Archive for the ‘harley-davidson’ Tag

2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster Cafe Racer

I am really torn by bikes like this. Converting a Sportster into a cafe racer is kind of a daunting process. There aren’t a lot of sources for true cafe-styled parts for these bike (especially 2004+ rubber-mount bikes), and when you tell the parts guy at your local shop what you are doing, most likely he or she will give you a blank stare.

So if you do manage to find the parts, then you have to do a good job with the conversion. With this particular bike, it is certainly beautiful, and has a number of really nice parts attached to it: Storz rear-sets, nice race-style seat, beautiful H-D themed paint, and a great intake/exhaust combo. But a well-built cafe racer is more than a simple sum of its parts.

In this case, I am concerned that the bike looks lowered front and rear. For my personal Sportster cafe racer, I actually raised the bike 1″ in the front and 2″ in the rear to try for more ground clearance. And I don’t really want to be careening through corners while trying to maintain a grip on the shiny bits at the end of these drag bars. Cafe racers typically have a form-follows-function aesthetic, while this bike is trying to go both ways. Like Storz rear-sets on a lowered bike.

Now, if I could bolt my 15″ shocks to this bike, add my clip-ons, and put some stiff Race-Tech springs in the front end, this would be a great bike…


Cafe Racer From A Custom Shop (Detroit Brothers)

The auction has only 6 hours left, and the price is over $8K USD. Can this bike break the $10K mark? It probably should, but we’ll see. “How Much Was It Worth?” to follow the close of the auction…

How many of you have heard of Detroit Brothers Custom Cycles? You there, in the back, are you raising your hand because you’ve heard of them? Oh, okay, the bathrooms are just down the hall. Well, if any of you ever peruse The Horse magazine, you might have seen their bikes gracing the pages of that fine magazine that displays bikes/choppers other than your typical v-twin custom. Some of the bikes are even somewhat cafe’d.

But be that as it may, DBCC has got one of their creations up for sale on eBay. And it’s a cafe racer!!! And as you may know, I love cafe racers!!! You can click through to check out more, but here’s the skinny on the bike…

Take one 1994 Sportster frame, insert a Buell 1200cc motor, graft some Kawasaki forks onto it, create a kinda crazy fairing, give it a cool semi-retro paint job, add all the requisite cafe racer accoutrements, and stick a model on top of the bike.

So is it cool? I think so. Actually, I prefer it without the fairing. But overall (fairing or no), it is nice to see a chopper builder doing something that can actually be ridden, and is probably quite fast. As a cafe racer Sportster owner myself, I am glad to see someone else taking up a full conversion from plain-old Harley to something that actually deserves the name “Sport”ster. More pics and specs available on eBay…


There is a big puddle of oil…

…underneath my bike. Arggghhh!!!

I think it is time for a strip-down of the whole thing. I guess this is a sign that the KTM has to be running. There must be some kind of leak from the oil tank. No other reason for oil to be leaking from the rear portion o fthe chassis of which I can think. Wish I had some more money or time. Oh wait! I have time! Now for the money… 😦

Back On The Bike (or The Return of the Death Rattle)

I commuted yesterday and today. On my bike. It’s been like two months since the last time I rode it any further than just across town. I had been worrying about the “death rattle” noise that has been emanating from the lower left side of the motor. I changed the oil on Monday night, then rode around town hoping that the noise had gone away with the fresh synthetic in the oil tank. The noise seemed less as I revved the hell out of it away from the stoplights.

Then I rode it to work. Oh boy. At steady states of cruise, the noise is back. With a vengeance, I might add. At around 65-70 mph, it sounds awful. At 75 mph, the noise lessens, and then at 80 mph it disappears, but then the bike sounds pained as it wheezes its way down the highway.

My next step is to change the transmission oil and check the primary drive chain. I hope it is something simple, as I really don’t have the time or money for a full tear-down and rebuild.

But even with the engine noise issue, I love being back on the bike. Regardless of the problem, I’m not going to stop riding it (unless it blows up). Way better than being trapped in a cage! 🙂

Clean and Well-Built H-D XLCR

Ahhh. A nice XLCR from Harley-Davidson with many good mods to the motor from the current owner. Maybe my bike will end up being a spiritual successor to the XLCR, but probably never as nice as this one. I like it when people build up bikes in a low-key way, such that it is more about function than form. And it certainly appears that the build was done in a meticulous manner. That would be a nice bike for a fast Sunday morning ride along Mines Rd.

1977 Harley-Davidson XLCR

Another Harley Cafe Racer… This one ridden by Evel Knievel?!?!?

Two Harleys in one day? What is the world coming to…

This one is a bit more customized than the one I posted earlier today. Lots of engine work. Paint. Suspension. So on and so forth. Cool XR piece of kit…

What makes this bike interesting is the Evel Knievel link. From the listing, it is unclear if he rode this during a show. If this has been jumped by the great Evel Knievel, then it is a pretty cool piece of history. I wish there was a photo of the signed helmet and article, too. But regardless, this is a very nice bike – cafe American style.


1999 Harley Sportster Cafe Racer

Ahhh. This is what I want my bike to become. I’m not going to bother going through all the specs on this one, because pretty much everything’s been done. The highlight, though, is the Storz tank. Too bad Storz doesn’t make one of those road racing tanks for the 2004-present Sportsters.

However, I do have a question for the owner of this bike. Why is the picture of the Ohlins shocks on a bike with a chain and closed end Supertrapp vs. the other three pictures being belt-drive and open-end Supertrapp? I actually have the same black Progessive 15″ shocks on my Sporty, and although they probably don’t control the rear wheel quite as the Ohlins, they are 1.5″ longer for added ground clearance. 🙂
The owner commented via a question I sent to him on eBay. Here’s his response, or you can read it as the actual comment he sent to the blog…

I am the owner of the 99 Cafe. Sorry for the confusion. The pic with the PS shocks is an older one that I used because it was a good pic, sunny day and full profile shot (and frankly, I forgot that I had the newer Ohlins and chain drive since it was taken) 🙂

From 1999 Harley Sportster Cafe Racer, 2008/07/26 at 11:08 AM

Sportster Cafe Racer

Back On The Bike

So as I wrapped up my move from my old house to my new house, I needed to get my Sportster moved, too. Now I’ve been putting off an oil change for a bit because I’ve been so busy with moving, work, divorce, etc., that I hadn’t gotten around to it. There’s some funky noises coming from the lifters, but I’m hoping the oil change will help that out. So I haven’t ridden in several weeks…

But I said WTF. Instead of loading the bike in the truck, I hopped on it and rode over to the new place. It wasn’t quite like the feeling of riding a bike for the first time, but it was close. It was faceshield open to the warm night air. It was loud pipes roaring as I ran the bike up through the gears. It was the smell of burning oil and backfiring carburetor. It was a feeling of freedom as I leaned it over through the corners, accelerating from the apex straight out of this life and on to the next thing for me.

I guess I should do that oil change so that I can go back to riding every day…