Ron Gee’s stunning Harley Davidson Sportster Cafe
Café Racer TV Team,
I have been into Cafe bikes for about 10 years. Sport bikes are fun and all…but old cafe bikes have soul. I am constantly looking for a project to “cafe out”. I have had 3 Norton Cafes, a Triumph Thruxton, and Honda CB550 café. For my next project I want to do a Benelli SEI! Such style!
I ride with a bunch of guys with Harleys and catch a lot of grief for my choice of rides, so I set out to Cafe a Harley to put the ridicule to bed! I saw Benjie Cafe Racers Sportster tank and seat and went with it. Finding a donor Sportster was a challenge. ’70’s Sporty’s are either restored and to nice to modify or completely clapped out, but I got lucky and found a strong running/cosmetically challenged 1976 Sporty in Milwaukee.
Once I got it home I proceeded to rip everything off of it- piece by piece it came apart and the transformation began! I powdercoated the rims and re-laced them and went the distance and added clip-ons. Wanting to use the stock Harley controls, I had to turn 1″ bar stock aluminum down to 7/8″ to fit in the clip on fork clamps.
Tons of credit goes to my Brother-in-law, Dave Carnock for the paint and creative fabrication on various parts. The nice thing about working on a Harley is….there are tons of aftermarket sources for trick parts that can be modified. I am not a chrome fan, but the chrome oil tank worked for me…the pipes are J&P cycle stock….again, I don’t like chrome, but am not a fan of wrapped pipes either so I needed to come up with a plan for them. New controls and clocks also from J&P and new front brake caliper from a custom shop since the old ones are junk.
In the end, I think I ended up with a pretty cool café racer with a big v-twin lump as the heart and soul. When she rolled off the line in 76’ she probably had no idea she’d be stripped of all the heavy weight garbage she was born with and turned into a thoroughbred race horse. I’m confident she doesn’t mind! Thanks for the spot guys!
– Ron Gee