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CLASSIC TRACKS. A Retro Harley Street Tracker from Clockwork Motorcycles.


Posted on May 3, 2017 by Andrew in Brat, Classic, Tracker. 17 comments

I recently pulled my old turntable out of the garage and got it up and running again. A new needle and belt, some dust removal and a few solders here and there and suddenly I’m rediscovering a wall of vinyl that hasn’t been played in many, many years. It’s easy to forget just how much great music was recorded in the 70s and 80s. You could dismiss the era as wall-to-wall makeup and silly hair, but a closer inspection will reveal some amazingly inspired, and beautifully timeless work. Sam from Canada’s Clockwork Motorcycles has taken a similar approach with his latest build – a retro Harley Sportster with all the right influences.

“I sold my personal bike and first build last year,” says Sam. “It was a Honda CX that I had turned into a little scrambler. I had this bike for a couple of years, so it was not easy to let it go, but it was time. I secretly wanted a Harley since a little while and when I saw this super clean, stock 1993 Sportster I pulled the trigger.”

As the owner of a shop who’s working weeks on customer’s projects, it is not easy to find time to work on personal ones. But when he finally did, Sam says that the goal was not to build a show bike for the company, because he knew he didn’t have the budget nor the time to do the idea justice. “The goal was just to build me a reliable and comfortable daily rider,” he smiles.

“Even before I bought the bike, I had an idea of the style I wanted. I was really excited to build my personal bike, because it’s a great chance to show where I am right now. Often customers come to me because they want something in a style I’ve done before. Now there’s nothing wrong with this, but sometimes you want to move forward.”

Sam wanted to keep the roots of the Harley brand intact and took inspiration from the best parts of  what was done in the past instead of reinventing it. He’s clearly also a big fan of the Japanese Harley scene. “They have a great style and a good eye for building bikes with nice lines and details,” he remarks. “But principally, they do it while showing a real respect for the brand and its past.”

He started by removing all the things he knew he wouldn’t need, then he found a Superglide Shovelhead tank from the 70s with a shape that was perfect for the project. “I mounted it to the bike as low and close to the engine as I could. I wanted a straight, horizontal line flowing through the bike, so I brought the rear end a little higher with a pair of longer shocks from a vintage airhead BMW.”

Next step was the rear wheel. Sam wanted the bike to look lighter and slimmer, so he ditched the 16″ rear wheel and the wide tire for an 18″ from an Ironhead Sportster while keeping the 19″ front that was already on the bike. Since the vintage flat track bikes were also an inspiration for the project, he went with the classic Dunlop K70 tires, with a 4.00-18 rear and 3.50-19 front.

‘“For the rear end, I cut the fender struts close to the shock mounts and fabricated a tail hoop to close it off. I then made the rear fender, keeping it high and with a practical length. For the seat, I took inspiration from Harley KHs from the 50s and vintage Bates-style seats. Then I fabricated the seat pan and brought it to Rod Alves who wrapped it in a nice, natural tan leather.”

Svelte, much?

“To complete the overall shape, I bent a handlebar in a vintage T120 Triumph style. I got rid of the stock switches and levers, reduced the wiring to a minimum and installed a Posh Japan switch block with internal wiring to control the mini bullet turn signals and starter.”

The clutch lever is from a K-model Harley and the master cylinder is a Honda dirt bike unit that Sam bored out to fit a 1″ bar. He then shaped the brake lever to match the K model’s look and added a throttle grip from an Ironhead Sportster. To finished it up, a machined aluminum mirror from Pangea Speed was bolted on.

“I kept the 883 engine stock (for now), but I got rid of the heavy exhaust system. Instead I built a 2-2 exhaust, keeping in mind the old-school tracker theme. To complete the engine’s look, I brushed all the aluminum parts of the engine and got a brushed aluminum air cleaner from a man I respect a lot, Kim Boyle from Boyle Custom Moto. He’s also responsible for the custom off-centre tail light.”

The final touch was the paint. Sam kept with the vintage theme and got painter JP Huet to apply a killer green from the House of Kolor. It was topped off with some subtle black shading and gold stripes. Then good friend and graphic designer Raff Labrie helped him with the Clockwork logo.

“I’m really happy with the result,” says a grinning Sam. “The bike has a great feel to it and it’s real fun to ride. I’ve got to say, I fell in love with Harleys doing this, and it’s certainly not the last one going out of this shop.”

Sam realises he needs to do some weeding

[ Clockwork Motorcycles – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Max Vannienschoot ]








  • James K

    Great looking ride – I just picked up a ’99 Sportster and really dig what Sam Clockwork has done with his. The bars look like a perfect fit and removing the horizontal pipe (whatever that thing’s called) between the headers and shrinking the air cleaner show that engine off beautifully.

    Kudos and high fives from Montreal =)

    • martin hodgson

      Was going to make the exact same observations! It really can be those few clever choices in parts and design that make the bike. Rarely is a Sporty this classy, well done Sir!

    • Wrh

      Love it! Removing that horizontal bar between the headers………..hmmm. But love the bike!!!!!!

    • Removing that pipe thing between the header pipes is a major HP killer but usually not a concern on Harleys as the sound stays the same.

  • the watcher

    Really nice. Solid work, subtle styling; just really nice, in fact.

  • Ricky Lepre

    Nice bike,all around. The hand painted logo and name give it a sense of authenticity as to it being a true custom bike. Another nice touch.
    Well done from Gympie, Australia .

  • The seat and tank are perfect and give this bike an authentic classic vibe. If I could find an 18 incher rear tire for my Sporty I’d do it, too.

    • Keith T Robinson

      I would think an 18″ Morris mag rear wheel is a tuff find.

      • Keith T Robinson

        The exhaust looks like the old Bub Stepmuthers. Nice parts! This bikevus cool , proving once again that less is more.

      • I think in the early days of the evolution Sportsters the 18″ rear cast wheel was an option for the 16 incher. Sometimes they show up on ebay.You are so right about the Morris mags that came on the XLCR cafe racer – very rare and expenseive

      • How many do you want?

        • James Folan

          If you have any 18″ 9 spoke mag wheel I want one! I’m about to convert a 19″ front to a rear cause I can’t find one and it’s the next closest thing. Email punkofhazzard@hotmail.com.

        • Keith T Robinson

          mule? of street tracker fame? this is hacksaw from cw forums. you have an 18 inch mag for the rear that would fit in place of the 16 on an evo frame mount sportster ?

  • AB

    Picture three rocks (as does the bike). Notice how the drain pipes on the wall behind the bike mirror the Sportys exhaust. Class shot.

    • Keith T Robinson

      idk those are drain pipes. i think abandoned electrical conduits. but you are right. nice shooting!

  • Cameron Dunn

    Perfection achieved

  • Like the “Then came Bronson” pose.