There are some motorcycles that you just can’t seem to escape no matter how much you try, so you may as well embrace their presence with everything you have. Whether it’s the first bike you ever owned or the one that keeps coming up for sale that you just know should be parked in your own garage, certain bikes seem to never quite escape our orbit. For Spanish custom builder Manel Molina it happened to be a Harley that’s been in his garage since he first opened Tripleme Motors in Barcelona. Then one day the 1992 HD Sportster 883 ended up in the hands of a new owner, who has literally let Manel go the whole hog, and build a thumping v-twin street tracker with all of the goodies.
If it has an engine and wheels, then it’s probably passed through Manel’s workshop, with every type of motorcycle receiving everything from an essential service to full customisations. And alongside the bikes, you’ll also see supercars, 4x4s and a host of daily drivers. But ever since the shop opened, one particular HD Sporty has been around, with the original owner bringing it in for its annual check-up and bunch of custom touches performed along the way. Then that owner sold the bike and Manel thought it was the last he’d seen of her until the new owner swung by the workshop with a simple request.
No servicing, no tinkering here or there, he wanted a full-blown custom build and he wanted Manel to make all the decisions so that it was a cohesive and perfect build, done once and done right! And you only need to look at the pictures to see the transformation has been enormous, this was until recently a relatively factory 883, with its bobber looks, belt drive and short ape bars. But having worked on the bike for so long, Manel knew that to get it to the standard he desired, would mean pulling the bike back to a bare frame and starting from scratch.
The chassis itself has had the subframe cut off, the front end prepared for the fork conversion and the swingarm pivot area seriously modified to accept a new arrival. The replacement subframe is beautifully engineered, it gives the bike the high riding position it needed to improve the handling, while also having a host of details incorporated for the parts to come. With the major metal work finished, it was coated in a hard-wearing bronze grey and the foundation had been set. Next, the TIG welder was fired into life and a wider, lighter and drastically improved aluminium swingarm was built for the job.
Added to both the frame and new swingarm are mounts for the all-new shock setup, that converts the sporty from cheap twins to a single high-end mono shock utilising an adjustable Ohlins unit. To bring the front end up to the same capabilities, a full conversion has been performed using pieces from the famed supreme handler that is the K8 Suzuki GSXR 750.
To get things rolling a custom set of tubeless spoked wheels was put together and then wrapped in Pirelli MT60 tyres. The Harley is, of course, no lightweight, so a brake upgrade was next on the agenda and no expense has been spared with rebuilt Tokico calipers, floating twin discs and a Brembo and Nissin package for the rear.
Having totally transformed the bike to be a real performer, it was time to extract some more power from the small displacement V-Twin. To pour in more fuel, Manel chose the ever popular and reliable S&S carb with a custom cleaner and foam filter. To turn up the spark on the EVO motor, he also fitted a Crane adjustable ignition system and pro wire set.
Before it was time to turn his attention to the exhaust and oh what a masterpiece he has crafted, twisting and turning from one end of the bike to the other. The near equal length system is wrapped in heat protection for the benefit of the engine and rider, before spitting out from under the tail with two slash cuts.
The final engine modification forms the first part of the bodywork, with a custom oil tank that sits within the rails of the new subframe. The rest of the bodywork is on full display, with the tailpiece shaped tight in the rear to allow for a tiny brake light to sit between those slick stainless pipes.
To make for a neat transition from tank to tail, Manel next made a set of side covers that run to the front of the bike and feature a pair of dual intakes, with VMAX muscle bike inspiration. A neat tank for the go gas helps to complete the look, with a high-rise front fender for the full tracker appearance.
The tins were pulled and sent to Bryan La Tinta, who is one hell of a painter, who took care of the stunning matte black and gold leaf finish. As he waited, Manel took the time to build an entirely new wiring loom that is centred around the ever-popular Motogadget m.unit blue.
Along with a host of LED lights, there is also the very clever use of a brand-new Honda headlight which has been neatly integrated with its own surround. Renthal bars with a host of Brembo bars and pumps get the rider in the right position, before a custom set of mounts position the mid controls.
All complete the new owner is obviously over the moon, and the bike that has been following Manel for years is finally ready to fly the coop; with a v-twin roar as it wheelies away from his workshop.