Harley-Davidson has a strange affectation for Italian motorcycle companies. It bought MV Agusta in 2008, and offloaded it just over a year later to the late Claudio Castiglioni. But way before that, in 1960, Harley bought a half share in Aermacchi, and started selling a rebadged version of the Italian company’s 250 cc single. It was called the Harley-Davidson Sprint, and that’s what we’re looking at here. Except this one has been customized and returned to its original Aermacchi branding by Idaho-based Union Motorcycle Classics.
Builder Mike Watanabe takes up the story: “That bike has been kicking around my group of friends for over 20 years. It kept getting passed from one person to the next. Then a customer came to me with a BSA Victor that he wanted to build into a street racer. I talked him into building an Aermacchi instead.” Mike had long planned the ideal seat unit for the bike, so he had it molded straight off by regular Union collaborator Glass From The Past—who also supplied the fairing and the tank. “The bike had good bones,” says Mike, “but needed everything else.” The customer, Al Porter, is a notable motorcycle restorer himself, so he rebuilt the engine and worked with Union to position all the bodywork and build the brackets. Meanwhile, Union created the rearsets, a custom center stand and an aluminum exhaust shroud for the underside of the fairing.
Then Al took his bike home and applied the paint and polish himself. Isn’t it gorgeous?
PS: A big welcome to our latest sponsors, DK Motorrad and Dime City Cycles. DK Motorrad makes a terrific Harley-Davidson cafe racer kit (you can buy the parts separately too) while Dime City specializes in vintage cafe racer and bobber parts, delivered anywhere in the world. Check out their sites—their patronage helps to keep Bike EXIF’s rubber on the road.