Maidstone H-D Cafe Racer
By Ross Sharp - 25 Nov 14
Maidstone Harley-Davidson is a proper, grown up dealership with the usual expansive showroom packed with Milwaukee muscle, a full-on clothing emporium and a parts department large enough to keep the average customer happy for years. But that's just it, the average customer is now more discerning, wanting a bike not available in the 3 inch thick accessory catalogue. As you can imagine, a main H-D dealer workshop is a rather well kitted out facility, perfect then for letting creativity loose. Inspiration for this project was varied, from early 20th century board track racers to flat trackers but the first spark of an idea was a picture of a chopped Sportster seat. Building a whole bike around an idea for a seat isn't the craziest beginning we've heard of, by any stretch. The guys chose a SuperLow as the foundation. A good beginners Harley, slightly lighter and more nimble than the rest of the family. Obviously this is to be taken with a pinch of salt, or a grain as the Yanks put it. Calling any Harley light is like saying Kim Kardashian's butt is petite compared to the Epcot Centre, we're splitting hairs. It's also one of the cheapest bikes in the range and seeing as so many parts would be changed anyway this made sense. And not being a particularly racy model would mean improvements would be more obvious, and head technician Dave A.K.A. Junior #5 would make sure of this. Where possible the less handsome but necessary inner workings have been hidden away, and the more mechanical and exciting parts emphasised to hint at the work that had gone on with the motor. A 1200cc conversion running ported and flowed blueprinted heads, a more aggressive cam sucking through a Roland Sands Design velocity stack air filter and shouting through a carbon tipped pipe. Lairy! Rearsets and clipons morph the rider from couch potato to racer in one fell swoop, jumping from stock bike to this must feel like the difference between driving a car and riding a motorcycle. Gilles levers and Biltwell grips finish off the bars and an RSD speedo bracket tidies up the cockpit. The smaller, peanut tank from a Forty Eight is a common custom option but it was decided that the more rounded and classic lines of the original SuperLow unit suited the tail and kept closer to the original design brief. And passing petrol stations is now possible thanks to the tanks extra capacity. To match the new purposeful riding position a cafe seat and tail was fabricated to sit on the existing frame rails. The green and silver paint with gold pinstripe came courtesy of Image Design Custom. If you're into paint jobs have a look at some of their previous work, rather excellent. Progressive Suspension shocks out back and matching springs inside the braced forks are a huge improvement over stock whilst RSD preload adjusters offer further fine tuning. To harness the extra shove the gearing has been altered which required an XR1200 type belt roller setup with an RSD belt guard. Velocity stacks, loud pipes and whirring belts; this thing must sound epic. Ex-racer and now Head Technician Dave A.K.A. Junior #5 has certainly delivered on the brief and turned a lazy budget cruiser into this B road belter. If you find yourself in Kent why not check out Maidstone Harley-Davidson showroom and maybe ride this bike away.