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‘65 Harley Ironhead – Hazan Motorworks

Posted on October 16, 2014 by Andrew in Classic, Racer. 89 comments


“Art” is a word thrown around in the presence of many a creative human endeavour. Which is all good and well if your area of interest is music, painting and the like. And that’s because those particular means of expression require you to start with nothing before you have something. But when it comes to custom motorcycles, this is all flipped on its head. Why, you ask? It’s because 99% of all custom bike builds start with a factory-finished product that is subtracted from and tweaked until what’s left is deemed “finished.” But not this bike. This bike has been hewn from raw materials the way an alchemist might create precious metals from base elements. This is the latest bike from Los Angeles’ Hazan Motorworks. This is art.


For those of you unlucky enough to have never crossed paths with a Hazan Motoworks bike before, a little research will shed some light on the unique way that Max, the shop’s owner and sole fabricator, likes to work. Put simply, Max builds ground up and from the engine outwards. “I started this bike in the same way that I started my last few major projects. The idea was to build the most amazing bike that I could possibly imagine around an interesting engine and to make absolutely no compromises in the design and fabrication process that I used to get there.”


Initially, Max planned for a bike that was going to be a simple, streamlined, black steel creation based around a 1949 BSA 500 that he had purchased. But once he saw how the Indy car tires he chose for the bike’s rubber dwarfed it, he went shopping for a larger engine. “Then I found the ‘65 XLH you see here. I cut off the transmission, welded the rest to my build table and went about drawing the bike I saw in my head at full-scale behind it. Surprisingly, what came out was an 8.5ft long sports bike.”


“The goal was to make a bike for myself exactly the way that I wanted it.”

“Almost every piece of the bike was made from scratch; from the rear sprocket to the front hub, this bike started off as sheets, tubes and metal billet. The goal was to make a bike for myself exactly the way that I wanted it. And that meant making everything myself.”


The first thing on the bike that draws your eye is the moon-like front drum brake. Although it appears somewhat proportionate in the photos, Max notes that at 16 inches across, it is pretty damn big in person. It started out as a 400 pound block of aluminum that he planned to machine himself. “Then, after about 30 seconds of thinking the idea through, I decided to have my friends at Emory Motorsports take care of it on their CNC machine.” The results of the outsourcing decision quite clearly speak for themselves.

And the front end that holds the drum is another first for Max; he concocted a bespoke, 4-link, girder-style suspension set-up that uses a fully adjustable air shock. Despite it maybe looking a little delicate, the main structural elements use steel with a 1/4″ wall thickness to keep things on the straight and narrow.


“…and before anyone asks, no, the seat is not comfortable.”

“The rear suspension uses a Buell shock and a fully adjustable swing arm linkage that eliminates the need for wheel adjustment at the rear axle as the arm can be made longer or shorter at the pivot point. All of the bodywork is aluminium and the gas tank is also housing the oil tank between the frame tubes. And before anyone asks, no, the seat is not comfortable.”


It’s not like any red-blooded builder would need their arm twisted to put a blower on a bike, but remarkably the decision to add the supercharger was based as much on Max’s concerns regarding the large space between the two wheels as it was on getting some more horsepowers out of a pretty tame engine. The numbers are not staggering by any modern standards, but Max says it puts out between 80-90hp (up from about 50) and weighs about 385lbs dry. The engine uses stock cams that Max rearranged to run on two front cylinder heads, along with some fairly conservative 8.5:1 ratio pistons to accommodate the new-found boost.

“The supercharger was a true $200.00 eBay find and I have no idea what it originally came from; it needed a custom drive but it works very nicely. It’s overdriven to make about 6psi and it’s fed from an old S&S L-Body carb with big jets. I used a modern six speed right drive transmission and made my own clutch to keep the bike slim.”


