Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Born-Free 5 Part 3 "Choppers Not"

Although Born-Free was/is really about vintage choppers, Mike and Grant have always encourage attendees to ride in vintage bikes of all types. As for myself, I enjoy seeing them just as much as the choppers. Here's a few that caught my lens.
Vintage '48 Panhead? By the looks of things, this may be a wholly new bike. Check the heads and the tranny with the electric starter.

 Nice 1961 Harley in Hi-Fi Purple?

Whatever the case, it appears a bit pinker than usual.

1947 Kucklehead with great patina.

1949 or '50 Panhead... or just built from parts? Never the less, a clean machine.

It was nice to see Dr. Sprocket (aka Rich Ostrander), take home the trophy for "Best Bobber".

He originally restored his 1940 Knuck as a stocker then later Bobbed it.

An interesting blending of parts. 

Chuck Vogel took "Best Original" with his 1928 Henderson.

That's a wrap, time to go.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Born-Free 5 MC Art Official Photog

Sorry for the delay in getting new photos up. My photographer/event correspondent has been slow in feeding me new images. He promised he'd send more soon.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Born-Free 5 Part II More Invited Builders

Before we get to the bikes, I'd like to point out some trends I've noticed lately on the web and at the show: Single down tube frames, custom frame work, the use of chrome frames or accenting frame castings, more use of the color white, and styling borrowed from racing bikes.

Racing style or race inspired styling cues seem to be more popular than ever. Even though Born-Free was started for the appreciation of vintage/classic choppers, this year several of the invited builders entered race inspired bikes or featured bikes with styling cues from racing. A couple of which took top awards. At a chopper show? What's that say about this trend?

A few years back, the more mainstream custom Harley shows were sort of going the same route with the popularity of the board track racing style.

I appreciate many types and styles of motorcycles, but guess I'm just old and have my own hang ups. As far as custom bikes go, I prefer classic choppers and arguably big Harleys make the best choppers. Conversely "Race Styled" big twin Harleys just don't make much sense me. The style seems much better suited on Triumphs, Sportsters, and Japanese bikes.

On the other hand I did like Jeremiah's  big H-D Flathead semi-streamlined bike (in the last post), which reminds me of Joe Petralli's 1936 Knucklehead which was built for straight line high speeds.

On a side note, a friend of mine says, there's always a Knuckle, Pan, or Shovel, bias, so a Sportster, Triumph, or Japanese bike, will never win best of show at venues like this. He's probably right.

I'm aware that a lot of custom or show bikes aren't exactly practical, and it's mostly about looking cool. So go ahead and choose what you think is cool. It's just that racing bikes look the way they do, because form follows function. Following that edict, if a bike looks like a racer it shouldn't be just for looks. An example would be, many of today's race inspired bikes are inspired by Cafe Racers but are too low for anything but going straight which kind of defeats the purpose.

Some might say that none of this is really new and we've seen this before.

Whatever your opinion, this and other trends are likely the reaction of builders influencing each other and wanting to do something different after building several traditional choppers with their associated cliche' styling cues.

The ironic thing is, everything starts out as being different, then everybody's doing it.

 Alan Richards rigid pre-unit. A timeless classic. For me, this is what Born-Free is about.

Kevin Bass took the "Best Panhead" award with this drag race inspired bike. Note the similarity of the seat/fender combo to Masa's Knucklehead a few photos down.

Michael Barragan"s Tattooed Panhead. One might even say the drive train and front mag gives this chopper a race inspired look.

 Tattooed Tank art. Philosophy or Free Association?

 Last year Caleb Owens took the top honors with a race inspired bike which may have influenced a few of this year's builders. Been there done that, so this year he went more traditional.

 Masa's knucklehead features a single down tube frame with chrome accents. It  also gives a nod to race/drag bikes with it's buttoned down seat fender combo. Drag bars and a S&S "L" series carb adds to the drag bike look.

