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Suicide Machine Harley-Davidson Softail

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Suicide Machine Harley-Davidson Softail Is All About Bare Bones, Light Riding

Weight saving. This was pretty much the idea behind the latest project coming from Suicide Machine Company (SMCO) and destined for the now canceled Born Free Motorcycle Show.

SMCO is a shop we’ve featured before. Led by two brothers, Shaun and Aaron Guardado, the garage was part of the bike maker’s The No Show online motorcycle event, held a few months back in support of all the builders that because of the health crisis were left without a venue to show their creations.

Back then, they presented a 2019 Road Glide Special modified to get a more aggressive riding position, one better suited for trips down highways. And now we’re getting a bike the shop describes as a “performance-driven and race-inspired” product.

What you’re looking at is a seriously lightened and undressed Harley-Davidson Softail Standard. It is the result of two months of work that saw a lot of the motorcycle’s hardware either being removed completely or replaced, all with the goal of making it lighter.

First, a lot of the original bodywork is gone. The fenders have been taken out, a new and full carbon fiber bodywork was placed on top of the frame. Not even the tank remains, having been replaced with a fuel cell hidden inside the new body.

Carbon fiber has been used extensively on this build, down to the tubes and the wheels that now weigh just a quarter of what the original ones weighed. Also, lighting and wiring have been kept to a minimum, and a titanium exhaust was added.

The bike continues to be powered by the stock 107 Milwaukee Eight engine, only it is no longer fuel-injected, but uses a 45mm Mikuni carburetor.

SMCO says the bike can be ridden as is, and you can see a bit of how that’s like by having a look at the video embedded below.

 

Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Project Brings Back the Cool of Pre-1950s Bikes

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Very few bike makers out there (and by extension car makers) are innovative enough to give birth to new families of engines that inspire generations. Harley-Davidson is one of those that are, as its powerplants were at times as famous as the bike models assembled in Milwaukee.

Say the word Knucklehead, and the mind immediately links that to Harley. And it has done so since 1936, when the engine came into the world.

Named so after the shape of valve covers, Knucklehead has come to stand for the type of motorcycles that were made in Milwaukee from 1936 to 1947, when the Panhead engine replace it. The name is still very much alive because bikes powered by this type of hardware are still a craze in the custom bike industry.

And you know that to be true when guys like Andreas Bergerforth, the main man of Thunderbike, a German custom shop specializing in Harleys, has one built for himself.

Put together close to a decade ago, the Knucklehead Project, as the garage calls this build, has all the traits of a bike of its age. Not only does it stay true to a wartime-era two-wheeler when it comes to shape and tech, but it also brings with it enough patina and beat-down stance to speak volumes about its lineage.

We’re told that for this bike to be brought back in shape, the original had to be dismantled “up to the last screw” and only then, after some love and care, put back together – there’s no mention on whether some of the hardware had to be replaced with new one.

Because this bike was built for in-house use, Thunderbike makes no mention of cost, but the Germans do say similar builds snatched back in 2012, when this one was put together, some 30,000 euros ($35,500 at today’s exchange rates), so that should give you an idea.

Meet the Ducati master re-creating Isle of Man-winning motorcycle

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by Ellie Honeybone from https://www.abc.net.au

You may be forgiven for assuming the world’s leading manufacturer of Ducati bevel drive engine parts would live in a bustling city, perhaps in Italy or the United States, somewhere central and close to consumers.

But in fact, this talented engineer and self-described “petrol head” lives in a tiny historic town, deep in the forests of south-west WA.

Even though shipping his handmade engine parts around the world from Nannup is a logistical nightmare, Brook Henry wouldn’t have it any other way.

A family business

Mr Henry grew up surrounded by Ducatis.

His older brothers imported and distributed the high-performance motorcycle brand in New Zealand from the late 1960s through to the 1980s.

“I spent pretty well all my time at the workshop, fixing, racing and working on Ducati bevel drive twins and singles,” Mr Henry said.

“I also did an apprenticeship outside that business as a toolmaker, but I never liked doing toolmaking and I always wanted to go back to motorcycles.”

That love of motorcycles grew and continued for the next 40 years with Mr Henry now a household name and ‘master’ in the Ducati world.

