Harley-Davidson Archives — Page 2 of 28 — Bikernet Blog - Online Biker Magazine

Big Dog K9 Is the Chopper-Style Cruiser Motorcycle Most Can Afford

By | General Posts

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

Generally speaking, custom bikes are not cheap. For one, there’s the wealth of parts that go into making one, then the hours of labor spent, and God what else. All that add up and reflects in the asking price for such a build.

Of course, most shops make custom bikes on demand, but even if they make one out of the blue, there’s still that only one. No series production means no standardized parts or assembly processes, and that means more money too.

Wichita, Kansas-based Big Dog Motorcycles is one of those few businesses that make series-production custom bikes. That means their products, although they have the look and feel of something unique, are priced to be more affordable than a one-off because there are more of them.

There are 4 bike models in Big Dog’s portfolio, and as part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage we’ll talk a bit about each one of them over the next few days. And we’ll kick off with the K9, a “chopper-style cruiser with a strong silhouette, bold, cutting-edge style, and a killer sound.”

Built on a custom frame, it packs a 124ci (2.0-liter) S&S Super Sidewinder V-Twin engine tied to a 6-speed transmission. The frame rides on a swing-arm suspension and hidden adjustable rear shocks, and makes the connection to the ground via Avon tires.

Starting from $34,995 (the K9 is in the upper half of the Big Dog lineup price-wise), the engine is offered either carbureted or with fuel injection (add an extra grand for that), a price that is rather affordable, considering this is after all a custom motorcycle. Don’t expect that to be the final price, though.

There are 12 body colors to choose from, three types of wheels, two finishes for the engine (polished or black), and several graphics. Each, of course, could add more dollars to the final price.

Big Dog plans to make 50 of these, but we are not told how many of them have been sold.

Harley-Davidson Seventy Looks Smooth as Silk

By | General Posts

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

Generally, custom bike builds are meant to convey a message of hardcore two-wheeled motoring. To get that message through, custom builders usually have to create monsters that stand out through sharpness, coldness, or perhaps meanness.

The bike in the gallery above has none of those attributes. If anything, it looks soft to the touch, possibly smooth as silk, but somehow manages to retain an air of coolness specific to custom Harleys.

What you see in front of your eyes was once a 2017 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. It lost most of its industrial look at the hands of a German custom garage by the name of Thunderbike, and was gifted with a more eye-soothing appearance.

There are, of course, a lot of custom parts that have made it onto this build – over 30, in fact – but it’s not them that make the biggest difference. It’s the paint job that does. Partially the work of Thunderbike’s favorite partner in this area, Ingo Kruse, it blends matte black with gold on the wheel rims, fenders and fuel tank to create an almost tactile visual experience.

Related in the garage’s books with the Night Train we talked about over the weekend, the Seventy – that’s the name chosen for the motorcycle post-build – comes with new fenders and fuel tank, custom wheels (sized 21 and 23 inches), new toppers and grips.

The mechanical improvements include the addition of a swingarm kit, a hydraulic clutch cylinder, and a modified air suspension – you can find the entire list of modifications made by accessing this link.

As pretty much all Thunderbike builds, this one too is not for sale. It has been built to order, but it also acts as a sort of mobile billboard for all the special custom parts the Germans have in their offer for Harley motorcycles.

1921 Harley-Davidson Banjo Board Track Racer Wins H-D Design Award

By | General Posts

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

At the beginning of last week, bike maker Harley-Davidson announced it is holding a special online event dedicated to all those bike builders who were robbed by the health crisis of the chance of showing their creations in live motorcycle shows.

Called The No Show, the Harley event brought together on Youtube and Instagram around 60 bike builders across the U.S., each showing and advertising their bikes the best they could. Of the 60, Harley chose three to be named winners in various categories – Media Choice Award, H-D Styling & Design Award, and Harley-Davidson Museum Award.

As far as Styling & Design, the bike was selected and the crown was handed by Brad Richards, the man in charge of design at Harley, to a build called 2-Cam Banjo Board Track Racer.

The bike is the work of a man from Wisconsin named Michael Lange. Describing himself as a bike builder for 50 years and a self-employed man for the past 30, Lange decided to bring to The No Show a motorcycle he built way back in 1996, one he was supposed to show at this year’s Mama Tried.

