S&S 50th Anniversary Celebration. And The Winner Is…(Part 1)

As you know 50 builders were competing during last weekend S&S Cycle 50th Anniversary Celebration. Builders were showing S&S engine powered custom bikes classified in 6 series depending of the model of engine used. The overall winner won the $50,000 prize.
Best Of Show: Hot Dock from Japan. Best P-Serie (Panhead): Freddy Krugger from Belgium. Best SH-Serie (Shovelhead): Cook Customs from the USA. Best SB-Serie (Sportster): Odyssey Motorcycle from France. Best T-Serie (Twin-Cam): Bennet’s Performance from the USA. Best V-Serie (Evo): Nicolas Chauvin from France. Best XW-Serie (X-Wedge): Fred Kodlin from Germany.
Hope to get very fast a better picture of the Best Of show winner, Hot Dock bike named Sgt Nautirus built by Keij Kawakita in Tokyo..

31 Responses to “S&S 50th Anniversary Celebration. And The Winner Is…(Part 1)”

  1. 1 Gar Jul 1st, 2008 at 11:39 am

    What are people thinking to vote this ugly ass bike the winner. MAN! Someone needs to have their eye sight checked!!!!!!!

  2. 2 Brad Bradley Jul 1st, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I agree with GAR. This bike looks ugly. Shame on S&S. They must want to expand their market in Japan…and Europe. Would like to know who were the judges. Very disappointing. All the other competing bikes I see on the S&S website look better than this one!

  3. 3 Tommy Jul 1st, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I think the award must have been about the longest distance between the builder and the S&S factory.

  4. 4 Mike Selby Jul 1st, 2008 at 11:49 am

    S&S just celebrated the end of the cool custom the way I knew it.

  5. 5 Donnie Jul 1st, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Not too bad but not very good.

  6. 6 Mike Jul 1st, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    I thought it was a “people” judged contest???

    I don’t know why people complain, would you rather the winner used the same old combo you’ve seen a zillion times? Daytec frame, S&S engine (obviously), Baker trans, PM wheels/controlls……

    I’m not knocking these companies at all, it’s just nice to see fresh bikes. I think you see so many European bikes winning competitions because they are doing something different.

  7. 7 Doc Robinson Jul 1st, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Hey guys, you had to be there to understand this bike. You also had to understand the whole manner in which the show was set up and how it was judged. Obviously, you don’t. I was there and I spoke with quite a number of the builders after the judging and they all felt it truly deserved to win. The attention to detail was astounding, creative and extremely well engineered. The judging process had very little to do with S&S and involved other builders and maazine journos from respected custom motorcycle publications. So sorry fellas, but your opinions – to which you are completely entitled – seem mainly to spring from ignorance of just how well done this bike was, something that the pic just does not show. This bike was the “buzz” of the show from the moment it arrived and we’re talking a field of top builders including Arlen, Cory and Zac Ness, Brian Klock, Chopper Dave, Skeeter, Rick Fairless – the list (in addition to those winners listed above) just goes on. 50 builders/50 top shelf customs – every bike was a winner in reality, but just one had to get the top honour.

  8. 8 Gar Jul 1st, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Couldn’t have been said better by any foreigner (Aussie) on this Blog! I suppose if you are a foreign builder all that is required to build a bike is a motor, trans and a well stocked dumpster. No matter the attention to detail this bike is still UGLY as hell! I thought there was going to be on-line voting? The S&S website stated to “Vote Often”. Nope, didn’t happen that I am aware of! Most of the bikes are still not posted on the S&S site. WHY? Tell me S&S is not looking at the world market with a prize count of 5 Foreign Builders winning vs: 2 American Builders!

    Also, just for your own edification, several other American builders were initially asked to be part of the build off to promote the 50th of S&S. These “other” American builders choose not to be part of the build off due to the simply to S&S “requirement” that the S&S motors used in the Build Off be purchased from S&S specifically for the build off. Great move on S&S’s part, sale of 50 motors, the free use of the builders names and all the PR that goes along with it. Not Bad, Not Bad AT All!

