The Sturgis Top 5

Sturgis Bike Week: the Krugger Veon
I don’t normally pay much attention to the Sturgis Bike Week. In the past, I’ve never been able to see beyond the chrome and billet. But this year’s bike building championship seemed different, with a brace of knockout bikes winning votes in all categories. And I’m intrigued by the machine that went home with the biggest trophy yesterday: Fred Krugger’s Veon, shown above. It won by a big margin—548 points to the 384 points of the second-placed bike, Thunderstruck Custom Bikes’ Sniper.

I’m wondering if this year’s winners could change the perception of Sturgis Bike Week from being a bunch of good ol’ boys swilling beer in South Dakota to a genuine hotbed of style and innovation. The Veon, although powered by a V-Rod motor, is a technological tour de force. Developed with the help of its owner, Peer Toftner, it uses an electronically-adjustable frame: At the flick of a switch, the bike can be transformed from a low-riding cruiser with a long steering rake into a more sporting machine with a shorter wheelbase and a steeper rake. And there are two sets of foot controls to match the different riding styles. Radical, non?

The championship results were announced a few hours ago, and below you’ll find my pick of the three other most interesting winners from the Freestyle Class: Yuri Shif Customs’ The Machine (third place), Garage65’s Kcosmodrive (fourth) and Speed Shop Design’s Beezerker (fifth). The foreign stranglehold on the Freestyle class has resumed: this year, only four of the top ten bikes were from the US. That’s the same as two years ago. Whereas last year, the US made a comeback, with seven of the top ten. The final bike shown below is Darwin Motorcycles’ Brawler GTR, a machine we revealed at prototype stage and which placed second in the Production Manufacturer Class.

So: are we seeing a semblance of style (not to mention sanity) in the mainstream custom scene now? Or is this a flash in the Sturgis Bike Week pan? Tell us your thoughts (or your personal favorite) in the comments. [Images by Horst Roesler and Frank Sander.]

Sturgis Bike Week: The Machine by Yuri Shif Customs
Sturgis Bike Week: Garage65's Kcosmodrive
Sturgis Bike Week: Speed Shop Design's Beezerker
Sturgis Bike Week: Darwin Motorcycles' Brawler