You know a motorcycle has been done right when it becomes fodder for artists. Steve Broyles and Stevenson's Cycles were responsible for the classy bobber below , a bike called the GL Special, which won the FreeStyle Class at the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show in Detroit.
With Detroit’s reputation as “The Motor City,” it shouldn’t be any surprise motorcycles like a twin-turbo Suzuki
B-King and a stroked 2003 Volusia with high performance pistons, cams and nitrous rocked the fifth round of the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show this past weekend inside the Suburban Collection Showplace. And while each of these heavily modified motorcycles earned prizes in their respective classes, it was a battle of the Springer bobbers in the heralded FreeStyle class as Stevenson’s Cycles classic bob job edged out Voodoo Choppers’ stretched bobber to claim the $3000 top prize.
Steve Broyles of Stevenson’s Cycles, a shop out of Wayne, Michigan, said he used sources like the “Schwinn Flyer that he rode all over God’s creation as a kid” as inspiration for his GL Special. This accounts for the beach cruiser-like, wide-set handlebars. Its custom frame also sports dual rails below the backbone ala the frame from a Schwinn Sting-Ray.
Mounted within that frame is an S&S 93 cubic-inch Shovelhead with Stevenson’s Cycles’ signature split polished rocker boxes and cooling fins which required three months of work in their own right. The pushrod-operated powerplant is mated to an Evil LSD open belt primary drive while a chain provides the final drive to the rear. It’s got a see-through oil tank courtesy of small glass panels, another one of Broyles’ trademark pieces.
There are plenty of clean copper accents on the Stevenson's Cycles' bike, from the foot and hand controls to the oil lines, to the trim around its glass-side oil tank to the end caps ringing the custom pipes. A Springer fork damps the front end while the only reprieve on the rear of this rigid ride is the spring below the seat. While Stevenson’s Cycles opted to ditch the front fender, the rear is a sweet custom piece cut mid-height to the fat tire and includes a round housing fobbed into it which holds the small taillight. The piece de resistance is the subtle paint job which complements the bike without overshadowing the quality of the build, a feat accomplished by Darren Williams of Liquid Illusion Art.
The winner of the Hot Bike Modified Harley
Class, Kirk Schubert, has seen his winning 1997 Fat Boy
go through several stages of changes before its final transformation into the “Shoobdville Bagger.” Spoked-down, white-walled, with tall Apehanger handlebars and classic lines, what is typically known as a cruiser motorcycle makes a mean bagger as well. Chop Docs Choppers helped Schubert convert the “Shoobdville Bagger” as Ronnie “Chop Docs” Harris did the fabrication work as well as applying the paint. A Harley TC 88 with a heavy breather, forward-facing air intake provides the pop while Lakester pipes add to its rumble. The Fat Boy’s clutch has been converted to a hand shifter that features a brass shifter from the executive offices of the now-defunct Cadillac Hotel. The bike is clean like a caddy, so besides sharing the “Coup de Ville – Shoobdville” phonetics, the two share a comparable level of class as well.
A familiar face captured the $1000 top prize in the Performance Custom Class. Jack McCoy was crowned the overall champion in Daytona’s Performance Custom Class during last year’s Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows with his twin-turbo 2008 Suzuki B-King. Hard to beat a bike with a claimed 550 horsepower in a category based on performance. This year, McCoy of M43 Powersports returned with a few new twists to his brawny B-King, running a new extended single-sided swingarm, a smaller fender for the front and new custom wheels.
On the opposite end of the spectrum to McKoy’s larger-than-life B-King is the winner of the Retro Mod Class, a ratted-out Sportster called “General Grunge” by Golgotha Performance Cycles. Golgatha started by stripping it down and extending the frame, converting it to a rigid. The military grunge bike has a headlight that looks like a military flashlight, an ammo box which holds the battery, another larger ammo box that has been turned into a gas tank mounted externally on the right side, while its pipes have been bent forward like the barrels of a gun. A soldier’s helmet has been fastened to the bike’s backbone where the tank usually sits, it’s got a canteen for an oil tank and a thin padded seat wrapped in camouflage. Military members returning from World War II are often credited with the bobber movement and “General Grunge” pays homage to what its predecessors were trying to accomplish.
With 24 karat gold leaf in the paint, acid-etching on the bars and fender mounts, and a fit and finish to rival any of its American V-Twin counterparts, 'El Patron' is the cleanest 2003 Suzuki Volusia we've come across.
And though BlackSmith Motoring Co. didn’t take top honors in any of the categories, it still earned the People’s Choice award for its motorcycle called “El Patron,” the 2003 Suzuki
Volusia mentioned before with nitrous and performance pistons and cams. BlackSmith specializes in customizing metrics and wanted to demonstrate how a reliable, inexpensive metric could be converted into a show bike.
Details that set the Suzuki cruiser apart include acid-etching on the handlebars and fender mounts, a tank inlaid with 24 karat gold leaf and a 21-inch front hoop with CNC-machine spoked wheels that look like they’re twisted but aren’t. A push of a button raises and lowers “El Patron” courtesy of its remote controlled air ride suspension.
Besides the People’s Choice award, Giovanni and the crew at BlackSmith Motoring Co. also received recognition for its 1977 Honda GL 1000 Goldwing called “El Vaquero,” a motorcycle that captured both second place in the Retro Mod Class and third in the Performance Custom Class.
The Detroit show also featured the work of special guest and renowned custom builder, Ron Finch
. Ol’ Finch is a Michigan native who is a master of metal and a wizard with paint. He has been building award-winning motorcycles like “Odin’s Axle” since the ‘60s.
After taking a few weeks off for the Christmas break, the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows pick up speed as it heads to Washington, D.C. this weekend as it begins its East Coast swing, with a stop in New York slated for the week after that.