The Customer behind this build had been thinking of a custom project for a few years, taking inspiration from our Mert Lawill replica flattracker, built for Harley Europe which won Dirtquake in 2016. The idea was to build a bike which had the appeal of a shed build, styled after 1960’s flat track racers, rather than looking like a polished show bike.
The donor bike was a stock 2016 iron 883, initially a replica Vincent fiberglass seat unit was planned, as had been on the Lawill Bike, along with a fuel tank from Omega Racer Custom Parts in Thailand. The customer wanted to achieve a simple aesthetic, which led to the raw aluminium finish of the tank, which has more of a café racer shape than a flat tracker, but gives the bike a bit of character.
When the bike was mocked up with the seat unit and the fuel tank, the silhouette did not look right, so the Vincent Café racer seat unit was removed, and an earlier style tail section was substituted. This saw the seat unit replaced with a ribbed aluminium fender, secured with a support made from a re-purposed Harley Davidson sissybar which fit the cut down frame rails perfectly.
The rear fender struts were cut down, and complimented with a chain and sprocket conversion, combined with genuine Harley satin steel floating rotors. The modern emulsion shocks were replaced with stock Nightster shocks to preserve the vintage aesthetic. The seat was made by re-shaping a stock Forty-Eight seat which was subsequently upholstered by SM Trimming, along with a small fender pad. The number boards were bought off the shelf and then modified in house to flow with the look of the Sportster side panels.
A 3.5” X 19” Morad Alloy Rim was used in the rear, and a 3” X 19” was used in the front, both laced with stainless spokes to stock 2019 street bob hubs, with Dunlop DT3 Flat Track Tyres, a 140/80 19” in the back and 130/80 19” in the front.
XR750 style handlebars were fitted with genuine HD nostalgia grips, all the switch gear had the paint removed and was hit with Scotch bright for a satin finish. The stock headlight was kept, and RSD handlebar risers were combined with a Motogadget Speedo to give a retro, minimalist feel. This was complimented with Thunderbike front indicators which mount under the handlebar controls; so discrete it gives the impression there are no indicators, which continues the minimalist aeasthetic. This was mirrored by the use of Kellerman Atos for the rear indicators. The forks were stripped, the fork lowers had the fender mounts machined off, and were re-powder coated. The yokes were replaced with stock yokes from a 1200 custom to accommodate the larger front wheel.
A Paughco exhaust system designed to fit earlier sportsters was modified to fit the later donor bike, and a Bison Motorsports Velocity stack air filter was fitted, along with a one off bespoke cover which was machined in house from aluminium to cover the fuel injection unit giving the appearance of an old SU carb, featuring the Speed and Custom logo. It was decided to keep the bare metal aesthetic, so the paint on the tank and number boards was done in house.
When discussing a number for the number boards, there was only one number the customer had in mind. 1944 was the year his father had participated in the D-Day Landings, and the customer felt that the name “Ol’ 44” was a fitting tribute as the name for his custom bike. The significance of this was of course heightened by the recent 75th anniversary of the D-day Landings.