Max and the bike in its early stages

“This bike is something that I built for myself to enjoy and – like my other builds – it was made to be 100% rideable, reliable and functional but obviously not practical. It is not very comfortable and there are much easier bikes to operate, but this is easily the most exciting bike to ride that I have built so far. I hope you like it”

[Photos by Shaik Rizdwan from]

  • Bike of the year? What are your thoughts?

    • Noel

      hard to imagine anything topping this- it’s magnificent

    • MayDayMoto

      Yes, I do want to see him riding it though.

    • Junior Burrell

      Challenge accepted 😉

    • TJ Martin

      Damn close Andrew …. but not quite . A very strong top five though without a doubt … that is unless something miraculous comes up before years end .

    • Kane

      No, not bike of the year. Not anywhere near for me: while the craftsmanship seems great, I absolutely cannot stand the lack of originality in the aesthetic (looks like an amateur steampunk accident), the lack of balance (in it’s dysfunctional proportions) and the hype around it just because it looks a bit different and works a bit less than the other bikes shown usually. Oh I’m such a sucker for these perfectly balanced, functional and minimalist beauties that the Mule guy builds…and yes, I actually do wonder if I’d recognise the next real breakthrough in aesthetics whilst I’m stuck in nostalgia, but this, this isn’t it. Not this one, not yet.

      • foiled again

        Are you high?

        • I am.

          • foiled again

            Yeah, me too.

            It was of course a rhetorical question.

        • TJ Martin

          Kane does make a reasonable if somewhat exaggerated [ he’s a little too harsh about the originality issue ] point ! [ see Shinya’s ‘ Spike ‘ etc as an example ]

          Here’s my absolute #1 for 2014 … doubtful ever to be topped ! Not featured here .. unfortunately ;

          Freddie Krugger’s ‘ Nurb ‘

          As an absolute number 2 .. at least for the moment … and not featured ANYWHERE [ hint hint Andrew ]

          North Coast Custom’s ( Italy ) FIAT 500 powered ‘ Abarth ‘

    • Justin Lantz


    • AWLongmeyer

      Art Piece of the year but to be BOTY it should actually function…well.

    • al gonz

      As metal craft & dont-care-about-real world- goes, this should be on top!


      It is great but if you give this bike of the year you’re basically giving it to the same bike two years in a row. Compare this with his Royal: monoshock on fork & under frame, exhaust that hugs the frame tight eventually snaking up underneath the seat so close you barely see it, big front drum, elongated tank, wood seat, open clutch, same levers . . .

      That said, the Bullet is so amazing that it almost deserves to win twice. : )

    • Geno

      A mate just said that this guy hasn’t sold a bike yet. Surely that can’t be true…

  • Geno

    This thing looks like a weapon! Every component is designed to cut, slash, grind and burn your flesh off! I definitely agree that it would be the most exciting bike to ride, but knowing my awkwardly large body it would be my last ride! Still, I freakin love that it exists 🙂

  • whytaylorwhy

    Still trying to pick my jaw off the floor. Holy cow. The bikes Hazan has created have been more exciting and even more mind-bogglingly cool time and time again. The attention to design and detail is amazing. And on top of that, the mechanical skill to engineer this bike together is insane. I wish I had even a fraction of a fraction of this kind of talent. Well, done, Max. This bike is incredible.

  • MotoTrooper

    Yes, I’ll definitely agree that this is art. However, I am not sure I would call this a real motorcycle. It’s shaped like one, said to function like one but part of the qualification, for me, is being able to really go out and ride it. Not just around the block but say for an afternoon. As rolling sculpture it succeeds definitely. As real motorcycle I’m not so sure.

    This is all my own subjective opinion of course. We all have our own. But I will say that looking at those purty exhausts this is the perfect site for this to be displayed.

    Beautiful work Max.

  • John Andrew Schmanek

    Should have made it into a chopper with raked out front forks and a huge fattie of a back tire.

  • It would be great to see this level of skill be applied to bikes that can be ridden for even an afternoon. There’s a lot of well-earned criticism for the overdone chopper-era. How different is this bike when aesthetics are subjective but the function of each are so very limiting?

