The seven dumbest bikes of The 2009 AMD Custom Championship

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Between all the drinking, boob exposing, Freebird listening, helmetless crashing and dying that takes place at the annual geriatric’s convention in Sturgis, South Dakota, some attendees actually take the time to be enthusiastic about motorcycles. The AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building is one of two important motorcycle-related rituals at the event, with the other being unloading and reloading your bike from the back of a pickup truck. At this one, drunk man children stare slack jawed at acres of chrome and imagine the day when they’ll have a high enough credit limit to park one of these creations in the living room of their double wide. Here’s seven bikes that we think best fulfill the desires of men who stopped maturing at the age of fifteen. There’s a whole bunch more over at the AMD website.

  • Yuri

    “…with the other being unloading and reloading your bike from the back of a pickup truck.”

    Now Wes, in all fairness, some of those bikes are in trailers.

  • Ceolwulf

    That “Bianchi” really bugs me. I actually like the lines on it … but it’s just so ridiculous. Is that headlight actually pointing directly at the tire?? and any cyclist can tell you, that seat needs to be level. You’re going to fall off right away like this. Also I don’t think it actually steers. It’s a missed chance to do a cool hub-centric steering setup. Level the seat and I’d cheerfully put it in my living room though.

    The rest of these are mostly rubbish.

    Also I didn’t think you were such a fan of Sturgis, you surprise me ;)

    • Wes Siler

      Ha, the seat angle is what made me call it the Bianchi Pista. If this thing had bicycle handlebars they’d be drops with the drops cut off.

  • Ceolwulf

    err double post sorry – headlight is offset it seems

    I maintain its ridiculosity tho

  • Chris Hunter


    You’ve outdone yourself here. Brilliant.

    Someone needs to take a stand against this rubbish.


    • Wes Siler

      Consider the line drawn. As a creative director, I’d like to hear your opinion on the Brammo logo.

      • Chris Hunter

        My opinion on the Brammo logo: it’d suit most of the bikes at AMD, but not a Brammo.

        It’s not a bad logo design per se, but it’s a chopper logo. Not a clean green electric machine logo.

        It’d look good on the back of a black T-shirt. One being worn by an asshat in a half-hat, feet forward on a Hot Wheels chopper.

        It wouldn’t look good on a Brammo, which I’m guessing was a mandatory in the brief …


  • mototom

    Look dudester, speaking as a man child who stopped maturing at 13, I totally agree with you. This stuff is trash and a pale imitation of the art and craftsmanship rendered by the Teutuls on a a daily basis. Not only would I not put such crap next to my OCC “barbed wire” beer cooler in my double wide, I wouldn’t even park it under the fold away porch!

    Pa Teutul rocks!!!

    PS I know your down on the Teutuls, but until your biceps are bigger than Paulies, I don’t see why you think you have the right to criticize them.

    Long live rock n roll and the OCC. YeeeeHaaaaa!!

  • jimbo

    Isn’t the blue-thing the new Buell Blast after you add water?

  • dain

    I’d like to see the owner ride the one without a tank! Imagine an off with 20ltrs of petrol strapped on your back…nothing ever gets close to that level of hardcore brutal murder face ness…lets face that it makes sense, those bikes are all so hardcore we should be ashamed of our sedentary appreciation of functional design…I can smell the flatbill meth labs from here in australia and tremble in fear…

  • cjs675

    What Chris said.

    This is why we love HFL.

  • The Dust Storm

    13 pertinent lines!
    hell yeah! long life to r’n'r and HFL!

  • Sid

    “If you experience an erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate blow job.”

  • Anders

    ? Bianchi? What a disgrace to a respected brand. Probably the worst custom bike I’ve ever seen… Again: This is why I read HFL.

    • Isaac

      Hey like that bimmer on your website!

    • Coco

      A Bianchi Pista is a 1 speed track bike with no brakes(veleodrome or board track for bicycles). What the fuck does that have to do with a Triumph motor stuffed into an ugly frame?

