BORN-FREE/H-D 115TH ANNIVERSARY SOFTAIL BUILD-OFF
A Custom Spin on Harley’s Softail platform
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Born-free Motorcycle Show threw a modern wrench into its traditional chopper and vintage bike show gears for 2018. Born-free, working in conjunction with Harley-davidson, gave custom motorcycle builders from across the country one of Harley’s new Softail models to customize to their liking.
Mike Davis, co-owner of Born-free, rang up the boys from H-D, pitched his idea, and the wheels started turning. Seeing as Mike is more of an old-iron aficionado, he commissioned the guys at San Diego Customs to help assemble a talented cast of characters who could deliver something unique and intriguing in time for the Born-free Show on June 23–24. The crews from San Diego Customs, Kraus Motor Co., Horsepower Inc., Pop’s Garage Fabrication, Virus Moto, and FXR Division (did not finish in time for print, see its final result on hotbike.com) were selected. Each had about four months to get one of the new Softail models, build it to suit their style however they liked, and deliver it on schedule. Once the bikes debuted there, they’d be taken to the Harley-davidson 115th-anniversary celebration to also be on display during the event.
It was quite the eclectic mix of machines, from adventure bikes and hill climbers to alcohol race machines. “I thought all of them came out great,” Davis recalls. “It felt like everyone was really receptive to them, and it felt like everyone put out their best effort.”
Harley-davidson saw this as a great way to work with Born-free and felt the new Softails were the perfect platform for customizers to showcase their skills with the new motorcycles. “For us, this was a great opportunity to show the world the brand-new Softail platform and the endless possibilities of customization when put in the hands of these talented builders,” says Shep Rubinger, experiential marketing lead at Harley-davidson Motor Co. “What better place and what better partner to do that with than Born-free.”