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1968 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead

By | General Posts

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

Given all the lockdowns and social distancing measures ordered in place for most of the year, motorcycle shows got canceled or postponed just like everything else. Trying to save face and give custom shops across America a means to vent off steam, Harley-Davidson created The No Show event back in June.

Held online on Instagram and Youtube, it was the perfect opportunity for some 60 builders from 10 countries to show their latest or best creations, builds that would have otherwise risked sinking into oblivion in 2020.

As you might expect, most of the shops taking part tried their best to advocate the projects being presented, describing in detail and at times using big words the two-wheelers we were seeing. But not Tennessee-resident Rusty Perkins, the man behind this here 1968 Shovelhead.

If you thought the title of this piece is some personal opinion on the build, you were wrong. These are the words the builder himself uses to describe the motorcycle: “nothing real special about it, simple, the way I like ‘em.”

And that statement pretty much sums up the American custom motorcycle scene: a great two-wheeler is not what the onlooker wants or expects, but what the builder/owner thinks it’s right.

As all the others in the series, Perkins was given a little over two minutes to present his bike. He uses most of them to give us a seemingly bored rundown of the motorcycle (available in the video below), without actually saying anything about it.

He does reveal the bike was built over a long period of time, using what is described as a “messed-up Shovelhead frame” as a starting point. Slowly, the project was gifted with an engine, the proper wheels a chopper should have, a peanut tank with some flame graphics no one can see without really looking, and a custom exhaust system to die for.

 

Stainless 1940 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Has Oil Running Through Its Frame

By | General Posts

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

Just like car lovers, motorcycle enthusiasts around the world had to settle for online shows this year. In America, where the bulk of custom shops is located, that was nearly a tragedy in itself.

Most of the nation’s summer events – aside from Sturgis, obviously – were either postponed or canceled. Some bike makers, like Harley-Davidson, stepped in and tried their best to ensure people still have a means to show their creations.

For the Milwaukee-based company, that aid came in the form of The No Show, a Youtube-based series that featured back in June the machines created by 60 builders from 10 countries.

Among them was this 1940 stainless steel Knucklehead, coming our way from Buffalo, NY-based Christian Newman. Built a couple of years back, the bike is the winner of the People’s Champ competition, and the recipient of the prize for best Knucklehead at Born Free.

The build has stainless steel frame and fork, housing the slightly-modified 1940 Knucklehead engine, a narrower-than-usual transmission, and a reworked clutch. One of the most important custom touches involves the way in which that engine gets its oil.

According to the builder, there are almost no hoses on this bike. The oil gets into the engine directly through the frame, via the right-side chain stay, and gets back into its tank through the front downtubes.

Visually, the bike looks like a proper custom build centered around Harley hardware but also blends some elements from the automotive world. The front lens of the headlight, for instance, comes from a 1951 Chevrolet, while the rear lenses (there are two of them) have been taken from Hudson cars made in 1940 and 1941, respectively.

As a side note, had this year’s Born Free show taken place at the scheduled date, Newman says this stainless Knucklehead is not what he would have brought. Instead, the builder was planning to show another stainless steel machine, in the form of a turbo flathead.

 

Harley-Davidson Dynamight Is a Metal Predator

By | General Posts

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

The beauty about the custom projects, be it the car or motorcycle ones, is that generally speaking these products never get old. No matter when a build was made, and no matter how old the base for the project was, many of these creations still turn heads, cause a stir, or ignite debate once they come into the spotlight.

Take this 2010 Harley-Davidson Street Bob, for instance. Or should we say, the Dynamight, as this is its post-conversion nickname, bestowed upon it by the garage responsible for its coming into the world, the Germans from Thunderbike.

Completed a while back after a two-month effort, the motorcycle is a great representative of what custom Harleys mean over in Germany, even if, at first glance, it kind of does not look aggressive, as Thunderbike bikes usually do, but cutesy, like a metal panda of sorts.

