H-D Battle of the Kings: Norway

Harley-Davidson's Norwegian Street 750 racer

Harley-Davidson's European Custom Kings Street 750 contest is almost over. Wheels and Waves, the event at which the bikes are being judged, starts tomorrow and the final judging happens on Friday, June 12th.

The bike we are looking at here is one of the five "Battle of the Kings" finalists that are going to be displayed at the show in Biarritz tomorrow, and comes from Svein Erik Simensen of Harley-Davidson Østfold in Norway. Svein has spent nearly 40 years customizing cars, boats, and motorbikes. In 1997, Svein bought his first Harley-Davidson, and since then his garage has been home to several different bikes. Since 2009, he has worked as a Harley-Davidson dealer and completes at least one major custom project each year. Passionate about the brand and his work, Svein is happy to share his experiences and knowledge with old hands and young guns alike.

Svein's custom projects have been carefully documented from stage to stage on social media. In other words, Facebook is full of images and stories that explain in detail how various parts and work methods were employed during the process. The purpose is to encourage his clients to start customizing their own bikes. "We always tell our customers the Harley-Davidson bike itself is only one half of the whole experience. Our job as dealers is to provide the customer with a full lifestyle experience. We get the best results through participating in H.O.G. activities and other events, and making the customers' bikes suit them exactly. Knowing how to customize is very important for us, because it also produces real-life samples of work", says Svein. "Our latest project was called Harley-Davidson Young Riders where we wanted to show youngsters that building a unique Harley-Davidson is not difficult. The project was attended by a bunch of 17 to 27-year-olds who were with us all the way from start to finish. They started by getting their bike licenses with our own riding school, taking part in customizing, and getting involved in demonstrating completed motorbikes at various events", he continues.

"We gave three youngsters each a mission. They had a week to find exactly the kind of Harley-Davidson they'd like to ride on the web. One of them found a café racer styled Iron 883, another a Bobber built on an Iron 883, and a third a Street Racer, based on the Street 750. A Street 750 Street Racer is also our entry for the Custom King competition. We wanted to create a bike that would combine a radical new style with the characteristics of a traditional Street Racer. It was essential to demonstrate that clients could do all the modifications either by themselves, or with our assistance. The original source of inspiration found on the web was, similarly, a custom model built by Harley-Davidson. Our aim was to complete the modifications within a reasonable budget.

In order to give the bike a mean look, we started by lowering the suspension with a H-D Sportster lowering kit. We also removed parts of the front fender and fitted a modified mini-fender at the back. Standard Harley-Davidson springs were used to give an even lower impression. Moving the headlight forward and the speedometer down and replacing the standard handlebar with a clip-on, we gave the rider a more aggressive riding position, full of street race attitude. Because our Street Racer is so low, we installed new front-end controls. That way taller riders can find a comfortable seating position as well. We used special paintwork to highlight certain parts of the bike, and gave it a carbon-look finish. Front indicators were integrated into the mirrors, rear indicators were replaced, and a LED light was installed on the rear fender. Often it's the smallest details that make a permanent impression. On this project we tried out a lot of new things, so in the end it was very educational for everyone."

For more information on Harley-Davidson's Battle of the Kings visit CustomKings.Harley-Davidson.com and stay tuned for more Custom Kings bikes and the winner this Saturday!