He has travelled extensively, inspected designs inside Ducati’s Bologna factory and even appeared on bike lover Jay Leno’s US television show.

After settling down first in Perth and then further south in Nannup, Mr Henry developed a business building, designing and shipping bevel drive parts, engines and complete motorcycles across the world.

Pandemic revives restoration projects

There are only so many original bevel drive Ducatis in existence, making Brook Henry’s business incredibly niche.

These bikes were built during the 1970s and 80s and made famous after legendary British champion Mike Hailwood won the Isle of Man race in 1978.

When the world went into COVID-19 lockdown during early 2020, many owners of bevel drive bikes decided it was the right time to blow off the cobwebs and reignite their restoration projects.

“I’ve never been so busy because guys who bought bevel drives put them in the back of a shed and chucked a rag over them,” Mr Henry said.

“The wives got sick of their husbands being in the kitchen and told them to go out and find something to do in the shed.

“So they went out and pulled the cover off the old Ducati bevel drive and started looking around to where they could get the parts to start putting it back together.

“Our customer base worldwide has been huge with COVID because anyone who’s got a bevel drive has gone and started working on it.”

The next chapter

In addition to supplying global customers with all the parts they need for their pandemic restorations, Mr Henry has another project in the works.

Through what he calls a “crazy set of circumstances”, he purchased the drawings for the original engine used in the late Mike Hailwood’s Isle of Man race winning bike, of which only a handful were ever made.

“We’ve actually been talked into making 12 exact replicas of Hailwood’s bike,” he said.

“We decided that we would make a limited run of them and the number we decided on was 12, because that was his racing number.”

While there will only be a dozen of these Hailwood recreations made, the engine — dubbed the ‘Ritorno’ — is available on its own with the approval of the Ducati factory.

“The business is expanding at 100 miles an hour because people worldwide want that engine and want parts for it,” Mr Henry said.

“So we’re gathering speed at a frightening rate at the moment, but I’m so passionate about it and I love what I do.”

Government funding leads to expansion

Mr Henry has big plans for expansion after receiving a $113,000 Regional Economic Development grant from the WA Government.

The investment will be used to employ more staff and purchase state of the art manufacturing equipment to build Mr Henry’s own version of the iconic bevel drive engine.

“I like to keep the outside of the engine looking the same where I can,” he said.

“And now I’ve got the opportunity to basically build my own internals and to improve on the existing engine.”

Despite being extremely busy these days, Mr Henry still enjoys the occasional ride through the scenic forest roads near his home.

“They say that motorcycles are built to transport people, but Ducatis are built to transport the soul,” he said.

“The only thing is, you do not have any control over emus and wildlife, kangaroos running out of the bush, all that sort of thing.

“So I really don’t want to hurt myself, because I’ve got too much to do — and it’s a damn shame I’m 66 and not 36.”

Harley-Davidson Wrinkled Bob Looks All Military and Mean

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

If you’re a bike owner, it’s very hard to decide on what customization path to go down on, especially when there’s nothing to inspire the build you want.

One way would be to leave the design and the build to the custom shop of choice, and trust that what comes out the garage’s doors at the end was worth the while and money spent.

The owner of the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob we have here seems to have done just that. He trusted German garage Thunderbike with the creation of a unique machine, and what resulted is the aptly called Wrinkle Bob.

The bike takes its name after the colors used all over the bodywork. Featuring powder-coated military green and Wrinkle-style paint, it looks extremely solid and matt, while at the same time presenting us with a very soldiery feel.

Unlike most of Thunderbike’s projects, the Wrinkled Bob was not subjected to an extreme makeover as far as mechanical modifications go, but there are changes to talk about, especially considering how expensive they are.

The biggest upgrades compared to the stock motorcycle are the fitting of a custom aluminum fuel tank, an air ride suspension system, and a new forward control kit. The two-wheeler also sports new fenders and a custom exhaust system the Germans call Dragonfly.

The Wrinkled Bob is one of Thunderbike’s older projects. As usual, we’re not told how much the project cost to make, but given the parts listed as being used by the garage, we estimate the worth of the changes at around 7,500 euros (roughly $8,700 at today’s exchange rates). That’s not including the paint job and of course the base motorcycle – the price makes the Wrinkled Bob one of the more expensive projects the Germans have made over the years.

