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RIDER ON THE STORM. A Harley Sportster Tracker from JSK Moto Co.

Posted on April 26, 2017 by Andrew in Rat, Scrambler, Tracker. 13 comments

All or nothing. It’s a phrase you’d probably take to mean ‘no middle ground’. But it seems more and more builders are using it as a yard stick to define new genres for custom bikes. All of the popular styles rolled into one, or maybe none of them at all. What would a cafe scrambler tracker look like? Or an enduro street fighter? Conversely, how would a bike built purely to suit personal needs rather than a pre-existing category or style look? It seems that the cafe racer’s rule might just be coming to an end, and builders like California’s Sam Kao and his ‘Cobalt Storm’ Harley look to be on the crest of something very new.

JSK Moto Co. was started by Sam in 2010 in La Puente, California. “Ever since I was a kid, I was known for my love of motorcycles. When I see one, I instantly start redesigning it in my head. I always have.” And for Cobalt Storm, the main (re)design elements are all drawn from triangles – whether it be the headlamp, the seat bracket, or the seat itself.

“The Cobalt Storm is a design study on how to make the Harley Davidson Sportster more minimal,” says Sam. “It needed to be timeless as possible without adhering too closely to current trends. We wanted something you’d choose to ride more and further everyday; something suitable for some light off-roading, just because you can.”

By adding tracker influences for an upright riding position and knobby tires to achieve a few basic dirt capabilities, they’ve achieved something of a cafe racer aesthetic without the discomfort of a slouched riding position.

The fuel tank may not look too TARDIS-like from the outside, but there’s lots happening on the inside. Now with two internal sections, the right half contains the fuel and the left half contains the electronics. Sam also used a Motogadget M-Unit and M-button to reduce the wires, relays, fuses. Three cheers for German efficiency.

Sam was intent on balancing the bike’s HD soul with their modern performance upgrades. “A JSK bike must ride better than stock. Then and only then can we talk about how it looks.” In the Storm’s case, there’s CNC’d triple clamps for improved handling, a custom Gears Racing rear shock, a transplanted single-sided swingarm from a Ducati 916 (!) and USD Showa front forks to complete the Harley’s rather radical suspension modifications.

Sam says that the real challenge of the build was redoing the wiring to fit the electronics into the tank. “Not only did we have to redo the cables, but we also had to figure out to effectively source and manage all the electronics devices inside.” It’s a brave shop that plans a complete rethink of a bike’s electrics and it’s electronics, too.

One half for fuel, the other for wires

“My favourite aspect of the tracker is that I managed to reduce a whole heap of parts to make it lighter and more compact. But at the same time, it’s also a strong bike as we  upgraded to tapered bearings, lighter stronger triple clamps and inverted forks.” With that last thought from Sam ticking quite a few boxes on our mental ‘how to make a better Harley’ list, we’re keen to see what he does next. Very keen.

JSK Moto Co. – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Joe Cheng ]

  • John Forsythe

    Very clever on the tank.

  • martin hodgson

    The styling, like anything visual, will be an issue of personal taste. I like it! But what I really like is the quality of the engineering and how well thought out the build is, in taking the best aspect of a Harley (the engine) and creating a machine that makes the best use of it. The swingarm conversion is really really well done and the top mount for the rear shock is how you should do a mono-shock conversion. Not some of the dangerous disasters you see all the time on forums/

    And the tank is just bloody brilliant!!!!

  • rein skugler

    The artwork on the tank …

    • Not sure about you, but I like me a bit of old school pin striping.

  • Jim Roberts

    pretty neat, but…..can’t understand why the footpegs are mounted so high. if you were
    expecting cornering clearance too be limited then why those tires? personally, i like fenders and that chain sure looks tight. tubeless is cool

    • AB

      Ha I was thinking how good the riding position looked.

  • This thing is nuts! Can’t say I don’t like it though…

  • Andy Rappold

    Classic example for when too much is really too much . Ridiculous build.

    • Remember, there’s no accounting for taste. I quite like it…

  • A custom bike is a great canvas for trying out innovative ideas. This works quite well for a custom. Beautiful design and execution. For a daily rider add fenders, larger fuel capacity and Bob’s yer uncle.

  • Anything that sees a Harley lump being used beyond its factory based application leaves a grin for all the right reasons, (recently been growing fond of the big sportster engine), keep ’em coming!

  • Keith T Robinson

    Looks like shit. Making a sportster more minimal ? Lol. Anything but!