Between the Lines | A New Champ at Sturgis

AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building Produces a New Face

If you’re an internationally-known custom bike builder, chances are you make a pilgrimage each year to one of the biggest international bike events on the planet—Sturgis. What’s surprising is that this year, a relatively unknown customizer took top honors in the 2011 World Championship of Custom Bike Building held last August in South Dakota.

It was Ken Tabata of Tavax Engineering, in Osaka, Japan, who was awarded First Prize as the 2011 World Champion. His winning design, TAVAX2011V, is a visual tour de force that evokes dynamic movement, with the combination of sculpted aluminum bodywork and one-off handmade pieces.

Up front, the axle carries a leading link fork, which then morphs into a Springer fork. Out back, the swingarm pivots from behind the rear cylinder and carries a linkage system-operated single shock similar to something you’d find on a modern sportbike.

The silvery TAVAX forgoes tall and wide wheels in favor of a pair of Marchesini 17-inch sportbike rims carrying floating rotors and Lockheed brake calipers. The whole effect is like something straight out of Alien.

Larry Houghton, of Lamb Engineering, secured second place with his more straightforward Son of a Gun. Based around a 1951 BSA single cylinder engine and Talon motocross wheels, the rest of the bike is an amalgam of scrap materials from engineer buddies. Larry was able to build the show-winning machine for less than $9000, including the metalflake paint.

Satya Kraus snagged third place with Bolide, a bike that holds a 93ci S&S; Shovelhead motor in a one-off frame, and in the Performance Custom class, Jim Giuffra of AFT Customs rebuilt a 1970 Honda CB750 as a café racer-inspired custom complete with RaceTech suspension and numerous one-off pieces.

You don't see too many chairs in the World Championships, but it was a sidecar outfit by Abnormal Cycles' Union that took top honors in the Modified Harley class. The Model 'U' machine features a stock frame fitted with a custom sidecar body and an Indian style front end. For a list of all the results, visit: