Cro Customs BS1

Harley-Davidson Sportster custom
Conrad Leach is one of the very few motorcycle artists worth following. So when I read that he was involved in the creation of a new custom motorcycle, I pricked up my metaphorical ears. Information was hard to come by, but finally, here are the images. The bike is called BS1 and it was built for one of Leach’s patrons by Caleb Owens of Cro Customs in Culver City, California. The foundation of this machine is a 1986 Harley Sportster, but all that remains of the donor bike is the engine and the cradle section of the frame. Symmetrical 23” wheels establish the boardtracker stance, and the Springer front end is unusually narrow: it’s been cut-and-shut to maintain the visual balance. The detailing throughout the rest of BS1 is beautifully wrought, and just as importantly, kept to a minimum. Because although it’s heart-stoppingly beautiful, this is a bike designed to be ridden. For more images and the full story, head over to Chop Cult.

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

  • Parkwood60

    Wow, at first i wondered why he used DOT Semi-knobbies, then I read they were 23″ and understood. I actually think the tall skinny tires look awesome. They make it look very much a vintage bike, even though those tires are 100 times better than the old bicycle tires used back in the days of board track.

  • Ryan

    B-E-A…utiful. Has alot of the same qualities of the falcon bikes. Also a big fan of the skinny tires and this whole look in general. One day………………one day.

  • Mule

    I’m a bike builder and I build my own bikes. But I would buy a bike like this in a Hollywood minute! The tires make no sense at all but I don’t even care, I want one anyway!!!!

  • Aaron Burke

    Love the detail work on the exhaust. That looks very well executed.

  • Sportster Cafe

    Finally, some one that got the proportions of a Sportster Boardtracker right! I went back to compare it with that yellow Psyclone, it is all wrong compared to this one. Makes me want a hardtail!

  • Josh

    Definitely makes me want a hard tail also. I’m a huge fan of older power plants, but great to see a “modern” v-twin here from a reality stand point. Excellent use of paint, chrome, and plating. Not sure you’d cover much ground with this bike due to all the attention it would get. Very nice to see one done WELL.

  • Mule

    ‘Sportster Cafe’, as you said the proportions are “Right”. I too saw the Psyclone and it was pretty but all wrong. Having an eye for what’s right is much more rare than I ever imagined and especially true among bike builders. I saw this bike a few months ago on Sideburn and it blew my mind then. I think I saw it riding around Monterey last week during the Pebble Beach Ho-Down! I love it.

  • cro

    Thanks for posting the bike Chris. And thank you for the kind words everyone. To even be mentioned in the same sentence as a Falcon bike is flattering considering how tiny my operation is and how different this bike is. On this build it was largely part time and a lot of help from my friend JD Sansaver. Nothing is CNC’d it’s all hand made. Collaborating with Conrad was a great experience and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have pushed myself out of the early big twin box, I’m glad I did. The bike is a ton of fun to ride!

    Love the site!

    cro customs inc.

  • NoH2Oh

    Love the tank cut-outs for the heads. Very, very nice bike.

  • dobbs

    I freaking love the bike, but that seat is awful.

  • David Enfield

    Magnificent .

  • mule

    CRO, I’m curious as hell. Where did you take the pictures?

  • cro

    Mule, photos were taken on a lonely road near Willow Springs. Dobbs, the seat is a repro Messinger saddle from the board track days. 100 years ago dudes would do 100+ miles an hour on similar saddles, up turned 2x4s and sketchyer bikes.

  • That V Twin says everything in that bike, love how “traditional” it looks.
    No flashy paint or tribal shit all over it.
    Very great pics CRO, i love that ass end shot, you got to emphasize that chain drive!
    a couple weeks ago i found another pic of this sweet ride on FLICKR

    Got to check out more of Jim N Claire’s moto photos

  • joe momma

    ….bracketry is fabulous, tanks frame fit well……the old flat spotlight don’t make it as headlight but i reckon beauti is in the eye of the bee holder….i enjoy copper plumbing

  • cro

    Joe, the headlight works very well, high/low beam. Nice and small to sit well with the narrowed front end. It’s off an old Packard. No headlight would have been better, but need those pesky suckers at night.

  • frederick

    very nice. i love this style and this is one of the nicest done with an evo sportster motor. brilliant how he narrowed the springer. i’m curious the build cost. anybody know? i wish now i had gone with larger rims and tires on the psyclone but at the time 21s were easy to find and reasonable. i was on a pretty tight budget. this one does look a bit uncomfortable to ride seat to peg to bars; i duplicated the ergonomics of my commando which makes for a reasonably comfortable ride and accounts for the “not quite” boardtracker proportions. the meisinger saddle does take some getting used to….definitely not a long distance ride.

  • cro

    Of course I am not at liberty to discuss build cost, but I assure you its probably not what you think. I’ve heard the falcon people throw around 2500 hours per bike or something, I’m not sure if we did that, but I bet it’s close, and that was mostly nights and weekends. The bike is actually very comfortable. It was built to ride. The position of the pegs, seat, bars, were very carefully placed for reasonable daily riding. I have a riding pic on my blog were I am in the sort of tucked position.

    Actually, the riding position is very similar to a modern day road bike. The bars suggested boardtrack but they are not nearly as close to vertical as they would have been 100 years ago. Like I said before, the client was breaking this bike in all last week in Pebble. No complaints.

  • mule

    The headlight looks bitchin! I like the copper tubing, but it gets a little overpowering on the rt side behind the motor. Picking the fly shit out of the pepper though! I wouldn’t kick it outta bed.

  • cro

    “The headlight looks bitchin! I like the copper tubing, but it gets a little overpowering on the rt side behind the motor. Picking the fly shit out of the pepper though! I wouldn’t kick it outta bed.”

    Standard hose would have been worse and lame, its a bit overpowering in these pics because it is shiny and has not yet patina. Now, the patina has set in nice and it blends in nicely.

  • Ryan Wolthuis

    I first bumped in to this bike on Jay Leno’s garage. He was reviewing a Brough Superior and had it out on the road when the owner of this killer board tracker rode by. Jay flagged him down and got the low down on his bike.
    Watch the whole interview. It’s the last minute or so when this bike shows up.

  • I rode this machine at Pebble Beach, where it sat on the lawn at the Quail Motorsports Gathering, surrounded by zillion-dollar cars. It stood it’s ground. I wasn’t able to give a full ride report, but that’s coming…The bike has great power-to-weight, a comfortable riding position, and is frankly one of the best-balanced Sportster customs I’ve ever seen. Caleb, you did a really fine job.