BORN-FREE/H-D 115TH AN­NIVER­SARY SOFTAIL BUILD-OFF

A Cus­tom Spin on Har­ley’s Softail plat­form

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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.”

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