CUSTOMBIKE Messe Bad Salzuflen, Germany
100% Biker|Issue 256
Sometimes what is missing from a show is more interesting than what’s present. With the German show Custombike celebrating its fifteenth anniversary, the event remains a showcase for European customising in all its diversity— with the additional benefit of a focus on parts that are homologated and approved for Europe
HORST ROSLER, Messe Bad Salzuflen

With Indian presenting the new Challenger tourer and a new FTR version from EICMA present at Bad Salzuflen, even BMW even world-premiered its second R-18 Concept Bike at the show. But, surprisingly, what was missing was any of the new Harley-Davidson concepts which have been so talked about over the last few months. There was just one Live Wire on display, and that was exhibited by local dealer, Harley-Davidson Bielefeld. Two years after its introduction, the Milwaukee Eight powered model has arrived in customising but it hasn’t replaced previous Harley lines…

If you stepped into the halls of Custombike for the first time, you might have found it difficult to get your bearings. All of the exhibition halls are packed with booths and dealers while the display areas of the bike show are now just stretched over the two main halls—and sorted as much as possible by theme or genre—they also extend the full length of those halls with more than 300 bikes taking part in the bike show itself (with countless others on display), including some of the best custom bikes of the year.

Custombike, held in December, is the last big European show of the year and timed perfectly to introduce new parts and ideas while the building of next year’s projects is in progress or even in the planning stage. While there are many ‘bolt-on’ parts now available for Harley’s Milwauke Eight-powered models, extreme customs with the new motor remain rare. In fact, fully ground-up, handcrafted motorcycles have become less common these days and at this show many of those present were from elsewhere in Europe where there is still a more relaxed attitude which makes it easier to build one-off machines. And, of course, the advance of technology means that it is extremely difficult to modify new models from all manufacturers.

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