THE rules for the build-off were pretty simple: each bike was not to exceed $50,000 on the road, and the only non-Genuine parts we could use were the exhausts and paintwork; everything else had to be out of the Harley catalogue. This actually proved a fair challenge because, although the Harley catalogue is full of great custom parts, it limits you in some respects as to how much customising per se you can do.
So, me being me, I got the job.
I wanted to do something different from the others. I suspected they were going to go the Softail route because it’s the most popular model, and each dealer has to look at selling it at the end for $50,000.
Right, I thought, let’s go for a Sportster!
We had a Nightster on the floor, so before anyone could sell it, I put a ‘sold’ sign on it.
I thought, right, let’s go with the bobber style. It’s not rocket science — that’s what’s working at the moment, and if I could bring the bike in under $30,000, it would make it easer to sell at the end. So I sat down with a Harley catalogue and started to design a Sportster bobber.
I ripped off all the tin-wear and sent them to Mark at Sydney Custom Sprypainters. I had seen a picture somewhere of a black and gold bike with red pinstripes and it looked really outstanding. I had worked with Mark before and he knew where I was coming from.
The original plan included a Springer front-end and I have to admit to my failure here. I did all the measurements — steering head bearings, steering yoke, stem — and everything worked out so I ordered all the parts in. Unfortunately, the parts weren’t available here so we had to get them from Harley in America. We were running out of time. When the parts finally arrived and we put them together, the Springer front-end fucking wouldn’t turn! At the last minute we ripped it off and re-installed the original front-end with a 21-inch-wheel.
The really cool Roland Sands, two-into-one exhaust not only looks good but, on the dyno, it actually gives a tremendous amount mid-range pull; it almost pulls like a big twin.
I took all the number-plate paraphernalia off the guard to give it that stripped-down look and used a side-mount number-plate USA style instead.
The original rear shocks were 13 inches; these are 11 inches which drop it down nicely.
The sprung solo seat has attracted a lot of attention. It looks custom, and it’s right out of the Harley catalogue.
The bike looks really cool, and if someone walked into the shop tomorrow, we could build them something similar for under $30,000 on the road.
Photos by Wall 2 Wall; words by Tony Williams