But truth be told, it’s anything but. Packing the original 96ci engine, the bike breaths through a custom exhaust system, rides on 23-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels, and bows on an air ride system.

There is a long list of parts that went into the build of this two-wheeler. Thunderbike itself is responsible for most of them, from the rocker boxes and air cleaner to the fuel tank and forward control kit.

The clutch and brake cylinder are from Rebuffini, the speedometer was made by Motogadget, tires from Avon (front) and Metzeler (Pirelli, rear), while the painting is the work of a shop by the name Kruse Design.

We are not given any hint as to how much the entire build cost to make, but we do have the list of some of the parts used and their prices. Simple math gives us a guesstimate of at least 6,500 euros (about $7,800 at today’s exchange rates) – but that does not include a wealth of parts, the base bike, the man-hours invested in it, and paint job.

Harley-Davidson Street Bob Silver Shadow

By | General Posts

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

Say the words Silver Shadow, and the mind immediately links that with Rolls-Royce. The moniker has been around in the Brits’’ portfolio in various guises for about 15 years starting with 1965, but it is still talked about and admired to this day.

But how about a Harley-Davidson wearing the name Silver Shadow? Why not slap the moniker on something perhaps even more exciting in terms of thills, such as a custom motorcycle build, made in Germany of all places?

That’s what our favorite European motorcycle garage, Thunderbike, did with this former Harley-Davidson Street Bob FXDB. Not only did the shop modify it, but the bike was christened Silver Shadow in honor of, well, not the Rolls-Royce machine, but all that silver that adorns its body.

The modifications come in the usual Thunderbike packages, meaning the usual elements have been changed or tampered with in some manner. There’s a new and massive fender at the rear, the saddle is a single-seater designed to give the build a more bobber-like look, and there are custom wheels holding the frame and engine (the powerplant is unmodified, as far as we can tell) upright and off the ground.

The silver that gives the bike part of its name is abundantly used all over the motorcycle, from the rims of the wheels, to the front fork and even on the handlebars, and of course of the fuel tank.

Just like it normally does, Thunderbike makes no mention of how much it cost to put this two-wheeler together. The shop does list some of the parts used for the project, as they are being sold to Harley owners across Europe from their website, and a simple math exercise gives us a value of close to 3,000 euros (about $3,500), but that doesn’t include many of the hardware used, like the fender, tank, and brake discs.

Harley-Davidson Spoke Bob 23 Is How Germans Like Their Street

By | General Posts

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

The Harley-Davidson Street Bob is one of the favorite base motorcycles for Thunderbike builds. In the market of customizing Milwauke-made machines for close to three decades now, the German shop has made a name for itself with its conversions of the “gritty, stripped-down bobber cloaked in black,” as Harley describes the iconic two-wheeler.

Over the past year or so, we’ve covered Thunderbike quite extensively, mostly because we find their products worth talking about. Love them or hate them, the garage’s projects are unique on the European scene (possibly even beyond the continent’s borders), and so numerous they’ll keep us busy for a while longer.

Because winter is upon us and in most parts of the world bikes are going into storage, we thought to give you something to dream about in anticipation of next summer: here’s the Spoke Bob 23.

Built a few years back starting from the Street Bob, the custom bike sports fewer modifications than we’re used to, but effective nonetheless.

The build’s name is a combination between that of the stock bike and the spoked wheels used for it (sized 21 and 23 inches) – if you’ve been watching our Thunderbike stories, you know by now these guys do lack imagination when it comes to naming stuff.

Other major changes are the use of a custom forward control kit, a new air cleaner, and a Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system. Minor modifications include the deployment of a new handlebar and turn signals.

As usual, we are not being told how much the conversion of the Street Bob cost. Knowing most of the parts that went into it though we can estimate that to be of around 2,500 euros (roughly $3,000 at today’s exchange rates), but not including the base bike (obviously), the exhaust system, and the man-hours that went into it.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight Adorns Cali’s Customs Scene

By | General Posts

by Silvian Secara from https://www.autoevolution.com

The man behind this spectacular feat goes by the name of Archie Adelan and is an L.A.-based fellow who loves custom bikes just as much as we do.

