Koool Rigid Harley-Davidson Sportster Bobber

"It’s basically a stock Harley-Davidson Sportster with a different front-end and a welded on rear-end—but it looks totally different!" said Ian Baker.

I’VE HAD my bike on the cover of Ozbike before, back when I worked with the Hunwick Hallam boys who built Australia’s first locally designed and built performance motorcycle. I did all the fabrication work on that bike. We were into the race fabrication business so I’ve built numerous race bikes over the years. I’ve always had Harleys myself and I built one of the first Harleys with the bigger wide back tyre in the mid-1990’s.

I had a guy called Johnny Fernadez working with me when I had the powder-coating business (which I don’t have anymore) and he and I thought it’d be a good idea to build a bobber as a promo thing; we had a trailer we used to take around all the shows so it seemed like a good idea.

We used a stock Harley-Davidson Sportster with a different front-end and a welded on rear-end—but it looks totally different.

There was a fair bit of fabrication in doing it. You basically buy the rear-end kit (from Bitter End Old School Choppers in the States) and then you make everything around it. I gusseted the frame, made it all strong, and hand-made the exhaust pipes. My mate Chad wired it up.

We changed the wheels and bought a few Mooneyes parts from America.

And then we wrapped it in Motographics.

It’s a stock 1200 and it goes good because it’s so light. Honestly, on a smooth road, it’s pretty cool; it’s a bit of fun; the back-end you could live with as long as you’re not going too far, but that fucking front-end is crazy.

I’ve been to the local pub on it, from Parramatta to Balmain, and that was enough. The front-end is the one thing I regret putting on it. It’s got no shock-absorber like a Genuine Harley-Davidson springer front-end. Tell you what, you wouldn’t be riding it to Armidale and back. No way, I wouldn’t even ride it to Arncliffe.

Even though I’ve sold the powder-coating business, I haven’t sold the Sportster. Trouble is, you get fuck all for custom bikes these days. The stock Harley is almost a custom bike off the show-room floor. It has to go to the right person. If an old hot-rodder wanted to stick it beside his 1934 Ford, it’d be going to a good home.

I recently had this young share-trader guy come in—he’s got Lamborghinis and boats—he walked into the shop, saw the bike and said, “I want it—how much?”

I said, “Dude, you don’t even know what it is! Tell you what, take it for a ride and come back and tell me you still want it.”

He didn’t buy it.

photos by George; words by Ian Baker

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