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Blitz’s ’91 Harley 883 – “Gentle Board Tracker”

Posted on May 23, 2012 by Andrew in Bobber, Tracker. 35 comments

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you all are thinking. I thought the same thing when I first laid eyes on this cool new Harley from Paris’ Blitz Motorcycles. “Surely they mean STREET tracker, not board tracker?” I wondered. After all, this Harley looks about as much like a board tracker as the Hindenburg looked like a hummingbird. But you, like I, would be wrong. See the concept behind the latest Blitz creation was to take the essence of that much-loved era of fearless riders and death-by-buttock-splinters and and apply it to one of Milwaukee’s finest. And gosh darn it if they haven’t just gone and done that very same thing. The more observant readers out there will also note that unlike pretty much every other blitz bike in existence, this one is in fact “avec de la peinture et sans poussière,” or “not completely filthy” as we say in Anglaise. Please welcome the Gentle Board Tracker to our friendly pages.

Fred from Blitz takes up the story. “We indeed got inspired for this bike by boardtrackers from the 20’s. Still the bike is being to be used in the street of Paris, so the footpegs stayed in their “mid-cruise control” position. Of course the engine was torn down so that the different parts could be perfectly painted.”

The donor bike was a HD Sportster 883 from ’91. We handcrafted the subframe ourselves. There’s a Ion-Lithium battery fitted in a bespoke battery case along with bespoke (and simplified) electric wiring. The front brake master cylinder was relocated from the handlebars to the frame (underneath the steering column) and the ‘bars are a bicycle 22mm style called “moustache”.

“The seat is handmade and the tank is a MotoConfort unit, which is a French brand from the 50’s & 60’s. It was painted by a pro and the petcock was moved from the back to the front. We also fitted a mini digital speedometer in the front “hole” of the tank.”

“All the engine covers, frame, wheels, handlebar, levers, etc. were powder coated in carmin red, shiny black, and cream. The cylinders have been hand painted with a high temperature shiny black finish and the push rods tubes were painted in high temperature graphite grey.”

“The rear rubber is a Coker 16″ and the front is an Avon 19”. We added a cafe racer seat and genuine drag pipes. Still we could not help to paint them in high temperature resistant graphite grey, with a “touche” of red inside. We hope you like it.”

  • emaychee

    sparkling grips sort of at-odds with the rest of it for me. I’d want neutral grips and very slightly thicker bars.
    despite that I like it a lot overall! on the list.

  • P.J.Flyer

    This looks like every other Harley on the road, that is to say, plain and uninteresting! Then the real nail in the coffin came when it is following that stunning 39′ Triumph from yesterday.

    • GuitarSlinger

      Amen to that brother . This bike is SSDD , been there –  done that and jeeze could they of been any more Derivative / Cut & Paste ?

      The pretense of having ANYTHING to do with boardtrackers is just that . Deluded pretense . BWTM ;
      Dull in design . The whitewalls look totally out of context to both the build and the pretentious concept . The so called ‘ details ‘ aren’t . The tank shape is odd at best . Honestly … other than the fact that its not ugly , there’s nary a positive comment I can make about this so called Custom  

      Put this one on the ” Who the _____ Cares ” pile and lets move on if you please 

      • jose!!!!!

        You make positive comments? Har de har har……

        • GuitarSlinger

          Ahem young fella . I’m about 70%-30% on my comments  … the 70% ranging from positive to gushingly positive ! Smart acre :o)

  • Zipper

    Don’t see a lot of Harleys on the streets of Paris. Would be more fun with some mufflers.  ..Z

  • stats

    freshly rebuilt and already dripping oil on the pipes…

  • Militiaman11

    I don’t know why everyone on here is always giving Blitz a hard time. I think they put out some intersting bikes. Agreed that some of their bikes are a little unconventional and not as high quality as others in terms of craftsmanship (see the close up of the paint on the pipes), but they have an interesting style. I like this bike. Not really a Harley fan because they are everywhere you look. And agreed, can’t compare to that Triumph from yesterday. But overall I like this bike.

