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Custom Harley-Davidson Monaco by Thunderbike

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by Daniel Patrascu from

It’s not hard to link Harley-Davidson with racing. The moniker has been at the forefront of such efforts in all sorts of competitions over the years, going deep and wide all across the nation to take part in the most insane of races. Most recently, the Milwaukee company is doing its best to fight off Indian in King of the Baggers on historic circuits all over America.

Whereas Harley is easily linked with pretty much all of the important race tracks across America, the name does not ring all that good when associated with Le Mans. Yet this did not stop a German custom shop by the name Thunderbike from forever tying the American two-wheeler with the famous French circuit with a special GP S Le Mans build.

Presented at the end of last year, the GP S Le Mans is part of the shop’s Racing Series, a line of machines named after the great tracks of the world, including Silverstone, Laguna Seca, or Mugello. A few months after its presentation, the bike has now spawned a successor. It’s called the Monaco, also based on a Breakout, and a nod to the famed European city-state where one of the most exciting Formula 1 races of modern times takes place.

Once a stock Breakout, the motorcycle was lowered for a more aggressive look, gifted with tons of custom parts, including a new triple tree, grips, fenders, a custom fuel tank, and countless covers. Thunderbike calls this build the “first Twin Cam on which we’ve fitted our newly developed GP Parts for this range,” and the result, as it can be seen in the gallery above, is nothing short of spectacular.

We are not being told if any changes to the bike’s engine were made, apart from the fact it now breaths through a Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system.

The Monaco extras meant to transform the Breakout took over 11,000 euros to put together, which is about $13,400 at today’s exchange rates.


Harley-Davidson Pan America Hits 140 MPH on Autobahn

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by Daniel Patrascu from

The Pan America is not like any Harley-Davidson we know. At least, that’s the plan, as one of America’s iconic bike makers is venturing for the first time in a segment it felt uncomfortable in for a very long time.

Unveiled back in February as Harley’s first true offering for the adventure bike customers, the Pan America is already being assembled in York, Pennsylvania. Earlier this month, it even got out in the world, being shown in Dallas, Texas, as part of the Pan America Motorcycle Demo Tour Harley is planning on running all year long (FYI, the tour ends in November at Howling At The Moon in Prescott, Arizona).

These events do not really paint the right picture when it comes to the motorcycle, as one would probably need a hell of a lot more than a show-and-tell performance at the hands of someone on Harley’s payroll. For that, longer one-on-one time with the motorcycle would probably be needed.

Sadly, such an experience is presently only available for Harley partners, including some outside of the U.S. Luckily, thanks to the miracle that is the internet, we can get a taste of what the Pan America is all about through someone else’s eyes.

The most recent endurance test of the Pan America took place in Europe, in the Westerwald region of Germany. On deck for the test were two of German dealer Thunderbike’s people, Stefan Hutmacher and Thomas Emky, who posted a video online giving us a taste of how the three-hour run through the woods and elsewhere went.

Before they got on location, though, these guys got to test ride the motorcycle on the road, and they did so using a stretch of the famous German Autobahn. That’s where we’re told the two-wheeler hit 140 mph (226 kph) for a brief moment, a bit higher than what Harley was estimating the Pan America was capable of reaching.

You can have a glimpse of that in the video attached below (1:30 mark). We say a glimpse because, for some reason, the video does not show the exact moment that happens—that is why we were only able to snatch a shot of the bike’s screen showing 223 kph (139 kph).

Below is the full 7-minute video showing a bunch of Pan Americas having fun in the wild. It’s in German but comes with English subtitles for all of us to enjoy. A full review of the Pan America during the Thunderbike ride test can be found at this link.


Harley-Davidson Flying Panhead

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by Daniel Patrascu from

Almost two decades ago, Discovery Channel started airing a show called “American Chopper.” It was the story of Orange County Choppers, and how the two Teutuls managed to get incredible two-wheelers done while going at each other’s throats. It was fun, it was exciting, and it was sad. And then it ended.

