VTM SpaceSter

Harley-Davidson Sportster custom
This Sportster-based custom will be one of the few signs of genuine originality at the AMD World Championships Of Bike Building next year. Designed by Bernard ‘Buck’ Massart of the French custom motorcycle shop VTM, it’s built around a Harley-Davidson Sportster engine. The SpaceSter looks like a motorcycle designed on a CAD system, but apparently the cladding was all shaped by hand. Oil is stored in the frame and the flow of the styling is inspired—particularly the fins behind the engine. The front upside-down fork is from a Yamaha YZF-R1, attached to an 18” wheel, and if you look closely you can see the vent for the exhaust on the lefthand side. If you can read French, there’s a PDF feature of the bike from Wild Motorcycles here. Details are otherwise scant, but I have a good feeling about this machine. Do you think it will win?

[Via Cyril Huze blog. Images © G. Dujardin.]

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Harley-Davidson Sportster custom
Harley-Davidson Sportster custom
Harley-Davidson Sportster custom

  • Griffin

    Wild!

  • http://www.thierryvincent.com Thierry Vincent

    Well, that’s one bike I find pretty ugly. First, why should it have such an efficient front fork and no rear suspension… Style is one thing, making something that’s consistent is another.
    Good try, interesting looks but not fully achieved to me.

  • GB400TT

    OMG…sweet!

  • brij

    Definitely different! A lot of work seems to have been put into this bike! Will it win?? Probably not!!! Not everybody’s cup of tea!!

  • Bald Shaun

    Well, definitely not my cup of tea. But it looks kind of fun. The mere fact that it actually appears rideable places head and shoulders above most of the useless bikes its likely to encounter at the AMD World Championships Of Bike Building.

  • grimble

    sure looks like a rendering to me….

  • Ken

    Interesting concept but a bobber? Still can’t ride it (no pegs). Cylinders moulded together? Feet right next to the exhaust?

  • iRivas

    I don’t think it’ll win. Cool futuristic concept but in my opinion I think they could have done something better with the headlight. Looks like it came off of a 90′s Ford Van.

  • mule

    At first it sorta takes your breath away! Wow! Streamlined (3 horizontal lines), futuristic, clean, Testa Rosa venting, low like it’s meant to go fast!

    Then you realize it’s a hardtail and you are quickly transported from the dreamworld of technical and styling advances we’ll see in the future back to the present with it’s archaic chopper style “form above function” design priorities.

    Give it a sensible, functional rear suspesion and I’d gladly sleep with it. Maybe a transverse torsion bar to keep it looking smooth or who knows what. It the future, we hopefully will advance intellecually past our preoccupation with “Coolness” and regain our senses.

    Think of a bike that looked like this AND performed without compromise from the rider? I still like it though and I really like the engine cover mods! I’ll have to stare at this one for a bit.

  • spoon

    You’ve just posted the bike of the future. Nice
    (except for the hardtail)

  • Kevin

    impressive craftsmanship for sure! Not at all my thing … maybe I’ll change my mind if I travel to the year 2234 where machines have wiped out the human race

  • mingh

    looks pretty much like my kids’ little pushbike. Hope the rider of this won’t fall over as often as they do ;-)

  • Derek Larsen

    I wonder why they used a Sportster engine and not the V-Rod’s? That’s what I’m reminded of first and foremost.

  • AC

    interesting.

    that fork, regardless of it’s R6 origins is still usless…looks like it has about an inch of travel.
    And the fins(?) for footpegs….ah…not sure if your feet would stay on those, is it automatic?
    No rear brake lever…no shift lever…two hand levers…
    Oh!
    got it…
    there is a Vespa motor under all the ‘body.’

    Not my thing…
    Not at all.
    For a ‘Harley’ it looks awfully plastic.

  • Brad

    Totally looks like a 3D CAD rendering to me … for hand crafting, that’s insane.

  • mack-o-matik

    if THIS is the future of bikedesign, I’m hell of impatient! Makes sense to me, and I’d prefer to see an electric engine than a heating Milwaukee iron. The hardtail is a minus though. I like.

