Chris had bought a late model Nightster and had started trying to turn it into a striped down, minimalist speed machine. He had made solid start, but wanted to do more with his project, like hardtail it, but was hitting some road blocks. There were just some things on the bike that made it a somewhat complicated donor bike, things like a rubber mounted frame/motor and fuel injection. Right around that time, I met Chris through a mutual friend who we were doing a build for. Chris and I began talking and weighing his options: we could hard-tail his current bike, even remove the fuel injection and all that, and re-wire and try and build what he wanted from the nightster but we were concerned the end result might not be a “clean” as he wanted, and might end up being costly route. So we considered this: he could sell the 09 (which was in very good shape and had low miles) and we could start with a different donor-bike that had less complex issues and had a lower donor cost. Basically, find a platform that we didn't have to reverse a bunch of stuff on to use it first. About that time a 1998 Evo 1200S became available and I thought this may be a suitable donor. It had the power factor, but it was a solid mounted frame/motor configuration and was carbureted. After a few more sessions of weighing our options, Chris decided to sell his 09 nightster and proceed with chopping the 98 1200S.
Now that we had a donor bike, we were ready for the fun stuff! After consulting with Chris on the design specifics, we came up with a plan to build him a clean, simple and fast machine! Chris provided us with his ideas and some photos of styles/elements he appreciated and would like to see worked into the build, and then together we picked out the major components, hardtail length, wheel sizes, gas tank type, oil tank type, fender details, fender support details, handlebar concepts, etc. Chris had also mentioned doing some type of “different” headlight setup. While nothing was 100% set in stone, we had a direction to work in and so we got to work!
The first order of any build from a donor bike is the tear down. We set aside all the components we planned on re-using, and prepped the frame for the hard tail treatment. We talked to Mike at 47 Industries and had him whip us up one of his bad-ass hardtails…. with a couple missing parts. Per our request, he left the top seat rails off, so we could fit our own in-house. The reason for this was because we wanted to fit the seat rails to Chris… keeping the bike super narrow, for looks and ergonomics. After I cut the frame, fit and welded the hardtail section in (sans top-rails), Jay got the upper tubes fit and installed and we set the bike up in a rolling chassis configuration, measuring and making the correct spacers for the wheels as we did. From this point it was time to put the power plant in and start figuring out what we had for room, and to see how the bike was looking.
In this state we all liked the basic stance and our plans for the rest of the bike seemed to still make aesthetic sense. It was time to figure out and get to work on the figuring out the headlight “mini-nacell” I had come up with, the gas tank, handlebars, and seat. Reaching out to Tyler at Lowbrow Customs, I let him know we had plans to work their new fork shrouds and P-nut Tank into the build, to which he generously responded to by donating both to the build! So armed with the raw 39mm Lowbrow Fork shrouds I set about to built the Front Mini-nacell while Jay whipped up a set of bars and fit the p-nut tank into place, re-working the tunnel, tank mounts and petcock bung to fit with this project. Once the bars were made and in place, we designed and began mounting the rear fender, as well as building a sissy bar and its mounts. This allowed us to then fabricate the seat pan, foam it, and finally check the fit with Chris, before we sent it to Justin at Seamless Custom for the final leather work.
Moving on we tackled modifying the stock brake mount to work on the new tail section, and once the rear section of the bike was all figured out, we were able to measure for, fabricate and install the battery box and oil tank. After that, it was time to hone in all other the minor stuff like rear lights, key switch, controls, plan for plumbing, cables, and all the other bits that adds up to a motorcycle!
With all the fabrication complete, the bike came back apart and everything went to paint and powdercoat. For the color scheme, Chris said he wanted the bike to be pretty basic, with black being the common denominator. He only wanted the tank stand out, specifying we use “the ugliest yellow color possible” and requesting that it have a “cracked” appearance. We did our best to choose the ugliest yellow/green color we could find, and Billy was able to make the paint actually crack, and then he cleared over it to preserve it.
Final assembly time, I got the bike to a 75% assembled state and then P.Q. took care of making the custom wiring harness. He set the bike up with simple but purposeful controls and functions. Running and brake lights, rear turn signals that self cancel, high and low beam, automotive style starter, with each electrical system is on its own breaker to protect it. Then I finished the assembly, running brake lines, cables, etc, double and triple checking everything as I went. Putting on some test ride miles, I knew immediately that this bike was going to be super fun!
Owner name, location: Chris Guglielmo
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1998 Harley-Davidson 1200 S
Frame: Stock front loop with modified 47-Industries 2” Stretch Hardtail
Fork: 39mm Lowered dual disc, Speedmerchant pre-load adjusters
Tire/wheel size and style: 21” Front Laced wheel, 16” rear. Speedmaster Front, Coker rear
Thanks to: Chris Guglielmo, Jason Roche of SPCL79 Fabrication, Paul “P.Q.” Quittadamo, Mike at 47 Industries, Tyler at Lowbrow Customs , Justin at Seamless Custom, Billy at Airbrush Works, and Tony at ProKote.