Arizona-based DP Custom Cycles is making a name for itself with classy Ironhead Harleys. The latest build from the Del Prado brothers is this very clean 1985 XL. It’s one of the last of the Ironheads, so the motor is 1000cc in capacity, and mounted directly to the frame. “We love classic bobbers and cafes,” says Justin Del Prado. “Sure, we could’ve taken this build further with shaved fork legs, more performance mods, and so on—but then our budget would get out of hand.”
This custom was built from a solid and strong running donor, so DP didn’t have to dismantle the Ironhead. However, they detailed it to death and replaced all the seals and gaskets. (“You could eat off any inch of this bike.”) The brothers also spent a ton of time crafting the rear cowl out of one sheet of steel: “It’s easier to make two halves and weld the seam, but this was a fun challenge. The profile is radiused to follow the subtle curves of the tank.” As with DP Custom’s gorgeous 79 Café Racer, said tank is an NOS Italian Benelli—this time lightly worked over to soften the lines. The frame is essentially stock, but cleaned up and modified to allow the tank and cowl to fit. The seat pan is a one-off: “It has a slight arch in the front for comfortable support, and it’s upholstered in old-school diamond stitching.” Everything else on the bike has either been carefully restored or replaced with new parts, and all the wiring, controls and accessories are new. DP Customs also made the clip-ons, using a jig to create a simple design that works well.
The color choice comes from the Del Prado’s passion for old hot rods and muscle cars. “Ford Grabber Blue has always been a favorite of ours, so we went with it. We used pure, bright white for the stripes and a ton of clear, then sanded and buffed it out like a mirror. We finished off the tank with custom made cast aluminum emblems.” The tires are classic IRCs and give the bike a retro touch, while probably being more practical than the ubiquitous Firestones. The result is simple and clean—and no doubt a ton of fun to ride.
[Images by Jed Strahm.]
Canon EOS-1D Mk II | 1/80 sec | f/5.0 | ISO 400 | Focal length 43mm