      You’d think the bike could have at least been painted Celeste green, which is the Bianchi factory colour.

  • Isaac

    I wonder who the pitcher is and who is the catcher?

  • JR

    I agree that most of these bikes are ridiculous when you consider the bike as a whole. I was perusing a lot of these bikes yesterday and did see a lot of really neat suspension configuarations though. Granted, many of them would not be ideal for any kind of sport riding, but I saw a lot of creativity.

    I really dig 4-bar girder style front suspensions.

  • aeolus

    The Bianchi Pista is art. The rest including Nesbitts are craft. And not very good craft.

  • Adrian

    Wow, that AMD website is depressing ,so much derivative, Sturgis circle-jerking dreck on there.

    Perhaps the world should have a rest from these so called customs for a few years to get some creativity and inspiration going.

  • nollid51

    Hilarious article, another reason I keep coming back to read your page. I never understood the fascination with ‘customs’. Why are people in love with the bad boy/ outlaw image with motorcycles I will never understand. Unfortunately, this is why Europe and Japan get all the cool street/standard motorcycles, and we get the Honda Fury and Harley knock offs. Keep up the good work Wes, and try to get jalopnik to squeeze in more motorcycle news.

  • Joe

    Wow…Wes, I don’t like or agree with pretty much any of the culture and pseudo bad-assery that comes from the mass-marketing machine that is the “Motor Company”, but this post makes you sound like a haughty elitist. And that’s being kind. It’s not “hilarious”, it’s uninspired classism.

  • Wes Siler

    If it’s classism, then it comes from a guy that spends his time building stuff with his hands, riding motorcycles to far away places, risking his life and enjoying the outdoors and is fed up with meat heads pretending to do all of the above. I guess I’m just sick of poseurs.

    • geonerd


  • pbxorcist

    Given your Function through Form event, I’d really expect better from you.
    This isn’t the Teutles raging on TV just to drum up some ratings, pandering to the lowest common denominator. These are serious bike builders who are just as passionate about motorcycles as you or I.
    The V-twin custom scene is radically different than some of your other bike scenes (lets say the cafe or sport bike crowd) and even really different than the Harley scene. Its about craftsmanship and construction, its about bikes with individual hand made parts. Its about having a motorcycle that you brought life to, that is unlike any other currently out there.
    Panning the contestants in the AMD championship for the credit card bikers and trend humpers is unmerited at best and disingenuous at worst. But I get it, its just the way of motorcycle tribe are. They mock any motorcycle that doesn’t look like theirs. If these bikes had manx tanks, and dunstall mufflers the reaction would be different. Sure the harley crowd can be a bunch of tools, and there is a definite euro humping trend on the bikes entered into the AMD championship, but that doen’t mean there are design elements to be gained from the bikes.
    For what its worth, the custom bike is just as bad in their bashing of bikes they dont ride our understand, and I’m not claiming any purity of intent there. But I am surprised that Wes didnt cut Speed Fetus (or four hour erection as he called it) more slack. The Japanese and Nagoya scene (which HFL just did a piece on) influence on that bike is fairly obvious. (even if that is the ugliest tank I have seen in quite some time).
    The AMD bikes are less about being functional daily riders, and more about being design concepts.

    • pbxorcist

      Really…that was formatted better in Word, I promise.

    • nollid51

      Undoubtedly there was a great deal of craftsmanship put into these machines, and I don’t think anyone here is being dismissive of their effort. I think the greater problem is what they are setting out to make is another exercise in form over function, and these machines become more of a testament to styling and fashion rather than a fun ride. Granted, there are a few machines (the BMW comes to mind) that are technical exercises. The main thing here is that these events are symptomatic of the motorcycle culture in America as a whole. The focus has shifted to the image rather than the ride, for both sport bikers and cruiser riders. Whether it be the bad ass image or the racer wannabes, little attention is given to just riding and having fun. People now want machines to be seen on rather than to ride on, and it seems these events embody that worshipping of image. Motorcycling, at least for a lot of people on this side of the pond, has become more about looking cool on your ride to the bar. This is what I have a problem with, as I suspect a lot of others on here do too.

