Return of the Cafe Racers - Viking Funeral – Busch and Busch Harley Ironhead

Viking Funeral – Busch and Busch Harley Ironhead

From sleek streamlined land speed racers to alloy bodied enduro bikes the Busch and Busch brothers sure know how to massage metal. Their latest Harley Davidson based build has been a testing one with the bike’s engine still not completely dialled in, but it’s exterior is a work of art. Coined the ‘Viking Funeral’ this H-D Ironhead that was once a hardtailed chopper is now a wild, full faired racer and it’s up for grabs on eBay. We caught up with the Brothers to get the lowdown on this latest project before it was snatched up by an eager buyer.

 

Harley davidson ironhead cafe racer

“This bike started life as the “Meat Grinder” chopper Sportster we had built about 5 years ago, with a hardtail, matching 19” wheels, weird bars and a springer solo seat.  We needed the engine from that bike to power our land speed racer Sportster, so the bike was stripped and sat neglected for a while.”

Harley davidson ironhead cafe racer

“We decided that suspension was a good thing, so we located a swing arm, a 16” rear cast wheel and some shocks.  From there we started tracking down all the parts we would need to make it a runner. We fit a front disc to complement the rear, a set of drag bars for just about the simplest riding position you can find and of course a new engine since the original was long gone. The engine we found was a basketcase out of a ’78 so we dug out what we had around the workshop and ordered everything we needed to get it running.  The budget was initially a concern, but we were soon way past the point of a simple ‘make it run’ build.”

Harley davidson ironhead cafe racer

“During the engine rebuild the bodywork was coming along nicely. We built a compact, sleek aluminium setup. The fuel tank, oil bag and solo tail section were all made from .060” 5052 aluminium, not the easiest to form, but it is very stiff and highly corrosion resistant. Instead of mimicking the polished look of the land speed racer we went with a raw, brushed finish. Amidst all of this, there were several other components being completed. The exhaust was welded from various sections of bends, the rearsets were custom made to mount off the original frame exhaust mounts, and a GP style shifter (1 up and 3 down now) was bolted in place.”

Harley davidson ironhead cafe racer

“Once the body and the engine were complete we fired it up and commenced the break in. Well, after about 5 minutes of run time the engine seized! It wasn’t the result we were hoping for. We tore it completely down again, replaced the damaged pieces and realised we were missing a bearing spacer on the left side of the crank. We located and fit that, did some transmission work, and reassembled. Bingo! It ran great. The Cycle Electric Generator, Andrews PB+ cams, and Mikuni HS40 flat slide carb all worked great. The bike wasn’t actually legal to ride yet but we got some short runs in and then had another bright idea. To build a full fairing for it.”

Harley davidson ironhead cafe racer

“The one piece fairing is made from the same .060” 5052 aluminium, but this time we gas welded it together.  Gas welding alloy compared to TIG has the advantage of better penetration and it’s more ductile so you can get a better finish. It started as 13 pieces and finished as one smoothed unit. It is all one piece and can be removed completely. The mounts are all bolt on, and this is basically two bikes in one, a fully faired cafe racer or a naked bike.”

Harley davidson ironhead cafe racer

“By this time we had worked most of the bugs out of the engine- there’s a bit of smoke on hard decelerate, it runs rich at our elevation of 4700 feet and there is a stutter on full throttle in 1st and 2nd gears. Unfortunately, we have taken the bike as far as we can on our budget and limited resources and we’ve got to move on to the next one.  It really is a diamond in the rough and with a bit of extra finishing could be great!”

Harley davidson ironhead cafe racer

Harley davidson ironhead cafe racer

Read more like this

Return of the Cafe Racers - V-twin test bed – Danmoto Harley Sportster

V-twin test bed – Danmoto Harley Sportster

After designing and manufacturing his own performance parts for years Danmoto owner Wei Liya decided it was time to build a bike of their own. Naturally, the plan was to build a…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Caffeine fix – Barista Harley Davidson Sportster

Caffeine fix – Barista Harley Davidson Sportster

Motorcycles and coffee are two items that appear on my list of things that I can’t live without, which is rather fortunate. Through my observations, motorcyclists spend a great deal of time…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Keanu Reeves Motorcycles – Arch Method 143

Keanu Reeves Motorcycles – Arch Method 143

If you stayed glued to the television during the 2018 Superbowl ads you would have seen a rather amusing Squarespace advert featuring Keanu Reeves. In the ad, Keanu talks about his own…

Continue Reading