    The one distinguishing component from the compensating choppers is the front-end, so maybe that will be put on a bike that can be ridden for hours?

    I do like this bike when viewed as art, but that appreciation is quickly held back by the expectation that this art form is intended to take a genuine beating, not give one.

  • TJ Martin

    Now here’s a bike that is difficult if not impossible to find any fault with . Mildly Shinya ‘ influenced ‘ .. and yet not a copy … craftsmanship from the photos appears to be excellent … overall design an absolute winner . Heck … the bike appears as though it might even be ridable .. at least for a short blast now and again .

    Nope ! Nary a fault to be found . Two thumbs up … with a bullet .

    As to the Art issue . Art … is best defined as Craft Elevated . Making all so called ‘ artists ‘ [ such as myself ] craftsmen .. with hopefully an effort or two being elevated to the status of …. ‘ Art ‘ … which although this bike comes damn close … well .. not quite .

    Having said that though .. Max is definitely on the cutting edge … and I’m guessing on the very cusp of his first work of ‘ Art ‘ . Lets just hope when he gets there he remembers to make it ridable as well

  • sethasaurus

    Phew, what a machine! I was waiting to see what Max came up with after seeing that initial photo. Looks great with all the polished aluminium.
    Personally, I would fabricate a more comfortable seat and make it a speed machine that doesn’t feel like hell to ride.
    The Japanese-made Aisin supercharger caught my eye right away. They put these on Nissan Micra, Subaru Pleo and a few other cars. Perfect for supercharging anything up to about 1200cc.

    Lets hope that’s a real drum brake on the front, not a ‘drum break’, as Andrew reports… *rolls eyes again*

  • AWLongmeyer

    To paraphrase Dirty Harry; if you pop that blower drive “it’ll blow your moot CLEAN off!”.
    I do like Hazan’s work though.

    The creativity, fabrication, et al are excellent.

  • sethasaurus

    What’s the deal with the front suspension (or lack of)?

    • chip

      ‘…front end that holds the drum is another first for Max; he concocted a
      bespoke, 4-link, girder-style suspension set-up that uses a fully
      adjustable air shock…’

      • sethasaurus

        OK now that I’ve zoomed in a bit, it looks like there is some kind of shock there, but why is the fairing sitting about 5mm above the tire? Certainly looks a bit puzzling to see no room for suspension travel. Unless the reference is to the big cylinder slung underneath the bike.. (? just puzzled really).

        • Johnny Hillard

          Seth- I might be wrong, but I do believe the fairing travels up and down with the front wheel instead of being mounted in a static location on the frame. This is what allowed him to have it so low.

          • Good eye.

          • sethasaurus

            Still doesn’t look right…

        • Patat01

          Go to his instagram… There is a video of how the frond end works… Pure genius really…

          • Worth going there full stop. There’s some great little videos of how some of the details work. Magic.

          • These videos are the answer to all the guys who think that this ‘rolling dagger’ is an art piece, and not ‘maybe the most exciting thing to put between your legs’ and blast away!
            But I bet there will still be few still moaning about the lack of fenders, mirrors, blinkers etc.
            My sympathy and condolences to them…

    • Look closely in and around the fairing.

      • Justin Lantz

        7th pic. Front shot of fairing.

        That’s an ass in jean shorts.

  • TJ Martin

    So if I may … and apologies in advance to all those that’ll find this boring .. a musical analogy of where I think Max is at presently as regards to ‘ Art ‘ .. art again being best defined as craft elevated .