  9. 9 Mike Rich Jul 1st, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I always had the feeling that custom builders were used and abused by show organizers, and manufacturers. Why is it that S&S makes money, gets big free PR with such an event while the builders are not paid (and lose money) and just get a tiny bit of PR, winners or not.
    Yep, S&S asks the public to vote on their site without showing the bike pictures! Then, we learn that industry professionals are judging. Let’s talk about traffic of influence and politics. S&S just lost a lot of credibility by fixing rules that they violate.

  10. 10 Dennis J Jul 1st, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I agree completely with Doc. I was there too and the Hot Dock bike was a work of art and actually quite attractive. The choice was astounding and a number of the bikes could have taken top honors: Chopper Dave, Trevelen, Bill Dodge, the Ace Cafe guys, Church of Choppers, the Big Bear Choppers beast, Revolution Manufacturing … we’re talking some kick-ass bikes in a myriad of styles. But, the Hot Dock bike was insane. The craftmanship, ingenuity, engineering and machining that went into this thing was ming boggling.

    It’s easy to knock S&S for the way it does business, but obviously these builders saw some benefit in taking part in the competition. They’re not idiots, these guys, and some of them are insanely successful business men in addition to being very talented. So you tell me if they think they’re being used and abused by show organizers and manufacturers.

  11. 11 Dave B. Jul 1st, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    I still like the Cook Customs shovelhead best, I’m glad they won thier class… good work guys, and a great bike!

  12. 12 Doc Robinson Jul 1st, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Hey Gar it was the S&S 50th after all. Why shouldn’t the motors need to be purchased from S&S? They set the event up, they paid for the show. Ever tried to enter a Harley-Davidson bike show with a Kawasaki or Honda? I didn’t think so. Get over your xenophobia guys and realise that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in the eyes of the judges, Hot Dock was the winner.

  13. 13 Sheridan Jul 1st, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    So will we see pictures of each of the winners in an upcoming issue of Heavy Duty then Doc?

  14. 14 saorijohn Jul 2nd, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I voted for Hot Dock. Keij Kawakita is one of the most creative guys in the world. He is also a very talented engineer. Check out his XR750 style heads that bolt onto Sportster motors. If the rules had allowed it he would have modified the motor also. Were the Detroit Bros. invited? Maybe then there would have been a US winner.

  15. 15 Marilyn Stemp Jul 2nd, 2008 at 9:03 am

    None of the builders were forced to participate, it was their choice. Many said they wanted to be part of the event to honor a company that’s basically responsible for the Harley performance aftermarket. Give S&S their due.
    If you want to take a patriotic approach, why not build up an American company – that would be S&S Cycle – whose product is good enough to be exported and prized all over the world instead of wasting time knocking the creativity of builders outside the U.S.? All of the builders, domestic and foreign, are getting good PR for building bikes for the S&S 50th and the majority of them incorporated an aspect of great respect for S&S’s history into the builds. And keep in mind, the 50 builders’ votes were given the most weight in the judging – that should tell you something.

    American builders were well represented. The People’s Choice winner was the Dougz bagger, which also second place in the X-Wedge category. Plenty of other Americans took awards, too: Klock, Covington, Cook, Redneck, Arlen Ness, Kris Krome, Rick Fairless, Bennett Performance, etc. It’s not fair to judge the Hot Dock bike on one picture – it was awesome.

  16. 16 Biker DATA Jul 2nd, 2008 at 9:11 am

    The S&S 50th was an amazing time. BikerDATA.com got there early Monday and spent 4 days at the S&S factory where builders where putting final touches on the entries. I was the ONLY photographer there and have priceless images taken behind the scenes. I have over 1,000 images to post in my gallery section for your viewing pleasure. Several gallery’s are already up including the winner KEIJI KAWAKITA of HOT-DOCK CUSTOM CYCLES. I have several up close images that may help you understand the artistry that he put into the bike build.

