Custom Bikes Of AIMExpo 2019

A stroll through the powersports show reveals a solid smattering of customs.

Thunder Roads Ohio Magazine Championship Bike Show
Yep, big wheel baggers were in the mix. We spotted this big boy hogging the Thunder Roads Ohio Magazine Championship Bike Show display.Andrew Cherney

As the riding season winds down the 2020 model year show season begins, and one of the first of the majors went down last week. AIMExpo 2019 has wrapped, and even though the four-day powersports industry extravaganza at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, from September 26–29 felt pretty compact this year, there were still some cool surprises lurking in the back alleys and far corners of the main hall. A good chunk of the better eye candy came in the form of custom motorcycles tucked in among all the software, a few in manufacturers' booths but most properly set up in The Shop section—a so-called "millennial-centric community center geared toward the custom/cruiser/V-twin lifestyle." Yeah, those were my eyeballs you just heard rolling back into my skull, but anyway, The Shop also had a contest going on called The Shop Builders Invitational, which is why most of these builds were in this zip code. (FYI, the Invitational was basically an all-inclusive custom bike contest that had participants competing to win an S&S T111 Black Edition Long Block motorcycle engine courtesy of S&S Cycle).

Let's flip through some of the ones that had us coming back for second or third glances while we hiked through the convention center.

1912 Model 8XA
Not really a custom but pretty close to one (or a few) of a kind, this 1912 Model 8XA displayed at the huge A.D. Farrow booth was immaculate. A.D. Farrow, the oldest Harley dealer in the country, was acquired by Ricart Automotive earlier this year.Andrew Cherney
Shovelhead
As you can see, Tim Dixon has been doing this sort of thing for a while now, and this sweet Shovelhead with a handmade frame is proof positive. In fact it won the Freestyle Class in the J&P Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show earlier this year.Andrew Cherney
1968 250cc Ducati
Another familiar face was this 1968 250cc Ducati from Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles, featuring a rebuilt 250cc narrow-case engine and tons of handmade aluminum parts.Andrew Cherney
1955 Panhead
This is only Brian Buttera’s second build, but the dude won the top prize at the Golden Bolt show with this one-off based around a 1955 Panhead. He’ll be competing in the 2020 AMD World Championship in Germany too. Safe to say we’ll be watching closely.Andrew Cherney
1967 Shovelhead
Nick Pensabene’s also been around the scene of late, having a build in Michael Lichter’s Motorcycles As Art show, as well as one in the Golden Bolt. His 1967 Shovelhead is a great example of the New York native’s ingenuity and style.Andrew Cherney
1980 Honda CX500
Phil Hudson’s 1980 Honda CX500 has a cool customized rear frame to fit an Aprilia Shiver monoshock. The self-taught mechanic started out in the car world.Andrew Cherney
S&S T111 Black Long Block engine
This S&S T111 Black Long Block engine was the top prize in the Builders Invitational contest. Approximate retail value is $6,600.Andrew Cherney
Harley FXR
In addition to the slick Mod and Ghost Bandit lids it was showing, Simpson was also pimping this sweet Harley FXR in its display area.Andrew Cherney
Cool Wing
This “Cool Wing” was rocking steady in the Honda display area. You may have seen the lowered, tricked out custom Gold Wing from the Steady Garage guys at Americade or Daytona, so you might already know it sports the industry’s first motorcycle blind-spot monitoring system. Let’s hope that tech trickles down to more production models.Andrew Cherney
leaf-spring fork V-twin
We spotted this leaf-spring fork V-twin back near the Skidmark Garage display. The beefy tires, tank-like build, and raw finishes made it one of our faves.Andrew Cherney