Custom Bike Building - Gentlemen, Start Your Customs - Between the Lines

For those of you who have wondered whether custom bike building was a sport or really just an excuse to escape into the garage for a cold drink, there's now an official contest to dispel those doubts. American Motorcycle Dealer (AMD) and Custom Chrome have teamed up to bring the Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building to the United States.

Because of the burgeoning interest in custom motorcycles the last couple of years, the idea of a championship for motorcycle customization sort of hatched itself. The U.S. event will be an offshoot of American Motorcycle Dealer's existing AMD ProShow Bike Builder contest series in Europe. AMD is a UK-based trade magazine for dealers who sell American motorcycles in Europe.

The AMD ProShow is held each spring in conjunction with Custom Chrome Europe (CCE) at its European Dealer Show to recognize custom bike designs emanating from Europe's bike-building community.

Entrants in the annual contest are industry professionals from the V-twin sector-Harley-Davidson and independent custom dealers, professional custom bike builders and parts and accessories distributors and manufacturers. With the creation of the U.S. series, that event will now be named the European Championship, and the winner will be invited to attend the World Championship of Bike Building at Custom Chrome's California event this fall. Custom Chrome and AMD hope the event (and its $25,000 purse) will attract entries from around the world.

The popularity of what is now recognized as the European style of custom design has increased demand for some of the high-tech parts and accessory designs from European designers. The European custom aesthetic has evolved as a result of the high standards of design and engineering quality required by stringent regulations in Europe.

The ProShow event is open to all brands, and there's no requirement that Custom Chrome components be used. The judges will be members of the international motorcycle press. For more information, visit www.AMDProShow.com. -AC

Cycle Fest at Copper Mountain
Escape the August heat in Colorado's high country. We'll meet you there.It's that time of year again. The heat creeping into your riding clothes feels like the breath of the devil. Your helmet has become a pressure cooker, steaming up your mental state and making you want to scream at the top of your lungs, "Take me to Copper Mountain, Colorado!" It is 9,600 feet in elevation, after all, and bound to be cooler than where you're standing, and undoubtedly more scenic, too. The Cycle Fest rally, August 27-29, is a great excuse to ride the Rockies this summer. Plus, our group of magazines is a presenting sponsor, so you know it has to be a good time.

Arrive at Copper Mountain early so you can join our editor Jamie Elvidge and associate editor Andy Cherney for the ride of a lifetime. Friday morning we'll be embarking on a half-day Reader's Ride that will incorporate snaking Independence Pass at 12,095 feet, so bring some oxygen for the snowball fight. Since we expect a pretty good turnout for this cool-temp mountain quest, we'll offer it self-guided-style with maps of the incredible route, our lunch stop and suggested scenic stops.

Saturday morning we'll be hosting a custom bike show. It's a people's-choice-style event, and classes will include Metric Cruiser, American Cruiser, Touring Bike, Sportbike and Best Overall. You won't want to miss the opportunity to ogle the beautiful wares, even if you don't have an entry. Bikes to be judged need to arrive from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Judging will commence at 10 a.m. and wrap up at noon. We'll announce the winners right there as quickly as we can tally the votes.

On Saturday evening you will get a chance to have a few beers and meet the editors of Motorcycle Cruiser, Motorcyclist, Sport Rider, Dirt Rider and ATV Rider magazines. We call this popular event/seminar the "Editor's Ambush," since we get the most interesting questions. We're there to tell you anything you want to know...well, almost anything.

For more information about our Friday Reader's Ride, send an e-mail to jamie.elvidge@ primedia.com. For details on Copper Mountain and the Cycle Fest event, click onto www.cyclefestco.com.

We all know the finest mesh won't cool you in August, so head for the Rockies! We'll see you there. -JE

New Bikes 2005
Honda's Magic Touch
Along with most other OEMs this spring, American Honda has announced the release of its first wave of 2005 street motorcycles. We say "first wave" because the models shown here highlight only minor changes, and we're pretty sure the really big-ticket items have yet to come.

Honda's '05 cruiser motorcycles include a new entry in the VTX1300 series (which now offers three variations of the 1300), and the revived Shadow Spirit 750, which was dropped from the '04 lineup. Also reappearing are the '05 versions of the Shadow Sabre 1100, Shadow Spirit 1100, Shadow Aero 750, Shadow VLX 600 and the Rebel 250, which boast new colors and graphics.

The new retro-styled VTX1300R model mimics the traditional full fenders found on the 1300S and shares the same color choices, but comes with cast wheels and tubeless tires instead of the S-model's wire spokes. Like the other two VTX1300 models (the C and S), the R is priced at $9299, a $100 increase over '04. The base-price colors for the R and S models are metallic silver or black, with candy red or metallic magenta for $100 more.

The hard-core middleweight crowd will be pleased to see the return of the chain-drive Shadow Spirit 750, which gets reinserted into Honda's '05 lineup after a yearlong hiatus. Once again, Honda now offers two 750cc V-twin cruiser entries. You can get a Spirit 750 for $6099 in basic black or, for $100 more, choose from a black/red or pearl blue/metallic silver flamed paint scheme

The shaft-drive, single-carb Shadow Aero 750, introduced last year, has also seen a $100 price increase, while the suggested price for the bulletproof Shadow Spirit 1100-$8299-has been bumped up by $200. This long-running favorite is still one of the best buys in the 1100 V-twin cruiser class. For the '05 model year the Spirit 1100 is available in two monotone color choices. Honda is expected to announce additional '05 models in the near future, so stay tuned to these pages or www.motorcyclecruiser.com. -AC