The Kings of Bling

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We ride the cream of the crop from Harley-Davidson's Battle of the Kings

Harley-Davidson held their first Battle of the Kings competition in 2015 to showcase the phenomenal depth and range of customisation options available to owners through the official H-D parts catalogue. The outcome every year has been an unbelievable range of bikes, and the 2016 crop was no different. Dealers could pick any of the Dark Custom Sportster range as a base model on which to realise their creations, but the bikes had to conform to a maximum built retail price of £12,995 for an Iron 883-based model, and £14,995 for a Forty-Eight or Roadster-based build.


An impressive 31 dealerships across the UK entered the competition, with a public vote whittling it down to the five finalists featured here. These five bikes then went to the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show last month, where the outright winner was chosen by a panel of expert judges – with Shaw’s Beach Bobber’emerging as the overall victor. Take a closer look at the top five.

Shaw’s Beach Bobber

Shaw’s decided to make their Beach Bobber a little different to the norm as the BOTK gave them “the opportunity to do something a little bit old school and retro with a touch of fun.” And it paid off – bagging them the 2016 BOTKs title. The Beach Bobber combines this fun side with some serious engineering, such as the amazing custom exhaust and the chaindrive conversion. The skateboard bashplate keeps the build lighthearted, while the retro crown fuel cap and Motogadget speedometer give the bike a 60s feel. It will now go into the European finals, held at the Milan Motorcycle Show in November.

  • 5.5in Road King custom rims laced to Nightster (front) & Slim (rear) hubs
  • Heavy breather air filter
  • Custom fuel tank
  • Shaw Speed custom exhaust
  • £14,995

Guildford’s Cookie Cutter

Guildford H-D describe the Cookie Cutter as having been “designed not only to look good but also to be a fast little lane-splitter”. The paintwork on the tank is by Surrey Customs and is completely unique – the flame pattern being created by scarring the tank with an angle grinder, then lacquering over the top.

  • Biltwell Slim Line custom seat
  • Easy Riders Japan rear fender
  • Vance & Hines 2-1 comp series exhaust
  • Burly 10.5 slammer shocks
  • £12,995

Warr’s Super Hooligan

Warr’s say that while the look of the Super Hooligan is pure flattrack, the ride is “fully fettled for road use.” The exhaust is from a pre-production version of the Vance & Hines system made for the XG750R race bike, while the base bike’s exhaust was turned into the fork protectors to keep a lid on the costs. Mean, low, and purposeful.

  • Screamin’ Eagle piggyback shocks
  • RSD Air filter
  • Pre-production XG750R exhaust
  • Maxxis Dirt Track tyres
  • £14,995

Maidstone’s Uproar

Of all the bikes in the final five, Maidstone’s is the most classic. The chopped back-end and solo seat are pure bobber, while the raised tank and murdered-out black front-end sharpen the look even further. Our favourite detail is the exhaust, which sounds even better than it looks.

  • Stressed solo bobber seat
  • Defiance collection foot controls
  • RB Kustoms exhaust
  • Forty-Eight rims
  • £14,995

Sycamore’s Ya Filthy Animal

Sycamore say they love Harleys because “they lend themselves to being turned into anything you want” – and that’s exactly what they’ve done with this Iron 883. The bashplate and tyres are screaming out for a dance in the mud to really turn it into a filthy animal.

  • Rail Collection air cleaner & derby cover
  • Screamin’ Eagle adjustable rear shocks
  • Custom front headlight panel
  • Bossley exhaust
  • £12,995

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.