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Harley-Davidson Archives — Page 3 of 28 — Bikernet Blog - Online Biker Magazine

Harley-Davidson TwentyOne Pirate Craves an Outlaw’s Life

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

“Treasures, women and fame: These are usually the intentions a pirate wants on land. Maybe this Fat Boy is not so far away from it…” This is how German custom motorcycle garage Thunderbike describes one of the most exciting addition to their garage, the TwentyOne Pirate.

As that short description reveals, the base for this build is the Fat Boy, one of the families of HD bikes born closer to our time. Only in this configuration it appears to be much cleaner and simpler in design, and it shows a somewhat more elegant stance.

The TwentyOne in the name is of course a reference to the bikes massive wheels. Not one, but two equally-sized 21-inch metal circles of Thunderbike make wrapped in rubber are the main connection between the motorcycle and the road.

As from where Pirate comes from, that’s probably just marketing, and a rather good one at that, as we’ve previously seen on other Thunderbike machines. The bike is named so just for kicks, because it doesn’t lack a leg (or a wheel, for that matter) and it doesn’t come with an eye patch.

It does come however with a long list of custom parts, over 40 of them in fact, some extreme and others less so. The handlebars, mirrors, turns signals, and pretty much every other small-sized hardware on the bike is new. And new or modified are some of the other, larger parts: fuel tank, fenders, swingarms, and so on (the full list of changes made can be found at this link).

Like most other Thunderbike builds, this too is a one-off, a display of what is available for purchase from Germany as aftermarket parts for Harley owners. It looks good enough though for it to be featured into some motorcycle flick, preferably ridden by some outlaw in search of money and fame.

This 1927 Harley-Davidson Model J Tracker Bike Looks Best With Mud On It

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by Mircea Panait from https://www.autoevolution.com

Justin Walls describes himself as a perfectionist. The founder and owner of Built the Traditional Way – BTTT on Instagram – pays so much attention to the finest of details. The Model J in the photo gallery is one of Justin’s one-off creations, and H-D has selected it for The No Show that will end on June 21st.

Originally produced by Harley-Davidson for military service, the all-round motorcycle was converted after World War I for civilian use. With this change, the Milwaukee-based manufacturer has also leveled up the J as the top-of-the-line motorcycle. Driven by the technological advancements of the war, the Model J boasts… wait for it… battery ignition and even electric lights!

Jokes aside, the two-cylinder bike has helped Harley-Davidson grow as a company and the U.S. consumer go places at a time when cars were still relatively expensive and hard to repair. Now that the history lesson is over, let’s take a look at the one-of-a-kind Model J that Justin Walls converted into a tracker motorcycle.

“A cut-down racer or whatever you want to call it, I built this bike in 2016.” Currently belonging to a friend of Justin, the muddy and scuffed J looks like it’s been enjoyed to the fullest in the past four years. Quite a difference from the full-blown show bike, but a tracker looks best with scars on it.

Featuring a 29 frame and a shortened seat post, the Model J also boasts redesigned castings that give it a hill climber look. The JD front end has been reinforced for obvious reasons, along with the three-bar reinforcements at the rear.

Justin has sourced the transmission from a 25 while the hub comes from a JD. The twin-cylinder motor “started life out as a 61 cubic inch (1.0 liter)” but it’s been stroked to 93 cubic inches for more suck-squeeze-bang-blow. The 1.5-liter engine also includes late-model pistons, a custom camshaft and valve pockets, and it’s set for high compression.

Come June 21st, only three builders will be awarded by Harley-Davidson out of a total of 60 from no fewer than 10 countries.

 

2016 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Indie Is a Custom Cafe Racer Played by Ear

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

A lot of auto and moto shows have been canceled or postponed this year because of the health crisis, and that robbed us, at least momentarily, of the chance of seeing in the flesh some incredible machines. Like this custom 2016 Harley-Davidson Street 750 its builder calls Indie.

The bike was supposed to be shown at one of those many postponed events, but is now a star of a Harley-Davidson initiative called The No Show that aims to bring some of the custom bikes we missed in the flesh this year into the spotlight, via Internet of course.

The build we have in the gallery above and the video below started life as a 2016 750. That means it is part of the Street series, the one that when it was announced back in 2013 ended more than a decade of drought when it came to new models made in Milwaukee.

The Indie is an evolution of the 750 in that it was supposed to be lighter and better in handling than it’s stock counterpart. The bike’s maker, Dan Torres, is the owner of a “small garage shop called Milwaukee Moto,” and even if there was no actual design plan for this customized motorcycle, he must have known what he was doing.

