(Photos courtesy Progressive International Motorcycle Shows)

It was a cast of usual suspects and upstarts at J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show in New York as the second round of the series hit the Big Apple. Thirty-three custom motorcycles competed for cash and prestige in the Freestyle, Custom Classic and Custom Street categories, along with the always popular “People’s Choice.” Countersteer’s Patrick Garvin, who passionately calls the Sportster Harley’s best bike, will be stoked to hear New York builders agree because Sportster-based customs captured two of the top three spots, including first in Freestyle.

Chaos Cycle’s George Stinsman has a penchant for performance, so you know a bike he built for himself is going to be able to ride like the wind.

“Finally finished my personal bike,” Stinsman posted about his Freestyle winning 2020 Chaos Cycle Café Sportster.

1st Place Freestyle - George Stinsman 2020 Chaos Cycle Cafe Sportster 

Stinsman’s skills were on full display with this build, from the stocky frame to the handbuilt pipes to the slick swingarm. Relocating the oil tank to the anti-draft tail section and leaving open space beneath the seat emphasizes how clean the build is, from plumbing to electrical. While the Firestones he wrapped around the hand-laced wheels are one clue to its go-fast intentions, so are the tracker bars, Fox shocks, and dual front wavy rotors. Knowing Stinsman, the Sportster 1200 engine has some tuning tricks pulled from the bag of Long Island motorcycle drag racing tricks. Lean and mean, Chaos Cycle banked the $1,500 first place check as winner of New York’s Freestyle class.

Freestyle Runner-Up - Ryan Coligan 2019 Custom Turbo 100 

Giving him a run for his money was Ryan Coligan with his 2019 Custom Turbo 100. The Freestyle runner-up flexed a 100 cubic-inch Merch motor with an Evo bottom end and a Twin Cam top teamed to a turbocharged blow-through carb set-up said to punch out 150 hp. The hand-shifting scoot features a Hurst shifter from a 1969 Camaro and runs a 15” rear car wheel with a custom hub. He stretched the frame and dropped the seat behind the engine at a scant 14” off the ground. Coligan displayed a wide range of skills in his build, from shaping the aluminum bodywork to spraying the paint.

1st Place Custom Classic - Evan Favaro 1991 BMW R100RT cafe racer 

Like Stinsman, another familiar face to the NY Ultimate Builder shows took top honors in the Custom Classic class. Evan Favaro of Speakeasy Motors pocketed the $500 first place prize with his clean 1991 BMW R100RT café racer. Favaro stripped it down to essentials and made his own tail section. He deftly wove the stainless steel exhaust from the Boxer Twin through the tail section. He updated the motorcycle with a keyless ignition and electronics that operate through a phone app. Known for his stint on OCC, the build demonstrates Favaro’s diversity as a builder extends well beyond V-Twins and theme bikes.

Custom Classic Runner-Up - Dell Battle Dangerous Designz 1991 Harley-Davidson Sportster

The big winner in New York had to be Dell Battle of Dangerous Designz who won first place in Custom Street and was runner-up to Favaro in the Custom Classic class. Battle’s bike of choice was the Harley Sportster, with his custom 2002 earning first place in Custom Street and a 1991 Sporty taking runner-up in Custom Classic. The builds are on two different ends of the spectrum, one a no-nonsense hardtail with a Springer front and a Peanut tank, the other a ’72-style Sportster Boardtracker with big wheels, air ride suspension front and back, and a crazy hi-po intake. From the diamond-cut heads to the brilliant metal flake paint, the custom 1991 Harley Sportster is dressed to the nines.

Custom Street First Place - Dell Battle Dangerous Designz 2002 Harley-Davidson Sportster

The final Ultimate Builder winner coming out of New York was Brian Ballard and A&J Cycles who took runner-up honors in Custom Street for his 2019 Triumph Scrambler XE. Ballard took his Triumph Scrambler XE next-level with a design inspired by Steve McQueen’s 1961 Triumph Desert Sled, from the number plate to its custom seat and undertail. The two-into-one high pipe and meaty Heidenau K60 Scout tires bolster it’s off-road credentials. The vintage Harley SX125 front fender he used is a nice touch on one of the first customized Triumph Scramblers we’ve seen.

Custom Street Runner-Up - Brian Ballard A&J Cycles 2019 Triumph Scrambler XE

Lastly, garage builder Rob Adams of RA Custom Motorcycles won over the crowd with his seriously high-necked, stretched-out chopper. The sweet Sugar Bear fork looks to be about 40-over while its powertrain is polished like a gem. Great to see choppers getting some love in NYC.

The next J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show takes place here in our own backyard of Dallas, Texas, Jan. 3-5, during the Dallas Progressive International Motorcycle Show. We can’t wait to see how many custom bikes fill the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The J&P Cycles team will be out in force in the Lone Star state, so be sure to come check out the show.

People's Choice - Rob Adams 2019 RA Chopper