    Using Bob Dylan’s career for the analogy .. Max is still in the initial phase of his evolution much like Dylan was with his first five albums . Showing all the signs of a major break through . Definitely exhibiting signs of originality . But still a bit too beholden to his ‘ influences ‘ [ in Dylan’s case mainly Woody Guthrie ] ..for anything he’d done so far to be considered ‘ Art ‘ It wasn’t until ” Highway 61 Revisited ” that Dylan finally grew beyond the obviousness of his influences [ while still maintaining them ] that Dylan finally came up with his first work of … ‘ Art ‘

    Thats where Max is in my opinion . Needing to rise above or go beyond his influences .. while still holding true to his roots . And .. in my opinion … as long as Max remains true to himself and doesn’t make the fatal mistake of trying to ‘ Escape ‘ his influences … he’ll get there . Probably sooner than later

    • Guy Hamford

      What a load of crap written up here.. TJ Martin… Dylan was just another arogant kid with money and access…. And who gives you the right to decide on what level of art someone is… Nice inspiring bike. Also love the kickstarter and front fork!

      • Dacron Aorta


        TJ Martin is a patronising and pompous nincompoop.

        That’s better!

      • foiled again

        Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs.

        • TJ Martin

          Et Al

          #1 GH Funny .. Bob Dylan was a working class kid who worked his way up the very hard way .Read your damn history before banging away in ignorance on your keyboard !

          #2 … and again GH .What give me the right ? 20 years of consistent International ‘ composer ‘ .. not songwriter awards .. as well as a 40 year successful career in the Arts .. not to mention a hell of a lot more involvement with the ‘ Arts ‘ and Artists [ if you insist on using that word ] than I’m guessing y’all have ever even dreamed of . Thats what ! So what gives you the right to give me any ___ ? Now there’s the question worth asking .. ___hat !

          #3 Whats the matter Dacron ? Am I going over your head or is it just your insistence on remaining perpetually clueless . tasteless and forever addled .. by one substance or another ? 😉

          #4 Sorry ‘ foiled again ‘ Dylan did not write ‘ propaganda’ songs . Not that you’d know the meaning of the word .. propaganda if your life depended on it . Dylan ‘ reflected ‘ the times we were in .And I do mean … WE ! As well he absolutely refused to be affiliated with any political or propaganda movement thru out his entire career right up to the present day . As stated above FA .. read your damn history before shoving your foot firmly down your throat whole

          So in conclusion Et Al . Pardon me for sharing an informed and well founded opinion about what I consider to be one of the best up and coming [ but not there quite yet ] custom bike builders in the world . I should of known better than to of given ” Pearls to Swine ” .. not that most of you will catch the meaning of that either .

          • foiled again

            “Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs” is a Minutemen song, generally laudatory of Dylan. Look it up.

          • “Pearls to Swine” may refer to the 60’s underground cult band, Pearls Before Swine, that TJ, nee Guitar Slinger, may have been a member. Or a reference to The Mighty Swine, a prog/metal band from the midwest. Or a nod to The Hogtown Squealers, a gypsy jazzgrass string band from Brevard, NC – their rendition of “Whiskey Before Breakfast” is fantastic.

          • metricwrench

            Any grown man wether “artist”, composer or otherwise should not feel the need to justify himself or opinion, nor need to explain his opinion in such a way as to make himself seem unbelievably foolish. This is a motorcycle forum afterall and your comparisons to one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived (informed or not) just comes off as so misguided and ignorant. I would remove the “com” from your title and you would find a new one for yourself that would be quite fitting.

          • Dacron Aorta

            It cheers me up to point out what a patronising and pompous nincompoop you are, you certainly deserve it. I would have added that you are arrogant fool who lives in a world where the sun only shines when you fart but I was trying to be pithy.

        • I got the reference…I wonder…why a musician [of international fame]…didn’t?

          • arnold

            GS ‘s daily driver?

    • Fred

      Yep , gotcha TJ . And I can dig it. The welding is improving bike by bike.

      A great piece of (motorcycle) art

  • Fascinating.

  • Dhanu Prakash

    Should check it out in action on Hazan Motorworks’ fb page. To see this ‘thing’ and various parts of it in action is just so mesmerizing!!

