A while ago, I was at a Harley-Davidson dealership. The place was big, clean, a lot of chrome bling was all around and a great old rock classics playlist played to add that unmistakable Harley aura around the place. I was luckily around when an about to be a Harley owner was getting ready to take delivery of his brand new 115th Anniversary H-D Forty Eight. The sales person was talking to him about the bike and what sort of customisation he can look into. What caught my attention was the statement, “The whole idea of a Harley-Davidson product is to let you project your individual tastes and create a truly one-off icon on two wheels. If you aren’t customising your Harley, you are doing it wrong.”
And it is indeed true, keeping a Harley-Davidson motorcycle stock has to be a criminal offence in the cult of makers legacy. And this is also where I felt it was time to compile the best Harley Davidson Custom motorcycles that I came across through the previous journey of mother earth around the sun. Here we go then. This post is brought to you by Jennings Harley-Davidson
“Eleanor” Harley Dyna Custom by NCT-Motorcycles
Growing up with ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ as a go-to-movie and Nicolas Cage’s heart-to heart with the Eleanor Mustang, it was obvious that the Eleanor by NCT was going to be on this list. Based on the now defunct Dyna line, to be precise a 2009 FXD Dyna Super Glide, the Eleanor has a typical lean drag racer appeal with thoroughly upgraded suspension components that include a Showa upside down front fork and Öhlins piggybacks. There’s an all-new rear subframe that mounts a fascinatingly blue seat, the same colour also lends shade to the freestyle Harley Davidson logo on the tastefully painted fuel tank that is from an older custom street model. Rest performance modes are the likes of an Akrapovič muffler, an engine overhauled to 1584cc with stock internals and much more. Also, it looks absolutely drool-worthy as you can see in the picture below. Head over to NCT-Motorcycles for more.
“Hot Racer” Harley FLH Custom by Tricana
The cool Swiss blokes from Tricana had got me floored with their custom Electra Glide that looks as if it will burn down a drag trip in a fit of fury while at the same time devour twisties with passion. It is an amalgamation of everything beautiful that made this motorcycle that bears an iconic v-twin heart shout about its go-fat-go-fun feelings. Front suspension came from a Yamaha YZF-R1, while brakes made their way into it from an R6, and it was the gorgeous Ducati 999R lend in its wheels and front rotor. The Pegs were from the Suzuki GSX-R while the new swingarm was a custom build. Bored out to 93 cubic inches, the engine got a toughened crank, an Andrews race camshaft, pushrods with modifications, a Super G carb along with an S&S hi-flow oil pump. With all this power came in the dry clutch assembly from Barnett, and a newer tough chain drive took over from the belt drive.
On the looks front, it is mesmerising, low, and appears fast from every single angle. The bodywork is asymmetrical and hand made to perfection. Almost the whole of the fuel tank and its fueling system has been hand built and most of it is carbon fibre. And as for the paint scheme, well, that’s right below to ogle at, just fascinating. Head over to Tricana Motorcycles for more.
Iron Riot – Harley Softail custom by One Way Machine
Industrial, Clean, Minimalist and absolutely stunning to look at, the Iron Riot is a perfect Harley Davidson Custom build. But then, it has been created by the Germans. As we all know, a machine from Germany in any capacity has to be flawless. One Way Machine knows well the art of Harley-Davidson custom builds and you can count these guys to do a stealer job always. It started life as a 2001 carbureted Harley Softail Standard, the old 1450cc lump was refreshed with thorough overhaul and a new clean, shiny, elegant exhaust system. The Fuel tank is a tinkered-a-bit unit from the DKW from the 1930’s. Then there a clip on handlebars, a thick shiny chain drive, and a lot of awesomeness thrown over every bit. Wouldn’t you want to have it parked in your living room and call everyone all the time to show it off? Head over to One Way Machine for more.
883 Sportster Built by Tim Harney Motorcycles
If I was a gangster from one of those American Shows from the 80s, I would have without fail rode something like this. This once upon a time 883 Sportster from 1989 was effectively torn apart into pieces and was rebuild with almost every thin new and custom made. The Brooklyn based builder gave it an overhaul to a big bore, added a high compression 1200cc kit, with an S&S Super E-carb. The new rack is two degrees steeper while almost every frame bit is new and TIG welded. The Slender minimal fuel tank is also handmade and so is the tail unit. Other significant handwork involves a handmade oil tank, fork shrouds, number board-styled mount for the headlight and a belly pan. The rear gets expensive custom Marzocchi shocks with valves from Öhlins. The thing is, this is one Harley I would love to be seen and followed on. Absolute Gangsta, Absolute Style. Head over to Tim Harney Motorcycles for more.
