BMW Motorrad Spezial

DP Customs 79 Cafe Racer

Harley-Davidson ironhead
Arizona-based DP Custom Cycles specializes in Ironheads and Evos, usually turning them into “kick ass bobbers”. So this ’79 Harley is a departure for shop owner Justin Del Prado: low-set and unpainted, it has more of a café racer look. Del Prado has detailed the process: his latest custom “started out as a stock bike and was torn apart, so all the reusable pieces could be cleaned and detailed. Many parts were discarded to make room for the new setup. I wanted an all-steel café tank rather than fiberglass, and ended up finding the tank on eBay. It’s an Italian Benelli tank and the metal was perfect, so we were able to do a raw steel theme.” Del Prado hand-machined and clear coated the tank, and built the seat pan and rear fairing. “We distressed the finish on the primary and cam covers to give them an aged look, along with any other little parts we could.”

The bike is running clubman bars with one-inch risers, a café-style mirror and side-mount light, and vintage grips. The controls, switches and all wiring are new. “This gives the rider the feeling that they’re on a newer bike, even though it’s over 30 years old,” says Del Prado. “Discs front and rear stop well and the motor pulls hard for an old Ironhead. The previous owner claimed to have already gone through it; since it ran good, we left it alone mechanically. Aside from replacing a few gaskets and seals, the motor cleaned up nice.”

It’s the exhaust that first caught my eye with this bike. “The exhaust was a design we were waiting to do for a while,” says Del Prado. “It’s a 1¾” dual system that uses both sides of the bike. It sounds mean as hell. You can hear it ripping down the road a half mile away… Unfortunately, we didn’t get the bike out enough to really enjoy it before it sold. On the short test rides we took, it rode nice, handled great and really drew some attention.”

I’m not normally drawn to shiny Harleys, but I’ll happily make an exception for this one.

[Images by Jed Strahm.]

Harley-Davidson ironhead
Harley-Davidson ironhead
Harley-Davidson ironhead

  • iRivas

    I love this bike. The only thing that distracts me is that low lying side mirror. Not that it’s mine and I can change it. I wish.

  • KIK

    it would be so cool to pull up to bike night on this and park it next to the choppers , bautyfull bike.. exif is back on top.

  • I like it, but I can’t see the license plate lasting long in that position.

  • craigj

    Love the raw steel look and that it isn’t yet another 12ft long chromed out trailer queen. Still trying to imagine wrapping my 6-4 frame around clubmans and mid-mount controls.

  • Rivas, thats how harleys have their mirrors. Personally, I think it sets em apart from the rest. The bare metal and the upright harley look is great, its a shame they killed buell. An odd placement of headlight though… wish it was about 4 inches lower but who knows, only the designers knew what they were going for.

  • Bald Shaun

    Wow! I’m a little embarrassed to say I’m actually jonesing for a Harley. That bike is raw sex.

  • Flying Scot

    Looks like it was for sale, $6200, sold now obviously, nice bike.

  • Tim Hanna

    I tried that position for my mirror on my Norton with similar bars. It just didn’t work.
    However, I think the overall bike is just plain gorgeous. That’s two in a row!

  • joe momma

    …funny how that goes around….i have a ’61 XLCH and not such a fan of those later ones….??…..this bike in general looks presentable……my xb9 has near worthless ones/mirrors….unless my elbows suddenly make a break for it….that is a good place here to put mirror so that you may actually see behind…..i found some little bullet ones and put on the lower fork trees of the ’61….it rejected them… atta time they broke off short……????…also with our feet still on the ground……that rear section looks like a mud stripe up the coat……??

  • BRG

    Fanatastic, but I’m not sure how reliable it would be!

  • Tanner

    Love the bike… could benefit from rearsets IMO. Of course the downside to that would be that your ankles/heels would likely be resting on that sexy exhaust.

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    Another bee u t ful custom crapped up at the rear with a damn trailer light! Why F/u all that work with a $5 light from the auto-parts store? There’s a perfectly nice bucket sitting at the rear of that seat just asking for a custom lens. Put an LED on top of the license plate (which would be cool and totally stealth) to keep it street legal.

  • We’re laughing about the $5 trailer-light comment. Hey, we agree. It was thrown on last minute, so we could do some shake-down runs (legally). The plan was to do something a little more involved but the bike sold before we could get to it. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Sportster Cafe

    Nice bike, Sportsters make really nice Cafes. The Bennelli Mojave tank is such a natural, trying to get one for my Honda 360 project. One thing though, it needs rearsets, they are a peace of cake to make a set for the Sportster, just some scrap quarter inch aluminum, some longer allen bolts, turn the master cylinder around, and some GSXR front peg assemblies, got mine out of the scrap bin, payed by the pound, so real cheap! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

  • Harry Farquhar

    Looks like a proper ton up machine. Well done.

  • I really like it and the exhausts look really sweet but why do people keep building cafe racers and then put high bars on them? I know they are clubmans but they are too high. And the footrests need moving too. they’re too far forward.
    Ive seen several ‘cafe racers’ now with high bars, the whole point of a cafe racer is that its meant to be a racer with low wrist breaking bars. Maybe its cos im english and these things are close to my heart but but dont dumb these things down.
    They were originally built for one thing, and that was going fast so rearward footrests, low bars and big engine were the defining points of making a cafe racer without these things its just not a cafe racer .
    If you’re gonna build one, do it right. If I showed this to my old man and told him it was supposed to be a cafe racer he’d piss himself laughing.
    Sorry, rant over.

  • Lew

    Love the look of it. Find the mirror and rego plate distracting. Only Harely I’ve drooled over since I first saw an XR1200. Some good paint on the tins would be more to my taste, but the metal look isn’t too bad either.

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    Glad you’ve got an explanation and a sense of humor! There was a moment of my own trepidation when I thought another talented shop was being sidelined by the 90’s Grunge Rock meets idiot with mechanic’s tools mentality. I also like the slightly high clubmans as a concession to the theme in favor of somewhat better riding at less than WOT between watering holes in the city. Nice bike and workmanship, and I’m sending you $15 bucks for a nicer temp rear light off a Chinese scooter for those Ad Hoc photo shoots!

  • Bryguy9

    I am a Sportster guy and I am not ashamed to say it.

    This bike is hot and sexy and the metallic theme blows my mind. But the part of this bike that is totally frying my brain is that exhaust system. Unbelievable! I would love hear it, but I bet you need earplugs just to ride across town.

  • motojohn

    Nice bike.
    Shame it has a boat anchor for an engine

  • Mookie

    IFyou can build a bike that is worthy of being posted here, then be prepared for the cynics.