Picking a Winner: Seattle Ultimate Builder 2014

November 26, 2014
Bryan Harley
By Bryan Harley
Cruiser Editor |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to ‘Merican, he rides ‘em all.

It was a spirited contest in Seattle’s “Cathedral of Cool,” a war of attrition between baggers and bobbers, dueling pro-streeters and sportsters, vintage restos and hopped-up Harleys all scrambling for the title of “Seattle Ultimate Builder.” Twenty-six builders and bike owners from the Pacific Northwest and beyond converged on the Washington State Convention Center to showcase their companies and their craft at the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show. They also sought a slice of the prize money, $1000 going to the top Freestyle Class finisher, in addition to the prestige of being singled out by peers who select the winners of each class.

The piece of industrial art we presented as the Editors Choice award was created by local talented custom builder Dave Haze of Haze Custom Cycles.
The piece of industrial art we presented as the “Editor’s Choice” award was created by local talented custom builder Dave Haze of Haze Custom Cycles.
Hempstead and VooDoo BikeWorks won a 5 Ball Racing Leather Special Ops Vest and a Bell Custom 500 Helmet as the Peoples Choice.
Mike Hempstead and VooDoo BikeWorks won a 5 Ball Racing Leather Special Ops Vest and a Bell Custom 500 Helmet as the “People’s Choice.”

Motorcycle-USA made the trip up to Seattle with vested interest. It was the first time we’d caught the IMS in Seattle despite it being the closest event to our HQ in southern Oregon. We were also getting an opportunity to be a guest editor at the show, doubling the excitement. We traveled with trophy in hand, a beautiful industrial piece of rotating art cobbled together from Harley cams, chain, and a hood ornament off a ’52 Imperial created by Dave Haze of Haze Custom Cycles. (Find out more about the cool trophy in our MotoUSA to Gift Seattle Ultimate Builder Trophy article) Our sister site, Motorcycle Superstore, upped the ante with a $100 gift certificate and a schwag bag. While picking “Best of Show” is left to the builders themselves, the task to single out one bike that speaks to us was proving to be a challenge with so many strong contenders spread across the board.

Mike Hempstead brought a big, boomin’ purple bagger to the show on behalf of VooDoo BikeWorks, the bike a side project Kody McNew’s crew worked on while finishing up their Biker Battleground Phoenix build. The purple bagger featured a monstrous 30-inch chunk of billet at a crazy rake sitting below big apes, the custom Road King slammed with air ride. Its nacelle set the tone of the bike’s bodywork, big and bold with strong lines. A barrage of bass comes off the back end, both saddlebags and the slipstream topcase all topped with big woofers. There were plenty of people having their picture taken with the bike, indicative of why it won the “People’s Choice” award at the Seattle Ultimate Builder Show.

We gravitated to Aaron Egging’s cherry 1973 Triumph T140 over and over again. No detail was overlooked on this beauty, from its scalloped covers to the fluting of its handmade pipe. The stock 750cc engine has been bumped up with a Billet 800cc kit bolstered by Megacycle cams. The ported head and custom exhaust should make this bike a blast to romp around, the bike’s narrow, nimble frame wedged between a set of slim Firestones. An Acme Springer and 1960’s Wassell tank tie in to its throwback style, the high level of polishing on all its shiny bits making the beauty of the work stand out even more. The bike was a favorite among builders and fans alike, earning Egging’s 1973 Triumph top honors in the Retro MOD Class and a sweet $500 check to go with it.

The work on Richard Mattrass’ 1981 Honda GL1100 was impressive as well. The old Honda spreads its Wings with a Randakks carb kit and carb clamps, the Bradshaw-built version allowing its Flat Four engine to be one of the bike’s strongest traits. Up-spec suspension and custom exhaust confirm the bike’s been built to be a real runner, one we’re sure would is a blast to ride. The two Kenny Robert’s dirt-track replicas entered in the Seattle show both looked prime for shredding, too.

The bike we selected for “Editor’s Choice” elicited that type of reaction in us as well. The bike has attitude, established by the big chunks of Firestone rubber it uses for wheels. The see-through reservoir of the front brake sitting on the handlebars and the tiny Coca-Cola bottle serving as a sight glass on the tank are creative touches, as are the hand-tooled leather strips running down the fork legs. It has a healthy combination of drilled-out bits and carbon fiber touches, from the intake to the rear fender. Its foot pegs are BMX-style Primos, and to go along with the Coke theme established by the sight glass, a 1913 Coca-Cola bottle opener is mounted between the downtubes. Brad Hall of Magic’s Custom Cycle did indeed work his magic on this Sportster 48, evident by the constant stream of people surrounding it during the show. We proudly choose him for our “Editor’s Choice” award and look forward to running a full feature on Hall’s bike on Motorcycle USA.

