’89 Harley Davidson Sportster Cafe Racer
Living and riding motorcycles here in Southern California for most all of my life, I have seen pretty much everything rolling around on two wheels. Every brand, size, style and condition. Basic stock to wild customs and everywhere in between. Southern California is Mecca for motorcycle people. Year ’round riding, more dealers and shops than probably the rest of the country combined, all the major Japanese manufacturers are based here, all the magazines…this really is heaven for riders. Hey, we even have Jesse James…uh, is that a good thing though??
Years ago, I cut my canyon riding teeth in the Santa Monica Mountains; Mulholland Highway, Decker Canyon, Encinal, Yerba Buena, Stunt Road (its real name), Latigo Canyon…and all without meeting the CHP. So far. Every ride included a stop at the Rock Store. The Rock Store is arguably the most famous Southern California motorcycle destination and a required stop on a Sunday ride along the Malibu coast. The Rock Store is a Sunday bike show that features every type of motorcycle imaginable. Custom Harley’s, Gold Wings, dirt bikes, scooter’s, cafe racers, vintage Brit bikes and bicycles too. Harley Davidson, in general, is the ride of choice for the Rock Store crowd; baggers have become quite popular of late, you still see classic longbikes once in a while, a Sporty here and there, and more women riding their own instead of on the back.
One type of bike that you rarely see at the Rock Store is a Cafe Racer style Harley. Back in the 70’s, Willie G penned the XLCR for The Motor Company (see the header pics) but it didn’t sell well. Harley riders have always, and will always want, big heavy cruisers so that is what Harley makes…give the customer what they want. However, there are some adventurous souls that take it upon themselves to break the mold and build a Harley Davidson Cafe Racer. A few years back while cruising the parking lot I came across the ‘DUCHNTR’. That was the license plate on the back of a very cool Harley Cafe Racer. I met the owner once, can’t remember his name right now, he told me all about his bike and why he did it. It was a good story about a very trick and fast Harley. That was the last time I saw a really well done Cafe Racer powered by Harley Davidson. Until today.
This morning on ebay is this stunning 1989 ( ok, not really vintage but hey, it’s my blog, my rules) Sportster Cafe Racer. The owner of this bike has gone all out and I mean all out. First, he built up the motor to put out what he thinks is an honest 70HP at the rear wheel, impressive for a Sportster. Second, modified the frame and suspension to make it handle not like a Harley. Third, sweet body work off a Ducati 750SS and an MV Agusta gas tank. This bike is spectacular. Look at the details, this is a work of art. The love, time and cubic $$$$ put into this bike really shows. If you want to be the stand out at any bike gathering, this is the sled for you. One thought here though, the regular Harley crowd might think you stand out a bit too much…maybe you could put some old school Electra Glide bags on it??? Nah. Click on the pics to get more pictures and a full list of all that was done to make this Sportster what it is…a beautifully fast motorcycle.