The show was made possible thanks to the existence of a large number of custom motorcycle garages in the States, and the incredible builds they make. Other regions are less appealing for networks in this respect, because there’s not much going on there, and that’s why we don’t have, for instance, a British Chopper show.

But there could be a German one. For the past 20-something years, a group called Thunderbike has been breaking norms and turning heads there. The garage has created literally hundreds of projects either based on stock Harley-Davidson motorcycles, or on custom frames made in-house, powered by and fitted with Harley hardware.

Thunderbike’s portfolio is so vast we’ve been talking about it all year, and we are not even close to the finish line. That means that we’re not only covering the shop’s most recent builds, but also much older ones. Why? Because there’s no Discovery Channel show about them, and this is the only way to bring them into the spotlight they deserve.

Today’s menu is all about a 1951 Panhead. Dubbed Flying Pan by its makers, it was completed in 2010 as the last in the Thunderbike portfolio to have “once sailed across the pond,” and is part of the shop’s vintage family of motorcycles.

Sporting the ‘51 engine, the Flying Pan comes with tons of purpose built parts: the handlebar, grips, footrests, fuel tank, oil tank, rear fender (there’s none up front), all and more have been made specifically for this project. The motorcycle rides on equally-sized wheels (18-inch) wrapped in Firestone rubber.

As for the mechanical bits, the Panhead is aided in its mission by S&S hardware (carburetor and intake), and a custom Thunderbike exhaust.

Sadly, we have no info on how much this build cost to make, nor do we have any idea what happened to it after being completed a decade ago.

Harley-Davidson Wrinkled Bob Looks All Military and Mean

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by Daniel Patrascu from

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.

Harley-Davidson Vader’s Fist Custom Build

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by Daniel Patrascu from

There are Star Wars fans, and there are Harley-Davidson fans. Somehow, these two categories don’t seem to mix very well, and this is why we don’t get all that many custom builds inspired by the George Lucas’ imaginary universe.

That’s also why our minds light up whenever a Harley-Davidson custom build dedicated to Star Wars pops up. And one just did, courtesy of our favorite German specialized garage, Thunderbike.

One of the garage’s customers, owner of a Street Bob, asked for this special build to be made. Called Vader’s Fist, the finished project is both a nod to Star Wars, and a testimony of what the German shop can do given the liberty.

Riding on 21-inch and 18-inch wheels wearing Shinko whitewall tires, the bike is a visual candy. Wrapped in a matt hues, it blends white and silver, but also black, to create a very solid appearance.

The main element of the build is however the fuel tank. The 15-liter piece of stretched aluminum features up top the split helmet of a Stormtrooper, making the Street Bob distinctively unique in the world of Harley-Davidsons.

As usual, the visual appearance is not the only aspect of the motorcycle that has changed. There are mechanical upgrades as well, designed to fit in with the theme of the project.

There’s a whole new front end with modified fork, triple tree, and speedo, an air ride suspension kit, and Streetfighter mufflers from Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde for the black exhaust system with short manifolds, among others.

As usual, Thunderbike does not say how much the build cost to make, but we did the math on the parts they used and came up with at least 15,000 euros. That’s around $17,500, more than the price of the base bike, and not including the man hours, special graphics, and probably some other hardware we were not told about.


Top-grade Japanese engineering meets outstanding German craftmanship

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by Silvian Secara from

Daniel Schuh’s Espiat deals with just about anything from logo design and woodwork, to meticulous motorcycle customization. In terms of bespoke two-wheeled goodness, this one-man enterprise stacked up on a plethora of remarkable creations that’ll soothe each and every last corner of your moto-loving gearhead soul.

As I was browsing Schuh’s portfolio, I came across a phenomenal street tracker-style creature based on Yamaha’s beloved XJR1200. This fascinating piece of machinery was completed back in 2017, and it just so happens to be my personal favorite out of the whole bunch! I’ll tell you what, let’s dive in for a closer analysis of this graceful masterpiece.

For starters, the project’s mastermind went about tweaking XJR’s subframe to accommodate a hand-crafted tail section and a pair of fresh side panels that keep things looking rad. Additionally, the rear end incorporates a custom LED lighting kit to complement the clutter-free aesthetic.

