Café Sportster By DP Customs

DP1DP2DP3Café Racers. Very few among you in the US have ridden them in the 70’s. But because of nostalgia for their own unique style and the possibility to turn a light factory bike into a Café Racer for a reasonable budget, they are very popular again on the 3 continents of North America, Europe and Asia. During the last 4 years Google Trends show that the number of internet searches has tripled for the keywords “Café Racers”…

Thanks mainly to young builders and riders, this type of motorcycle continues to evolve, borrowing visual elements from both the American Greaser culture and of the British Rocker attitude. And what is the most appropriate US brand and model platform to accomplish the conversion? Of course the Harley Sportster, soon to share this privilege with the new Indian Scout currently arriving in dealerships.

DP4DP5When they showed me their new creation, it was no surprise to me that brothers, best friends and passionate builders Jarrod and Justin Del Prado from DP Customs spent these last months modifying a 2002 Sportster 1200 cc to give it the distinctive bodywork and handling characteristics of a true modern Café Racer. It’s perfectly in the lineage of the type of quick rides they have built until now. But this time with suspension and braking performance in mind for a city racer.

DP6DP7It takes more than a small fairing around the headlight and clubman bars to turn a Sportster into a nostalgic British inspired racer. First, Harley factory motor performance was livened up with a Dynatek single fire ignition and coil. Motor now breathes through a Joker Machine intake. Exhaust system is DP Customs proprietary baffled “Box Pipes” offering a very unique and pleasant growl. For looks and weight saving, the bros fabricated a rear cowl and seat pan formed from sheets of aluminum. For a more distinctive appearance they designed a 5-spoke wheel (19” front, 18” rear) reminiscent of the lightweight BMX mags they were running back in the day. Thomason Performance was in charge of CNC machining these custom wheels. Both are shod with Pirelli Sport Demon rubber.

DP8DP9For adequate racing suspension, choice was made for adjustable Showas front forks from an S Model Sporty, and in the rear for a set of excellent Progressive Suspension 970 series shocks in 13.5” length. The triples trees, clip-ons, and rear sets were designed at the shop and made for DP Customs by Shane at Chainsikle. Front braking is the duty of Brembo brakes on dual discs and activated by an ISR master cylinder. Rear Brembo braking maintains the Harley factory master cylinder.

Adjustable hand controls for comfort are also from ISR. Although you would never guess from the pictures, the diamond stitch seat was created with the same leather that Lamborghini uses. The bulky Harley wiring was ditched and the Bros created a new one from scratch. Paint preparation and spray was performed by Walkers Way. And if you wonder, and it’s the only thing I know about the painted number 56, it has a very special meaning for the owner of this bike. since he was a kid, and still has to this day. You may also notice a couple of discreet Ironman logos on the bike. It’s because in 2014 he completed a full Ironman Triathlon , not an easy feat for those who know and have tried…DP Customs. 623-695-1495

19 Responses to “Café Sportster By DP Customs”

  1. 1 Greeko Jan 19th, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Simple. Like it. But not sure about the boxed exhaust pipes. At least, it gives the illusion of short pipes.

  2. 2 David Jan 19th, 2015 at 9:29 am

    For sure, this one is a rider.

  3. 3 Rick Jan 19th, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Hey Cyril,

    I think you are mistaken about the origins of “cafe racers” in the US. Most of the riders in the 70’s on street bikes, that were non-harley oriented rode “cafe racers” or sport bikes with clip-ons, rear sets, etc., and street bike manufacturers catered to that with bikes like the Kawasaki GPZ’s, the Z1’s, and Honda’s F series as some examples. We loved fast, nimble rides and wanted to emulate the roadracing heroes of the day. “Greasers” as you put it rode Harley’s or Indians, and had nothing to do withe the sport bike or cafe racer machines.


  4. 4 Danny Jan 19th, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Oil tank should not be black, but brown like paint job. For better flowing lines.

  5. 5 Pat Santoro Jan 19th, 2015 at 10:01 am

    All bikers maintaining their bikes in their private garages are greasers. Cafe Racers are not an American styling movement. It was mostly European.

  6. 6 Mack Jan 19th, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Love it!