  • wilderbeast

    There’s so much that’s wrong with this design that I don’t know where to begin. Scrumptious fotograffy though…

  • KIK

    too high tech for my caveman taste,nice job on the fiberglass tho.

  • http://www.mulemotorcycles.net mule

    Looks to me like it just came from the School of auto design in Pasadena. Now on to the “Producability department” to clean up the and add the missing details. Yes we need to shift, brake and clutch it without burning our shoes off. The website has a lot of large detail pictures too. Pretty wild.

  • Wombat

    This bike will feature in Mad Max 5!
    It is pushing the styling along if nothing else – a toned down version of this will slip into popular design in a few years

  • KIK

    the bike in the back ground looks more interesting, even if its blurry.

  • BRG

    At last, something different!

  • Harry Farquhar

    I don’t have a lot of French but the article in Wild Motorcycles indicates that the floor boards are also the foot controls. These pics do look like CG but the magazine photos show a real functional machine. Looking forward to an elaboration of all that is wrong with this motorcycle. It’s reassuring to know that in future people will still be able to determine how a bike performs just by looking at pictures.

  • john bazeley

    Well THIS is DIFFERENT….I like DIFFERENT!!!

  • Eggnostriva

    It is remarkable that such a futuristic design does not even give a nod to the comfort of the rider. Tiny seat and a hard tail. pretty to look at, but style over substance.

  • http://knsweb.net kumo

    I like it mostly, except for the hardtail part. And well, it has no side stand…

    But it’s a nice futuristic design. Different.

  • http://meticulouspaint.com Larry Pearson

    So many customs are taken to such cartoonish levels. That bike is gonna look like a tuxedo at a clown convention. I love the design and how it’s all been incorporated. Each piece draws your eye to the next. It’s been thought out front to back. The R6 front end has the perfect proportions. A Sportster engine seldom looks so cool and so right as it does there. I, too, wonder about shifting, footpegs, carb/FI (?), hard tail and such, but the fact that it can be ridden at all is pretty darn cool. It’s a styling exercise, and it’s pure eye candy.

  • BoxerFanatic

    Interesting to look at, but not functionally designed.

    And the rear wheel is backwards, compared to the front, which struck me as a bit disconcerting right away.

  • Greybeard

    “Spacester”?

    This exercise screams Raymond Loewy all over the place!
    Love it.

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    “… a tuxedo at a clown convention.” Brilliant.

    That sums up the AMD Championships perfectly: a bunch of billet clowns with the occasional tuxedo.

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    Is it real? It looks like cgi!!

  • Kerry

    I really like this bike. If someone had said Arlen Ness had built it I’d have thought he’s back on his game. The styling is great, I love the way the forks and bars mesh with the lines of the tank. I’m sure Harley will pick up on some this bike’s design elements when they consider accessories for future Sportsters.

    This all said, I don’t think it would win the AMD since there often tends to be one or more bikes that are so over-the-top that ones like this are often largely ignored.

  • Steve Horn

    Zut alors!

  • Paul Y

    My first reaction was wow, then I read the comments and went back and looked again at the pics. That thing would run Hot! How would you keep from burning the toes on your right foot? They’d be right on the rear header pipe, and the lower cowling containing the exhaust system is likely to melt or burn up.
    It is a great departure from the normal chopper style paradigm, hopefully it catches on and can be made functional.
    Tuxedo at a clown convention – love it!

  • David M

    You said “AMD World Championships Of Bike Building ” but I don’t understand why. I checked out a number of the contestants from 2009 and there were some truly interesting bikes.

  • David M

    Correction of my post above : you said ” … will be one of the few signs of genuine originality at the AMD World Championships Of Bike Building next year. “

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    I’d be happy to have one of the top six bikes from the 2009 AMD Freestyle class in my garage, but I don’t see much mold-breaking originality in the rest of the entrants. For all its flaws on the functionality front, at least the VTM SpaceSter is a genuinely unusual spin on the custom Harley genre. It’s horses for courses though — I’m not into the US chopper scene enough to get excited by most of the bikes.

