This Custom Big Twin Cafe Racer Is Worthy of the Harley Name

JamesVille Motorcycles took an original approach.
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Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

The would-be rebels of the motorcycle world actually follow strict rules. One of them says that Harley-Davidsons are cruisers. Custom builders can turn them into bobbers or choppers, but that's it.

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

The smaller Harley—the Sportster—can be built into a cafe racer, but that's only because the Motor Company's own Willie G. Davidson said so when he created the XLCR cafe racer model in 1977.

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

"Real" Harleys like the Big Twins aren't allowed to be made into streamlined canyon-carvers. It is strictly against the rules. Sorry, I don't make the rules here.

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

So when James Roper-Caldbeck of JamesVille Motorcycles in Copenhagen got an order from a client asking for a cafe racer, the bobber and chopper specialist looked for an original solution. His answer was to break the rules and build a 1974 Harley-Davidson FX Shovelhead Big Twin into a cafe racer. 

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

"To be honest I had no idea what I was doing when it came to building a cafe racer, but I knew I wanted it black, with a fairing and it to look F*CKING mean!" Roper-Caldbeck said.

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

The bike used for the build had an 80 cubic inch engine built from S&S components and a five-speed transmission, which provided a solid performance foundation. From that, Roper-Caldbeck added Progressive Suspension shocks for improved handling.

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

The gas tank is the bike's original factory FX tank, but it suits the bike's new cafe lines very well. And that sleek bikini fairing wrapped around the headlight? A cheap Chinese part from eBay, Roper-Caldbeck revealed.

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

The MotoGP-inspired solo saddle and Ducati-like high exhaust cement the old cruiser's conversion to race-ready status. Those, and of course, modern brakes in place of the "terrible" '70s-vintage Harley stoppers.

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

Photo: Mark Dexter of THE LAB Copenhagen

This rule-breaking FX Shovelhead cruiser-turned-cafe-racer is so successful that we hope it encourages more builds outside old, expected norms. Roper-Caldbeck is high on his creation. "I'm not sure how the cafe racer guys will like this but I can tell you its awesome to ride!" he said.