Hide Motorcycle's 1966 XLCH Sportster
Daily Slideshow: Motorcycle development has come a long way in recent years with loads of technology being implemented into cutting-edge machines, but sometimes simplicity trumps sophistication as can be seen in Hide Motorcycle's Sportster build.
Creating a Custom Cycle
The custom motorcycle scene is in a constant state of flux, so what may have been appealing a few years ago may not necessarily be too attractive today. As a custom bike builder, staying relevant and atop the totem pole is a difficult task that requires individuals to recognize current trends and styles in the two-wheeled world. Japanese builder Hideya Togashi of Hide Motorcycles (pronounced hee-day) seems to have figured out the bike-building formula as he once again wowed visitors of the Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show (Mooneyes Show) with his 1966 XLCH Sportster custom.
Togashi's build began with an XLCH Sportster engine in original condition fitted with an early Linkert DC7 carburetor. The early kickstart-only design with a magneto ignition system and no battery provide for a clean, classic look. Despite being a ground-up build, Togashi opted to leave engine components such as the cases and rocker boxes in their original raw finish to provide a pleasant contrast with the rest of the bike. Completing the engine is a simple set of tubed exhausts that have been plated and flared nicely into racy megaphones.
Crafting the Chassis
Besides the engine, not too much of the original '66 Sportster is still recognizable. Togashi crafted the hardtail frame himself using steel tubing and a single downtube design before finishing it in a beautiful nickel-plating. That said, the original frame number was grafted onto the bike, and to the typical passerby, looks as if it was delivered this way from the factory.
Atop the frame sits a custom 'peanut' tank made of aluminum that has been heavily polished to produce a mirror-like finish while also featuring a classic 1933 Harley paint scheme that ties nicely into the rear fender (a heavily modified unit originally from a vintage FX Super Glide). Togashi also built the custom oil tank that neatly wraps around the rear tire and features a retro HD eagle graphic.
Smoothed & Straightforward
The guys at Hide Motorcycles were able to use the Sportster forks and triple clamps but created fork sleeves and a flush-mount headlight nacelle that gives the front-end a smooth appearance, similar to that of a vintage speedway bike. The front wheel size has been increased to 21", but the rear remains in the factory 18" size: both of which are wrapped in old-school Michelin tires with an aggressive tread pattern. The front and rear brakes are still drum-style units, but have also been plated to provide contrast to the unfinished wheels.
Less is More
Hideya Togashi's Sportster build reminds us of a simpler era in motorcycling when it was just man and machine without any of the extra bells and whistles that we see on bikes today. The beauty is in its simplicity. It is likely that Togashi has recognized that the world is coming back full-circle and the appreciation for these types of barebone machines is on the rise. Building to enthusiasts' tastes is a great way to stay relevant, and we'd say Hideya Togashi and Hide Motorcycles hit this one out of the park.
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