The Mako Harley Davidson Sporster

Brandon Holstein run a workshop called ‘Brawny Built’ in Signal Hills, California where he does everything from basic servicing through to full custom builds. Back in 2010 he also co-founded ‘The Speed Merchant’ workshop and parts manufacturer which has been kicking butt ever since. A couple of years ago he blew peoples minds when he unveiled his Harley Davidson 883 Sporster based “Mako” at Born Free 5 and I had the opportunity to interview him for issue 5 of Tank Moto magazine. Here’s some of what he had to say about his Brawny Built beast.

“The Mako is a 2003 HD Sportster.  It started as an 883 that was in a minor wreck.  Since it was just mainly cosmetic damage, I picked it up for a decent price. I like riding fast!  So I wanted to build something that I would be able to ride at speed, and still be comfortable.  The idea was to build a bike that would allow me to lay on the tank, tuck under the fairing, hang on and twist the throttle wide open. I wanted a big smooth motor, a slim chassis and some good suspension to handle the speed.”

“I mounted Ohlins (cause they really work and my friend Robin got me a good deal on them) rear shocks to my modified swingarm.  The swingarm was strengthened by using billet axle plates and adding 5/8″ tubing.   The wheels were robbed from another project I had here at the shop, 19″ front and 18” rear.  To finish up the chassis, I used Racetech emulators and springs in the front-end, along with our Speed Merchant preload adjusters, and Speed Trees.  Then just for added insurance I used an Ohlins steering stabilizer.  Once the chassis was completed I started with the sheet metal.”

“I found an old modern Triumph tank that was lying around my shop and decided to use it.  I tried other tanks, but the Triumph had the look I was after.  Once I had mounted the tank how I wanted I got to work on the tail section.  I constructed the tail out of aluminium making it as slim as possible. After the tank and tail were done, it was time to add the fairing. I built a custom fairing bracket that also houses the headlight, oil cooler and speedo/tacho. I decided to build a belly pan on the bike to balance out the sheet metal…plus I like belly pans.”
For the custom exhaust I used 304 stainless steel. The system is a 2-into-1-into-2 which was purely experimental.  I like how it turned out, however I may be changing them in the near future to see if we can squeeze a few more HP out of the motor… Speaking of the motor; for years I had been sitting on an 85″ (1400cc) big bore Sputhe kit. I was waiting and waiting for the right build to use this motor in and this build was screaming out for it.  The whole time I was working on the fabrication of the chassis, sheet metal, etc, my friends at Mach Modified were working on piecing this incredible motor together for me. It isn’t your typical high horsepower motor, the numbers aren’t through the roof, but it has a very usable linear power range. I decided to use a subtle color.  I wanted it to be something that wouldn’t take away from the other things on the bike, or be too dominant. So I chose a custom mixed, darker shade of red and decided to mute it by making is flat.  The result is what you see…”
To read the full Mako build story and see more great shots of the bike grab a copy of Tank Moto 5 here.