Skuddesign Black Betty
By Ross Sharp - 20 Sep 14
We don't feature much Milwaukee Muscle on the Bike Shed, but having just fired up a Buell engined Cafè Tracker I'm reminded of the appeal; that engine note takes some beating. Nicolas Barthelemy of Skud Design is no stranger to making things sound right, whilst maintaining effortless cool. Last year he brought us a stunning Kawasaki W650 Scrambler. Ok, so the woodland setting for the photo shoot played a part but that bike just made you want to go and tear up some dirt. Leaving Europe behind for the wide expanses of Canada, Nicolas fancied himself a laid back cruiser for the long straight roads of his new home in Montreal, so bought a 2013 Sportster XL Forty Eight upon which he would cast his graphic designing eye before breaking out the tool kit to create Black Betty. Bratstyle was to be the design palette of choice, with a good dose of Bobber in the mix. In fact, I must praise one of two things; either Google Translate for rehashing foreign so succinctly, or Nicolas for crafting such a wonderful sentence in his second language. "I thus prepared the silhouette of the motorcycle by mixing the aesthetic codes with products resulting from all other horizons in the inspirations BRATSTYLE". The rear fender is from an '84 Softail Heritage, painted black. The kick-up giving over even more stage to the Firestone Deluxe Champions. 5.00 x 16 if you must know. Indicators are hidden down low, on the swing arm near the pivot point. Neat and out of the way, and painted black they nearly disappear. Progreesive Suspension 412 series 11.5" shocks keep the back looking squat, improve the ride and go someway towards comfort. The cow horn bars are by Zombie Performance, with internal cable and wire routing. I'm not usually a fan of this narrow type of bar but with the chunky, oh-so comfortable Harley levers and neat uncluttered setup this works, visually. The rear light is from a 1928 Ford truck, updated with fresh paint and wiring. Keeping with Stateside heritage the tank has been painted with a 1936 Ford burgundy, which for me looks the business, especially with the chromed trim from a 1947 Renault. A simple Tuck 'n' Roll seat is spot on. The mirror is by Lowbrow Customs, foot pegs by Speed Merchant and air the filter housing is from Harley tuning stalwarts S&S. Again raiding the vintage parts bin, the headlight is an Electroline from 1954. Canadian legislation is pretty tough on the custom scene so Nicolas hasn't gone overboard with this build, which has worked in his favour as this is one Harley that fits in The Bike Shed just nicely. Keep an eye out for Nicolas' future work on Facebook, with all that spare land aboot the place he's surely going to build another scrambler.