Sturgis students build award-winning custom bike

Publish Date: 
Apr 1, 2014

STURGIS, S.D. – A 2014 Harley-Davidson Street Glide customized by the Sturgis Buffalo Chip's Student Build Challenge received first place in the High School Build Open Class at the 27th annual Donnie Smith Bike Show on March 30.

The Sturgis Brown High School students had been working steadily since Jan. 6 under the instruction of the industry’s top professionals in order to complete customizations in time for the unveiling. The finished bike features a fully overhauled and customized motor for increased performance, a lowered stretched body and an eye-catching graffiti-themed paint job.

“The motorcycle these students created has absolutely blown away my expectations for this year’s bike build project,” said Rod Woodruff, president of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. “Moreover, these young students created a machine that wowed the industry’s top builders at the Donnie Smith Show. That’s something the students, the school, the community and all those involved in the Student Build Challenge should be very, very proud of.”

2014 marked the first year the Student Build worked on a new-year motorcycle sponsored by Black Hills Harley-Davidson, and the students found customizing a brand new Street Glide to be one of their largest hurdles. The Motor Company had made drastic changes between the 2013 and 2014 models, which meant most of the custom parts for the bike had yet to be created.

This was also the first year the bike build program placed the same focus on the motorcycle’s performance as it did its appearance. The bike features a Trask turbo system with a 10:1 compression ratio, Dave Mackie Engineering hemi Harley heads, CP Carrillo dome pistons and performance parts from Feuling Parts. The class anticipates that together these parts will work to produce 175 horsepower once the motorcycle has enough miles on it to safely run a dyno test.

“If somebody’s a motorhead, they’re going to get really excited about the performance of this motorcycle,” says Student Build Challenge mentor, Keith Terry of Terry Components. “Those who care more about how the bike looks will love it too. We’ve got both elements going for our bike this year.”

The students created a longer, lower-sitting motorcycle, replacing the 19-inch front wheel with a 26-inch from R.C. Components and swapped the standard black seat for a buff leather seat made by Howard Knight. Finally, the students took the bike to Ian Strachan Designs to give it a striking Ferrari-red graffiti paint job.

“It was hard for some of the students to comprehend just how amazing the end product was going to be,” says Sturgis Brown High School instructor, Chad Hedderman. “But once everything came together and the students stood next to their bike at this renowned bike show, it finally hit them that they were part of something really big.”

The next stop for the award-winning bike is the Black Hills Motorcycle Show in Rapid City, SD, April 12-13. The bike will later appear in Easyriders Magazine, where it will receive its own photo spread and feature-length article. On Aug. 4, the bike will be auctioned off during the Sturgis Rally in support of the Buffalo Chip’s 7th annual Legends Ride charity event.

Posted by Vince Guerrieri