    60% of the voting came from the builders. So the American builders actually voted for the bike and they picked the winner. 20% of the vote came from select VIP’s and the remaining 20% came from invited press.

    The only input the public had was a PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD. They filled out a card and voted for their choice.

    I listen and heard what Arlen, Cory and Zack said about the bike while they where voting. I have an image of them viewing the bike during their voting in my gallery section and they where amazed at the detail. The one unique feature was how he hand fitted the tubing of the frame and then build a custom junction fitting to connect the tubing. Every part of the bike was assembled with Allen head bolts. Close to 5,000 must have been used.

    I have a detailed shoot of the throttle and brake controls that where all hand made, you have to see it to believe the detail work.

    The event was a true once in a lifetime memory for me. I actually help Arlen flush his engine out on Thursday prior to the event. Pictures to prove it. I actually cannot belive it myself. Cory had to install the rear tire and rim and I am helping put it back together.

  17. 17 Biker DATA Jul 2nd, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Marilyn well said.. That is why I just suggested they go to my gallery to get a detailed look at the build, and then they might undertand why the BUILDERS voted for this bike.

    Had a great time speaking to you at the event, see you in STURGIS.


  18. 18 Gomez Jul 2nd, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Like said earlier, the general public could vote for People’s Choice (weighted towards the walk in crowd over the online crowd). Because so few builders uploaded their pics, it made it very hard to vote online…a lot of people voted based on the builder. On an earlier blog, a gentleman stated he was voting for the Ness’s because they were from Northern Calif like he was…Ness never uploaded pics of any of their builds….same with Donnie Smith, Chica, SuperCo and several others. I personally didn’t like the Hot Dock bike, however, it was an outstanding build, very creative and outstanding workmanship. Creativity, build quality and execution were criteria that was heavily weighted with the judges. And creativity seems to be in abundance overseas, like it or not. Pushing the envelope with the builds is what makes these shows a blast to visit. Let’s see what shows up at the AMD Show!

  19. 19 Kiwi Mike Tomas Jul 2nd, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I was an immigrant till 9am this morning and since I have now passed my citizenship test I can now reply as a US citizen.
    Marilyn, Chris, A1, etc said it so well before me.
    Keep in mind that S&S had nothing to do with the judging at all.
    The judging was done by the builders, media, online, and spectators.
    Very fair to say the least.
    This was a celebration of S&S 50th anniversary which is a mile stone in this industry especially considering how many companies have come and gone over the years. We as builders were “INVITED” by S&S to build a bike for their 50th and to me I was honored to be given the opportunity to step up to the plate and build a classic styled retro American motorcycle (www.KiwiIndian.com). I like all the flavor of all bikes and the builders who come to show case and share their talents with us. I for one feel fortunate to be playing with these guys as we share a common bond which is building cool motorcycles. In retrospect a big problem with our bike industry in the past is that it has been closed minded and has not been open to outside influences hense some of the problems with our industry today building the same old stuff.
    S&S did an absolutely remarkable job at putting on this event and I am not alone when I say that many of us were honored to be associated with it.
    The bike we built utilized their new X-wedge engine and all this new fang dangle electronic stuff and fuel injection was quite a departure for us from our normal builds however every single person at S&S who had their hand in the development of this engine made themselves completely available to me to the point of being able to call them at their homes at midnight their time just so as I could keep blasting along. These guys are extremely dedicated and raise the bar for all of us builders.
    Foreigners are what built this country and will continue to influence and drive some of us to perfection.
    In closing one has to hope that our fellow Americans are shown the same respect when they travel or compete on foreign soil that we showed them when they competed here on our soil. We should show the same respect to those who come to our home. Open the door and enjoy. Thank you to S&S, Howard, James, Scott, Niven, Brett, etc for believing in me and making the American dream come true.

