Pacific XL883 Café Dragster
By Ross Sharp - 08 Mar 15
One thing that differentiates motorcycle retail from motorcycle customisation is the position of currency in the equation. Price and cost lead the former but often find themselves unwelcome and locked out of the bike builders workshop. To put a pound or dollar sign ahead of a project will stop most at the beer and sketch stage. Despite this we all plough ahead hoping that creativity can equal profit, given enough grinding and buffing. Sometimes though giving a slightly damaged bike a new lease of life needn't mean returning it back to its former factory splendour. The Pacific Motorcycle Co. based on New Zealand's South Island had a thriving retail business but it lacked the soul and reward owner Alan Pritchard was looking for, so he pushed the custom and classic restoration side of the business forward, eventually leaving the cold sales environment behind to concentrate full time on more wholesome and innovative endeavours. A benefit of the previous operations was the remaining stock of lightly damaged bikes imported from America, this 2008 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883L was in perfectly good condition, apart from the crotch shaped dent in the fuel tank and some busted levers. A café style was decided upon and thankfully the work could begin without focussing too much on viability or rationality, the creative juices dripped onto the balance sheet rendering it illegible, a perfect start. The Superlow is exactly that, and in standard form can look a bit like an embarrassed hound in the back yard doing its business. A set of YSS shocks jacked the back up to offer a more sporting stance. With the forward positioned foot controls on a Harley, only experienced yoga instructors should attempt to ride with clipons, so Alan bent-up a set of 1" drag bars, coated them black and voila; a more aggressive riding position without contortion and a vastly improved look. To make the most of this svelte appearance, the speedo is housed in a Joker Machine fork mount and the headlight peak shortened. The stock seat pan was reworked and the foam sculpted to suit the new riding position. To achieve a café look the subframe was shown a cutting disc before being hidden by an aluminium tail cover, complete with a machined LED tail light housing. The powder coater was kept busy with various engine casings in order to remove any glitz from the motor, dark and mean the order of the day. Wheels and fork legs remained silver, simply refreshed in the vapour blaster. Avon tyres keep the shiny side up and an in-house fabbed front mudguard keep the shiny side shiny. A Vance & Hines air cleaner and wrapped exhaust keep the neighbours offside and hopefully wildlife at bay out in the hills. So, the tank, nice shape. Liberated from a Triumph T140 and deconstructed to accept the H-D in-tank fuel pump and filter assembly. Harley tank mounts were welded on so as to offer the new owner a simple removal procedure. The gorgeous shape and distinctive knee dents have been accentuated with deep gloss black and neat pin striping. Purists will be spitting at their screens but hey, it's Alan's bike and from the looks of things he knows what he's doing. Besides it was NOS anyway so has no story to tell, apart from what was overheard in the parts department. Rather than the whole hog, this half dragster, half café bastard bike could be just the thing the winding roads of the Kahurangi National Park, if you live that way of course. Alan will ship the bike to a new owner, just get in touch via their website and check out their workshop on Facebook. A warming reminder that if you follow your heart, put in plenty of graft and look after your customers; every so often this can pay the bills and be referred to as a job.