People don’t half get their panties in a bunch when it comes to the use of the words scrambler and tracker. Sure, some bikes sporting knobblies and four inches of suspension travel aren’t going to be much cop for clearing a 90ft triple at Glen Helen Raceway but you’ll have a damn good laugh hitting a fire trail on a slightly inappropriate road bike. I’ve raced flattrack against dudes on Harleys and they look like they’re having a whale of a time.
The owner of this bike already had a Harley-Davidson 48 for street riding but fancied something a bit different for when the going gets loose. Being from Portugal meant that choice wasn’t limited when it came to finding a decent custom shop. There must be a government scheme for promoting bike building or something, there are so many top notch motorcycle customisers it’s quite astounding. Nevertheless he opted for the guys at Rock Solid Motorcycles, who have form when it comes to producing majestic machines from Milwaukee muscle.
Owner of Rock Solid, Hugo Pereira set about sourcing an analog, carb’d version of the XL1200 and stumbled upon a tidy 2005 model with just 8,000kms on the clock. There was more chrome on the thing than paint so it needed an unceremonious strip down.
Hugo is a detail focussed guy and wanted to fit the right set of wheels. He sourced a pair of super smooth seamless rims from HD Wheels in California and laced them straight to the stock hubs. The vibrant yellow adds a playful feel to what would otherwise be a moody looking ride.
Metzeler Karoo 3 tyres, as found on modern BMW GS adventure bikes, hint at dirt-ripping potential whilst giving proper grip on Asphalt. 360mm Öhlins shockers jack up the rear and Progressive fork springs add stiffness to the front. A race derived front disc from Braking is lighter and should perform better than stock, plus it looks cool.
The stock frame rails rearward of the shock mounts have been lopped-off and a scrambler-esque loop grafted in which now supports the ribbed, Japanese style mudguard. This wasn’t completely necessary, a concealed fender mount underneath would have sufficed but the grab handle/loop is a welcome nostalgic addition.
The powder coaters were given a box full of parts including engine cases. Out with the chrome and in with gloss and matt black. As the engine was just about run-in there was no need to take it apart, just a good service. A low profile Joker Machine air filter makes the most of the suck whilst a brace of stacked, handmade zorts let everyone know about the bang and blow.
A slim waistline is essential for any bike with off-road ambitions so Hugo sourced a Yamaha tank and modified it to suit the Harley frame and mounts. Rubberised of course to soak up the signature H-D vibrations. The cockpit is simplified thanks to routing the wiring through a Fehling handlebar on Sportster risers. A Koso off-road speedo and Motogadget barend indicators disappear, leaving the eye free to enjoy the rest of Hugo’s work.