The Spirit Of Steve McQueen In a Harley V-Rod

The builder: Rick’s Harley-Davidson Of Baden-Baden, Germany. Yes, the Rick famous for his gorgeous wide dark wheels, his ultra-custom parts for V-Rods, his drag/muscle/fat tires (dront & rear) custom bikes built in a very aggressive style, the way germans love them to burn rubber at very high speed on the country’s autobahns… The client: idolizing Steve McQueen, especially in the role of Delaney, Gulf Team Porsche 917 racer in the 1971 “Le Mans” cult movie. Common point between Steve McQueen racing car and the Harley V-Rod? Porsche engine technology, of course. Reason of affinity between Rick & the client? Rick’s, among other activities, has built many custom V-Rods using his own proprietary parts.

Both Rick and the client being convinced that if McQueen would be alive he would race, or at least ride, a custom V-Rod, they decided to use this Harley model as the base for a tribute bike to the actor. Rick’s team watched and watched again the “Le Mans” movie, observing and figuring out how to adapt the McQueen’s blue racing car styling to a stock 2010 V-Rod .

First step was to tear down the V-Rod to bare frame, to fully disassemble the motor/transmission to prepare each head, cylinder and covers to a dark sinister paint treatment treatment. Powdercoating was extended to the frame, to Rick’s Apollo wheels, to stock brake calipers, to fork parts and many other covers. Always a very tedious process taking weeks, but required when looking for the Full Custom appearance.

German V-Rod riders still love fat rear tires. So much that this modification is one of the most requested to Rick, both by clients and by fellow Harley dealers. Yes, with the right components a V-Rod can take a 10.5″ x 18″ rear wheel wrapped in Metzeler 280/35 18 rubber. And it will even look better if you fit it on an extended swingarm then pair with a front wheel in size 3.5 x 18″.  All this a “standard” conversion that Rick does using his own parts from wheel to drive line offset pulleys and spacers for perfect alignment.

Single seat, air-box cover with scoops, “short cut” front fender and adjustable Legend Air Suspension belong to the Rick’s package to turn the V-Rod into a mean low stance ready-to-race machine. All other modifications are either for comfort, safety and looks. On this McQueen tribute, like on most of his creations, Rick used Ness rubber hand and forward controls for great grip at high speed, mini Kellermann turn indicators, etc. Racing Blue & Orange paint job by Wild Air Hörby. Work time for such a result is 3 months. Cost? Around $45,000. Rick’s Harley-Davidson Baden-Baden. (photography copyright Horst Roesler for Cyril Huze)

25 Responses to “The Spirit Of Steve McQueen In a Harley V-Rod”

  1. 1 Oldude Aug 6th, 2012 at 7:54 am

    More non American builds! Where are our builders?

  2. 2 Seymour Aug 6th, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Very sharp. It’d be funny if finally V-Rods became popular in the US!

  3. 3 Branner Aug 6th, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Marcus Walz did this years ago.

  4. 4 Mike Greenwald Aug 6th, 2012 at 8:07 am


    If, by “our” builders, you mean someone that would meet your standard of race, creed, color, who knows? If you have a list of builders that meet this criteria, why not ask them where they are?

    Mike Greenwald

  5. 5 Lindsey Trausch Aug 6th, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Great build. Kudos to Rick’s Harley-Davidson Of Baden-Baden, Germany they did a job that I’m sure McQueen would have been excited about.

  6. 6 Lyle Aug 6th, 2012 at 8:29 am

    The Gulf Triumph, painted just like that, won the show at the Tookenay Rat Raid just 2 weeks ago.

  7. 7 CafeSportyTC Aug 6th, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Le Mans…. my favorite racing movie. Porsche 917 , flat 12 horizontal bevel gear driven fan monster…. The V-Rod sharing development with Porsche is a perfect choice for a tribute bike, beautiful… just love it

  8. 8 Mac Aug 6th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Well if you ment steve the bike racer (scrambles ,crosscountry ,dirt and flat track I don’t see it .& I don’t see him making the famous cross country run ending in and great jump sean .In the Great Escape .I know he did a lot more than bike racing but the actors fan bace will remember him more fore bike raceing . Its a great bike ,but I don’t see it . Mac out

  9. 9 fuji Aug 6th, 2012 at 1:59 pm


    My sentiments.

