner, a one-off custom created by Eddie Meeks called ‘Quantum Leap.’ The motorcycle features an innovative front wheel drive system where a series of shafts, ring-and-pinion gears and universal joints transfer the power from the Baker Five-Speed Right-Side Drive transmission to the front wheel of Quantum Leap. It is steered by the rear wheel courtesy of a hydraulic system whereby the handlebars are attached directly to two dual-action hydraulic piston cylinders. Other features like an internal throttle and clutch, air suspension and 360 brakes keep Quantum Leap’s lines clean and tidy. The bike is a marvel of engineering design, to hell with practicality! The motorcycle’s dynamics created quite a few questions at the show, and if you’ve got some of your own, be sure to check out our in-depth feature “Custom Builder Eddie Meeks Quantum Leap.”
A special guest at the Charlotte Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show was the Wheels Through Time Museum’s Walksler. He not only brought in “The Time Machine” to compete in the Modified Harley Class, a spectacular 1936 Harley-Davidson EL, but his Wheels Through Time Museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of rare American vintage motorcycles. According to Walksler’s site, “this All-American motorcycle museum houses over 300 of America’s rarest and most historic classic motorcycles, with over 24 marques on display, including the likes of Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior, Crocker, Henderson, and much more.” Coolest part is, Walksler works hard to keep the motorcycles in his collection fully operational. It’s a truly unique collection and Walksler is a walking encyclopedia of motorcycle history and knowledge, so if you’re ever in the Maggie Valley, North Carolina area, be sure to stop in and check out the Wheels Through Time.
The final Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show of the 2011-2012 season will take place in Daytona Beach from March 14-17. The best-of-the-best will battle it out for the title of grand champion and double the prize money. There’s also one last chance to vote in the “People’s Choice” award and get your name entered to win the custom 2011 Honda Fury we’re giving away as one of the sponsors of the show. See you at the beach!