We’ve got a Harley-heavy selection this week, with a cafe racer from Italy, a scrambler from Japan and a tracker from the UK. Rounding out the selection are a rally-style Royal Enfield, and a jaw-dropping cafe/streetfighter Ducati Panigale.
Harley-Davidson Sportster by Speed and Custom Followers of the V-Twin scene in Britain will know Steve Willis’ name: as the man behind Speed and Custom, he runs one of Europe’s top in-house Harley-Davidson custom shops.
Steve just dropped us a line about this new Sportster 883 build. It was commissioned by a customer who was very taken with S&C’s Dirt Quake-winning Mert Lawill replica flat tracker, and wanted something in a similar vein. The idea was to build a Sportster with a rugged, shed built vibe, rather than something clean and showy.
On went a raw aluminum fuel tank from Omega Racer in Thailand, and a ribbed rear fender. The fender support was made from an old sissy bar, and the rider’s seat is a re-shaped Forty-Eight unit, upholstered by SM Trimming. The modern emulsion shocks were swapped for a set of more classic looking items from a Nightster, and a set of off-the-shelf number boards were modified to fit the sides.
This street tracker also features a Paughco exhaust system and a Bison Motorsports velocity stack, with a one-off aluminum cover over the fuel injection module, complete with the Speed and Custom logo. As for the ’44’ on the number boards, those are a nod to 1944—the year the customer’s father participated in the D-Day Landings. [Speed and Custom Instagram]
Ducati Panigale by Thornton Hundred Motorcycles With 205 hp and 145 Nm of torque on tap, the 2017 Ducati Panigale 1299 is mental enough in stock form. Now imagine stripping off the fairings and making it more compact. Jody Millhouse at Thornton Hundred Motorcycles did—and this ballistic cafe-slash-streetfighter is the result.
Jody did more than just bin the Panigale fairings though. Out back is a CNC-milled subframe and seat support, with a seat that’s not too far off the stock perch’s ergonomics. Up front, Jody designed and 3D printed a headlight nacelle that packs two LEDS—and lets air through to the Ducati’s intakes. New clip-ons from Renthal went on, along with Motogadget bar-end blinkers.
Exposing the Panigale’s guts meant that a lot of unsightly electronics were now on display. So Jody fabricated a set of side ‘winglets’ to round out the bodywork, and to hide away those components. He also fitted a new oil cooler in a new position, which meant he could clean up the plumbing significantly.
There’s about 70 hours of work in the exhaust alone. Jody 3D printed prototypes of the flanges, then built a pie-cut titanium system. He tweaked the bike further with an adjustable Ducabike shock linkage and AM rearsets. And between that exhaust, and a fresh engine tune, this Panigale now packs an extra 15 horses. [Thornton Hundred Motorcycles]
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy by Mr Martini A 1998-model Fat Boy is the last bike we’d pick for a cafe racer. But somehow, Mr Nicola Martini has pulled it off. Yes, this Harley is still low, long and planted—but it’s also extremely classy, and a suitable addition to Mr Martini’s stylish portfolio.
The biggest visual hit comes from the new bodywork. There’s a slimmer tank up top, and a new set of lower side fairings that give the Fat Boy an almost vintage racer feel. Mr Martini built two quick-release seat units too—one with a tail hump, and one with a bench seat to bring a friend along.
The Harley’s stance has been significantly tweaked. The Fat Boy’s chunky wheels are still in play, but they’re now hooked up to a polished JMC swing arm, a fully adjustable rear shock, and a set of upside-down front forks.
On the performance side, this Fat Boy’s packed with Edelbrock heads, an S&S carb and an open chain primary. The exhaust system is from Zard, but it’s no off-the-shelf part—the Italian company built it specifically for this bike. That alone should make this cruiser-cafe hybrid one helluva traffic light burner too. [Mr Martini]
Royal Enfield Himalayan by Wrench Kings The Himalayan’s biggest selling points are that it’s simple and affordable. But as a number of custom builders have already proven, it’s fun to customize too. This latest example comes from Wrench Kings, who’ve given the Royal Enfield dual sport a robust, rally raid vibe.
The underlying motorcycle has gone largely unchanged, save for a new exhaust that should add an extra pony or two (and improve the soundtrack). So most of the changes are around cosmetics, protection and usability.
Wrench Kings ditched the Himalayan’s OEM headlight and screen combo, and fabricated a rally-style front fairing. It features mesh panels up top with two LEDs, and mesh inserts on the sides to dress up the Enfield’s goofy front-end framework. There’s also a set of fog lights lower down, a new bash plate, and a GPS lurking behind the new fairing.
Wrench Kings also recovered the seat, built a neat little integrated taillight, and fitted Motogadget turn signals. There’s a set of side panels to visually beef up the fuel tank, and a shorter fender to abbreviate the tail. A repurposed jerry can on a custom mount adds some cargo carrying capability. Like the bike? You can also enter a lottery competition to win it.
Harley-Davidson Sportster by Chikara Ueyama Most Sportster-based scramblers are built to look the part, and handle a modicum of actual off-roading. But this 1998 Harley-Davidson XLH883 was put together for proper off-road shenanigans. It belongs to Chikara Ueyama—CEO of Japanese parts manufacturer K&H—who built it over three years in his spare time.
Even though this scrambler’s still recognizable as a Sportster, Ueyama-san has made a ton of changes. He built the new fuel tank, rear fender, skid plate and seat pan himself, using carbon fiber reinforced polymer. But he kept the headlight, speedo, air cleaner cover, oil tank and rear struts, as a nod to the original.
There’s some trick framework going on too. Chikara fabricated little ‘subframes’ to lower the foot pegs, built a new exhaust mount, and moved the swing arm pivot. The swing arm itself is custom too—all design to accommodate a set of long Öhlins shocks. They’re matched up to a pair of upside-down forks, and a set of big hoops.
Finishing kit includes MX bars, knobby tires and a beefy Akrapovič exhaust. Chikara now treats it as a legit dual-sport bike, using it for everything from commuting, to adventure touring and rally events. [More]