Singapore Sun: A Custom Harley Softail

Today, in most countries around the world, making street legal a custom bike built from the ground is quite a challenging task.

So, many builders have taken the path of only customizing factory models, in most cases keeping at least the original – although modified – original frame and motor, preserving the oem title, with the huge benefit for clients to enjoy a custom ride without risking repetitive police harassment. A benefit overcoming the extra cost and labor it takes to make a custom factory bike as radical as a full blown one built only from custom parts. At the challenge of free styling a factory model while improving the original spec sheet, few custom builders succeed. One of them is very well known German Julian von Oheimb from One Way Machine (OWM), whose creations built for clients who want to ride, regularly beat his best competitors presenting one-off machines.

Singapore Sun, of course built for a Singapore client, is a great example of an-easy-to ride custom Harley with beautiful lines and high-end finish. Before being shipped to its owner, it went on the 2016 European show tour where in the toughest competitions it always won gold or bragging rights fort either Best of Show, 1st place Harley modified, 1st place V-Twin, 1st place Old School, etc. The story of this bike starts in southeast Asia, in the island city state of Singapore, where a certain Mr. Ang is very unhappy with his 2003 Softail bought brand new from his local Harley dealer. Not enough power, so-so aesthetics. So, he had it somewhat customized, swapping the stock rear wheel for a bigger one, raking the front end, adding some decorative custom bolt-on parts, and ending up riding a much worse looking and riding bike than stock …

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Eventually Mr Ang came to the decision to give it one more try, but nobody in Singapore seemed to be up to the task he described. Accepting the idea that his bike would have to be shipped abroad to a foreign custom builder, he started an intensive online search, comparing the works of many builders of many countries, interviewing them by emails.

Eventually getting convinced by the One Way Machine workmanship as he saw it demonstrated on the shop previous full custom Harley jobs. It has also to be mentioned that Asians have a special admiration for German engineering, and the fact that Julian is a certified mechanical engineer in his country was a big bonus for reassurance regarding the choice made by this client.

So Mr Ang traveled to Germany, got a sense of the relation he would have with his builder, re-checked the past creations , eventually gave his briefing and as soon he was back in Singapore shipped his Softail to Germany. The 3-month total makeover got started with Julian demonstrating his metal skills. changing or fabricating new sheet metal. After stripping down the bike to bare frame, tubing was cleaned of all unnecessary tabs and brackets will all the factory welds smoothed out and polished. For a retro look the factory gas tank was swapped for an old Triumph piece modified and installed with brackets welded to the frame backbone. The old car hood ornament found a natural place on top of it.

Factory swingarm was also mofdified to accept a minimal after-market rear fender attached by 2 rods to the swingarm tubes, and positioned very close to the tire, the swingarm and fender moving together with a suspension travel stop. New OWM proprietary bars were installed on hill climb forks sourced at European parts distributor W&W. Front 21” wheel was kept Harley stock. Controls and small instrumentation are from Beringer, as are the inboard brake calipers pinching on OWM own perimeter discs. For reason of regulations, motor and tranny received only aesthetics improvements, the most visible being the Ness rocker boxes. Exhaust is a one-off bent at the shop. Black with a touch of silver and brass accents from accessories is always a winner combination. One Way Machine, Staufenberg, Germany.


Report by Cyril Huze for Cyril Huze Post

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