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Builders Battle for Big $$ in Laconia Build-Off

Thursday, June 13, 2013
The guys of Ape Shit Customs have done more than their share of welding on this chopper with the chain-link frame.
Zak Binns of Ape Shit Customs has built a monster chain-link chopper for the 2013 Laconia Biker Build-Off.
As if building a motorcycle from the ground up isn’t challenging enough, try doing it with a one-week deadline and throw in the added pressure of having to complete the project in front of the public eye to boot. This is the task at hand for five shops from around the New England area that have been busily welding, grinding, sanding and wiring for the past six days with an eye on the $2500 cash first prize up for grabs at the 2013 Laconia Biker Build-Off.

Rayz Rod & Custom out of Durham, Maine, has been working on a sporty hybrid called “Bad Seed,” matching GSX-R parts with a V-Twin powerplant. On the sportbike side, the front end sports an inverted fork and wheel from a Gixxer shod in a Shinko Racing Slick, paired to dual discs. Its bars bend down and back, giving a clue to its riding position. One of its most notable features is the sharp-looking sportbike-style aluminum front fairing they formed by hand. Dual headlights also give it a racy aesthetic, albeit these are driving lights from a 2000 Mercedes Benz E30. Inside the 2002 Harley Electra Glide chassis is a 1450cc TC88 mated to a one-off chain open primary with a skateboard wheel for a tensioner. A chain final drive puts power to the rear, the back end also sporting a Shinko Slick.

Jake Cutler from Barnstorm Cycles took a more traditional approach. It’s a big bike, its high backbone arching above a 113 cubic-inch Ultima engine. It rolls tall up front, a 23-inch hoop squeezed between the chrome legs of a stout fork. The curve of the backbone is carried out by the seat pan and rear subframe that stands above a 20-inch, 200mm wide rear. T-bars rise high above the large tank they fabricated in-house. The bike features an open belt primary with a chain stretching back to the fat rear to provide the final drive. An air ride system will smooth out the ride on the backside.
Barnstorm Cycles has been hard at work on this bikes with hopes of winning the 2013 Laconia Biker Build-Off.
Barnstorm Cycles has been hard at work on this bike with hopes of winning the 2013 Laconia Biker Build-Off.
Rayz Rod   Custom has been working on this hybrid that combines GSX-R sportbike parts with a Harley V-Twin powerplant for the 2013 Laconia Biker Build-Off.
Rayz Rod & Custom's hybrid combines GSX-R sportbike parts with a Harley V-Twin powerplant.
Cutler said he recently competed in a similar build-off in Springfield which earned him an invite to the Laconia show. With the knowledge that he’d have to complete much of the project himself while his crew holds down the fort at his Spencer, Massachusetts shop, he mocked the bike up and did some of the fab work before coming to the show. He also shared a bit of info about an interesting project he’s currently working on back at the shop, a raked-out Ducati chopper with an engine from a 750 Monster teamed to a Softail rear.

Joe Roy, Jr. of Vintage Custom Cyles out of Hamsptead, New Hampshire, went in a different direction entirely, his clean little bob-job utilizing a 1972 CB750 engine. He found an Amen ‘Savior’ frame for the build and modified the neck because he wanted to change up the rake. Its front end is from an ’83 Sportster while he fobbed up a clean little tank. The small springs of the Amen frame get an assist from the sprung solo bobber seat, while spoked wheels and a whitewall on the rear complement the old school lines of the kick-starter. When asked why he chose to take his build in this direction, Roy, Jr. said “There seems to be a market for these again.”

Breaklites Motorsports out of Peabody, Massachusetts, is competing in its first biker build-off according to Mark Tempesta. Breaklites stays true to form as a “Sport…. Bike Shop” by being the only one of the competitors to build a sportbike with an Inline Four engine. It starts with a frame from a 1998 GSX-R 600 paired to a Gixxer 1000 engine from a 2004 model. He sourced a GSX-R fork from a 2004 as well. Tempesta was busy cleaning up the clutch basket when we stopped by, but said he intends to run nitrous which should boost the bike from approximately 85 horsepower stock to an estimated 150 -160 hp. If he doesn’t win the build-off, at least he knows he can whip the competition in the quarter-mile. He’s also in the process of equipping the bike with both nav and a stereo.

The crew at Rayz Rod   Custom were hard at work during the 2013 Laconia Biker Build-Off.
The shops in the 2013 Laconia Biker Build-Off have been hard at work and the winner is selected by 'People's Choice,' so if you're headed to the rally this weekend, be sure to stop by the Lobster Pound Bud Light Platinum Build-Off Tent and cast a vote for your favorite.
The final competitor is building a beast of a bike. Ape Shit Customs out of Manchester, New Hampshire, took a page out of Indian Larry’s book and created a custom chain frame. The monster chopper has a Springer fork from the 1960s that has also been given the industrial-strength, chain-link treatment. The chain-link theme extends to the bars and back fender supports, too. The crew got creative by designing and fabricating the jackshaft and the in-frame tank. To get this mass of metal in motion, A.S. Customs wedged a 1981 GS1000 engine into its homemade frame. It’s a pretty creative build considering the company’s founder, Zak Binns, was only 17 when he started building and modifying motorcyles. It’s big, it’s bad, and it’s out of the ordinary which has helped it attract a lot of attention and like Frankenstein’s monster, it has slowly taken on a life of its own over the course of the week.

A winner will be chosen by people’s choice, so if you plan on attending the 2013 Laconia Motorcycle Rally, be sure to stop by the Lobster Pound Bud Light Platinum Build-Off Tent and cast a vote for your favorite. These guys have been bustin’ knuckles trying to get these bikes completed in time to be fired up Saturday, the day the winner will be announced. We’ll let you know who won in our Laconia wrap-up article next week.
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