I think it’s fair to say that outside of the US one of the biggest markets for custom-built Harleys would be Japan. This of course means there’s no shortage of Japanese workshops catering to the demand. One such workshop is that of Daisuke Hashimoto who runs Anti Clock Wise Motorcycles. Daisuke-san specialises in Harley Davidson based projects but also offers a vintage motorcycle helmet repair service.
This cafe racer is one of his latest achievements. And even though the words Harley Davidson and cafe racer in the same sentence tend to make us cringe, here it’s a match made in heaven.
This project kicked off after Daisuke-san was introduced to the owner of the bike through a mutual friend. The owner explained that he had a crashed 2005 Sportster XL1200R and wanted to get it back on the road. He wasn’t looking simply for a repair job though, he wanted to upgrade both the appearance and the performance of his battle-scarred hog.
Due to the owner’s circumstances, the build was a gradual one. All in all, it took around 5 years to reach this stage of completion with each task taking place at Anti Clock Wise HQ.
As far as styling was concerned, Daisuke-san and the owner settled on a cafe racer theme early. To achieve this he focused his efforts on establishing a horizontal bone line and creating a strong sense of speed.
Anyone who has pulled a tank and seat off a Sporster knows that the frame’s natural line is anything but level. Designed as a laidback cruiser the Sporster has a backbone that’s comparable to Quasimodos. From the neck of the frame, it slopes rearward slowly before making a sudden downward drop down just behind the head of the rear cylinder. In order to get around this, you either need a new frame or have to use some clever thinking to work around it.
In this instance, Daisuke-san went with the latter.
The key ingredients in this Sportster’s cafe conversion are a new tail unit and fuel tank. Daisuke-san sourced these from his fasvourite Japanese suppliers. The slender tank has the look of a vintage Honda racing unit and has been mounted to sit level on the backbone of the frame. As for the tail unit, it sits lower than the tank but still manages to achieve the horizontal line Daisuke-san was chasing. To help tie the two halves together visually Daisuke-san cut the rear off another tank and used it as the seat’s rear cowl.
Content with how the bodywork was sitting he looked for ways to give the Sportster the ‘sense of speed’ he was after. The solution was to fit an Arrow’s Ducati style half fairing. With the look of the Harley completely transformed he turned his attention to its functionality.
With the new fairing in place, the stock handlebars were no longer viable so they’ve been replaced by clip-ons. Low slung mirrors keep the silhouette nice and low and the view of the cockpit is entirely custom with a Motogadget Motoscope Mini relaying speed and rev info back to the rider.
The owner of the Sporster isn’t the tallest guy around so the bike now wears rear-set footpegs. The revised riding position can only be described as aggressive, but there’s nothing about this build that’s subtle.
With the bike now looking much faster, Daisuke-san set about making it more capable. The Sportster has had a complete suspension overhaul with cartridges added to the forks and aftermarket shocks in the rear. To drop some unsprung weight the wheels are new too. Made by Active the forged hoops wear Dunlop’s vintage racing TT100GP radial tyres.
As for the engine, the 1200cc v-twin remains stock, but it now exhales through a pie cut exhaust system that Daisuke-san cut and welded together himself.
Murdered out in an all-black paint scheme this Sportster finally has a look befitting of its name. The completion of this project may have been a long time coming, but it has clearly been worth the wait.