  • Randy Moran

    Nice job. And an old ZX-7 in the last pic, one of my favorite bikes ever!

  • foiled again

    There are bikes, and there are Max Hazan bikes.
    A Venn diagram would show very little overlap between the two categories.
    Brilliant? Damn right. Art? Why place it in that category- to my mind craft trumps art, so the question is moot.

    • TJ Martin

      Once again … ‘ Art ‘ … is defined as ‘ Craft ‘ elevated . And though this one comes close … it aint quite there yet . Brilliant ? Errr .. sort of . But still a little too beholden to his influences [ Shinya’s ‘ Spike ‘ etc ] To borrow the phrase ;

      Beginners Copy

      Talent Borrows

      Genius Steals

      With Max currently on the top end of the ‘ Talent ‘ category … but rising rapidly upwards towards ‘ genius … in my [ hardly never ] humble ksmys if you don’t like it opinion 😉

      • foiled again

        A worthwhile definition of art is “A lie that tells the truth”. Generally attributed to Pablo Picasso. Wrestle with that one for a while…

  • Bowds

    Whoa Wuha! Doesn’t look very comfortable but I don’t think that really matters in this case.

  • Justin Lantz

    It sure is an intriguing sculpture of a motorcycle.

  • Troy

    What a glorious creation full stop!

  • Goncalo Cardoso

    Its the most beautiful bike i ever see in my life!!!!!!

  • Tyler Stone

    I can’t say that I don’t like it – it’s gorgeous. The part hanging me up is “8.5′ long”. That’s just insane to me. It looks so small, nimble, and fast – and doesn’t quite seem to be any of those things. I wish it were smaller, and then it would be 11/10 perfect. Instead of just 10/10. Excellent work as usual, by Mr. Hazan.

  • norton23

    Every detail is handmade…..stunning!

    Is it art? A wiser man than me (I forget who) once said ‘for something to be art it has to serve no purpose…..’, So those who figure it is unrideable might call it art and vice versa.

    I loved the knife concept of his previous build with the solid wooden tail section, which I think is an even purer, cleaner build than this. However the tubular sections he has used here gives it more ‘lightness’, with the rear tyre it looks like it could drift off in a breeze. Also the ‘floating’ cowling…….eh i give up, too many mind bending touches. Well done sir!

  • revdub

    Nearly speechless. The amount of skill and workmanship is simply amazing. I’m not even going to try and define it.

  • slowskate

    Don’t want to ride it. Don’t want to own it. Happier knowing that it exists.

  • 48

    I could literally stare at these pictures for hours on end…amazing.
    I know I’m new to the custom moto world, but doesn’t there need to be a tension pulley on the primary drive chain? I would think that would wear out your drive gear in no time.

  • Jacob Speis

    No. No. No. This is beautiful. This is art.

  • idomyovvnstunts

    Max raises the bar on a global scale.
    As he gets more support he’ll be giving Krugger a run for it.
    Hopefully before we all switch to electric.

  • ERBriner

    As a motorcycle art contender, i would consider this top shelf. Very exciting and inspirational. I can’t figure how half of it was accomplished.

  • Doug Devine

    I have to say Max has that one in a million mentality. He can truly bring his thought out in metal in the most fluid way.. Congrats on the build and accolades. You’ve earned the respect of about every builder and customizer. Cheers to the future Max!!!

  • I have read that another person’s actions cannot define you, only your reaction to their actions define you. Art though is an expression of the artist with an intent of soliciting a reaction. And so although I am self-aware enough to see myself as an ape standing mesmerized by Stanley Kubrick’s Monolith, my reaction is still to stand with those who view the XLH as being simply a canvas now.

  • I think Max has overcome gravity and is headed into deep space. There are consequences in deep space.

    • Carl

      Are you implying an Icarus type tale with these hazan builds? With the bike as a substitute for wax wings? ….

