BMW Motorrad Spezial

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

  • I am delighted to see Krugger win this – I have been a fan of his stuff for ages and the most important feature of this bike over previous winners is that I bet it really performs on the road – i particularly like the look of the bike when lowered. Superb.

  • i like the 4 boxer drag racer thing!!!!

    the winner bike it has a cool frame but reminds me other bikes not so radical like some other Krugger bikes of the past..

    BSA is Kick ass in many ways! Should be the winner

  • RobL

    The Krugger bike looks tough-n-ready in the right way, as opposed to the pumped-up “I’m just mean” bikes. The Krugger bike will kick your bike’s ass, but won’t really care about that – it’s just going where it’s going and you were in the way.

    The Garage65 bike is a work of art. Serious drag bike riding position, wonder what areas go numb from lack of bloodflow after riding that for a period of time… would sure like to find out no matter what.

    The BSA is the “vision of the future from the 1930s” kind of design. Awesome.

    That Yuri Shif bike… that looks like two Harley XA boxer motors mated together. With a prone position and your chest right over that supercharger, your leathers better have a Nomex covering.

    I do hope you’re right that Sturgis can move beyond the leather, beer, and bellies festival image and ignite some leading edge design work.

  • Kevin

    pleasantly surprised .. very nice job

  • Max

    Garage65 this year has brought a real jewel and I think he deserved more in ranking.
    I think it was more about winning the versatility of the bike rather than the aesthetics that perhaps is seen by the judges too much sake.
    Anyway good to everyone, winners and losers.

  • kdomino

    When I read the headline, I thought, “Great. Another batch in the endless stream of Harley-motored, fat rear tired, straight-piped, rigged-framed, un-rideable choppers with pretty paint.” Color me surprised when there are actually some really interesting entries.

    Dang! I’m glad my preconceptions were shaken. Nice job, contestants and judges!

  • i’m glad to learn of Krugger, indeed, but hope his rake-changing technology includes adjustability of the triple tree’s depth as well, so that the trail dimension remains appropriate to a given rake angle.

    if so, i’m excited as hell. i’ve been wishing somebody do this for years.

    otherwise, well, the years of floppy cruiser customs are decades behind us. we hope.

    (lowering my honda shadow 3.5″ in the rear without touching the front end left trail dimension a touchy subject for me. :D)

  • Isn’t AMD short for “American Motorcycle Dealership” ? If yes, you gotta expect a lot of big twin led sleds, especially when the show is held at Sturgis.

    I do agree there needs to be more variety, but although the AMD is chalk full of big twin customs (many of them chops & cruisers), this isn’t the first year where there has been bikes far removed from the stretched flames. For example, Goldammer’s super-charged singles have shown well (still can’t believe Nortorious didn’t finish higher the year it was shown). Dave Cook won freestyle 1st last year with a Kawi engine or something. Very cool & highly modified.

    Anyway, kind of a surprising 1st place for the production class. I’m all for the big twin sport angle to showcase the torque.

    The Darwin bike looks great. HD is missing out without something like that in their line-up.

  • Jefferson

    Motorcycles that are actually motorcycles are beautiful in their own right (which is exactly the point of 98% of the bikes on this site). To me, “custom” contests seem like contrived, indulgent wastes of time.

    Sorry to play Captain Buzzkill but i think it had to be said.

  • Bald Shaun

    I generally agree with captain buzzkill, but the winning bike here actually appears rideable, and I like the transformer idea a lot. Though in “cruiser” mode it’s not really going to be that comfortable reaching out for those low bars. I wonder how much it weighs.

  • valid point buzzkill, but you have to filter the lookatme’s and find the bikes like Nortorious.

    These shows bring int’l recognition and that fuels innovation and cool projects, albeit lots of questionable ones in the freestyle class.

  • Aldous Snow

    Maybe the age of the ostentatious unrideable chopper is slowly coming to an end.

    A few years back I called a frame maker asking him if he would build a cafe bike frame to fit an HD 1200. He said he would love to, but the money was in bar hoppers, and that was all he had time for.

  • Absolutely stunning motorcycles! I like the first and fourth most ^^

  • RobL

    @ Bald Shaun: Apparently the bars don’t move with the forks. More pics here:

    The seat angle changes, but the bars stay with the seat angle. Effectively, no change.

    As for the V-position of the rider’s body when using the front control set, that’s a different question altogether. I’ve not really been clear on how chopper riders find that comfortable at any time no matter what.

  • jrcamper

    “The Veon, although powered by a V-Rod motor, is a technological tour de force.”

    I’m certainly not a “harley guy” and while the rest of their technology may be stone age; the V-Rod motor certainly isn’t.

    It was co-developed by Porsche and is a thoroughly modern engine.

    • Fair comment and I was probably a little too harsh there. It has good power for its size, although it’s heavy compared to the likes of similarly-sized engines from European manufacturers.

  • Bald Shaun

    @RobL. Yeah. That was my point. In “cruiser mode” it looks like the rider will be contorted into some kind of severe clam shell that can’t be at all comfortable unless you have arms like a gorilla.

    @jrcamper. The V-rod is a great motor, and makes good power, even if it is long and heavy. However, though it’s head and shoulders above anything else the motor companies in terms of performance and technology, it’s been on the street without any major updates for nearly 10 years now. A little long in the tooth? Solid engine, but no, not a “technological tour de force.”