Photos Courtesy of Progressive International Motorcycle Shows

Motorcycles took center stage at the Minnesota Convention Center last weekend as the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows (IMS) swept into town for the seventh stop of the tour. Not only does the IMS give people a chance to see the latest-and-greatest motorcycles and gear on the market, but they also get to see some of the finest custom motorcycles out there courtesy of the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show. Over the course of the weekend, more than 36,000 motorcycle enthusiasts filtered through the convention center’s doors. Hard to beat that much exposure for your craftsmanship in one weekend, and in addition to the chance to win thousands of dollars, it’s a huge motivator to bring your custom bikes out to the shows.

Freestyle 1st Place Jordan Dickonson Union Speed & Style 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead 

In the penultimate Ultimate Builder round of the 2020 season, Jordan Dickinson’s 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead couldn’t be beat. Delve into the motorcycle’s backstory and the bike pretty much started as an engine and transmission. Almost everything else was built from raw materials. Dickinson of Union Speed & Style made a one-off frame that was partly inspired by Joe Petrali’s Knucklehead land speed bike. Dickinson made all the “forgings” to look similar to what would be found in that era of motorcycle manufacturing but put the Union Speed & Style spin on them with new, one-off designs. Case in point. Look closely at the back fender and you’ll see a mash-up of styling between JD-era side skirts and a Knucklehead-style edge flange. The fender looks factory but was handmade from cold rolled steel sheet. The fuel tank, dash piece, fender struts, and oil tank were likewise hand-hammered from flat sheet stock. The foot controls were also handmade and textured to look like forgings and then coated, along with the engine components, in electroless nickel. The Harley VL front end, one of the few factory parts on the bike, was narrowed 1" by machining new connecting braces. With the almost obsessive detail that went into every part of this motorcycle, it’s easy to see why Dickinson’s 1947 Knuckle won the $1,500 Freestyle class first prize. Meanwhile, Krystal Hess and the Motorcycle Missions team made a sweet bobber out of a 2004 Triumph Speedmaster to earn Freestyle runner-up laurels.

Custom Classic 1st Place "Lefty" Joseph Hyde 1973 Triumph Tiger 

In the Custom Classic class, “Lefty” Hyde rolled back the clock with his 1973 Triumph Tiger chopper. Hyde’s scoot has plenty of old school cool, from its high-necked frame to its kicked-out front end to its groovy king and queen saddle. The saddle even has a built-in toolbox. The twisted bars of the fork, ‘60s-style sissy bar, and five-spoke wheels give it class-winning uniqueness. Hyde’s Triumph chopper had just enough funk and flair to edge out James Berreau and his tidy 1974 Yamaha RD350 café racer for first place in the Custom Classic class.

Custom Street 1st Place Juan Rodriguez Jr. Customs 200 Suzuki Hayabusa 

The Custom Street class saw a boosted ‘Busa battle with a carbon-fiber clad R1 for the $500 first prize. Wish we could have let them settle the score on the quarter-mile because both bikes were worthy of winning. The list of carbon fiber parts on Johann Jack’s 2003 Yamaha YZF-R1 is literally a half-page long, from its Akrapovic exhaust to its BST wheels. Racy as it was, Juan Rodriguez’s 2004 Suzuki Hayabusa with its nitrous-boosted, fully built motor took the top spot in the Custom Street class. The potent powerplant’s bundled in a polished frame teamed to an equally shiny extended swingarm. The back end sports a 300mm fat tire kit and a custom seat hump while the front fender is likewise custom. The bike’s Tornado wheels like primed to wreak havoc when he lights up that bottle. A wicked paint job by JP Customs helped push Rodriguez’s Hayabusa to the top of the Custom Street class.

The final winner in Minnesota was Barry Zelickson whose chromed King was impossible to miss. Built by St. Paul Harley-Davidson, Zelickson’s 2017 Road King is one of the shiniest bikes you’ll see. It definitely caught the attention of the Minneapolis crowd who chose it as the People’s Choice winner.

The 2019-2020 J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show wraps up this weekend with the championship round in Chicago. All the winners from previous rounds have been invited to Chicago to compete for the crown so it’s sure to be a knock-down, drag-out fight for the top spots. Be sure to check back next week to find out who took home the crown and the big prize money, or if you can’t wait that long, we’ll be posting up winners day of the show on our social media channels.