On the opposite end, we notice a one-off number plate front fairing, which hugs the bike’s forks and triple clamps. This module was painstakingly built in-house and it hosts an eccentric halogen headlight unit, as well as a new speedometer. You will also find a pair of aftermarket handlebars and rear-mounted foot pegs that round out the updated riding stance.

As to XJR1200’s performance, the inline-four powerplant was treated to a four-into-two exhaust system with megaphone mufflers. The craftsman even ventured as far as sculpting a set of inlets that’ll feed the engine with a constant flow of cool air. Furthermore, the suspension received a selection of top-shelf components, such as state-of-the-art progressive springs up front and nitrogen shock absorbers at the back.

Last but not least, the bodywork was enveloped in a timeless color scheme, consisting of an intricate blend between gold and metallic black, joined by a chrome finish on XJR’s forks, exhaust and rims. Sure enough, this paintwork will remind you of the iconic John Player Special F1 racing livery, which may have served as Schuh’s main source of inspiration.

In conclusion, I’ll have to admit this handsome entity had me lost for words! Oh, how I’d love to take it for a spin…

Harley-Davidson R-Odynamic Is Screamin’ Eagle Heart in the Right Custom Body

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by Daniel Patrascu from

If we were to choose between a custom made motorcycle (that means built from the ground up, with different parts made to fit together in previously untried ways) and an extreme conversion of an existing series production model, we’d certainly go full custom.

Perhaps that’s owed to the countless hours spent in front of a TV screen in our childhood, seeing the likes of the Teutuls working their magic on metal while fighting each other like they were enemies. Thanks to them and others that go back decades, custom motorcycles are still very hot in America today.

Not the same can be said about Europe. There are far fewer shops there, and most of them are involved in bringing back to life old, locally-made models the likes of 1970s-1980s BMWs. Sure, there are shops specializing in reimagining Harleys, as we’ve seen in the recently concluded King of Kings competition, but almost none of them is in the business of mating Harley engines to custom frames, for instance.

We said almost because in Germany there’s a very active shop that goes by the name Thunderbike. The group has in its portfolio literally hundreds of Harley builds, most of them based on existing models, but also around 15 frames they have been playing around with for the past 25 years.

One of those frames is called Dragster R-Odynamic, and is used to underpin the bike in the gallery above. Specifically designed to work with 21-inch rear tires, it only includes the single-side swingarm, meaning everything else has to be carefully fitted to work with it.

First, the engine. The shop went in this case with a Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 110. Tied to a Harley-Davidson 6-speed transmission and ignition, it breathes through a Vance & Hines exhaust system.

A combination of Harley and custom Thunderbike parts was used to put the whole thing together. Aside from the engine and transmission, Milwaukee also made the headlamp, electric system, and the primary, while the Germans are responsible for the suspension, grips and handlebar, rims (23-inch front and 21-inch rear), brakes, and pretty much everything else.

The bike was completed back in 2011, and was put through its paces down Germany’s roads, as you can see in the video attached below. We are not being told how much the entire assembly cost, but you should know the frame alone is worth over 12,000 euros (roughly $14,000).


Harley-Davidson El Fuego Brings German Heat to the Road

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by Daniel Patrascu from

A custom, German-made frame, a proven, Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 110ci engine sitting inside, and a paint job to die for – these are the three elements of the custom motorcycle known as El Fuego.

Shown in all its glory in the gallery above, the El Fuego is one of the hottest builds coming our way from Germany-based custom garage Thunderbike. Responsible for literally hundreds of custom motorcycles, all based or inspired by the Milwaukee-made two-wheelers, the crew behind this machine surely outdone themselves with this one.

First, the frame. Thunderbike has around 15 in its portfolio, meaning it could design bikes to suit all tastes. The one used here is called Dragster RS, and is more of a kit: it includes the frame itself, the fuel and oil tanks, CNC-milled aluminum swingarm with battery holder, rear section, rear wheel axle, motor bracket, and seat plate.