Max Schaaf also built a single down tubed bike. That's not a new thing for him. Two years ago he entered a Pan in a VL frame. Max has a look of his own. If someone had asked what bike he built, I could have picked it out.

I believe this was Yani Evans entry. Single down tube chrome accented frame. Although the styling is a bit over the top for me, the fabrication is top notch.

 Last years top winner Matt Olsen brought his wife Brittany's new toy. In this case, It's truly built to race. I believe it's a newly constructed frame and single down tubes were the order of the day when bikes like this were made.

Joey Cano's Knucklehead. Yet another bike that featured a single down tube. Along with Big Scott's, Alan Richards and Todd Asin's bikes, all could possibly be mistaken as early sixties show bikes.

Kouske's Panhead? I personally feel the purple crushed velvet seat detracts from the bike. A black or white seat would look better. There's that single down tube!

Domenic Mingureli's1949 panhead. A father and son competing was a first. His son Dylan's bike is to the right. I found it interesting that the father built a somewhat contemporary styled chopper while the son went pure old school.

This exceptionally clean custom 1964 Duo-Glide by Mike Pilaczynski was accidentally left out of the last post. The bars, seat, wheels, and overall stance even give it a bit of a drag bike look.

 Larry Pierce's 1947 Knucklehead also featured a single down tube frame. This time it's chrome with white accents. There were several white bikes in and around the grounds including 3 white knuckleheads that I can think of.

Builders are constantly looking for ways to make every inch custom. To this end, engraving has been used off and on through the 70's, 80's, 90's, It seems to have enjoyed wider use and popularity ever since Indian Larry's fame.

Mattias LeBeef's 1960 Panhead. Half Bagger half Chopper? This bike is growing on me. That's a whole lot of white! 

This will be the last post focusing on the invited builders bikes. If you noticed a few are missing, it's because I didn't get pictures of 6 of them.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Born-Free 5 Part 1

Born-Free 5 has come and gone. So where does one start?

The amount of cool bikes was overwhelming. As Dr. Sprocket said, "It would have to be a three day event to be able to take in everything going on". That coupled with the very hot temperature limited my picture taking. Because of the heat, several times I found myself in a shady place talking with friends perhaps a bit too long. That said, for the sake of the blog I pushed on and did my best to capture what I could.

The first two posts will focus on some of the invited builder's bikes.

 Everybody has different taste, so what bike would the winner of the bike give a way take home? Turns out, Ryan Hagger picked Jason Sheet's 1931 Harley Davidson VL. Jason on the right, shows Ryan the dope on how to tame the beast.

Jeremiah of Love Cycles built this race inspired 1948 UL with fantastic body work.

 Andy Carter's 1952 Panhead.

 Dave Polgreen's dazzling '37 UL in a VL frame. This would have been in strong consideration had I the wining ticket.

 Jeff Leighton's Panhead very much reminds me of his old Flathead. Don't let the simple look of this bike fool you. There's a ton of custom touches that you might first miss.

 Todd Asin's 1954 Triumph is a classic right out of the '60's

Josh Conley's 1946 Knucklehead. Most of the other bikes may have been more intricate or dazzling, but had I won, it would probably have been the best bike for me since it would be easier to personalize,  

Bobby Hultz's 'Show Class People's Champ' was possibly the prettiest bike at the entire show.

Dave Barker built this "fine" aluminum framed Panhead. 
Big Scott Stopnik's awesome1946 Knucklehead looked to be right out of an early 60's show, or for that matter an old David Mann sketch. Another in the top 3 I would have thought about taking home.

I believe Scott T-Bone Jones took the Builders Choice for best bike. There was some confusion during the announcement, but I do think he won the Harley Twin-cam drive train for next years build-off.

Nineteen year old Dylan Mingureli's tasteful Shovelhead Bobber was my favorite bike of the day. It won Greasy Kulture Magazine's "Best Traditional Modified M/C" as awarded by Dr. Sprocket who built an amazing trophy. (picture to come).

More "Builder's Invite" to come...