If you ask me what is and will remain the next 3-year trend in custom bike building I will probably answer one mixing several influences from the past, both classic and vintage, rejuvenated with modern technology parts inspired and “borrowed” from very different purpose motorcycles like drag, race and cruise. Because nobody yet has coined a name for this trend, it’s getting more and more difficult to qualify each new build with the usual motorcycle classifications. The custom featured here is not a Cafe Racer, not a Drag bike, not a Bobber, not a Cruiser. Still, the builder called it a Cafe! betraying what bike image he had in mind when he was doing his thing using a stock Harley FLSTSB Cross Bones as donor bike.
Harley-Heaven Baechli, an official Harley-Davidson dealer in the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland, is also one of the most active custom builders in the country. Of course, like all HD dealers getting involved with customizing, Baechli is beating the drum for the brand, always using a genuine Harley as the platform of all its creations, and in the case of this “Swiss Cafe”, promoting the “Dark Custom Look” currently marketed on so many factory models.
From the original Harley Cross Bones were kept only the frame (without swingarm), engine and gearbox. Not surprisingly, in a region of Switzerland where 80% of the population speak German, many custom parts were sourced in neighboring Germany: “Big Spoke“ wheels by TTS, a “Fat Ass” 280/300 swing arm by Rick‘s Motorcycles utilizing a jackshaft with its own short drive belt (a system that dramatically reduces stress to the rear belt), a Rick‘s Drive Side Brake System uniting pulley and brake disc on the left side of the wheel, “Old School” exhaust by BSL and of course German motorcycle tire manufacturer Metzeler (280 m rear, 21″ front). After the German drag bike influence, the bike was given some sport/street racer attitude by mixing parts from Roland Sands Design, Performance Machine and SJP (forks)
“Made in Switzerland“ comes from the complete sheet metal work outsourced to a local specialist who is exclusively working for Bächli‘s customizing projects. It includes a one-off gas tank, oil tank, front fender and rear fender with incorporated LED taillight. “Swiss Cafe” adjusts to the road (and to impress spectators during bike shows) via an air suspension system. Headlight origin is hardly a secret… Baechli Harley Heaven (photography copyright and courtesy Horst Roesler for Cyril Huze)