Born-Free 2021 Gallery

27 pictures of California’s greatest custom motorcycle show.

Now in its 12th year, Born-Free continues to be one of the greatest custom motorcycle shows in America. Focusing primarily on V-twins and choppers, the level of artistry seen from the builders here is unparalleled. Like always, the event took place in Silverado, California, with live music, tons of vendors, and big prizes for the top builders.

Harley-Davidson is back as the event’s premier sponsor, which makes sense as the vast majority of the bikes here came from its factory at one point, even if they’ve gone through some tremendous transformations since. Loud music, louder bikes, cold beer, and warm people—the event and the bikes that fill it just seem to get better every year.

Coming into the show, many were predicting that Best in Show would go to either Christian Newman’s eight-valve ULH or Hawke Lawshe’s centrifugally supercharged 96-inch Shovelhead build. Little did we know, it would be a dead-even tie between the two and both bikes will now be going to the 2021 Mooneyes Hot Rod Custom Show in Yokohama.

After multiple delays, it was great to get back on the lawn at Silverado and see so many old friends and familiar bikes. Check out for more information on next year’s show. We heard a rumor that something’s happening in Texas…

Hawke Lawshe’s Ironhead build from a few years back still has the power to stop onlookers in their tracks.Morgan Gales
Cycle Zombies’ perfectly crusty old Knucklehead.Morgan Gales
With the rising popularity of V-twin racing, it’s expected to see some racebikes at the chopper show. Those seen here are built by Brawny of The Speed Merchant.Morgan Gales
Roland and Perry Sands with the “Peyote Puffer,” a build that’s two generations and more than 50 years in the making.Morgan Gales
While it was mostly performance V-twins on the left side of the show, a couple of big wheels still managed to sneak in.Morgan Gales
Being the wildest bike at Born-Free is no small task, but Slim’s three-wheel-drive two-stroke trike might take the cake.Morgan Gales
San Diego Customs built this Milwaukee-Eight-powered adventure bike off of the Softail platform years before the Pan America was available.Morgan Gales
A turbo-powered 1986 Kawasaki ZX750E trike titled “Pie Wagon,” as it was designed by Metro Racing’s Don Miller for his pizza and beer runs.Morgan Gales
From flathead to Revolution Max, V-twin history is well represented at Born-Free.Morgan Gales
Masaya Kosaka’s incredible 1958 Sportster KHK.Morgan Gales
The Performance Bike Show put on by San Diego Customs.Morgan Gales
Setting out to build the dumbest chopper of all time, Cliff Cavins also managed to win Biltwell People’s Champ! Notice that front exhaust pipe that goes straight into the frame…Morgan Gales
“It’s so clean it could be a Hot Wheels toy!” Rawhide Cycles’ “Canned Heat” and the bike’s builder, Brandon Wurtz.Morgan Gales
It’s not all Harley-Davidson! This wild Ducati chopper was a personal favorite.Morgan Gales
One of two award-winning Shovelhead choppers Rawhide Cycles brought out to Born-Free.Morgan Gales
Want the chopper aesthetic of a tiny gas tank, but need a little more range? Sissy bar tank for the win.Morgan Gales
Christian Newman continues to raise the bar with his builds, tying Hawke Lawshe for Best in Show this year.Morgan Gales
Newman designed and built this eight-valve twin-turbo ULH with exposed rockers and more trick components than we can list.Morgan Gales
Chromed-out vicla Softail named “Midnight Pearl.”Morgan Gales
@WhiskeyyCoco with the Softail and helmet that she painted.Morgan Gales
East meets west with this classy Yamaha XS650 and Ford van combination.Morgan Gales
A piece of rolling art, Lawshe’s chain-driven turbo-powered Shovelhead, which tied for Best in Show.Morgan Gales
Engine cutaways have become Lawshe’s trademark and something we’ve been seeing more of as this show gets older.Morgan Gales
Invited builds from previous years always show up. This wild Shovelhead cutaway is one of them.Morgan Gales
As always, Born-Free is a family event—but you may have to cover the little ones’ eyes once or twice.Morgan Gales
“Rooster the Chopper,” painted by Gaetano Sole.Morgan Gales
Would it even be a chopper show if there wasn’t some guy walking around with a huge snake for people to take pictures with?Morgan Gales