Bill’s best motorcycle picks from Mama Tried show

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The competition vibe of this 1960 Harley-Davidson XLCH dragster from Full Moon Cycles makes it my pick for Best Den Art at the Mama Tried motorcycle show. | William Hall photos
The competition vibe of this 1960 Harley-Davidson XLCH dragster from Full Moon Cycles makes it my pick for Best Den Art at the Mama Tried motorcycle show. | William Hall photos

The sixth annual Mama Tried motorcycle show, held in the shadow of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Harley-Davidson headquarters and museum on February 15-16, continues to gather some of the best vintage, custom, competition, off-road, choppers, bobbers and survivor motorcycles in the country in a weekend long celebration of everything we love about two-wheeled transportation.

Every one of the approximately 110 invited builder bikes on display are winners, but it was great fun to once again fill my imaginary garage — or even my den — with these bikes that really caught my eye.

Best British Bike

This beautiful sable brown 1973 Norton 850 Commando built by BG Goodson and Jeremy Nedrau. With modern upside-down forks, disc brakes and custom exhaust, this café racer exudes distinguished British class.


Best Panhead

In a room full of great Panheads, was this springer-front end 1949 Harley-Davidson from Marcus Ellis at Terminal Speed in Cleveland, Ohio.


Best Modern Racer/Exotic Competition

This 2018 Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Twin Bonneville Salt Flat racer built by S&S Cycles and Harris Performance looked great.


Best Italian Custom

This radical lightweight built by Analog Motorcycles of Waukegan, Illinois around a 1968 Ducati 250cc single engine. Featuring a Framecrafters chrome-moly chassis and a Honda RS125 front end, it showed lots of familiar Ducati touches — from the 1980’s Pantah color scheme to the stacked headlights reminiscent of the 999.


Best Off-Road

Malcolm Smith and Steve McQueen rode this era of Husky, making them iconic off-road machines. This 1972 Husqvarna 450 WR from Kris Zellmann is an especially nice example.


Best German

The color scheme and clean build on this classic 1975 BMW R75/6 (owned by Mark Lupinski of Chicago) perfectly evoked German precision.


Best Japanese

This 1975 Suzuki T500 Titan benefited from modern brakes and suspension and custom Werks-style expansion chambers for this unusual two-stroke twin.


Best Knucklehead

The hardest to pick with so many amazing early Harleys in attendance, but my tastes preferred this nicely restored 1936 EL from Northern Knucklehead in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. It has a great two-tone color scheme sealed the deal on this early V-Twin.

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William Hall is a writer, classic car broker and collector based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He has spent the whole of his professional career in the automotive industry, starting as an auto-parts delivery driver at the age of 16 to working for some of the nation's premier restoration shops. He is a concours judge and a consultant to LeMay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

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