With the difficulty of putting on traditional custom motorcycle shows with crowds of people admiring the builds in person, enthusiasts have had to come up with alternative events. Harley-Davidson put on a weeklong show, with the appropriate name of The No Show. It featured 60 custom builders from around the globe after the Mama Tried, Born-Free, and Congregation Vintage Bike & Car shows were postponed. The site of the event was Harley-Davidson’s Instagram page.
By the end of the event, three motorcycles were boasting awards.
Harley-Davidson Museum Award
Selected by the Harley-Davidson Museum staff and presented by vice president of the Harley-Davidson Museum Bill Davidson, the winner is a 1940 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead built by Christian Newman of Buffalo. Newman’s vision of the Knucklehead is a startling one.
Using hand-build parts, Newman narrowed the transmission by two inches. That entailed running the oil through the frame for cooling. He also put a sprocket on the outside of the frame, employed a girder fork, used open rockers for the top end, along with handmade housing for vintage glass lenses. The bars, grips, and controls are also handmade.
Newman’s reputation precedes him, as he has presented at the Born-Free Show in Southern California’s Orange County.
Media Choice Award
A panel of journalists picked Ben Zales’ custom 1963 Harley-Davidson Panhead for the Media Choice Award. Zales, out of Burbank, has been an invited builder to the Born-Free and Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Show. This 1963 Panhead was built in his home garage, and features a variety of one-off pieces, including the tank, exhausts, seat, and controls. The panel particularly liked the way Zales’ custom tear-drop oil tank aligns with the fuel tank, kickstarter pedal, and seat.
The show is still up on the H-Instagram page and includes walkarounds of the winner. There’s even a virtual stage for music, plus the opportunity to buy t-shirts for The No Show. Harley-Davidson is handing over 100 percent of the t-shirt sales to the invited builders.
Harley-Davidson Styling & Design Award
This prestigious category was judged by Harley-Davidson Vice President of Styling & Design Brad Richards. A longtime builder himself, Richards selected a customized 1921 Harley-Davidson Banjo Two-cam Board Track Racer built by Michael Lange of Waukesha, Wisc.
Amazingly, Lange took a 1921 single-cam Harley-Davidson motor and turned it into a twin-cam design. To get there, Lange fabricated the camshafts, cam chest and cover, gear rack, gears, and oil pump. The fabrication didn’t stop there–Lange also created a handmade fuel tank for the motorcycle. A historic motorcycle, the Banjo featured factory racing cylinders.
“The custom build stood out for its beauty,” Richards said about Lange’s bike, “but also as a pure racing machine with a re-engineered motor that keeps the bike performing,”
Lange came into the competition with a stellar reputation, having been an has been an invited builder to every Mama Tried Motorcycle Show in its history.