    • GuitarSlinger

      ” I don’t know why everyone here is always giving Blitz a hard time ”

      Because they’re bringing absolutely nothing new to the table – their bikes are completely and utterly derivative and to top it all off their overall quality is dismal at best and abysmal more often than not  . 

      Seems like enough reason to me . 

      • Militiaman11

        Agreed their quality isn’t the greatest. I never said Blitz was amazing. They don’t even touch most of the builders featured on here. But if I saw this bike on the street I would certainly check it out. The bikes on here aren’t for everyone. But apparently Pipeburn feels like they deserve to be seen. Some like it, some don’t. The beauty of opinion and the fun of message boards! Anyone customizing a bike is cool with me.

        • GuitarSlinger

          Well I did say it wasn’t ugly now ….. didn’t I ! 

          But in comparison to most of what shows up here …. it is pretty darned lame . And hey ….. even Andrew’s gotta biff one now and again 😉

          •  I think this is a little rough on Blitz, sure it isnt some show room quality bike but its pretty damn cool and well with in daily rider standards. I think the little imperfections add a bit of character, and really?? Paint on the pipes? Pretty sure thats the last place people look and one of the first places paint will deteriorate as you ride. Theyre going for a tracker look which I think they hit pretty well and it looks like you can actually ride it and would want to.
            One think I will rip on though: why the hell does it have passenger pegs??? Where will you fit a passenger? Rip those off and I personally love it and would ride the shit out of it.

  • not very happy with this custom… but not because its based off a harley… I think the sportster is an awesome base for a custom

  • Nice bike ! But street legal whith this kind of exhausts ?

  • Tough crowd.

  • Drunkandgreasy

    I think a pic of that bike with the words BOARDTRACKER are insulting. Sort of like when you roll your hotrod into a car show and some yahoo calls it a ratrod. Do you even have the faintest clue what your referring too?

    Bike is ok, I don’t dislike it. Maybe I’m more like yeah yeah, next…..


  • arnold

    Good thing it has “genuine drag pipes” oyherwise it would be ‘meh’

  • arnold

    A hand crafted subframe. Welding on unused tabs and painting it red indeed. I have Bespoke.

  • $30724656

    Bored tracker is more like it and I like Sportsters. That is probably the dumbest looking pipe wrap I have ever seen. Enough with the G*d damn pipe wrap already. And ridiculously thin seats too.

  • Benjamincharlesreed

    I love the Blitz bikes. They might not be the most practical or polished bikes, but they are fun and they seem to have a bit of arrogance about them. I also love thin seats, the vibration feels nice on my bottom.

    • arnold

      Arrogance is certainly a French trait, I do believe they invented the term ‘Snarky’ , if not in that term, certainly in that attitude. Perhaps the real problem here is our universal translator. I am sure that Fred Jourden had nothing silly to say about very mild criticism about a few pictures and obviously poorly translated wording in his response and descriptions accompanying the photos.The stunning fact that the work , display, and any innovation he thought he had, is a shoulder shrug, a meh is secondary to us. It is good that he is working, when France is going through such a terrible crisis. Good on yer Fred, Hope that Socialist government works out for you. Lets see what the universal translator does with that.ald

  • “Please welcome the Gentle Board Tracker to our friendly pages.” Sounds like you had an idea of what the reactions would be. I think it’s OK. The design never seems to find itself. At least wipe off the swing arm before taking pics. Also, what is that fluid that has dripped onto the exhaust? Welcome to the world of HD where you get an antique right off the showroom floor.

    • Bigmattie

      “Also, what
      is that fluid that has dripped onto the exhaust?”         Saliva from a by-stander…

      building Blitz, screw the haters.

