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Chrome is where the heart is

2013-04-02 06:45

CHOPPED AND TWEAKED: One of two new models... the Harley-Davidson Breakout. INSET: Bill Davidson, vice-president of the Harley museum.


Harley-Davidson motorcycles will celebrate its 110th year of manufacturing motorcycles in April 2013 – and what better place to acknowledge the event for South African fans of the brand than at the annual Africa Bike Week* to be held once again in Margate on the KZN South Coast.

And to celebrate the occasion an invitation was sent to the great-grandson of the eponymous Hogs, Bill Davidson, to pay us a visit – and he’s gladly accepted!

Harley-Davidson must have one of the largest ranges of bikes of any manufacturer that trades in the SA market with almost 30 models at last count. Speaking of which, be sure to read on as there’s news of another two newcomers to whet your appetite.


First up is a new Street Bob Special Edition, a rare beast that’s a pure bobber – and then some. Inspired by Harley-Davidson’s factory customisation programme, this limited-edition will only be available in international markets, including Europe, the Middle East and African.

The new Street Bob Special Edition has been upgraded with a 1690cc engine to deliver that unmistakable Harley rumble.  Naturally H-D has embellished it with distinctive two-tone scallop paint and steel-laced wheels with attention-grabbing red rims to deliver a bike that stands out by its looks just as much as its sound.

The Street Bob Special Edition delivers that high-end bobber look and features straight out of the crate, with ABS to elevate its specification further.

The styling manager for the bike at H-D research had this to say: “This bike is for the owner who would order a muscle car with the biggest motor and no radio. As part of this restyle, we cleaned off the rear mudguard, ditched the battery-box trim and bolted on a classic oval air-cleaner cover. The goal was to create an elemental Big Twin that a customer could define as his own.”

The second newcomer for South African H-D fans is an urban prowler called the Breakout. This is a premium model for the and has distinctive finishes and components not available to any other model.

Long and low-slung, the Breakout has a 240mm rear tyre visually balanced with thick forks and chopped fenders; a shaved tank console and a drag handlebar keep the profile low. A twin-cam 103 powertrain and other components are trimmed in gleaming chrome and gloss black paint. Like the acclaimed 2013 Custom Vehicle Operations Breakout model that preceded it, the Breakout has styling that’s smooth, tight and intended to showcase the engine and tyres.


American styling guru for this, Kirk Rasmussen, reckons: “The black-and-chrome engine visually pops out of  the centre of the bike and then, to maximise the effect of the tyres, the mudguards have been chopped. We wanted a lot of rubber showing to give the Breakout a tough, muscular look.
“We’ve always loved the gasser-style drag racing wheels from the 1960s and '70s. Our wheels are loosely inspired by those classics. Each has 10 half-round spokes. The gloss-black powder-coat is machined away on alternating spokes and the rim edge to expose the aluminium under the paint."

• Local prices are still to be announced – watch this space!

*William J “Bill” Davidson, vice-president of the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee in the US, will visit South Africa for the first time to join the iconic brand’s 110th anniversary celebration at Africa Bike Week from April 26929, 2013. Throughout his 28-year career with the company Davidson has focused on strengthening the Harley-Davidson brand and relationships with riders around the world.

Inside Wheels24

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