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Custombike-Show, Bad Salzuflen, D

Custombike-Show, Bad Salzuflen, D

If for no other reason than to see two of our long standing friends in action, wrenching against each other at the European Bike Build-Off, this last weekend was the right time to come to Bad Salzuflen and enjoy the Custombike Show.

Winding our way through the halls to the Build-Off show stage, we could easily appreciate that Custombike is fighting with claws and nails for their reputation as a hotspot of international customizing trends. It's all there, and not everything is to everyone's taste. But never mind and stay chill, if you don't like it, just move on to the next bike and be surprised by the wealth of precision-wrenched detail, always good inspiration for the basket case sitting at home on your bench.

Hauling up our ill-spent youth from the depths

of time was the "Halbstark" (meaning "yobbo" :) ) special show, with loads of 50 cc mopeds we could only dream of back then.

A few big brands brought their latest models to show what they had been up to lately with their machinery. BMW, Indian, Triumph, Kawasaki, Yamaha were there. Harley was represented by quite a few dealers. Grand spectacle, big surface, great throng of people.

Great fun too was the Bike Build Off,

which kept us riveted to the spot: the stage was divided between the guys from SSCycle, Zell (augmented by Fred Flitzfuß Karosseriebau) and McSands Motor Shop from Balterswil in Switzerland.

The Build Off is supposed to be a showdown between two enemy teams. In reality it's more of a good-old-let's-talk-shop-abouteverythingfrommachiningtheheadstoreamingthevalvegidesandhavingafewbeersinbetween :)

On the one side there was the extended Steve Schneiderbanger family and crew, who made for puzzled looks with their "Choppers FOURever" t-shirts when they stepped on to the stage. That's until they heaved the engine into the frame: a sweet vintage Honda CB 750 four. A true 70s classic, that got put together right in the following days.

On the other side it's Sandra and Markus "Mac" Fröhlich, who intended to execute a slightly different concept, all on their own. The engine they brought was a very special Harley: it's a "two cam" racing engine from the Twenties, with specially cast (in Australia no less!) 1340 cc cylinders with both rearward facing intakes, giving the engine a striking XR dual carb look. * more details at the bottom of this post.

Two chops of this calibre were reason for all

kinds of curiosity and questions. It was OK for the public to come on stage, and there was a merry mess of wrenchers and non-wrenchers, the teams helping each other out. Long before the final verdict it was clear that here only winners would leave the stage. But not before the final and most crucial tests of all: The bikes had to run. After only a few kicks both of them fired up and filled the stage with that exciting mix of sweet engine sounds and burnt gasoline. Now it was the people's vote, and winner #1 was Mc Sands, beating #2 SSC to the line. But who cared, everyone was a winner here. Great bikes, great show, great teams.

See you soon at the next Custombike!

*Here's a few more engine details

on the Mc Sands bike for those who want them:

This here engine is based on Harley's so called "two cam" racing engine (FH 2-cam engine with 1000 cc) which was being built from 1924 on. It got used in series production from 1928-29 as JDH with 1000 cc and 1200 cc respectively.

The engine has a displacement of 1340 cc and sports two camshafts with roller tappets.

It's an F-head engine in IOE configuration: inlet over exhaust, meaning hanging inlet valves, actuated by pushrods and rockers, which are placed opposite the standing exhaust valves, which are directly actuated by their respective tappets. Note: there's no cylinder head, it's all one piece.

These bespoke JDXR cylinders with their two Linkert carbs were thought up, custom cast and finished by JD Jugs/Stuart Ritchie in Australia. Crank case, crank shaft, cams, lifter blocks, lifters and timing gears are all by FH-Raceengines, that's also Stuart Ritchie. The ignition is handled by a Bosch D generator magneto ignition combo.