World of Road Racing

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CALLING ALL FEMALE RIDERS!

We’re back for another round and expanding the Build. Train. Race Program into the world of Road Racing! We’re ready to hit the asphalt and bring a whole new crew of women road racers to the sport. If you’re a female who is interested in learning how to road race and willing to give 100% commitment, this is for you!

Think you have what it takes? We want to hear from you!

Royal Enfield North America announced today its phase two of the BUILD TRAIN RACE (BTR) program which will now seek out female motorcyclists to go road racing with the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650. Similar to the flat track BUILD TRAIN RACE four women will be handpicked by Royal Enfield for this iteration of the program through a video selection process. Women interested in the program must submit a video questionnaire here to be considered.

Professional Road Racer and current BTR Flat Track Participant Melissa Paris has agreed to mentor the women during every phase of the program. She will work with each participant on creating a design for their builds, building sponsorship decks, and training off and on the track.

“Building upon the success of the initial BUILD TRAIN RACE program, we decided to carry the momentum into the road racing segment, ” said Royal Enfield Americas Head of Marketing Breeann Poland. “This is a unique opportunity for women interested in getting into road racing and to make a name for themselves in a national racing program. Working with a world class racer like Melissa Paris is not an opportunity that comes along often. The ladies will also be some of the first people to road race the Continental GT 650 platform, so the motorcycling world will be watching.”

The participants will be chosen by a panel of judges which includes Breeann Poland, Head of Marketing – Americas, veteran road racer and flat track BTR participant Melissa Paris and accomplished racer and journalist Anne Roberts. The selected participants will then have several months and a small budget to convert a Continental GT 650 Twin into road racing trim. Paris will provide valuable insights during the build process.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY NOW AT ROYAL ENFIELD.

Atlanta Short Track Build Train Race Results

By | General Posts

FLAT TRACK AMATEUR JILLIAN DESCHENES WINS BTR ROUND ONE IN ATLANTA

The four BUILD TRAIN RACE participants raced for the first time at Dixie Speedway

Milwaukee, Wis October 8, 2020: After months of building and training, the four participants of BUILD TRAIN RACE put their skills on display on Friday and Saturday of the Progressive American Flat Track event at Dixie Speedway. Minnesota amateur flat track racer Jillian Deschenes took the checkered flag for both races followed by Melissa Paris, Lana MacNaughton and alternate rider Kerry Sano.

During the weekend the participants were able to spectate the AFT classes and then test their abilities on the same track at Dixie Speedway. The women raced on custom INT 650 motorcycles that they themselves built as part of the year-long program. Under the mentorship of Moto Anatomy x Royal Enfield team owner and racer, Johnny Lewis, the four women were able to progress their flat track acumen during multiple training sessions leading up to the Atlanta Short Track event.

“Atlanta was an amazing experience to be part of with the BTR crew,” said amateur racer and hospice nurse Jillian Deschenes. “The track was well maintained and larger than anything I had ever ridden before. I was excited to debut my INT 650 build in front of a crowd that large. I’m grateful for the opportunities Royal Enfield has given me as an amateur female flat track rider and creating a program like BTR for myself and other female motorcyclists to participate in. I’m looking forward to the next AFT event in Daytona Beach.”

“The team at Royal Enfield is proud of the effort these women have put into the BUILD TRAIN RACE program,” said Breeann Poland, Marketing Lead for Royal Enfield Americas. “2020 threw many challenges at all of us and we’re pleased that the women were able to finally showcase the motorcycles they built in a racing environment. From everyone at Royal Enfield, we want to say thank you to American Flat Track for providing a venue and platform to highlight the power of female motorcyclists in a male-dominated industry.”

The results were similar for both Friday and Saturdays races with Jillian Deschenes’ district 23 flat track experience showed immediately, followed by road racer and Moto America team owner Melissa Paris. Women’s Moto Exhibit founder Lana MacNaughton finished third while Kerry Sano, New York repair shop owner and alternate rider for Canadian builder Andrea Lothrop rounded out the field in fourth. Throughout the weekend the ladies consistently increased their pace and made continuous improvements to their built INT 650 motorcycles looking for additional speed.

