The brainchild of former Harley-Davidson Emirates manager turned Dubai dealer Marcel Bode, Dubai Bike Week is the principal Harley-Davidson and custom event, indeed the largest motorcycle event of any kind in the Middle East.
Co-staged with the Gulf Bike Expo, this year saw the event become a World Championship of Custom Bike Building affiliate for the first time.
Some 60 or so bikes, a mixture of ex-patriot and ‘local’ entries, competed in six classes with the Freestyle, Best In Show, and affiliate event ‘Sturgis’ prize being taken by Mario Kyprianides of Chopper Kultcha in Abu Dhabi.
No stranger to the European or World Championship programs (Mario scored a 16th place finish with ‘Courtesan’ at Sturgis in 2010), his new bike will be the subject of a very special feature in AMD Magazine later this year – one that will involve a helicopter and the landing pad 60 floors up on one of the world’s most iconic hotel buildings!
Having grown quickly in the five years or so to late 2008, the market in Dubai and the Middle East in general has stalled in the past 24 months. However, the sentiment circulating at Gulf Bike Expo was that the decline had stabilized and that much of the lost ground could be made up quite quickly as the Emirates resume their financial expansion and investment plans in the next couple of years.
With Harley-Davidson expanding aggressively throughout the Middle East, and with the beginnings of a notable street fighter style scene emerging among Arab riders, expect to see more events such as this being staged in coming years, and look out for the evolution of a market where, regardless of economics and styling originality, the values of craftsmanship, that all important first step on the path to engineering achievement, is already taking hold.