Onno was the owner of a slightly modified Harley-Davidson Night Train that he didn’t really ride much anymore. The standard Harley was not exciting enough, in part because Onno owns several motorcycles. At the same time, it has always been his dream to own a real chopper. But such a bike had to be precisely what he had in mind. The chopper had to be built from scratch and have a slim hardtail frame forming a straight line between the steering head and the rear axle.
During a visit to the Bigtwin Bike Show in 2013, Onno laid out his plan to the L&L crew. It was quickly decided to keep the Twin Cam 88B engine, gearbox, front forks, brakes various other parts from the donor Harley. A new frame was developed in-house to accommodate nearly all big twin engines. At the same time, the frame is suitable for choppers and bobbers alike. As required by the customer, the dimensions of the dual downtube guarantee classic straight lines. The rest of the bike is built up in Frisco Style. Onno has lived in San Francisco for several years and the California style appeals to him more than the ‘fat and black’ customs usually found in Europe.
From an angle, it is easy to see how narrow the frame is. This is further accentuated by the small fuel tank, minimalist saddle and the combination of a narrow rear tire and fender. The frame accepts a standard Harley-Davidson fork. In this case the fork from the Night Train donor bike, still using the standard brake, caliper and headlight. However, this fork looked too wide in relation to the rest of the bike. L&L had custom triple trees milled and chromed. They hold the 41 mm fork legs just that bit narrower. Chromed Deuce fork lowers had already been added to the donor Harley.
The handlebar is a standard Z-bar with a 1 inch diameter. To attain the required height, the customer located a pair of 4 inch risers from the USA. These fit nicely on top of the custom made triple trees (L&L code 30348ONN). It proved too difficult to run the electrical wiring through the handlebars with their sharp angles. Therefore, all cables run old school style from the controls to a special opening in the top triple clamp.
One of those things that make a bike unique is a custom oil bag. L&L developed this special tank with sight glass on both sides. The catalog code is 60900ONN. The battery is placed inside to make it hidden and its weight low and in the middle. The portholes clamp to the specially hardened glass with six bolts. The box with the colored buttons, behind and below, is a simplified ignition module.
Since the donor engine is a fairly modern Twin Cam, it comes with a fairly large and complex EFI module and thick cables. And then there’s the HD alarm system. To avoid a lot of hassle, the Twin Cam 88B engine was converted from injection to carburetion. The conversion kit used is L&L code 90930ONN. The air filter with Maltese cross is code 90972ONN. Below it, you can just make out the cable that allows idle adjustment without a screwdriver. The engine runs perfectly with the carburetor and picks up just as well as when it was still fuel injected. That is, as long as you remember to use the choke, just like old times!
With just 12,500 kilometers on the odometer, the engine needed no attention. Onno had already mounted a Harley accessory called a Finned Head Bolt Bridge to close up space around the spark plugs. This picture clearly shows the L&L handcrafted bracket for the ignition coil. To give the otherwise standard engine a more special old school look, ribbed rocker box covers have been mounted (code 90925ONN). The matching ribbed points cover is not in the pictures.
The Z-bar mentioned earlier (code 1601495) is paired with a slender brake handle with reservoir (1203220) and a clutch handle without reservoir (1203221), providing a clean classic look. This look is complemented by the vintage / nostalgic rubber grips.
Keen observers may notice two miniature bullet lights next to the headlight. These act as turn signals and are also used in the back. They are nice and unobtrusive although we’re not sure how legal they are in this position. In any case, the bike now has turn signals without any ugly protruding parts.
The sissy bar is hand made from round tube and provides three functions. Apart from being bad ass, that is. First, it holds the super tight rear fender in place. Additionally, it provides the perfect location for the license plate holder. These are usually positioned over the rear tire, which is a shame, or next to it, which makes the bike wider. The third function is to allow mounting of the Maltese cross taillight (1302529).
Onno aimed for a narrow bike and these old school tires blend in perfectly. This 16 inch Firestone rear tire is available from L&L under number 2224ONN. The closed Night Train rear wheel had to go and was replaced by a classic chrome-plated specimen with spokes. The stock rear brake rotor was retained. Wait a minute … who said FxxK stock?
A Sportster style gas tank (50561ONN) was customized by the boys at L&L. According to plan, the tank is mounted Frisco style on top of the frame tube. This would make the filler opening too low. Therefore, the hole was welded shut and a new one created at the top. Also note the fuel petcock at the bottom.
The registration papers of this custom bike list its name as ‘The Ghan’. This name comes from a train that runs through the rugged Australian landscape. The bike’s owner has in fact traveled on it. Train … Night Train … … okay, we get it. But what’s up with the red and gray paint? That’s easy, because these are the colors of the Australian train. The color combination is great and the metallic silver scallops with black pinstriping make for a striking yet classic element.
These simple welded forward controls are a trademark of the L&L style of chopper building. They are extremely strong, inexpensive, and less visually complex than the traditional forward controls with their mounting plates. The brake pedal is powder coated in black and uses a pushbar to operate the hidden brake pump. The shifter on the left side looks identical. The rubber footrests (code 4061ONN) are identical to the vintage / nostalgic hand grips so as not to introduce another styling element.
The homemade leather saddle (code HMONN) with inlaid Maltese cross is sewn onto a plate with the correct shape and curvature. The saddle plate is strong enough to enable the mounting of a neatly concealed mini shock (code 1501800). A hardtail is pretty cool, but it doesn’t need to break the former Softail owner’s back.
Below the saddle and the frame tube is the black box for the ignition and lights. Its position and color make it almost invisible. The chromed button above the ignition key starts the engine. Simple and reliable. As you can see, the Harley-Davidson belt drive has been retained. Chains may be cooler according to some enthusiasts, but a belt is quieter, cleaner and requires zero maintenance.
The rear fender (code 70715ONN) has been molded to fit this bike and tire and is mounted neatly from the frame and sissy bar. The metallic silver band on a red base coat provides a visual link with the silver scallops on the fuel tank.
The brake and clutch lever are obviously from the same series. The clutch lever (code 1203221) does not need a reservoir and looks even cleaner than the brake lever. It must be said that the lever is pretty far from the handlebar, requiring big hands on the part of the owner – or not too much clutch. A striking detail that can be found on both sides of the handlebar is the retro button (code 1302385ONN). The buttons in their minimalist chrome housings are pressed to operate the left or right turn signals.
A speedometer can be quite useful, apart from being mandatory. It is usually placed close to the handlebar or the tank. To keep those areas clean, this speedometer (code 1601504) in its chromed housing is mounted on the left side of the engine. An illuminated LED in the dial shows the odometer. And no, we won’t be able to hit 260.