1973 Harley Davidson Custom Cafe Racer

1973 Harley Cafe L Side

Now here’s something you don’t see all that often: a Harley Davidson café racer.  When I think of a “custom Harley”, I usually picture something far more overwrought, more about style than function, an “everything is better with chrome” mentality… Although the current trend towards a more baroque “steampunk” bobber vibe, while more aesthetically appealing, still doesn’t really fit in with this site’s mission…

Most Harley Sportsters really aren’t all that sporty, especially when we’re talking about modern models: heavy and underpowered, with relatively poor brakes and no cornering clearance to speak of.  But this bike certainly looks the business, and Harley has a racing heritage on the flat-tracks and the dirt tracks all across America that The Motor Company really seems to be neglecting these days, in favor of “bad to the bone” style over substance.

1973 Harley Cafe R Side

“Ironhead” Sportsters are reputed to be pretty underpowered and unreliable, but sound great and are very easy to work on.  So they’ll fit right in with the British bikes we feature on this site…  This particular Harley is lean and pretty mean, with what appears to be a genuine focus on performance: it even has a rear suspension!  And two front discs!

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Harley Davidson Custom Cafe Racer

1973 sporty cafe built last year. Many hand built items on the bike, stainless exhaust, foot controls, handlebars,one off tanks and seat.Rebuilt motor with dual plug heads,cams, larger valves,s&s carb. GMA hand controls, 18 inch excel wheels with stainless spokes.Has won multiple shows and is in the current december issue of the horse backstreet choppers magazine. Solid bike that ive ridden all over the place. Selling to fund next project.

This is a simple, classic-looking bike.  I just wish the seller had included some more photos and details: he mentions “many hand built items” but doesn’t really go into much of an explanation.  There’s been no bidding on this and there’s very little time left, which seems a shame, considering what seems to be a low, low starting bid: if the reserve is anywhere near the $5,500 Starting Bid, it seems like a steal….

If you’re handy with a set of wrenches and want something that’s both fun to ride and a little bit different from all of those Triumph, Norton, and Johnny-come-lately Honda café bikes, this could be your machine.  I’m not often tempted by Harleys, but this is one I’d ride.  Someone go bid on it, quick!


1973 Harley Cafe L Rear



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  1. December 2, 2013

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