The participants of the BUILD TRAIN RACE program will compete again in two weeks during the AFT Finale at Daytona Beach in a similar format to Atlanta Short Track. Two new riders will be joining the BUILD TRAIN RACE team in Florida. Malary Lee of Texas will be riding Lana MacNaughton’s INT 650, while Trisha Dahl of Minnesota will be riding Andrea Lothrop’s motorcycle this round. Ahead of the event, the ladies will participate in a final training session with Lewis at his Center Hill, Fla. facility. Due to the immense interest in the program, Royal Enfield may consider adding four new riders to the program for 2021.

Stay tuned to the Royal Enfield social media channels for more information and updates on the BULD TRAIN RACE program in the lead up the AFT season finale in Daytona.

Harley-Davidson La Montana Is a Chromed Deluxe on the Soft Side of Custom Builds

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

We’re used to having our Harleys (be them stock rebuilds or ground-up creations) served in extreme forms. After all, there’s an entire industry dedicated to making Harleys unique, and what better way to do that than to go above and beyond?

At times however a more discrete job is preferable. An almost invisible lowering of the bike, the addition of chrome in strategic locations, and a medium-sized list of mechanical and visual upgrades are all it takes to make a bike stand out.

Over the past few months, we’ve talked at length about the projects, new and old, of a German garage by the name of Thunderbike. Just like the rest of world, the Germans too got hit by the health crisis, and for the better part of the year, Thunderbike has been up to much fewer stunts than we’re used to.

The Deluxe in the gallery above is one of the projects that finally made it to light in 2020. Commissioned last year by a Swedish customer, the bike was ready in no time, but had to spend about nine months away from its owner, given how borders closed and all.

Now the two are reunited, and it’s the perfect opportunity for us to take a closer look at how just a smaller number of carefully chosen modifications can rebirth a Harley.

Mechanical changes include the lowering of the fork and the shortening of the rear shock. New, bigger wheels were added front and back and shod in Dunlop tires, making the bike look a tad more compact. Some modifications were made to the brakes as well, as the discs have been replaced. We’re not being told if the engine was modified in any way.

As for the looks, the motorcycle is a chilling apparition. That’s due to the use of cold chrome in generous quantities all over the bike, and its blending with the impersonal touch of black on the fuel tank, seats, or fenders.

We’re not being told how much the customization of the motorcycle cost, but the parts listed as used for the build amount to a little over 4,000 euros ($4,700).

Build Train Race program Ladies Hit The Track

By | General Posts

Jillian Deschenes, Lana MacNaughton and Melissa Paris complete first training session

After a long hiatus, the female participants of Royal Enfield’s BUILD TRAIN RACE (BTR) program spent two days working closely with American Flat Track racer Johnny Lewis in Viola, WI earlier this month. Three out of the four builders/riders attended the training session to prepare for their American Flat Track debut in October. During this session each rider received one-on-one coaching from Lewis spinning laps on the FT411 training motorcycles based on the Royal Enfield Himalayan and their custom-built INT 650 flat trackers.

Jillian Deschenes, Lana MacNaughton and Melissa Paris were in attendance during the training session, which took place at S&S Cycle’s Speed Ranch track. The Speed Ranch is groomed and maintained oval dirt track which S&S Cycle uses for training, special events and product development purposes. Due to current travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, the fourth participant, Andrea Lothrop was unable to attend. However, Andrea will be performing a virtual training session with Lewis in the coming weeks.

“It was great to finally meet the ladies of the BUILD TRAIN RACE program and we had an awesome time in Viola,” said Lewis. “Seeing the dedication and attention to detail that they put into their INT 650 builds was impressive. What was more impressive was their willingness to learn and eagerness to go fast right from the get go. By the end of day two each rider was using the techniques we discussed and pushing themselves faster and faster, which is ultimately my goal as a teacher.”

Lewis provided both on-track and off-track instruction to the ladies, using many principles and concepts taught in the Royal Enfield Slide School by Moto Anatomy program. Lewis focused on body position, riding mechanics and vision with ladies for two days. With the FT411 motorcycles, the women were able to familiarize themselves with the track conditions and received vital feedback from Lewis on their riding technique. Eventually, they transitioned to the larger and more powerful INT 650 builds on day two. Lewis was also able to shakedown each individual’s motorcycle and provided input regarding setup adjustments to improve ride-ability and performance.