Today’s project is based on a 2014 model from Harley-Davidson’s vicious Sportster Forty-Eight family. This two-wheeled machinery is brought to life by an air-cooled Evolution V-twin behemoth that prides itself with an astronomical displacement of 1,201cc and two valves per cylinder head.

At approximately 4,000 rpm, this untamed mill is fully capable of supplying as much as 79 pound-feet (107 Nm) of twisting force. A six-speed gearbox is tasked with channeling this generous oomph over to the rear 16-inch hoop by means of a belt final drive. On the other hand, stopping power is taken good care of by a hydraulic brake rotor and a two-piston caliper at the front, along with a single disc and a one-piston caliper at the rear end.

Now, the Forty-Eight wouldn’t exactly be your first pick for a donor when seeking to create a custom cafe racer-style build, but a motorcycle enthusiast named Archie Adelan loves a challenge. The motorcycle guru goes about his daily business in Los Angeles, California, and his Sportster-based venture is a personal exploit he has painstakingly crafted in his spare time.

For starters, Adelan fabricated an array of bespoke bodywork units that definitely look the part, including a fresh front fender and a sexy pair of side panels. Additionally, the bike’s curvy fuel tank is the work of Storz Performance, while the pros over at Alchemy Motorcycles upholstered the saddle with classy leather to complement the desired aesthetic.

The Alchemy crew is also responsible for the Forty-Eight’s new LED lighting kit, which incorporates a neat lighting strip at the rear, joined by LED turn signals on both ends. Next, the project’s mastermind treated its suspension to a selection of top-shelf components from Ohlins’ catalogue, such as state-of-the-art fork cartridges and dual shock absorbers.

In terms of powertrain upgrades, the V-twin fiend received a Hammer Performance bore kit, which increases its displacement to 1,275cc. Furthermore, a free-flowing air filter and a two-into-one exhaust system allow the powerplant to breathe a little more freely. Lastly, Culver City’s Pro Art Paint enveloped the Sportster’s one-off bodywork in a Graphite Blue finish from Porsche’s color palette.

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

By | General Posts

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

By | General Posts

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 Doesn’t Give Bikes Girl Names, Here’s Stella Nonetheless

By | General Posts

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

Historically speaking, the name Harley-Davidson has generally been associated with males. That’s because, for one, it is mostly males that ride them, and second, because we can’t really remember a Harley bike wearing a girl name.

But the naming policy that led to bikes being christened Iron, Street Bob (or the same Bob, only Fat), or Road King does not apply to the custom industry. It is there and only there where you can find, for instance, a Breakout called Stella.

The build by this name is the work of German custom shop Thunderbike, a regular on this scene for the past 20 years. Although the bikes the Germans make are at times incredible, the way in which they name the finished projects is sketchy to say the least. Probably knowing that, their latest customer asked for the customized Breakout he ordered to be called Stella, after his daughter.

Inspired by an older build of the garage called Mitch, Stella has been customized in the usual Thunderbike way, with a big focus on six main elements: fender, saddle, tank, wheels, fork and air ride.

Sporting an air ride suspension kit that allows for up to 10 cm height adjustment, Stella rides on custom wheels, sized 21 and 23 inches, and wrapped in Avon tires.

It looks different from stock Breakouts not only because of the above modifications, but also thanks to a host of others. The aluminum tank and rear fender were welded by hand, there’s a special and short Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system on one side, and a leather saddle made to match the looks of the build.

You can have a look at all the parts used on this latest build from Thunderbike at this link. Don’t expect to get an idea of how much the project is worth, as the Germans are not in the habit of revealing that. We punched in some numbers though, as they appear in the garage’s inventory, and the around 30 different items used to complete this motorcycle amount to some 15,000 euros. That’s the equivalent of roughly $17,700 at today’s exchange rates, or dangerously close to the starting price of the bike in factory form.