The Harley-Davidson Revolution engine, as good as it can be, was never favored by Custom Builders for their one-off bikes. I see the reason as their refusal to break with tradition and of course the fact that these last years saw the resurgence of the old school style using period correct, or at least look alike, classic powerplants. Are things going to change and are we going to see more custom V-Rod platforms on the road? Yes, because motorcycle designers, part manufacturers and builders have already “exhausted” the possibilities of renewing the retro style look, and also because by nature the vocation of a custom builder is to to experiment with new designs and to build something never seen before .
Customizing stock Harley V-Rods is not easy task because the bike is liquid cooled and so compact with few possibilities to move parts around to create a distinctive new look. Reason why all customized Harley V-Rods look about the same. As the opposite, building from the ground up with a custom frame (pick your look) using only the V-Rod engine and transmission gives you the freedom expected by builders.
Many custom builders here and abroad like to share their projects with me while their bikes are still in progress. And I can already tell you that for the 1st time since the launch of the Harley V-Rod, an unusual number of these projects built from the ground up are using the Revolution engine. V-Rod Cruisers, V-Rod Sport Bikes, V-Rod Baggers are the new breed of customs that you will see on the road, in bike shows, but first in my Blog. Not on a big scale, but still a new trend interesting to observe.
Example. This collaboration between David Guido (designer and freelancer for a Confederate Motors new model), Rolling Thunder Frames and custom builder Fred Vaillancourt from the Rat Shop, all located in Canada. This project is called “Republica” and will feature the Harley V-rod 1130 cc engine and 5-speed transmission housed in a “racer” short and light weight chassis custom built by Rolling Thunder. Similar to a Ducati setup, engine is used as a stress member. Notice the dual tubular front and perimeter (Rolling Thunder is also making this style of frame available for the 1250cc VRSC and for all air cooled engines.) Front end will be an inverted Showa 43mm with a rear suspension of the type gas charged 3-way adjustable Showa shock. Wheels will be light weight aluminum 17″ x 3.5″ in front and 17 x 6″ in rear, dressed with Bridgestone tires and slowed at braking by 310 mm Nissin radial brakes. From where I stand it’s kind of interesting to know that several high end Sport V-Rods projects are going on at the same time from people who even don’t know each other. To follow…