Kustom Research Killer Cafe
By Jamie Hibbard - 02 Nov 16
When Cristin Oroszi’s needs outgrew her CX500 and she was scouting around for a new ride, her choices were wide open. She wanted something to travel the Buffalo, New York highways more happily, but finding a replacement would be tough: her CX500 was a Shed-worthy bike in its own right, previously featured back in 2014 - see here So fate stepped in to help give her focus. Cristin's brother-in-law donated a 1993 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 to the cause, only there was a big problem… it had spent more than five years sitting outside, left to fend for itself throughout the harsh, snow-filled NY winters. It was in terrible shape. Cristin transferred the Sporty to Kustom Research and they got to work. First it was fully stripped, with the frame placed in a jig for mods. The neck and all stock H-D support plates were removed, the former being reattached at a more racey 24° rake with tubular support structure. The frame’s rear was removed too, swapped out for a custom tubular affair to align with the identified café project vibe.
To bolster that style, a tank was fabricated from two Sporty peanut shells, with an added 2007 R1 filler section and a hand-formed bottom and tunnel, as well as a rear-cowl, undertail and seat. All of this, plus knee dents, meant that the café style was really starting to shine through.
But it wasn’t just to be an aesthetic-only project, it needed a handling boost too: RFY 340mm rear shocks, a ZX6R front fork assembly and triple trees, plus a pair of Avon Roadmaster boots for traction. The intentionally mismatched wheels are a really neat touch, inspired by fixie pushbike style – a 1990 ZX7 upfront and a Harley Dyna at the rear, re-laced with Buchanon’s stainless steel spokes.
Those of you with keen eyes will have located the source of the front mudguard already, a Ducati Paul Smart. And as you can imagine, the engine was in need of some serious love after the years of neglect. Components were bead-blasted and powder coated, new gaskets and seals were installed, and the carb rebuilt to stock spec. The large standard air filter was swiftly replaced with a more svelte S&S option, and an exhaust fabricated to more than adequately announce the bike’s arrival at traffic lights.
The list of other custom fabricated or machined parts to fully realise the vision is long and detailed, and there’s also modified foot controls to accommodate a Hammerhead Designs shift peg and brake pedal, sitting in front of Speed Dealer Customs foot pegs. As you look this over you can feel the love that brought it out of retirement – it feels good that something so ignored is now able to be enjoyed again in its new guise. There must certainly be a pang of jealousy rattling around inside that donating brother-in-law.
Killer Café... I'd have gone for the more apt ‘Phoenix’ given that Kustom Research have done such an accomplished job of bringing this Sporty back from the grave.
You can check out journey pictures of the build at their website and Bike Shed Archive | Web | Instagram | Facebook