  20. 20 rodent Jul 2nd, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    How many of the exibited concept and prototypes could be ridden from the S&S Factory to lets say Sturgis or even Milwaukee?

  21. 21 Conrad Nicklus Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    “Foreigners are what built this country and will continue to influence and drive some of us to perfection”

    Learn your history. Foreiners founded our country but you know they are therefore AMERICANS….They are not foreigners at that point. They came here for FREEDOM and they came here to better their lives. We live on our own principle not other countires. We are AMERICANS … sorry man

    But congrats on your Citizenship. I have much respect for that

  22. 22 Nicker Jul 3rd, 2008 at 1:35 am


    As a “naturalized American” myself, Le-me be one of the first to congratulate you on matriculating into the great American Melting Pot.

    “… Foreigners are what built this country …”

    No, lots of people come to this country because it has a better standard of living. They live and work here for those reasons alone and many return to their country of origin when they retire. They have no interest in becoming Americans or contributing to sustain this society or it’s culture.

    The people who came (and continue to come) to “be Americans” are those that built and are building this country.

    Again, my heart felt congratulations and welcome!


  23. 23 J Jul 3rd, 2008 at 11:14 am

    OK bike, would look cooler with ice studs in the tires…..

  24. 24 Buck Lovell Jul 3rd, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    The bike that won Best in Show deserved to win best in show. Probably 95 percent of the people who actually saw the bike in person were awestruck by it’s engineering and originality. All those on this blog who think the bike didn’t deserve to win are completely missing the point of the entire show, or any bike show for that matter. The winner won, and that’s the way it should have been. Quit sniveling about it!

    Buck lovell

  25. 25 raycwheeler Jul 7th, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks …

    I had the honor of viewing the bikes with very few people in the tent, early Saturday morning.

    Great job by all .

    All of builders from around the globe had one thing in common , an unbelievable degree of total dedication to the motorcycle industry and the global audience that’s watching their every move .

    All involved in this history making event should stand tall and proud of your accomplishments .

    Looking forward to the next S & S event .

    Ray c wheeler …….. planet earth

  26. 26 David Jul 7th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Well what really pisses me off is that they Had a big 50th celebration Party gave the builders motors, said build a bike and compete for $50,000 and we’ll charge all the bikers ‘ll never buy another S&S product.

  27. 27 David Jul 7th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Sorry about that must have hit a wrong key. They charged all the bikers to get in to a party they had been invited to. Why throw a 50th Happy Birthday party give away motors for builders to compete with and then charge people to get in.That SUCKS!!!! If I said come over to my birthday party it’s Free beer and hamburgers for everybody that comes. Just another way to bilk the bikers out of more of their money and give it to the builders in the form of motors. I’ll never buy anything from S&S again!!!!

  28. 28 Gar Jul 8th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    David, They didn’t give the motors to the builders! They charged each of them for the motors!

  29. 29 MarkP Jul 8th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Kiwi Mike:

    First, it was an honor to stand next to you at the big event! You built an awesome bike. Glad we were safe from the flood!

    Second, Congratulations on your citizenship!!

    Third, you said it all!

    S&S truly wanted to make this about a celebration of the industry. Of course they are in business and PR is important. However, they also managed to raise well over $100k for local charities! S&S is a class act, all around.

    Mark (part of the Dougz Custom Paint and Fab build for the 50th)

  30. 30 Kiwi Mike Tomas Jul 9th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Actually no one minded paying the small entry fee and to top it off S&S donated most of the proceeds from the gate and all profits from the t/shirt sales to 3 charities. More should take their lead as a shining example.
    It was an honor to be involved with it and alongside such an awesome bagger (Doug and Mark)

  31. 31 MarkP Jul 10th, 2008 at 10:21 am

    And, all the wrist band sales (at a whopping $5 each) required for entry had nothing to do with S&S. The Wristband Sales were a requirement of the City of La Crosse and all of those procedes went to the La Crosse Oktoberfest Committee which supports many local charities and comunity groups…

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Cyril Huze