The modifications made to the bike included the replacement of the front end with a Yamaha R1-based hardware, a new Honda CB200T fuel tank on top, and the placement of an external fuel pump right under the seat hump.

The paint scheme is custom as well, and dresses the Indie – named so after Indianapolis, from where the original 750 was purchased – in a cool combination of black and yellow.

The 2016 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Indie is part of a long list of custom Harley’s to be show over the course of this week. Stay tuned for more as part of our Two-Wheeler Month coverage.

 

Harley-Davidson Leads the List in Peak Demand for Motorcycles

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

Like most other countries in the world, the UK is set to relax its distancing measures as of this week, despite the health crisis being more severe than ever. Among the distancing measures to be kept is the obligation for the Brits to wear face-coverings on all public transport means on the island.

That decision seems to have scared people who would normally ride the tube or buses, and that is visible in the number of online searches for alternative means of transportation. Motorcycles and their derivatives seem to be in high demand these days, according to the figures provided by Auto Trader.

The organization says that compared to the same period last year, sales of motorcycles and mopeds exploded, reaching 180 and 2019 percent, respectively. Keep in mind this happens as sales of cars are dropping to levels not seen since the 1970s.

Online interest for such two-wheeled machines is at a peak as well, and the idea that this is not a passing trend is backed by other data as well: Brits are hell-bent on becoming motorcycle riders, and proof to that is the doubling of Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) riders must take before being allowed on the roads.

“It seems to be part and parcel of getting into a ‘new normal’. They’re relatively cheaper options for commuting, they can help you get around easily in congested urban areas, and they’re easier to park in tight spots,” said in a statement Auto Trader’s Rory Reid.

“They can also be a much more viable option than walking or cycling for the majority of people whose commute is longer than five miles.”

As far as what type of motorcycles the Brits prefer, two Harley-Davidson families, the Sportster and Softail, are among the most sought after, followed by the Yamaha R1 CBR1000RR and the Honda Fireblade.

Harley-Davidson Torqpedo Is a Brutal Full Package Custom

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

There are few custom motorcycle garages out there that have created so many projects that they can split them into series. The Germans from Thunderbike are one of those garages, as we’ve kept telling you for the past month or so.

With so many custom motorcycles in Thunderbike’s portfolio – all either Harley-based, or built on a custom frame but powered by a Harley engine – we’ll probably keep talking about them for the rest of June, which here at autoevolution is Two-Wheeler Month.

For today we chose the Torqpedo, a Softail Breakout-based build that is part of the garage’s Racer Series, alongside the TB-R1, and it is described as being the receiver of the full package of custom parts available in Thunderbike’s portfolio.

That means most of the elements on the Torqpedo, from the toppers to the suspension, are of custom design, and were made by either Thunderbike itself, or by third party partners like Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde in the case of the exhaust system, or Ingo Kruse when it comes to the paint.

The entire construction of the bike’s body sets it miles apart from the original Breakout, but perhaps the biggest contribution to that distinct look are the huge wheels, with the front one from a collection called Vegas and sized at 23 inches. What’s more, a pulley brake system was fitted so that the view of the wheels is not obstructed by other elements.

With the tank and the tail designed according to the garage to “form an unmistakable racer line,” the Torqpedo is an older project of the shop, but one that like most others shows how much potential Harley motorcycles have when it comes to customization options.

You can see all the modifications made to it in the detailed photos attached in the gallery above. The full list of custom parts used can be found at this link.

Warren Buffett loaned $300 million to Harley-Davidson during the financial crisis

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by Theron Mohamed from https://www.yahoo.com

Warren Buffett loaned about $300 million to Harley-Davidson during the financial crisis.

“It was the bridge we needed to get us through a rough time,” the motorcycle maker’s finance chief said in 2014.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway probably netted about $150 million in profit from the five-year loan, but could have made more than $1 billion if it had invested $300 million in Harley-Davidson stock over the same period.

“I knew enough to lend them money; I didn’t know enough to buy the equity,” Buffett later explained.

Warren Buffett loaned a little over $300 million to Harley-Davidson in February 2009, when the famous motorcycle maker was reeling from a one-two punch of weaker demand and a cash crunch during the financial crisis.

A few weeks earlier, Harley-Davidson unveiled a three-part plan to weather the downturn: invest in its brand, cut costs, and find the money to cover its financing division’s roughly $1 billion in yearly costs.

The first two elements translated into targeting younger and more diverse riders; closing plants, combining operations, and outsourcing some distribution; and laying off about 1,100 employees or about 12% of its workforce.