  • mule

    I’m with Emmett on the “cgi” therory. Maybe that’s why a bunch of it doesn’t make functional sense….yet.

    Chris, “unusual spin on the custom Harley genre”. A question to follow up on that would be, “Why a Harley at all?” Many other motors might lend themselves to a futuristic stance such as this without being weighted down by the “Harley paradigm” of hardtails and chopper cues.

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    It’s definitely a real photo and not a CGI image — the bike has won a couple of European shows. In France they really love their Harleys, and there seems to be less cynicism about the brand than elsewhere. (That was the impression I got when I was over there a couple of months ago, anyway.) Or maybe the builder was thinking, “Let’s see how far we can stretch the Milwaukee envelope.”

  • wbkr

    Really really impressive.

  • http://chalopy.blogspot.com Ralph

    It looks kind of familiar. There was a US shop in the ’90s that had the same flowing style with morphed parts. They primarily did hotrods/customs and made their bigtwins in small batch I think. Just can’t remember the name of that shop.

  • el vencejo

    Buell XB hardtail meets 1950′s Sci-Fi comic

  • teo

    Ugly and useless. Bravo.

  • Jason

    @el vencejo
    I was thinking the same thing, it’s very buell feeling to me.

    good details on it though, hiding the brake calipers, hiding the rear rotor behind the drive pulley etc.

  • mule

    @Ralph, that was Little John Buttera I believe. He was Hot Rod/Funny car/Indy car guy that built a few bikes with really trick finned oil tanks and billet swingarms (yes they had rear suspension).

  • Tinman

    Kind of neat looking, sort of a streamlined Buell, with no rear suspension. I question the use of a Sportster engine in a plastic covered bike, If your not highlighting the engine you might as well use any number of water cooled metrics lumps for power. The beauty of any HD creation is the engine and how its presented.

  • el vencejo

    Apart from the beam frame, all the “styling cues” are 60+ years old…check out Dan Dare, Buck Rogers etc

  • Allen Smith

    Now if only the manufacturers would build something this clean… I would love to ride this thing on an LA freeway, park it at Venice Beach and let the masses oogle.

  • badams

    Its got Lil’ John Buttera cues all over it. Not sure what to think.

  • badams

    @Ralph, @ Mule,

    You guys are on point, it smacks of Lil John. Caught your posts after my first. Lil John was beyond influencial; Drag Racing, Indy, Custom Bikes, Hot Rods, he was a pillar in the scene in Socal.

    The Lil John Speedster was a 90′s deal. He was one of the first to create a swingarm frame with a billet swingarm. At the time it was innovative, lending itself to what alot of guys are doing today, weather they know it or not.

    That may or may not be the case here but from my POV this ones got Lil John all over it. .

  • Scott Brough

    The only way to ride this bike and look good would be to wear metallic silver spandex; you know, like a full silver spandex body suit with bootlets and glovelets built in. A cape would be optional. I seriously like this bike. The lines are very well thought out and constant. Who cares about the rear suspension when you have a looker like this one. Great job on this unique creation!

  • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru.

    Hey DEREK LARSEN, do you think maybe they used the Sporty motor due to the fact that the entire bike looks to be designed around the cooling fins????

    just a thought.

  • http://23bricksforever.blogspot.com/ 23bricks

    Myself, Brawny, Jimmy Monk, Tosh and others went by VTM last summer looking for 45 pistons … Buck showed us this bike in progress – pretty amazing as it was, and amazing as it is now. Buck was a nice fella to a bunch of foreigners who turned up unannounced, gave us beer and sent us to the best camping place we hit. For those reasons alone he should win. He also had 2 pretty much perfect hydras, a scando longfork pan and a genny shovel in his shop … but no oversize pistons.

  • KIK

    wow ! i had forgotten about little john buttera,..thanxs for the reminder..