Once again, the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building set up shop smack dab in the middle of Sturgis and true to form, exhibited the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to fabrication. In fact, it appeared to us that fabrication skills were on display more so this year than bike-building skills.

Functionality appeared to be lost in the translation on a lot of these entries. To us, it looked like builders were more intent on showing off their insane engineering and fabrication pieces, and the motorcycles themselves were secondary. So as Zach and I cruised the isles looking for the perfect machine for our Partner Pick of Excellence Award, we had ourselves with few bikes from which to choose. That’s when we ran across the “Union,” and we instantly knew we’d found what we were looking for.

Union is a sidehack Harley-Davidson “U” model built by Abnormal Cycles from Italy. Entered in the Modified Harley-Davidson motorcycle class, it’s a bike that’s done so well it should have come out of the factory that way. Its customization is so smoothly coordinated that the trick parts just seem to creep up on you while you stare at it. No overpowering-smack-you-in-the-face customization here.

The bike is mind-subtle and mind-blowing at the same time. Half the fun was watching people’s faces as they stared at the bike and new innovations appeared. You could actually see the light bulb go on over their heads. Besides being impressive builders, the guys from Abnormal Cycles were the most enthusiastic group I’ve ever seen. And that enthusiasm was contagious as they picked up first-place honors in the modified Harley-Davidson class. I guess we know a winner when we see one!

But don’t take my word for it. The AMD Championships are doing a 2011 Web Favorite Award this year and you’re certainly welcome to put your own two cents in the mix. Just follow the link and you can view all the technical specs and pics of the AMD bikes and cast your vote for your favorite.