However, paralyzed credit markets made it tricky to fulfill the third part of the plan. The company ultimately decided to borrow from its largest shareholder, Davis Selected Advisers, as well as Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

The pair effectively loaned it a combined $600 million for five years at a hefty 15% annual interest rate.

“It was the bridge we needed to get us through a rough time,” Harley-Davidson’s finance chief, John Olin, told Fortune magazine in 2014.

The group needed the cash to continue offering financing to motorcycle dealerships and retail customers, and to keep its production lines humming, Olin continued.

The high-interest loan was its only option to borrow money without giving up a stake in the company, he added.

Buffett struck a bunch of similar deals during the crisis. For example, he invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs and $3 billion in General Electric in the fall of 2008.

“Credit remained virtually nonexistent,” Alice Schroeder said about that period in “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.”

“Buffett lent at interest rates that in some instances bordered on usurious.”

The famed investor also showed his ruthlessness by refusing Harley-Davidson’s request to repay its loan early. Berkshire said it was happy with the agreed terms, the company told Fortune.

Buffett likely netted a healthy $150 million in profit from the loan. However, he could have raked in upwards of $1 billion by investing the $300 million in Harley-Davidson stock instead, as its shares more than quadrupled in value between 2009 and 2014.

A shareholder asked Buffett why he opted for debt instead of equity during Berkshire’s annual meeting in 2010.

“I knew enough to lend them money; I didn’t know enough to buy the equity,” the investor replied.

“I kind of like a business where your customers tattoo your name on their chest,” he continued. “But figuring out the economic value of that … I’m not sure even going out and questioning those guys I’d learn much from them.”

Buffett made the loan because he was confident at the time that “a) Harley-Davidson was not going out of business, and that b) 15% was going to look pretty damned attractive.”

Berkshire made “very good money” by making a simple judgement that the company wouldn’t go broke and lending it money, Buffett said at the meeting.

Buying its stock would pose tougher questions such as whether the motorcycle market would shrink or Harley-Davidson’s margins would suffer from the downturn, he added.

Crisis deals such as the Harley-Davidson loan also showed how Berkshire policy of keeping some cash in the bank and never going all in on stocks can pay off handsomely, Buffett argued.

“We felt very good about where that philosophy left us,” he said. “We actually could do things at a time when most people were paralyzed, and we’ll keep running it that way.”

1984 Harley-Davidson XR1000 Street Tracker Up for Grabs

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by Mircea Panait from https://www.autoevolution.com/

Even though the Sportster line goes back to the 1957, Harley-Davidson treated the world to a rather special model in 1983 in the guise of the XR1000. Alternatively spelled XR-1000, the “street tracker” isn’t only rare but it combines XL Sportster parts with XR750 go-faster goodies.

You can think of the 1984 model year XR1000 as the best of both worlds. A “backroom special” is how Mecum Auctions describes it, and this fellow here is an unaltered example with the original paint and no mods whatsoever since it left the factory. And yes, it’s also looking for a new owner.

Only 1,018 units have been produced for ’84, featuring 36-millimeter carburetors on the right side of the motorcycle and dirt track-style exhausts swept high on the left side. Tipping the scales at 490 pounds (222 kilograms; dry), the XR1000 can easily shoot to 125 miles per hour (201 kph).

When new, the XR1000 used to cost $6,995 or $18,499 in today’s money based on a cumulative inflation of 164.46 percent. Iron cylinders reduced by half an inch, Jerry Branch aluminum SR heads, aluminum pushrods, and a 9:1 compression ratio are also worthy of note. With 71 horsepower on tap and capable of pulling away from as low as 1,500 revs in top gear, the bike shipped as standard with an electric starter and a rather small fuel tank.

Obviously enough, one of the many quirks of riding the XR1000 is the exhaust system. Not only does it weigh the bike to the left, but the headers could burn through the rider’s jeans. The suspension is another annoyance when riding on anything other than smooth asphalt because the forks are underdamped and softly sprung while the shocks don’t offer much travel.

Nevertheless, it’s one of the most desirable Harleys from the 1980s out there, a collectible if you will. Using an online valuation tool, you’ll find out that concours-condition bikes are going for $21,300 these days while an excellent example is $18,400 or so. The seller didn’t mention which chassis his XR1000 is nor did Mecum Auctions provide the mileage in the online listing.