Harley shovelhead cafe racer by Jamesville
A café racer build on a Harley-Davidson platform you ask? Yes Please. Based on a FX Super-Glide, the shovelhead cafe racer by Jamesville is clean, and bang on point. The seat pan and cowl were fabricated from scratch while the inspiration for that mean looking exhaust came from Ducati’s. While the rest of the bike was mainly true to the original, the brakes needed to be upgraded and the paint scheme was chosen to bring the 80s’ comeback to life, and it works to say the least. Just have a look at it, you would know. Visit Jamesville for more.
The Bel Air 1200 Framer by Deus Ex Machina
A build by Deus Ex Machina has to be a default entry in any ‘Best’ custom list, and this stunning Bel Air 1200 Framer is no different. Complete with Machina’s flawless attention to detail and captivating design, the build projects an authentic Café Racer Brawler appeal. At the heart of its all is the V-twin lump which is a 1200 Evo unit that went through a rebuild with ported heads. It also gets new additions to boost performance in the form of a Keihin FCR-39 flat slide carburetor match with a K&N air filter. While at it, the engine also got itself a new Daytona Twin Tec ignition system. The design pays an ode to the 1957 Chevy Bel Air which also inspired the builds stunning paint job. Other gorgeous bits include the custom in house build exhaust system, while the front suspension is from a Yamaha YZF-R6. The race spec rubber is the lovely Bridgestone Battlax and Brembo brakes. In all, a build that just doesn’t just look epic, but goes about tearing the road with similar oomph as well. Head over to Deus Customs for more.
Metric H-D Stinger by See See Motor
Harley’s make great flat trackers even if the company doesn’t seem to bring the XR1200’s successor to the production line. Till then, the very customization friendly Street 750 platform can be used to create the lost key. The blokes at See See Motor went ahead and did just that and ended up with this stunning version called the Metric H-D Stinger. Oh, then there is the fact that the blokes just took out the engine from a donor Street and went about creating everything themselves, cool… A new air filter and a custom exhaust unit was added. The triple clamp is a custom job and is adjustable while the suspension bits were too modified to deal with the flat track duties. There is a flat track seat and a loss of around 10kg with a lot of good looks thrown in between. Perfect. Head over to See See Motorcycles for more.
Street Tracker by Tin Shack Restoration
This Street Tracker by the blokes at the Tin Shack Restoration is a flat tracker based on the XL1200 platform. However, unlike the minimal yet curvaceous existence of the Metric H-D Stinger, this one is a sport café racer-ish in appeal. Needless to say, I like it, a lot. The front gets new forks donated by a Suzuki GSX-R750 along with a ‘gull winged’ triple clamp top from Tri-Angle Metal Fab. The flat tracker handlebars are polished stainless steel while the headlight and it mounts are a custom affair. Head over to Tin Shack Restoration for more.
El Solitario’s Custom Harley-Davidson
With the war-mongering fingers all around the globe flirting around the nuclear launch buttons, it is safe to have an eye for a bike that could help you wade through a post-apocalyptic world, should you survive, off course. This is why this straight from Mad Max meets the Walking Dead El Solitario’s Custom Harley-Davidson build is probably among my most desirable Harley-Davidson custom builds of recent times. Taking it all a notch or two further, it was a project that had not one but three Harley-Davidson builds at the same time (so that your friends can be the new gangsters of the dystopian future). The result are categorically insane and menacing endures that wore the signature El Sol’s tattoo-over-tar-paint camo scheme. They were packed with the top shelf dirt-savvy suspension from Öhlins. Just check these out and plan to survive the nuclear holocast with your love and best friend. Head over to El Solitario Motorcycles for more.
2016 Harley-Davidson Street 750 Custom by NCT
This has got to be the best custom build on the Harley Davidson Street 750 platform out there. The build was carried out on behalf of a Harley-Davidson Dealer by the fine blokes of NCT for the 20th annual European Bike Week. They left the stock wheels, suspension and brakes alone as they were while the entire bodywork was relieved of its duty. In came custom body panels all over. The tank, tail, front fender and side covers were all handmade lending the build an entirely different and radical visual existence. In fact, seeing it, I guess, this is what the original stock Street 750 should have always been. Head over to NCT-Customs for more.
This article is presented by Jennings Harley-Davidson, UK’s highly acclaimed, independently operated motorcycle retailers established in 1917. Head over to Jennings Harley-Davidson to know more.