I’VE BEEN building choppers for years, riding them as hard as I could, building them as mad as I could, and destroying them between Adelaide and the East Coast of Australia. When the Dyna Super Glide came out I was surprised how hard you could ride them, customise them within reason, and still have fun on them because they were bikes that could handle Australian roads.
A couple of years ago I came across the Streetfighter style of motorcycles based around high-performance Jap bikes. I’m not into the Jap bikes, being a Harley rider for years, so I wanted to build a Streetfighter Harley.
The Dyna Super Glide was best for my purpose because of the rubber-mounted chassis, and they handle. They’ve got ground clearance because they taper at the back of the frame. You can still lower them and have a good handling bike that will corner at speed without bottoming out. You can get on the bike, have fun, ride it hard, and you’re not going to destroy it.
I prefer to stick with the Genuine Harley chassis and a souped engine so the bike remains a Genuine Harley born in Milwaukee. All the engine work was done at Rai’s Cycle Shack.
I haven’t raked it out, the wheel base is kept at the standard length, but I’ve beefed up the suspension. I started with Progressive Suspension on the rear, now I’ve moved on to Ohlins from Sweden. Once you’ve had them on your bike you can’t compare it with anything else; it’s like getting off a pogo stick and into a Rolls Royce.
The Dyna Super Glide has got such limited vibrations you can ride them all day once they’re set up properly. The Twin Cams are great with power at the bottom-end and they’re so strong, plus you can soup them up and still keep the factory reliability with plenty of horsepower.
I’ve got a lot of experience in fibreglass work making my own moulds and shapes: I can make basically anything because it’s a matter of making a solid from a liquid; there’s nothing stopping any shape you want. I wanted a Harley that would look good sitting next to a Ferrari.
When I caught a glimpse of a 2004 Aprilia tail-piece in the back of a workshop without seeing the rest of the bike, I couldn’t believe it. I said straight away that was the rear end of the Streetfighter.
It’s got a digital tailight and the indicators are built in so you’re not going to get harassed by the constabulary; it’s legal, and it’s got a nice shape and a design that sits well.
So I set about building a sub-chassis to suit the Dyna rear frame; made all the moulds and the under-guard. It took a 240 mm cross-section tyre under the Aprilia rear-end no problems; normally it’s a 180 or 200 mm from the factory in Italy.
I thought a lot about the riding position and moved the seat back a little. It looks like a sports bike but people who’ve ridden it say it’s comfortable like a cruiser because with the bars and the footpegs you end up sitting in a similar position to a Heritage—but it handles a lot better and looks good too.
I have ridden about 6000 miles on it and the only thing to let me down was the Italian-made indicator couplings that weren’t sturdy enough for the Australian roads so it has little fractures on the lenses.
You’ve got to respect this bike. When you put your foot down in a Ferrari you know it’s going to light up—that’s the way they’ve got to be—and that’s what the Dyna Super Glide Streetfighter is all about.
pics by Chris Randells; words by Robbie