  • Larry Kahn

    I think I see some pretty talented work in all the bikes, and the twin-engined one is pretty bad-ass, I don’t care what your age. The Bianchi can sit in my home any day. Like a moto-acid trip baby.

  • Scott

    yet more of Wes’s social commentary, he’s probably never even changed his own oil

    I have been to Sturgis & Mugello

    • Wes Siler

      What’s “oil?”

  • Shawn

    Ummm… I dont think you guys “get it”. Its about taking the motorcycle to the extreme in both design and engineering. It’s about turning the motorcyle into a rolling piece of art.

    Now I know its not as functional or as exciting as a fuckin scooter or gold wing….. but hey, I dont think they were trying to take it there. I’m pretty sure no ones going to try to go cross-country on one.

    And really….. that type of thinking is the same as someone in a fuckin mini-van telling me that my bike has no real function. I mean really…. I can’t haul 3 kids to the store and pick up a new washing machine in the rain with it.

    But hey, I ride one anyways. Maybe you can try to just sit on your bike that was designed for what you like to do…..and try to apprectiate a bike that was designed for what they like to do.

    • Grant Ray

      Shawn, with all due respect, I “get it.” These bikes are meant to sit on trailers, be shiney, never be ridden and have middle-aged men say things like “Sweet”, and “Dude”, and “Dude, sweet.”

  • Nick

    pretty much 90% of choppers are ridiculous. inversely proportional noise to power ratio, no brakes and handle like a zinc bath on top of a supermarket trolley being pushed around by a drunk whose just eaten a bucket of KFC with his fingers. oh, and the brakes are usually pretty crap too.

  • Nick

    The Pieta is a work of art too. Doesn’t mean sticking some wheels on it would make a good motorcycle.

  • Fritz

    HFL is starting to remind me of BikeSnob NYC…

    Which is a good thing

  • primitive

    Wanna be tough guys, telling me I don’t get their art, and we’re supposed to be the snobs.

  • Robert

    Those are some pretty excellent photo titles, Wes.

  • M.P.

    Just because you don’t agree with an opinion doesn’t make any one ‘elitest’ or ‘classist’. It’s an opinion, remember? Just like a few of you like this stuff, I think it’s absolute crap. I have a opinion and so can you. Neither are wrong. If you want to call names when people don’t agree with you go join the Democrats.

  • Flange

    Personally, I quite like the ‘fabricated’ feeling of these bikes and whilst not a massive fan of chrome, terrible tattoo’s and piss-pots I can appreciate the amount of engineering that went into them. Although I’m British so what do I know

    However, I do take issue with the form over function approach that appears in spades when looking at these bikes. I believe that bikes, like bicycles should be simple and effective – the more simple a bike is, the more effective it should be in use. So fitting forks long enough to cross time zones, no ‘gas’ tank and stupid bars all seems a little pointless. Well, very pointless. Still, I’m British…

  • Joe

    M.P., I actually agree with the core idea (i.e., opinion) Wes is expressing on these bikes–they’re pretty much worthless from a technical and operational standpoint (and fairly ugly to boot).

    However, “…drunk man children stare slack jawed at acres of chrome and imagine the day when they’ll have a high enough credit limit to park one of these creations in the living room of their double wide,” isn’t an opinion, it’s a dig at, say, people who can’t afford to live in a gated community and pay cash for an R 1200 GS. Similarly, I can understand the critique of drinking and riding but what’s wrong with listening to Freebird?

    • Wes Siler

      I’m 28 and can barely afford to pay rent, I don’t think mocking middle America’s buying habits has anything to do with classism.

  • Joe

    Fair enough. I guess I just took offense as someone who parks a financed bike in his Oklahoman living room because I only have a 1 car garage.

    Granted, it’s an actual functioning MOTORCYCLE without a bit of chrome on it so I was probably venturing into the realm of being offended on the behalf of others.

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