Harley-Davidson Sportster Cafe Racer by XTR Pepo
Pepo Rosell cut his teeth on taking Ducatis and turning them into lightweight cafe racers. But with this build, he aimed to broaden his horizon.
British and American Builders
When you think "cafe racers," you probably think of British builders such as Custom Cycles UK or Shaw Speed and Custom. You might also think of American builders, especially in the wake of a steady flow of motorcycle and motorcycle-building TV shows flooding the media over the past 15 years.
Photos courtesy of Bike Exif
The cafe racer style is one that has enjoyed a dedicated following for decades. Custom bike builders have continued to turn out this style for about 70 years without any signs of slowing down. The streamlined design has been a favorite among urban riders due to its simplicity, although back in the '50s and '60s performance was the main goal.
Unless you are familiar with the motorcycle culture in Spain, you probably haven't heard of Pepo Rosell. However, if you are a cafe racer fan, he's someone you want to get familiar with. The French-born Spanish transplant builder is making his mark in the cafe racing community. Having owned more than 30 Ducati motorcycles and having converted most of them into cafe racer works of art, Pepo has also dedicated his career to restoring classic pieces.
Gabrielle was the custom Dyna that marked Pepo's shift away from his Ducati-only past. Following the closure of Radical Ducati in 2014 where Pepo produced some of his more iconic custom creations, he began exploring on different platforms, one of which is Harley-Davidson.
A New Platform
The Harley-Davidson platform is heavy and not as compact as are the majority those produced by Pepo Rosell. However, following his success with "Gabrielle," a custom Dyna that Pepo and his team put together for a foreign customer, the call soon came to develop a cafe racer on the Sportster platform. The idea was to make the sporty a more "European-style" bike, with better brakes, less weight, and a more "normal" riding position. At 80 horses to the rear wheel, this is sure one of the fastest Sportsters out on the street.
What is it Made of?
Pepo installed a set of suspenders from a 92 Suzuki GSX-R750 complete with a double disc brake setup from NG. The rear brakes have been upgraded with a mix of Brembo and NG bits with lines that are a steel and Kevlar braid mix from Fren Tubo.
The Inner Working
Pepo is responsible for the custom metalwork of everything from the engine backward. The chassis is part mono-shock conversion with a custom-built Hagon shock for damping duties. Underneath the custom seat are side panels that came from a Triumph Legend TT modified to fit. The fenders, footrests, and brake lever are all fabricated in-house from aluminum right along with the license plate and headlight brackets. In the front is a Mash 125 lamp, a Lucas style taillight in the rear and a custom dashboard housing a Motogadget instrument. For control of the bike, there are Rizoma bars with natural rubber grips from Gonelli.
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