We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Jed De Pyper contacted us today to tell us that his amazing Rat Harley has been stolen. Jed’s a good mate of Scott and I and he’s asked us to help him out by posting our Sydney readers for help. Naturally we said we’d do anything we could.
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We have all heard amazing stories of rare and expensive motorcycles found in barns around the world. However, this is the first time we’ve heard of a bike being found in a toilet. This is how the story goes… in the late 1940’s a gentleman by the name of Mr Bicker had heard tales that a Harley, still in a wooden crate, was sitting in a remote mine in Western Australia. After an extensive search his father located the bike and it turned out to be in the men’s room of the mine. Best of all, the machine was a factory racer with overhead valves. Essentially a twenty year old motorcycle at the time, it was not considered rare but still a desirable ride. The owner at the mines was not able to get the bike running so he decided to sell it. Removing the wheels, the motorcycle was carted home in the back of his father’s car. After he got it home, Bicker was able to get the Harley started easily, maybe running it for the first time since it was imported.
On January 6th 2011, this rare 1929 Harley-Davidson fetched $125,800 at the Bonhams Vegas auction – not bad for a ‘toilet find’. But this was not just any Harley. This Peashooter was in exceptional original condition, perhaps the best known in the world. With its known racing heritage, the bike is in remarkable shape and people have thought it looks like its been in a time capsule since it left the Milwaukee factory in 1929.
(Now there must be some funny comments about this story. Bring em on.)
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Ever asked someone about Harleys? I have and I’ve decided that there’s really only three responses that matter. Firstly, and most obviously, you’ll get a flat out “don’t like ’em”. Fair enough. Then there’s the response that a Johnny-come-lately hipster like my good self will give; a long rambling monologue about nothing in particular that you’ll be lucky to stay awake through. Put simply, I like a select few. Then there’s the response that the owner of this bike gave me. No words, he just rolled up his sleeve and showed me an old Harley tattoo. Enough said, I reckon…
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After all the hoo-har of the Deus bike build last weekend I was flicking through my photos of the event and realised that amongst all the bikes entered in the competition, there was a new Deus on display. The whole gig had forced it into a bridesmaid sort of role, but none-the-less we thought it was more than worth a few pixels of Pipeburn’s time.
The custom Harley Sportster trend is something we’ve duly noted here at Pipeburn, as I’m sure you all have. More and more we are seeing custom shops and individuals turning their attention towards this particular type of Milwaukee metal. And as a card-carrying member of the “I’m Not Really Sure About Harleys” Brigade, I’m finding myself more and more intrigued.
Rachael Prevett, or Racy Rach as she is more commonly known to her friends, has been riding motorcycles her whole life. “I’ve been riding since I was 8 on the farm where i grew up” says Rach. She has ridden across Europe to Barcelona and Monte-carlo, raced a Ducati in drag racing, sprinted at Brighton speed trials and ridden Flattrack on her T100 pre-unit Triumph at the Hayride – now you know why they call her Racy Rach.
So when Racy Rach wanted a new ride, she approached Steve at Red Max Speed Shop to build her something special. Rach wanted a newer café racer, so after looking around Steve decided a Harley Sportster would be a good option. “She had to have a 1200 and we wanted a clean late one, so this 2005 seemed perfect for the job” says Steve.
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OK, this is getting a little silly. Bob Maddox, possible lunatic and the world’s pre-eminent expert on pulsejets, has just finished his latest creation. Not content with his pulsejet boardtracker we featured previously on Pipeburn, he’s gone and mounted a monster pulsejet with a split exhaust onto a bike he’s calling the Harley Davidson Sportjet. Apart from a Harley-ish tank design I’m not quite sure what it has to do with Milwaukee, though it would seem about as safe as your average Harley and probably has the handling to match.
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Only last week Harley-Davidson announced that they were planning to restructure the company and wanted to be quicker to market with new products. Well, young Italian designer Luca Bar has created this Harley Davidson 883 Scrambler concept that should be one such product.
Luca designed this scrambler with the European market in mind – he is Europeon after all. “The project gives a nod to the years when there were no major endorsements, the bike was the bike, one and good for all, ready to adapt” says Luca. “The horses and the chassis are enough for the scope, the fork gets stiffer springs and at the rear longer units. The wheels 18″ front and 17” at the rear fit very Italian Pirelli Scorpion Sync and the secondary transmission needs to be a chain instead of a belt. The classic saddle and tank shape, form the overall look of the bike. The protagonist of the right side is the “line” of the exhaust, tall and straight, half-way between the European regularity bike and American Drifters.”
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To open, I have a frank and shocking admission to make. I don’t like Harleys. Never have. I’ve always seen them as way too bourbon, bandanas and bald eagles, if you see what I mean. Sure, on the odd occasion I’ve seen a custom HD that I’d not mind being seen on – but for the vast majority of this Milwaukee metal I’d rather set my pubes on fire than have them parked in my garage.
Then I met Jed DePyper at the recent Deus ex Machina Parallel Universe day. I shot the faeces with him for a while and he eventually told me he rode a “Rat Bobber”. Being none-the-wiser, I asked to see it. And Christ on a bike, what a bike; I was pretty much smitten from the get go. It wasn’t until later that day that I put two and two together and realised that I had just had my socks shocked and awed by a Hardly Ableson. God bless America.
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In a perfect world you would see more Harley Davidson café racers like this jaw dropping FXDL. Built by Selected Custom Motorcycles (SCM) who are based in Yokohama – the Japanese region made famous by quality tires. SCM specialise in building Harley choppers, but also like to dabble in café racers. The bike is named ‘Eleanor‘ and she possesses some of the most impressive custom pipes we have seen in a while – the way they curve behind the rear suspension is a work of art. The beautiful pins striped café seat and tank were also custom built by the guys at Selected. You can view more photos of ‘Eleanor’ on her gallery.
[Sighted on Rocket Garage]
Alp from SunGurtekin Design & Fabrication in California is an industrial designer specializing in transportation design. He built this low and mean hardtail Harley Sportster which he has appropriately named ‘The Whip’. “I designed the Whip with the unusual jockey shifter and clutch set up” Alp says. “My goal was to achieve a clean look where all the components on the bike look smooth and balanced. I ran all the wires and brake lines inside the frame to achieve that clean look. For me the most important aspect is the stance: if there’s one thing most of my cars or bikes have had in common past and present, it’s that they’ve got to be slammed.