    McQueen would be riding something entirely different.

    He didn’t need to pose for he knew how to ride. Stud.

    Nice bike though.

  10. 10 Woody Aug 6th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I can see him on an old Paris/Dakar BMW or one of the new Triumphs set up with knobbies, wide off road bars and a dented tank. McQueen ruled, I don’t think he’d of embraced the VRod any more than most of America has 😉

  11. 11 Keith Stone Aug 6th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    SHARP ! Always been a fan of the “GULF” look… Nice job ! “thumbs up”

  12. 12 Dinky Dot Aug 6th, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Very nice but the whole gt 30 style has been done to death, still nice ride just like everyone elses take on it

  13. 13 Zipper Aug 6th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Mac said it best and no way for the Beemer. ..Z

  14. 14 Septic the Sceptic Aug 6th, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Tribute, or trampling the memory of McQueen? I suspect the latter.

  15. 15 highrpm Aug 6th, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    nice distortions: the light blue paint magnifies the diameter of the frame tubing. all the black running gear gives it a sinister look, and yet the light blue and orange softens the look with some south beach art deco. and the fat tires, well they round out the look and presence. a really nice take on the v-rod.

  16. 16 Oldude Aug 7th, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Mike , all that ever appears in this post are foriegn builders! What criteria I have is for builders is that they have iminagination and not the same old look and bikes that are not rideable. I.m sick of seeing the father son bikes, Jessie bikes and prison bikes. There must be some other less known American builders that deserve a post.

  17. 17 Tussuck Aug 7th, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Thats just plain fugley!

  18. 18 Rodent Aug 7th, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Painting a v-rod to represent a tribute to Steve McQueen’s LeMans is like painting a Ford model T to represent Steve McQueen’s green Mustang . A total disrespect !

  19. 19 Sam Burns Aug 7th, 2012 at 10:42 am

    And yet, one of Steve’s favorite bikes was his chopped Indian.

  20. 20 Mike Greenwald Aug 7th, 2012 at 12:37 pm


    The palette that most of the accepted builders use is some variation of the H-D. Not much else can be done with this limitation. Hard and soft tails, FXR and FL chassis examples have appeared with different ornamentation and quality. Most builders understand the high effort and quality needed. The big expenses that are hidden from the public are the photo shoot and the P.R. piece that accompanies the pics. Thousands can be spent for this. Many of the builders that you might like to see represented herself cannot afford this expense.

  21. 21 SIGFREED Aug 7th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    The V-Rod is as well understood, as Swahili is understood, in the US’s Mid-West.

    The true “spirit” of the V-Rod is a fast, long, low, narrow bike, with a more relaxed riding position – targeting man-sized riders with an appetite for the fast-lane (vs the midget jockeys on the crotch-rocket screamers). You sit in a V-Rod, not on it – the Street-Rod’s death-knell.

    A fast-arsed V-Rod is a paradoxical inanity equal only to the one who asked “can a man drown in the fountain of eternal life?”.

    Perhaps now that “narrow” is fashionable, there may be a ‘blind dog’ that will see the ‘light’ and bring us a 1200cc high performance custom, with the V-Rod’s original narrow architecture. Mmmm, how I wish I had the time to do it myself…

  22. 22 CW Aug 7th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Nice paint job commemerating Steve McQueens roll in “Le Mans” good job!. Other then that looking like prettty much stock. Ok, the fendor, and tank some cool mods. Zero clearance at the rear tire? My opinion a custom motorcycle must be ridable and fuctional. I look for innovation and styling. Dont see that here. Much respect to builders that build cool bikes for riding!!!!

  23. 23 Oldude Aug 7th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Point well made Mike sad however that money and hype talks rather than builder talent.

  24. 24 Mike Greenwald Aug 7th, 2012 at 6:40 pm


    Maybe now, in the day of, “You didn’t build that,” we can help some of these builders. Using a well trained eye, I think that there is a chance. Brand specifi

    Mikec allegiance to get recognition be damned.

  25. 25 Martin Twofeather Aug 7th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Now this I really like………….

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Cyril Huze