“It was great to spend time with the BTR ladies at the track and see their progression,” said Breeann Poland, marketing lead of the Americas. “Having a partner like Johnny to provide coaching and insight has been a great addition to the program. Seeing him work with each rider and develop their confidence and skills over the two day session is exciting. I’m looking forward to the next time we’re all on track together again.”

Using SENA communication devices on day two, also a component of Royal Enfield’s Slide School program, Lewis provided coaching to the riders while at speed, giving precise direction on braking, cornering and more as they completed laps. After the conclusion of the two day training, all three ladies were comfortable riding aggressively at speed on their INT 650s, setting the stage for close racing when they line up for the first time in October.

The first exhibition for the BUILD TRAIN RACE ladies will be on track is on October 2-3 at Dixie Speedway as part of the American Flat Track program. Following that event, they will then race at Daytona Beach Flat Track on October 15-16.

To learn more about the riders and the BTR program, visit https://www.royalenfieldna.com/build-train-race/.

Freestyle Harley-Davidson Blue Flames Is What’s Wrong with Series Custom Frames

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Take a good long look at any custom motorcycle made in the U.S. No matter in what state they were made, or when, they tend to have that certain unique feel about them. And a big reason for that is the custom frame that underpin them.

You see, Americans love to make one-offd, and that is why the garages there usually don’t make a frame and then turn series production on it. This results in truly unique two-wheelers, each with its story to tell.

Not the same can be said about Europe though. First off, there are far fewer custom motorcycle garages there. Secondly, the ones that do exist have been forced to turn to mass production, including of custom frames, and that takes its toll on the originality of this build.

Take the bike in the gallery above. It comes from Europe, and is the work of a very busy garage there called Thunderbike. It looks very much like all the other custom-framed Thunderbikes we’ve discussed over the past few months, regardless of when they were made.

This one comes from 2008, and it is the result of pairing a custom Thunderbike frame by the name Freestyle with the usual Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle engine. It appears to be exactly what you would expect from a custom European bike, with nothing particularly exciting about it. And the blue color sprayed on it, the work of Thunderbike’s usual partner in this area, Kruse Design, does not seem to help either.

The fact the bike will probably not be remembered down the ages (we uncovered it while digging for machines worthy of our Custom Builds Month coverage) does not diminish the merits of the frame tough.

Made from large diameter cold-rolled ST52 steel tubing, it comes complete with struts, tank, oil tank, CNC machined aluminum swingarm, rear fender, rear wheel axle, bracket for engine, bracket for battery, and seat plate.

Harley-Davidson Radical Over 26 Is All About the Massive 26-Inch Front Wheel

By | General Posts

by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

As some of you might have noticed over the past few days, as part of our Custom Builds Months we started covering more the side of the motorcycle industry that has to do with custom frames, because this is how you get truly unique builds.

Generally, motorcycle garages come up with a frame design and stick with it, if it works, for the limited number of bikes made based on it. But there is one such organization in Germany that has not one, but 15 custom frames, and made not a few, but literally dozens of bikes using them.

The shop is called Thunderbike, and one of those dozen bikes they made over the years is the one in the gallery above. It’s called Radical Over 26, hinting to both the type of frame used, and the size of one of the wheels that support it.

First, the frame. Thunderbike has about six Radical frames in their portfolio, ranging from lowriders to the extremely curved one that formed the basis of this machine. This one allows for the integration of Twin Cam B engines, and is made of large-diameter cold rolled ST52 steel tubing.

To power it along the shop chose a Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 103 good for 100 ps and gifted it with a Mikuni HSR 42 carburetor and a custom exhaust system.

As for the element that makes the bike stand out perhaps the most, the wheels are seriously imbalanced in terms of size, and that, coupled with the very low seating position and the raised handlebar really make the motorcycle worthy of the Radical name.

Up front, the shop went for a 26-inch wheel inspired by the one used on another of its custom builds, the Open Mind, and offset it with a significantly smaller 21-inch wheel at the rear. Alternatively, the bike can be equipped with 23-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels.

We are not being told how much it cost to make the motorcycle, but the frame alone is priced at over 11,000 euros (about $12,500).