The man’s confidence in the bike paid off, given his build won one of the three awards, but perhaps for him that’s just a small achievement.

Running on massive wheels and packing a host of custom-made parts, from the engine itself to the fuel tank and the frame, the Banjo is of course an odd sight on the roads today, but it is a common one at various racing events still paying tribute to the racing bikes of old.

Lange says he originally built the bike to race it as a privateer, and race it he did for the past 24 years without many major issues. You can watch he has to say about the motorcycle in the short video attached below this text.


Harley-Davidson Mugello Was Not Bred for Racing, Would Look Great on the Track

By | General Posts

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

Being the point of origin for some of the most impressive cars and motorcycles in the world, Italy has its share of famous race tracks. The Mugello Circuit (officially called Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello) is one of them.

It is there where races from the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) were once held, and it is there where each year the greats in motorbike racing gather for the usual MotoGP leg. Owned by Ferrari, the circuit is also the main testing facility for the Scuderia’s Formula 1 cars.

As far as we know, what the Mugello circuit has not seen is a Harley-Davidson motorcycle doing a run there. And it probably never will, even if builds such as the one in the gallery above would look great under the clear skies of Tuscany.

We opened with a bit of info about the Mugello track because this is the name German custom shop Thunderbike bestowed one of their Harley-Davidson Breakout creations. Named so in honor of the Italian circuit, it is part of a larger collection of bikes that also includes the Laguna Seca and Silverstone.

Just like the other two, it was of course not bred for racing, but as some type of two-wheeled billboard meant to advertise the custom parts Thunderbike usually has in its inventory for Harley owners. And just like the other two, there’s plenty of parts going into this bike as well.

From the derby cover to the exhaust system and large wheels (21 and 23 inches), a total of 25 custom parts were fitted on it, and all wrapped in a special paint scheme wearing the signature of Ingo Kruse, Thunderbike’s favorite partner in this field.

The bike is not for sale, and it will probably never be raced on a track, any track, but it would still look great, maybe accompanied by some other Harleys, in such a surrounding.

Harley-Davidson Night Train Turns into Black and Red Fun Ride 58

By | General Posts

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

Over the course of its history, Harley-Davidson had a bunch of noteworthy motorcycle families rolling out the assembly lines in Milwaukee. The Softail bunch is one of them, and it presently comprises about a dozen models. But the Night Train is no longer one of them.

Also known as the FXSTB, the Softail with this name first saw daylight in 1998, and was officially considered to be one of the finest examples of Harley’s low and raked machines. Customers didn’t love it so much though, and the model was discontinued about a decade later, in 2009.

Despite having all it takes to be a good candidate, this particular Softail model doesn’t appear to be a favorite of the custom industry either, so we don’t have too many examples of it in tuned form. But as part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage, we managed to dig up this here Night Train.

We found it in Germany, because this is where its maker, a custom shop by the name Thunderbike, resides. And by all intents and purposes, despite the rather not so extensive changes, it looks completely different that a stock Night Train.

Thunderbike is in the market of customizing more recent Harleys now, but they have been at it for the past 20 years, so seeing an older model in their lineup is not a surprise.

Featuring several custom parts, like the massive rear fender and new fuel tank, the bike has been renamed Fun Ride 58, and is all about color play: two of them, black and red (and minor touches of white here and there), have been carefully mixed to create one of the cleanest and appealing looks of any motorcycle in the Thunderbike arsenal.

The wheels, which are generally much more complex when it comes to Thunderbike builds, have been kept simple this time, and sprayed red to offset the blackness featured everywhere else.

Long Fork Harley-Davidson Chopper Has Fully Exposed Shovelhead Engine

By | General Posts

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

Because of the global health crisis, the world is missing out on all those extraordinary events it came to take for granted over the past decades. Since there is no end in sight to the scourge, we’ll probably not be back together at auto or moto shows until the end of 2020.

As chance would have it, the crisis came at a time when luckily we have alternatives. The Internet proved to be humanity’s best friend in these times, and has also become the place to go for concerts, movies, and more recently motorcycle shows.

Harley-Davidson, the supplier of so many motorcycles for custom builds that they’re impossible to count, is currently holding an online motorcycle show as a replacement for all those canceled live events.

