$20 grand, winner takes all—that’s the philosophy behind the Lightning Bolt customized bike build-off. The regional, invitation-only occasion attracts bike builders from each nook of the interest, from scramblers to choppers, for an opportunity on the greatest winner-takes-all prize within the nation. There’s a catch although—qualifying bikes must be rideable, and also you’ll must show it.
We bought a have a look at the bikes from the latest New York occasion, and handpicked our favorites. Final month’s NYC present was the third Lightning Bolt occasion, following the primary two that have been held in Cape City, South Africa.
Hosted by The Home of Machines and sponsored by BMW Motorrad, the Lightning Bolt is a low-key occasion with an enormous prize purse. It additionally kinds a part of a larger collection of build-offs; the person exhibits are thought of regionals, with winners gaining entry into the upcoming worldwide Golden Bolt contest.
The occasion welcomes bikes of every kind, supplied you’ll be able to wow the organizers within the registration course of. Fairly than pack out an enormous venue with bikes, the Lightning Bolt whittles entrants down to only 10 finalists, pre-show. So the competitors is stiff.
Three separate judges, wrangled by Kevin Dunworth, comb over each element of the bike, awarding factors for total design, fabrication and paint. BMW Motorrad’s design boss, Edgar Heinrich, Brian Buttera of Buttera’s Metallic Werx and Indian Larry’s John the Painter presided over the New York occasion.
Your imaginative and prescient and handiwork will get you a seat on the desk, however you’ll must show your bike’s roadworthiness for an actual shot on the prize. This 12 months’s contestants saddled up for a journey round NYC, departing from The Home of Machines, by means of Chinatown and Little Italy, earlier than arriving at Foley Gallery in Manhattan.
There, the bikes have been showcased to each the judges and the general public, earlier than the present’s official afterparty at The Home of Machines. Of the ten finalists, solely seven bikes handed the rideability check—we picked our favourite 5 from that pool.
Yamaha XS650 by Evan Favaro The pinnacle honcho at Speakeasy Motors in Wallkill, New York, Evan Favaro was constructing two-strokes for himself and his buddies to race round city at age 12. So it comes as no shock to see that his 1981 Yamaha XS650 is impressed by velocity; on this case, the board observe racers of the Twenties.
Getting the XS to look the half begins with a protracted inflexible body part from Voodoo, coupled with an Indian-style, leaf-spring entrance finish. The break up tanks and rear fender have been handmade, and mounted with customized stainless brackets.
Peek beneath the low saddle and also you’ll discover customized triangulated brackets and a small monoshock. For further wow issue, Evan added a bevel-gear throttle meeting, and customized cam covers have been constituted of billet and Lexan.
Harley-Davidson shovelhead by Larry Curik Larry Curik of Lone Star Choppers in Texas dug deep into 70s Harley-Davidson historical past to construct a shovelhead-based tracker with XR750 aptitude. It’s primarily based on an Arlen Ness body with heavy modifications to the spine, steeper rake and a customized rear subframe. 19” Harley wheels and the metal tail part full the tracker look, and the entrance quantity plate is perforated for the hidden headlight to shine by means of.
Getting the S&S Cycle shovelhead engine to look the half was no small feat although. Larry changed the rear cylinder and head so as to cling a pair of carbs on the fitting, and twin Supertrapps off the left. End all of it off with slick paint, Hoosier observe rubber and a steering stabilizer, and also you’ve bought a giant dice XR match for the observe or the road.
Harley-Davidson panhead by Rick Dozer We’re used to seeing trick aluminum fab and a great deal of brightwork in Rick Dozer’s classic H-Ds, and his Lightning Bolt construct doesn’t disappoint. Taking inspiration from the one-piece Tracy’s Fiberglas Works our bodies of the Seventies, Rick constructed a panhead present bike with seamless aluminum bodywork from the tank to the rear fender.
The bike is predicated on an OE-type inflexible body, however Rick raised the neck, seat publish and axle plates, and in addition stretched the rear 3 inches. Tall 18- and 21-inch wheels complement the lengthy low stance, as does the slender chrome springer.
Among the many quite a few fantastic particulars, you’ll discover an inside throttle cable setup, chromed pipes on the B-side and teardrop shapes labored into the cam cowl, kicker pedal and axles.
Honda XR650R by Spencer Parr Retro styling with fashionable efficiency, that’s Spencer Parr’s motto, and his Honda flat tracker construct for the Lightning Bolt gives loads of each. Hidden beneath the slim bodywork of this flat tracker, is Honda’s mighty XR650R.
Beginning with the fundamentals, Spencer rebuilt the 2002 XR650R thumper, bettering efficiency with a Lectron carburetor and customized twin exhausts with Supertrapp mufflers.
A brand new rear subframe, tail part, quantity plate and radiator guards have been handmade from aluminum to get the tracker look, together with a pair of 19” Excel wheels and DOT flat observe rubber. With a nostalgic Honda racing livery added, this XR is a giant cc dream machine that any hooligan would covet.
Harley-Davidson Softail by Steve Iacona [Winner] When Steve Iacona of Iacona Customized Cycles began work on his Harley Softail chopper, he mentioned that he was constructing the bike he all the time dreamed he had time to construct. After numerous hours of labor, he had an actual showstopper with nice highway manners as well. However we’re positive an enormous examine for $20,000 was past even his wildest goals.
It’s not Steve’s nature to depart something inventory, so his new-school Softail chopper began out with a completely worked-over chassis. Each a part of the HD was modified, chromed or polished, proper right down to brackets, linkages and plumbing.
Retro chopper particulars are juxtaposed towards fashionable touches, just like the aggressive club-style handlebar positioning and the up to date avenue tires.
With eye-catching flake and paintwork, and a wild looped exhaust, this Softail appears to be like to be an actual avenue sweeper. And based on Steve, the actual enjoyable is in using it.