A Global Competition of Harley Dealerships Showcases the Best of the Best
Words by Kali Kotoski
Photos supplied by contestants
Over 250 entries across 26 countries participated in the 2019 Battle of The Kings showdown, a bare-knuckle competition that tests the creativity of wrenchers and custom builders worldwide.
The rules are simple. A minimum of 50 percent in value of the customization must use genuine Harley-Davidson parts. The bikes must be street legal. And the final cost of the build, including labor, must not exceed 50 percent over MSRP.
So, what do you get? A bunch of jaw-dropping and arguably affordable builds that can be easily replicated. The competition gives each dealership the ability to present its unique identity on the world stage. It gives builders a chance to meet, learn and collaborate, and it shows that behind the doors of any Harley-Davidson dealership there is a talented crew that can fulfill a customer’s greatest aspirations.
It also shows the wide reach of American muscle. Hollywood and the music industry aren’t the only ways America projects its soft power of hard-fought individualism and democratic values. Harley-Davidson – and what it stands for – is uniquely American, and that can be felt by looking at all these crazy bikes, each with their own rich geographical and cultural influences.
We couldn’t cover all the bikes in the competition, but we highlighted some of the best national winners, global semi-finalists and, of course, the world champ. Enjoy our selection of motorcycle porn!
Moonshine by Calgary Harley-Davidson
Those industrial Canadians first wanted to build a crazy board tracker, but then the rules came out and it would have been way over budget, according to Calgary’s Trevor Madore. So to prove the Dyna lovers/Softail haters wrong they pimped out a Sport Glide, a bike Madore admittedly said was hard to sell to our northern, 100-proof-drinking, lumberjack cousins.
They took original 1984 Sport Glide bags and added an FXRT fairing to give it the club-style. Calgary has had such success with its custom model, it now fabricates its own bracket. They took the mid-controls from a Low Rider to give it an aggressive riding position and lowered the front fender.
“Basically, our build took only a week, and we wanted to build an easily reproducible bike,” Madore said. And while Calgary Harley-Davidson leads the Canadian performance and custom scene, it was a completely different game when they went to the championship in Milan, Italy.
“Going to Milan is an eye-opener,” said Madore. “The reality is that, in Europe, Harley is a drop in the bucket. But with the Pan America and Bronx, I think they will break into that market.”
But back to the bike. The copper, which replaces the chrome, totally puts it over the top, making it one of the most elegant bikes we saw during the competition. As a mid-stream bagger, Moonshine shows it is a true Battle of The Kings bike because it is the perfect combination of Harley-Davidson and aftermarket accessories, making it easy for anyone worldwide to reproduce.
Calgary Harley-Davidson has been running a dedicated customs division since 2012.