Ready for the road, it only needed an engine and some wheels to get it moving. In the case of the former, the shop went for the Screamin’ Eagle 110ci, adn tied it to a Thunderbike exhaust. For the latter, the elements of choice were monoblock wheels, milled from solid aluminum blocks and wrapped in Metzeler tires.

The flowing lines and curves of the build would have been nothing without a proper paint job. As usual, Thunderbike turned to Kruse Design for the visual tweaking, which in this case translated into a hot combination between the black on pretty much all parts of the motorcycle and the metallic orange on the tanks, fenders, and wheels.

Thunderbike does not say how much El Fuego cost to make, but you should know the Dragster RS frame kit alone is worth close to 12,000 euros. That’s about $14,000 at today’s exchange rates.

Red Scorpion Is What Happens When Custom Frame Meets Harley-Davidson Hardware

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by Daniel Patrascu from

There’s nothing better in the world of custom bike-making than coming up with your own frame. Sure, you could choose the easy way and start modifying existing motorcycles, but that doesn’t say that much about your skills as a custom builder.

We know of a huge number of shops in the U.S. making their own custom frames, that in turn end up becoming the base for incredible two-wheelers. But there are garages outside the States that do the same thing.

One of them – and a very lucrative one – is Germany-based Thunderbike. We talked about their work extensively over the past few months as part of our various special coverages, but given the large number of builds they make, there seems to be no end in sight.

Until recently, we covered at length Thunderbike’s skills when it comes to modified Harleys, but from this week on we decided to have a closer look at their custom frames, and we’ve already said a word or two about some other of their creations for this segment. And now it’s time for another.

In the gallery above sits a motorcycle the garage completed all the way back in 2007. It is called the Red Scorpion, and it is one of the finest examples of how you can pair your own custom frame with custom parts and available Harley-Davidson hardware.

The bike is part of the garage’s Freestyle collection of bikes, and it is built around one of the 15 or so frames available in its inventory.

Riding low thanks to the use of an air suspension, and with an appearance of having a broken back, the Red Scorpion is animated by a Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 103ci engine. The powerplant draws its fuel through a Mikuni HSR 42 injection system, and is controlled through a Harley 5-speed transmission.

The motorcycle rides on equally-sized 18-inch wheels front and back, chromed of course, and offset by the red paint spread on the rest of the body by Thunderbike’s favorite partner in this area, Kruse Design.

We are not being told how much the bike cost to be put together, but to give you an idea, just the Thunderbike frames now available are somewhere in the 11,000 euros (around $12,500) ballpark.

CCE Bagger Thunderbolt Is a Whole Lot of Name for a Custom Harley Street Glide

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by Daniel Patrascu from

The Harley-Davidson Street Glide is one of those bikes you should not mess with. Described by its maker as a stripped down version of a hot-rod bagger, the no-nonsense bike has been made with long trips in mind.

But baggers have also been favorites of the custom industry. Either reshaped from stock motorcycles or made from scratch on a custom frame, custom baggers are a common sight on American roads.

We’re not sure how many of them are in Europe, but you can count at least one, this one here. The work of a German shop that goes by the name Thunderbike, it takes a stock Harley Street Glide to whole new levels of cool.

The build is based on 2017 Street Glide Special, still packing the original Milwaukee-Eight engine. But other than that everything about it is enhanced, including the name.

Using custom parts made all over the world, Thunderbike kept the overall appearance of the motorcycle, but increased the size and reach of most of the hardware on the bike, from the front fender to the saddlebags at the rear. The fairing at the front, the fuel tank behind it, and the wheels – including the barely visible one at the rear – are of course custom, and contribute to giving the bike a retro-style look.

Thunderbike, who has been in the business of engineering motorcycles for the past 25 years, is usually very good at naming its creations too. And even if the name of this one might seem a bit pompous, there’s a reason for that.

The CCE in the name stands for Custom Chrome Europe, a parts wholesale company founded in 1986, while Thunderbolt is the creative side of the project.

So, no matter how you call it – Thunderbike CCE Bagger Thunderbolt or Harley-Davidson CCE Bagger Thunderbolt – this one is a mouthful.