The 9th annual Sturgis AMD World Championship of bike building (try saying that after a few pints!) has just wrapped up for another year. The freestyle class of the championships turns out some of the most mind-blowing custom motorcycles you’ll ever see and this year’s entries were no exception. As always though there can be only one winner and for 2012 it goes to German builder Thunderbike for the PainTTless custom 1984 Harley Davidson Sportster.
“The team around Thunderbike founder Andreas Bergerforth succeeded in the main-class Freestyle and prevailed against the international competition. It was the third participation at the World Championship for Thunderbike, who already finished 2nd place in 2006 with their bike Spectacula. The 2012 vintage racer “PainTTless” tops things off and was elected as the best custombike in the world. Inspired by icelake racers of the 1930s the PainTTless was designed with a very slim shape and received a high gloss finish in polished nickel. The highly modified Harley-Davidson Ironhead engine starts with a magneto ignition, which was produced by Bosch in the 1920s. The estimated building cost of the bike is 150.000 Euro.”
At the heart of the build is a heavily rebuilt 1000cc Harley-Davidson Ironhead from an early model Sportster complete with 1938 Bosch Magneto and Amal Carburettor. All up the build took 8 months for the Thunderbike team to complete the build which involved redesigning or fabricating pretty much every single part on the bike. The bodywork alone went through three stages of development before it was finished, starting with initial sketches, then on to a cardboard and wood mockup before the steel was hand hammered into shape and polished to a perfect mirror finish.
I’ve spent about an hour staring at these photos already, trying to take in all the detail. It’s easy to see why it won when you start to think about the planning and the amount of work required to piece a bike like this together.
What does the name PainTTless mean? It’s based on a set of rules the Thunderbike team gave themselves at the start of the build. No paint, no fillers, no tin! Everything had to be perfect, so why hide it under a coat of paint?