  7. 7 Sharkey Jan 19th, 2015 at 10:33 am

    A modern XLCR…very nice. Although the weight and handling won’t be quite in the same league as Euro based cafe bikes; the torque band on this one would long, low and strong…much nicer for powering out of a bend in the road. And the V Twin is a nice narrow engine for “spirited” riding. I like that they didn’t take the comfort way out using one of the obese rubber mounted Sporty’s

  8. 8 18bravo Jan 19th, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I think I’ve been a fan of nearly every DP Customs bike I’ve seen, but this one misses the mark for me somehow. Of course, for me it’s based solely on the styling – for my tastes the tank and seat cowl don’t go together well, and personally I like to see the straight line underneath the tank continue along the seat all the way to the rear of the bike. Again, that’s just my opinion. I’m sure it is a runner though, and that top yoke on the triple tree is a thing of beauty.

  9. 9 Blackmax Jan 19th, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Pretty Sweet Looking if you like to ride that kind of style bike.
    Does not look very comfy, but to the age bracket
    this kind of bike is aimed at, they’re not concerned about comfort anyway.
    if you like it, more power to ya !!!
    Buy it & ride it, like you stole it !!!

  10. 10 Dave Blevins Jan 19th, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Good looking bike for sure.

  11. 11 FTD Jan 19th, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Exhaust is Buellish.

  12. 12 nicker Jan 19th, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Cafe racers came out of England and Europe. Later that trend was picked up here in the US from the Ton-up boys of 50’s England. Those guys were tuned into the Motorcycle road racing….. Big over there, not so in the US.

    Cafe Racers were European Kids imitating their track heroes who were internationally known. Even in the early 60’s not many people in the US knew who Dick Mann was. He had to go to Europe to get recognized.

    US MC racing had its roots in dirt tracks which existed in about eery small town. US roads were less than perfect for performance riding on pavement. But by the 5o’s and 60’s, with better roads, plenty of imported European racers, and English motor publications “Cafe bikes” were in.

    Rode an “Egg-motor”,,, (clippings, 5-gallon tank) Benelli to high school.
    (still have it …in a box… some pace :- ).


  13. 13 Roberto Jan 20th, 2015 at 4:38 am

    If i was 20 yrs old i’d love it. I bought a year old 76 Honda550 back in the day and converted it to hybrid bobber/ cafe racer. It was fun until i couldn’t afford the tickets. Next stop was a 69 ironhead. To be young agaain……….

  14. 14 JackS Jan 20th, 2015 at 7:47 am

    Great job DP Customs! It is elegant in its simplicity; form truly does follow function. I bet it handles extremely well and is a blast to ride.

  15. 15 calif phil Jan 20th, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Love it. It reminds me that I should get my XLCR out of winter storage.

  16. 16 TJ Martin Jan 20th, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Cafe Racers did not make it big in the US for a very good reason . They did not [ and still do not ] suit our roads nor our riding style in the slightest . Cafe Racers being designed for quick , short ton up hops from one place to another in the UK where space is minimal and distances short . Fact is Cafe Racers still do not suit American roads or riders in the slightest . The current craze for them here being driven entirely by Suburban Urban fashionista ‘ Hipsters ‘attempting to create an ‘ authentic ‘ nostalgia experience that in fact does not exist . e.g. A trend … and a short lived one at best hopefully sums it up . What suits us [ US] are in fact Cruisers , Sport Tourers and especially Adventure Tourers . Adventure Tourers being the one burgeoning trend [ sales wise ] that does have some staying power and which all the US manufactures to a number are completely ignoring … while chasing EV/MC’s down the Rabbit Hole of self destruction to their peril .

    Cafe Racers and ‘ Scramblers ‘ . The sooner both trends go away …. the better ! Then maybe we can get back to real motorcycles as well as taking some genuine steps to advance the breed rather than continually looking in our rear view mirrors 😉

  17. 17 nicker Jan 20th, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    “… Cafe Racers did not make it big in the US for a very good reason …”

    Could that be because ” Suburban Urban fashionista ‘ Hipsters ‘” don’t know how to “ride”….???

    Its hard to hang with canyon carving Cafe Racers while only be capable of “driving” your MC..


  18. 18 RokDoctor Jan 25th, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I’m with TJ Martin on this one. But, soapbox aside:

    I appreciate that DP actually tied the tank seat and fender together as a cohesive unit.

    Generally the cafe crowd ends up with a bolted together mismatch kind of look, so I like that DP has taken the concept to a much higher aesthetic level. Whether having a cohesive look is true to the original cafe racer style in days of old – I don’t much care. This looks good.

  19. 19 nicker Jan 28th, 2015 at 12:18 am


    Yes sir…. Good point.
    Once ya get past the Hacksaw, hammer, & chisel stage “having a cohesive look is” really what its all about……
    Regardless of what your building….. 🙂


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Cyril Huze