Last weekend’s Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show saw the finals of Harley-Davidson’s third annual build off competition, known as the Battle of the Kings.
Battle of the Kings is a pan-European contest that encourages dealerships to showcase their skills at customising models from the Harley range under strict budget constraints. This year, entrants were given the choice using models from the cruiser company’s Dark Custom range; the Iron 883, Forty-Eight or Roadster, and set a budget cap of £12,995 for the Iron 883 or £14,995 for the bigger bikes. At least half of the cost of special parts were required to be spent on official H-D parts, which can be bought over the counter, with the rest of the budget free to be spent as the builder wishes. The finished bikes must also be road legal.
This year’s winner was the entry from Shaw Harley-Davidson in East Sussex. Named ‘Beach Bobber’ it’s a summery little number based on the Forty-Eight that looks as cool in the metal as it does in the photos.
With it’s classic bobber style, white wall tyres and semi-ape hanger bars, it’s got a real late-‘60s, early ‘70s vibe to it. There’s also some pretty neat engineering going on, not least the exquisite handmade exhaust (though we’re not sure how road legal that looks!) and chain drive conversion.
Built by Neil Sefton, Shaw Speed & Custom’s head technician, Beach Bobber fought its way past 30 other entries and will represent the UK and Ireland at the grand finals in November. The opening round, an online public vote, saw it make a shortlist of the five bikes displayed at the front of the Harley-Davidson stand at ExCeL over the weekend, where a seven-man judging panel, made up of motorcycle industry professionals, assessed the finalists, in public, against the three main criteria: originality and creativity, design vision and quality of the build and execution.
The judges scores saw the baby blue beauty come out on top ahead of Guildford Harley-Davidson’s Cookie Cutter and Super Hooligan, a creation from the workshops of Warr’s Harley-Davidson on London’s trendy King’s Road.
Speaking of his dealership’s success, Steven C. Willis, Dealer Principal at Shaw Harley-Davidson said: “I’m really stoked… It’s an absolute fantastic announcement. We are so proud to move forward and represent the UK and Ireland in Battle of the Kings – a competition that we think has always been unique to Harley-Davidson and an awesome competitive arena for the Harley-Davidson network to show our expertise in the custom market.”
Britain’s winning bike will be pitched against other national Battle of the Kings winners at the grand finale, which takes place at the prestigious EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, in November. In the meantime, you can find the bike on display at Shaw’s dealership. With the whole idea of the contest to showcase what can be done to a Harley for a £15k budget and even though voting is closed, you can still see all the entrants at the competition’s official website: http://www.h-d.com/battleofthekings