Called The No Show, the event displays for a week, ending on June 21, the work of 60 American custom bike builders that were supposed to be featured in the flesh across America. As part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage, we’ve already talked about a bunch of such builds.

None so far seems to be as extreme as the one here. Built for a 2019 custom show by a guy named Hawke Lawshe from Montana-based Vintage Technologies, the bike is a wonder to behold.

The first thing that catches the eye is the extremely long front fork that ends with a 17-inch wheel, the same size as the one in the back.

Then, the frame, custom-made by Lawshe from scratch, holding a 1981, fully exposed Shovelhead engine that has been stripped of the cooling and oiling components. The engine starts by means of an exposed kicker mechanism, is controlled by an EMF auto clutch, and breathes through an inverted fishtail exhaust.

Lawshe would have taken the bike to an auto show this year as well, but now he’s left with showing his masterpiece online (see the video below). We reckon his has a lot of chances at one of the three awards Harley will announce next week for the bikes in The No Show.


Harley-Davidson Silverstone Is a Motorcycle Bumblebee

By | General Posts

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

After talking for quite some time about the builds coming out a German shop by the name of Thunderbike, one can confidently say that once you’ve seen one their builds, you’ve seen them all. Based largely on the same Milwaukee machines, they are generally moving displays of German custom parts, a sort of two-wheeled billboard if you like.

Yet these guys somehow manage to make each of these billboards look unique, and from time to time stunning. Like it’s the case with the heavily modified Breakout displayed here.

The bike is called Silverstone, and is one in a longer series meant to celebrate various racetracks around the world. Thunderbike calls this series GP, and we’ve already talked about two other builds belonging to it, the Laguna Seca and Grand Prix 2.

The series comprises both motorcycles based on custom Thunderbike frames, like the Grand Prix and Grand Prix 2, and ones based on Harley frames, like this here Silverstone. As said, this one is at its core a Breakout, one of the Germans’ favorite models.

Designed largely like most of the bikes in its series, the Silverstone is a wealth of parts combined and make to work together. From small to big (read from license plate lighting to fuel tank), they all make the build look uniquely incredible.

The perfectly matched parts are even more impressive thanks to the bright yellow color chosen for them, a color that fits it just as well as it fitted the Camaro-based Bumblebee from Transformers. In fact, with all the metal twisted together to form the bike, and the black and yellow sprayed all over, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to imagine this is how the Autobot might look like if it were a two-wheeler.

As most other Thunderbike builds, this one too is just for show and not a production bike. But if you will it, the Germans can probably build one for you.

1964 FL Panhead Is Today’s Dose of Old School Custom Harley-Davidson

By | General Posts

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

Ever since Softails have come onto the motorcycle scene, garages across the world flocked to use them as a base for whatever project they had in mind. That means most of what’s out there now is based on newer motorcycles that, despite being generally cool, lack the old school appeal of older Harleys.

Take the 1964 FL Panhead in the gallery above. The FL is one of Harley’s historic lines, having started out in the early 1940s, and is generally seen as one of the best representative of the classic Harley look.

Whereas custom bikes based on more recent Harleys are favorites of the present-day online media, older ones such as this one here are stars of motorcycles shows big and small. But for the first time since ever, a global health crisis ended pretty much all such events planned for the year.

To fill the gap, Harley-Davidson announced on Tuesday (June 16) a week-long online event dedicated to some 60 not-so-famous bike builders that would have been the talk of show-goers at the now-canceled or postponed events.

The custom 1964 FL Panhead in the video below is a build made by one of those 60 builders. Its creator’s name is Eric Stein, and he is by no means a full-time motorcycle tuner, but an “operation’s manager” at some North Carolina company.
Since 2014, Stein used most of his spare time to customize motorcycles. This particular one, the most recent of the batch, is his 11th, and a good looking one at that.

Keeping things simple, the Panhead keeps true to the “older style bikes that are appreciated more” while at the same time adding a custom flavor through fine touches like the rear fender or the unique fuel tank – watch the video below for all the info Stein is willing to share about his bike.