Harley-Davidson Production-R Is Nothing Like a Series Milwaukee Motorcycle

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

We’re not sure how many Harley-Davidson branded parts are needed for a custom motorcycle build to justify the use of the name Harley, but we’re pretty sure the deployment of a Screamin’ Eagle, even on a custom frame, is reason enough.

Despite this name, the bike in the gallery above is of course not a series production Harley. It is actually a custom creation coming from Germany, from the hands of a garage called Thunderbike – we’ve talked about this crew’s products at length over the past couple of months.

As most of the group’s other two-wheelers based on a custom frame, this too was meant as an exercise for seeing what can be “technically feasible with Thunderbike frames and parts.” That means tons of original hardware was fitted on the same frame, linked to a Harley engine, and made to work both visually and mechanically.

The skeleton of the motorcycle is a frame Thunderbike calls TBR-R. Inside it sits a Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 110 good for 100 ps and 160 Nm of torque. But that’s not the impressive part.

No matter your opinion on custom motorcycles so extreme, we’re pretty sure you can’t help but notice the massive wheels fitted on this one, especially the airplane turbine-shaped one at the back. Sized 26-inch front and 21-inch rear, they eclipse pretty much every single other part of the build.

As usual, the Ingo Kruse-painted bike rides on an air suspension that should give it a bit more ground clearance that shown in the photos above.

The Harley-Davidson Production-R by Thunderbike made its official debut way back in 2014 at the European Bike Week in Faak, Austria. We are not being told what happened to it since, but we’re pretty certain we’ve seen an evolution of the design language chosen for this bike making quite an impression on subsequent Thunderbike creations.

Harley-Davidson Marrajo Is How Two-Wheeled Metal Sharks Look Like

By | General Posts

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

It’s Two-Wheeler Month here at autoevolution, and since the beginning of June we’ve tried to bring you not only the best, but also the craziest vehicles on two wheels. But never until now did we uncover something like the bike in the gallery below.

Custom motorcycle shops, especially those usually handling Harley-Davidsons, have made a habit out of creating complicated builds meant to send whatever message the garage needs sending. We’re not sure what the message of this one is, but we still like it.

The two-wheeler you can see in the gallery is called Marrajo; that’s the Spanish word for the shortfin mako shark. It’s in Spanish because the build belongs to a Spanish shop that goes by the name El Solitario MC.

Sometime in its past, this motorcycle was a 1998 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200. El Solitario came across it at a time when it had just 10,000 miles on it (16,000 km), and decided to turn into a “Chupito but suitable for longer distance cruising.” For reference, Chupito is also an El Solitario creation based on a 1977 Ducati 350.

Chupito is funky-looking too, but this Harley is a whole new level of funky, probably thanks to the shark snout-like nacelle fitted around the headlight, and the steel bars that rise from under the seat to form what is supposed to be a shark fin.

There are tons of other custom parts fitted on the bike, ranging from the leather seat to the modified fenders. They all combine with one another and the colors chosen for the tank and exhaust to create an image the Milwaukee-based bike maker never had in mind for this particular 1200.

El Solitario says because the engine had barely been used before they got their hands on the bike, it required no extra work, and the entire build “runs like an angry shark.’

Harley-Davidson Titanium Is a Lower and Slimmer Breakout

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

German Harley-Davidson dealer/custom bike builder Thunderbike has been in the business of reimagining Milwaukee made machines for two decades now, and one of the favorite stock motorcycles it likes to tamper with is the Breakout.

Part of the Softail family that presently includes no less than 12 models, the Breakout is described by Harley itself as a “muscular modern chopper that turns stoplights into drag strips.” For Thunderbike, the stock bike is more of a canvas to be remodeled at will.

The Breakout conversion in the gallery above is called Titanium, and that name was chosen because almost all the aluminum parts fitted on the motorcycle have been polished in titanium – and there’s a long list of them, ranging from the tiny side mount license bracket to the more visible 21- and 23-inch wheels.

Some of these parts have other functions than being just visual enhancements for the custom build. The air suspension, for instance, brings the two-wheeler much closer to the ground than in stock form, while the wheels, fork and custom fuel tank significantly alters the shape of the bike compared to the original Breakout.

The engine remains the stock 114ci fitted from factory, only it breathes through a Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system.

Visually, the cold look of the Titanium-polished parts is enhanced by means of a custom paint job performed by one of Thunderbike’s favorite partners in this field, Ingo Kruse. The German garage says it took just a few weeks to put together, paint job included.

The bike in this condition, which was first shown in public last year at the garage’s Jokerfest event, is listed by Thunderbie as for sale, but no mention of the price is given. Full details, as well as a way to contact the garage, can be found at this link.