The latest build from Charlie Stockwell of London-based Warr’s Customs is this Harley-Davidson Cross Bones built at the behest of a former Formula 1 champion. It’s decked in the trademark red-and-white livery of the McLaren F1 team that became famous during the era of Ayrton Senna. With a handmade F1-inspired exhaust system, and a one-off brake system from the Japanese company Akebono, this bike is strikingly different from the designs Stockwell has created in the past.
Taking inventory of Charlie’s past work, it’s amazing to me how each build is so different, and creative from bike-to-bike. But as Charlie explains, “It’s not all about the visual of the bike. The performance and handling characteristics are just as important. Every bike I design and build must handle, perform and ride as well as any original Harley. I don’t like the idea of a customer having a bike that looks great but is horrible to ride.”
According to Charlie, this Cross Bones needed the performance and the handling to match its extreme look. After all, racing was the backbone of Harley-Davidson for over a century—bringing hard-core enthusiasts together on and off the track.
Charlie turned to the Warr’s Racing Team (which works closely with the official Racing Team in Milwaukee) to put together an engine capable of fueling adrenalin and delivering high-performance. The result is a tuned Screamin’ Eagle 120ci Twin Cam motor producing 156 bhp and 140 ft/lb of torque. Although it has brute power, it’s been carefully tuned to be ‘rideable’ at the lower rpm range as well as high.
The brakes needed to be special for this build. In Charlie’s mind, who better than Akebono, the guys who are the current supplier and sponsor of the McLaren F1 team? Akebono worked closely with Charlie throughout the design, development and testing. Three titanium monobloc calipers, brake discs, clutch and brake master cylinders were made especially just for this project. According to Charlie, it’s a first of its kind and unheard of in this industry.
Since suspension defines the riding experience, the choice was easy for Charlie: it had to be Öhlins USA. He worked closely with Öhlins Racing to build a pair of World Super Bike specification race forks capable of working well with the extra weight that a Harley carries—especially when compared with a more nimble 175kg race machine. They were fitted to a huge pair of Honor Moto triple trees. He also fitted Öhlins springs inside the rear shock absorbers to give it good balance and feel all round.
Charlie is known for taking full control on the look, but on the Cross Bones he worked closely with the customer on the styling. Fabrication of the bodywork was handled by Charlie and his trusted ally and friend Russell Brown. These two are the brains behind all that comes out of Warr’s King’s Road customs. The gas tank was thanks to Pete Pearson. The supple leather used on the small solo saddle was sourced from McLaren; it’s the same as currently used on McLarens MP4 road car.
According to Charlie, the bike has to be seen to be fully appreciated. I don’t doubt that, but it looks brilliant from here.
2011 Harley-Davidson Crossbones
Engine Screamin’ Eagle 120R
Öhlins FGR200 Front Forks
Öhlins Rear Springs
Triple Trees: Honor Moto
Brakes & Master Cylinders: Akebono for Warr’s
Wheels: Performance Machine
Design: Charlie Stockwell
Fabrication: Charlie Stockwell & Russell Brown (Warr’s Customs)
Exhaust: Warr’s Customs
Nickel plating: London Chroming
Custom Paint: Image Design Custom