Harley-Davidson Prison Break Is a Fat Boy Let Loose

By | General Posts

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

The garage behind this Harley-Davidson Fat Boy conversion calls its creation “one of the elegant custom conversions.” They also call it Prison Break, despite it having nothing to do with the TV series, nor the actual act of breaking out of a prison.

The custom motorcycle is German in conception, being the work of a shop called Thunderbike. On the market customizing Harleys for the past 20 years or so, Thunderbike is one of the most active such garages outside the United States, and one we’ve become quite accustomed to as part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage.

Generally, the shop goes out of its way to create unique interpretations of Milwaukee-made machines as a means to advertise the long list of custom parts it makes. The Prison Break is an advertising tool as well, and it was gifted with the name just to attract attention. And it succeeded, bringing the build before our eyes in a “simple and elegant” form.

Thunderbike based this build on the Fat Boy from 2018, making it a relatively recent creation. It sports the usual complement of custom parts that range from tiny elements like the license plate frame and turn signals to the more prominent wheels and the functional air ride suspension.

The wheels, which have always been the highlight of Thunderbike builds, are in this case of equal size front and rear, at 21-inches each. They’re not the most spectacular we’ve seen, yet they do seem to get the job done on this particular Fat Boy.

Mechanically, a Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system, a pulley brake kit, and a fork lowering kit are all on deck to make the Prison Break look, feel and drive like an unchained Fat Boy, a tad different from what Harley usually spits out its factory doors.

The motorcycle is not for sale, but the parts used on it are. You can see them all at this link.

Harley-Davidson To Drop From S&P 500 As Coronavirus Batters Struggling Motorcycle Maker

By | General Posts

by Bill Roberson from https://www.forbes.com/

Iconic American motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson [HOG] continues to struggle. The company will move off the S&P 500 in the next week and will land on Standard and Poor’s MidCap 400 list of stocks instead, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Clothier Nordstrom Inc. and Alliance Data Systems Corp. will also fall off the S&P 500.

With a two-month work stoppage (since resumed) due to the pandemic coupled with an expected deep dive in sales due to the general halt in economic activity, the near future could be a rough ride. The most recent report on sales from the company show the numbers were down close to 18% year over year as of late April.

The S&P 500 delisting, set for June 22, comes while Harley-Davidson continues to navigate rough waters, including a personnel shuffle that included the CEO and a stock price that has hung in the $25 range during the pandemic but was as high as $73 in 2014 and over $40 per share in the last year. In the depths of virus-fueled market turmoil in April of this year, the share price dipped to nearly $15 but has since rebounded, almost reaching $30 just about a week ago. The drop from the index could hurt the stock price since many investors include companies in the S&P 500 as part of their portfolios.

Before the coronavirus and COVID-19 outbreak, the Milwaukee,Wisconsin-based maker of heavyweight cruisers – and a fully electric model – had been on a sales and stock price slide for several years as the company searched for new buyers. Their core – and highly loyal – customer base has slowly eroded due to age and competition, notably from a resurgent Indian, which was once Harley’s main sales and racing competitor before shuttering post-WWII. The brand was recently revived by outdoor recreation equipment Polaris and has targeted Harley’s market while also attracting new riders with their Scout and FTR models.

Under the tenure of now-departed CEO Mark Levatich, Harley embarked on a risky tangent into the world of electric vehicles and debuted the all-electric LiveWire motorcycle two years ago. While the bike has received favorable reviews, a price tag near $30,000 has been a tough sell while pioneers in the electric motorcycle space like Zero sell models with similar performance for nearly a third less. Before Levatich left the Motor Company, as Harley is also known, the CEO said more electric models, including bicycles, were on the way. New CEO Jochen Zeitz, a longtime board member known as a turnaround specialist, hasn’t yet laid out the specifics for Harley’s future, saying he plans to “rewire” the company with a 5-year plan for growth.

Part of Harley’s current conundrum is a perfect storm of a waning traditional customer base, expensive motorcycles, and young people who have high debt, myriad transportation options and little brand loyalty. Harley-Davidson has been working to build their international markets over the years and growth there has been a strong point along with their finance arm, but slumping overall sales have driven the company’s market cap to under $4 billion, or nearly half of what the S&P 500 regards as a minimum to make the list.

Tyler Technologies Inc., Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. and Teledyne Technologies Inc. will all join the index, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.