  • cool build from an 883, love the grips reminds me of a lowrider bike i had as a kid

  • Fred Jourden

    Man you are being pedantic here.
    But okay, let’s go for this.
    So to make it clear (and please, Tony Stark, don’t take it personally): the fluid that has dripped onto the exhaust is a bit of WD40 fluid…
    You know, the kind of fluid you use when you DO work on an odltimer and when the screw gives you the worst time of your life because is litterally welded to the frame.
    And since you will have certainly noticed: this bike was shot in our very workshop.
    So yes, a bit of WD40 has dripped on the exhaust pipe while we were working on a new bike.
    You know? A workshop: where we are very much working. For real. Not just with Photoshop seating behind a desk on a daily basis. Where it smells oil and gasoline, and a bit of brainstorming as well.
    Where we build bikes meant to be ridden. On a daily basis.
    So please, people I do not know, here: show a little more of respect to the job undertaken here.
    By saying so, I mean: explain us first place what you have been doing with a screw driver in your hand, before starting giving lessons of “how”, “why” to everybody. This is a bit “chicken” to act so. Dont’ you agree, gentlemen?
    You’d have made it different?
    Please, be our guest: show us how. Then we will talk from a peer to another peer.
    Can’t wait to see the pictures of your work.
    No kidding.
    Fred (Blitz Motorcycles).

    • Issue, issue, how about a tissue? Let me put it to you this way. One can have an opinion without having built a bike. Also, your shop does have shop towels, yes? Your design never finds itself. How do I know? Well, I have taught art, both studio and theory, not to mention history for almost ten years. I don’t have to “turn a screw” to know what works visually and what does not. I also know that no care was taken to prep your bike for work or pics. This says sloppy. If you can’t do something as simple as covering a pipe before spraying lube, what other corners have you cut? You talk about being a professional, then show your work like one. I’m not taking it personally but I think you are. If you can’t handle the critique, don’t show the work.

      As an aside, I am currently resurrecting an old Honda. My dad was an auto racer, so I am no stranger to grease. Is my pedigree substantial enough to warrant my opinion???

      • Robbie

        I’d love to see this bike you’re building tony stark. I can only imagine It’ll be perfection in everyone’s opinion because obviously you’re the man that knows everything. Have you ever felt positive about anything in your life?

        • Yes, I’m positive you don’t know me. I’m also positive many will not like what I’ve done or how I’ve done it. The difference is I won’t whine about it.

          • “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

          • Wow. You come up with that? Have any examples of how that might work out in the real world?

      • Fred Jourden

        You are obviously taking my comment personally, though it really was not aimed against you.
        As well as you are making many assumptions about the “corners we have cut”. Please, don’t go this way. Cause I’d be more than happy to explain you all the technical tricks on this machine. Not sure it would be interesting.I am not that self assured, myself. And therefore am waiting to see the result on this Honda you are about to work on.As for your pedigree, it seems you have educated your eye in many ways.But as you may know, building a bike for someone has just a mere goal: make the best possible so that the owner of the bike falls in love with his machine once retreived.And for that very bike (as for all the bikes we put our hands on and in so far), trust me: this goal was totally achieved.Now regarding the visual effect, once again, this is your judgement and I respect it. But this bike was not made for you. So I am totally fine with the fact it does not work for you.Good luck then with your Honda project.


    • Fred, 

      All well crafted custom bikes are sweet!  Certainly, anyone who loves building bikes should be given more respectful criticism.  Truth is, I’d own the above bike over any stock sportster.  The tone of some of the “criticism” above IS fairly rude/insulting and those people can go f— themselves. 

      Design tastes are individual and that is why customs are made!  If anyone wants to see this bike look different, then build one and take a picture of it and be brave enough to post it on a site like this.  You all know that if you saw this bike in person, you wouldn’t hesitate to talk to the guy riding it and tell him how ‘cool’ and ‘original’ his bike was whether or not that was what you actually thought (read, you’d be too pussy to give harsh criticism to a custom bike builder in person.)

      On the other hand, we are all entitled to our opinions and I, for one, don’t consider this bike to be my favorite.  But its got charm.  The only thing I’d do different if I were building it would be the handle bars and the front fork.  BUT that’s just me. 

      Congratulations on building a nice custom sportster!


  • arnold

    You show me a buggered screw head in a picture you took to show off your work to a critical crowd an you present your shop and yourself as a meh.

  • Tony K

    Id like to see pics of the front brake set up. Looks ingenious?