The Sportster Forty-Eight® was born from Harley-Davidson looking like an urban brawler with the right attributes to be easily turned into a modern Cafe Racer. And if it’s the direction you are looking for, here is a good example of what you can achieve for a reasonable customizing budget without compromising your Harley factory warranty. Since the birth of the Cafe Racer, the style has evolved, taking influences not only from the original British Rocker sub-culture but also from the American Greaser scene…and from the Harley-Davidson XLCR.
On this new creation by official Harley-Davidson dealer Thunderbike, you can regret that the fuel tank was not modified, elongated, with recessed panels to allow the rider to squeeze it between his knees. But you find other elements faithful to the Cafe Racer signature: narrow handlebars that allow to “tuck in” to reduce wind resistance and tighter steering control , mid-controls (factory unit comes with forward mounts), half racing style fairing, humped solo seat on shortened rear fender, shorty exhaust, etc.
Ok, for this budget, it will remain a custom Harley. It would cost you much more if you want to build a pure Cafe Racer like a Triton (a combination of Norton Featherbed frame and Triumph Bonneville engine), a Tribsa (a Triumph engine in a BSA frame) or a Norvin (a Vincent V-Twin engine in a Featherbed frame.) But riding this Sportster painted in silver (to replace aluminum) adorned with black racing stripes, and with a little bit of rockabilly attitude you be able to remember or imagine how it felt to race the ton (100 mph or 160 km.h) from café to café. Thunderbike Germany. (photography @ Ben Ott for Cyril Huze)
Thunderbike Café Racer II
Base: Harley-Davidson Sportster 48
Rear Fender: Thunderbike Cafe Racer Kit
Front Fairing: Thunderbike Cafe Racer Fairing
Wheels: 4.5 x 16 & 3 x 16 Spoke wheels
Tires: oem from H-D Fat Bob
License Plate: Thunderbike sidemount short
Taillight: Thunderbike Alcatraz Open
Footpegs: Thunderbike Alu
Grips: Thunderbike Base Alu
Exhaust: Roland Sands
Air Cleaner: Thunderbike Drilled