Stefan’s Wild One

This wasn’t going to be a name-brand, bolt-on build. After chatting with Stefan, you realise that names and statistics weren’t important; whatever was bought was solely for the look it was going to achieve.

WALKING INTO Southwest Harley-Davidson, Bunbury, in 2002, Stefan reckoned a brand-new, black Softail Harley would be just the ticket, and so he picked up the second bike ever sold by the dealership and roared home to Mandurah. Fast forward to 2005 when he met Dean. While Stefan has been building hotrods longer than most, he’d not had a go at modifying a Harley before, so after chatting with Dean about the bikes he’d built in the past, Dean was recruited to help build something a little more long, low and different.

Eighteen months later and the new custom bike rolled out of the shed as you see it now. Stefan and Dean really nailed it given this was completed eight years ago and can compete with the latest builds kicking around today.

To get the ride-height right, Stefan rode it into a sandpit and started burying the wheels bit by bit until the desired look was achieved. From there the nine-inch grinder was pulled out and the original front-end was off quicker than a bride’s nightie. A custom down-tube and top-tube were welded on by Dean along with a bolt-on, single-sided swing-arm kit that found its way onto the back-end.

$7000 worth of billet rolling stock—21-inch at the front and a steamroller-like, 18-inch rear with 300 rubber—was slipped under the new chassis a short time later.

Getting the pullback and dimensions on the handlebars right took seven goes but, as Stefan says, “They weren’t the most time-consuming part of the build but they were probably the most fussiest. It’s like in a car build—if the wheels are wrong then the whole car is wrong—only on a bike, if the handlebars are wrong then the whole bike looks wrong. They really have to flow over the tank. The switchgear, mirrors and levers are all off-the-shelf items but I wasn’t worried about pulling up next to someone with the same controls as mine, just the flow of the handlebars.”

A tell-all digital gauge was frenched into the handlebars and all the electrical wiring was hidden along with the hydraulic clutch and brake lines. No small achievement there!

Completing the front-end is a figure-eight headlight and a set of inverted forks the brand of which was forgotten ages ago. Whatever they are, they put the front wheel way out in front meaning the bike argues with every roundabout it meets but looks damn impressive doing it.

To maintain reliability, the engine internals were left standard, but a pair of Edelbrock carbs with open velocity stacks looked better than the standard CV carb so they got the nod.

A Vance & Hines exhaust keeps the lines of the bike flowing, and the bolt-on engine hardware was changed here and there to include some shiny bits.

A right-hand-side belt drive was used so Stefan could, “put it on and forget about it. Chains are just too dirty and greasy.” Amen to that.

On the other side of the engine, the primary casing was deep-sixed and a three-inch open belt with billet clutch-support-brace installed just for that extra whine.

The fuel tank, body and rear guard are off-the-shelf items much like those used by builders in the USA like Matt Hotch; however, Dean set about relocating the oil filler and welding up a metal skirt for the stock oil tank to close in the gaps better.

Once the bodywork was done, the whole lot was covered in a custom Candy Apple hue. You’d have to be blind to miss it on the road, that is if the pipes and open primary didn’t get your attention beforehand.

Seeing as Stefan’s an electrician, the spaghetti-works was always going to be something to see, or rather, not see. Starting with a stand-alone ignition system, it was combined with an aftermarket accessories loom which was then hidden inside the framework and handlebars. Finishing under the custom made seat, the installation is just about the tidiest you’re ever going to see on a bike and a real credit to Stefan’s attention to detail.

Now it’s all finished, Stefan decided to enter it in its first show, the WA Hotrod & Street Machine Spectacular, the biggest hotrod show WA has to offer, where it picked up Top Custom Bike. Not bad for its first show eight years after it was finished!

Thanks go to anyone who helped along the way, but mainly Dean for helping out with welding and setting up the chassis properly.

Words & photos by Brad Miskiewicz

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