In the end, Kevin Carper’s “Widowmaker,” a powerful pro-streeter with exclusive “Lamborghini Green” paint won the top prize in the “Freestyle Class.” You can only buy the paint from Lamborghini and will pay a pretty price per-gallon doing so. The build sees a burly S&S V-Twin force fed by a forward-facing air cleaner, short, stocky straight pipes adding to its muscle. The wide belt of its open primary matches the fat stance of its backside. The Seattle show experienced a first when Carper’s name was called but no one rose to accept the “Freestyle” class trophy. Carper reportedly missed the award ceremony because the Seattle Seahawks put on the block, at least fans exiting their home game at nearby CenturyLink Field did, congesting the streets of downtown Seattle. At least both the Seahawks and Carper were winners.

We came away with a deeper appreciation for what the guys at Biker Pros and the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Show do for our country’s custom bike building scene. The exposure for builders in Seattle was immeasurable as the bikes were displayed in the walkway between the two big halls housing the IMS, so just about everybody who walked through the doors of the Washington State Convention Center saw the bikes. I can’t think of too many other shows that have the national scope the Ultimate Builder does as it travels to major hubs around the country and allows builders from different regions a chance to showcase their brand and bikes. The setting in Seattle was spectacular, the big beams and giant windows of the archway infused with the wonderful architecture of the convention center itself. The setting lent to the professionalism of the show itself and the Seattle Ultimate Builder Show is something we are proud to have been a part of.

A full report and list of class winners is below, courtesy of Jeff Najar of Biker Pros.

The JP Cycle’s Ultimate Builder rolls up to Seattle for a Killer Show in the Cathedral of Cool

The 2014 edition of the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show in Seattle is a feature of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show with custom bikes positioned on oval pads located on the glass and steel arch that connects the two halls in the downtown Seattle convention center.

Enthusiasts are able to walk around the customs and get a full 360-degree view. The glass arch is lit by spots and twinkle lights that deliver a museum-like venue to view some of the most amazing motorcycles from the Northwest. The facility has been dubbed the ‘Cathedral of Cool.’

Special guest to the show was Bryan Harley, Motorcycle-USA Editor. He provided an Editor’s Choice Award and selected Brad Hall and his 2013 Sportster named Psycho Addiction. He brought along a kinetic trophy and a $100 gift certificate from Motorcycle Superstore.

The J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder is a platform for builders to showcase their work. It is also defined by an eclectic mix of motorcycles. In Seattle we had not one but two Kenny Roberts’ dirt-track replica motorcycles, two big-wheel baggers and numerous ground-up bike builds. It was a true celebration of creativity and innovation.

The “Show Dog” award is provided to the builder that engages the audience and builds a connection with the enthusiast. Our 2014 recipient was Bill Shawley. He brought in his own model and really worked the show, so he cruised home with a Leatherworks Solo Bag.

The “People’s Choice” award is always entertaining. Builders are filling out ballots and “helping” the attendees make their decision. Mike Hempstead from Voodoo Bikeworks took home a 5 Ball Racing Leathers Special Ops vest and a Bell Helmets’ Custom 500 lid for his efforts.

Quality Aerosols cleaners and polishers provided a can of polish to all the builders when they entered the show and their entire product line to the six winning builders that made their appearance on the podium.

The competition was close in all classes. A vote one way or another would have changed up the results. Judging is peer-to-peer which means the builders evaluate the work completed by their fellow builders.

J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show Retro MOD Class Results
Some bikes speak to you, and Aaron Egging’s 1973 Triumph Bonny had much of the attention from enthusiasts and builders alike. You could tell hours and hours of polishing went into the drivetrain because the chrome gleamed. The 750cc mill was punched out to 800cc. The bike featured a custom frame, ACME Springer, NOS 1960’s Wassell tank & fender, Akront shouldered rims and custom seat. The bike rolled in with a light blue paint and gold stripes applied by Aaron.
1. Aaron Egging – 1973 Triumph Bonneville
2. Richard Mattrass – No Quarter, 1981 Honda GL1100

J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show MOD Custom Class Results
Brad Hall’s Psycho Addiction took 1st place in MOD Custom and also won the editor’s choice award. It features a power boost from a custom intake, air cleaner, Power Commander and a D&D Bob Cat exhaust. Finishes include carbon fiber, brass, copper, custom leather and glass. The bike is lowered, rear frame bobbed and comes with mechanical ISR controls.
1. Brad Hall – Psycho Addiction, 2013 HD XL1200x
2. Bill Shawley, / Joe St. Clair – Black Mamba, 1990 H-D XL Customs

J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show FreeStyle Class Results
It was a tough weekend for Kevin Carper of Widowmaker because he almost missed the cut off for the bike show and completely missed the awards ceremony because of Seattle Seahawks’ traffic. Even so, Lamborghini Green, took the grand prize of $1000.
1. Kevin Carper, Widowmaker – Lamborghini Green, Widowmaker Custom
2. Jerry Nelson – The Full Nelson, 2013 Home-Built Custom

Sponsors for the 2014-15 J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show includes Progressive Insurance, Advanstar, J&P Cycles, Quality Aerosols cleaners and polishers, 5 Ball Racings Leathers’ Special Ops Vest, Danny Gray saddle, Leatherworks solo bag and Bell Helmets.

The next show to throttle up is New York City at the Jacob Javit’s Center on December 12 – 14. The New York Show is always the best attended venue with some 80,000+ enthusiasts visiting the three day event.