  • Luke

    I love the commitment here – “I made my own clutch to keep the bike slim” is not something I’ve heard from other builders… Clearly it’s in the motorcycle-as-art category. While not something I would lust after (for it’s lack of ride ability), it’s does demand respect.

  • Jeremy C

    Looks like a bike built from paperclips and the nuts and bolts from a steampunk’s vest pocket. If it ever runs over 80 it will likely kill someone, when it falls apart.

  • John Keegan

    @Pipeburn_Andrew:disqus truly there can not be any negative comment regarding the totally artistic and beatifically accomplished construction and finish. It is by any measure, pro or con, magnificent.

    The craftsmanship, the design, the execution, the fact that with all the previous and the extraordinary dedication to a vision are testament to which every reader/rider dreams.

    At the same time, it’s far more art than machine of purpose. There’s a lot of that going around. I get it. Do you?

    I’m $$ comfy and not into being a blogging whore for ad clics (but I soo like the fem versions) so I offer you a tiddy.

    You’ve grown up as bloggers over the past three ears. You’ve started to understand that your sponsors aren’t interested in clics from moped wannabes and trash bike riders that can’t buy when they click.

    This preso is at the other far end of the extreme. Not gonna get the thru-cliks, wrong audience from your branding.

    But it is an emerging marketplace for high end buyers of one-and-only-one of-a-kind builds…and the name that matches the build, the leather, the art. What OCC and JS understood at the beginning of the cycle is what you might want to grasp, promote, brand, and be the premiere showcase for such similar and incredible builds.

    Yah, dummies, not under Pipeburn, but something more focused and appropriate.

    PM me ifagotaclue.

  • John Keegan

    I forgot to mention. As a ride strictly for the builder, it hits 100 of 100 pts simply because “it is”. But for the self absorbed craftsman, the builder, to exclaim that it is 100 percent rideable is like saying a broom up the a$$ is as good as a Chinese dinner in Hoboken.

    That’s not a bad thing. I don’t go to Hoboken for Chinese or great bikes.

    Regardless, I agree that it must be an exciting ride…just to hear the raw chains whip and whistle next to flesh seems , eh, extreme.

    For myself, I’d rather have less risk of personal injury from the crude mechanicals of flying chains and sprokets…

    But, hey, Orville, pass me another set of links ’cause there is an empty space ‘tween the seat and my balls. Thanks

  • It’s a thing of beauty, that’s for sure!

  • Richard

    This thing is only ‘brilliant’ if it’s sitting in someone’s living room. Props to the builder and all but bikes are meant to be ridden. How are you going to ride that thing with that rock hard narrow wooden seat? Also, I’m not a plastic suit wearing safety nazi but those open chains look insanely dangerous.

  • davmo

    What a bike. Beautiful styling, obvious engineering talents, but the unridable nature of the build will always be an issue. It stands alone and shines in the world of motorcycle design, but make the next one beautiful and perform, and you will have cracked the nut. BTW, GuitarSlinger is back? I have been away too long. As perhaps one of the few that occasionally enjoyed his thought provocations and stirring up the pot, I must say good to see you around. Just play nice and keep the razor sharp.

  • John Kydd

    Art? Yes but a workable bike that is both safe and roadworthy? No.

  • give credit when due

    Absolutely not. How has the fact that this is a MASSIVE take / rip off of Shinya not been discussed more?

  • Goose

    Genius. You leave the other worthy contenders in your dust. Congratulations

  • sycojoe

    Yes awsome bike I love it but…Like so many top end builds can it be rode down the hiway? Not with those front forks or that beutiful intake I wonder if the front piston will get enough gas? But……It is
    Awe enspireing! Great worK!

  • battler britton


  • Eric J. A.

    FYI – The supercharger looks to be an Aisin brand, AMR300 or AMR500 model.

  • Darrell Schneider

    Beautiful rolling “ART” Max is brilliant with this style of build!

  • Mark Sworn

    Any videos of this in operation?