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Grey Matter: An ingenious Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
We always love featuring the latest builds from the big names in the custom world, but there are a few lesser-known workshops that we keep a very close eye on too.

One of those shops is 2LOUD of Taiwan, run by Max Ma. He’s an esoteric kind of guy who can turn his hand to any style, but his bikes all have one thing in common: the build quality and levels of finish are right up there with the very best in the US and Japanese scenes.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
Max first caught our eyes with a tiny, jewel-like Suzuki TU250, and his last build was an R nineT that looked like no other oilhead. This time, he’s tackled one of the most familiar platforms in the bobber scene: the Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200.

Max built this sublime hardtail for the wife of one of his best customers, the Taiwanese musician Zhang Zhenyue. It’s configured to suit her physique, with a low-riding seat and decent pullback on the bars.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
This time, there’s nothing radical about the styling. The peanut tank, short sissy bar and backswept bars are staples of the bobber scene. But few custom Sportsters can boast such perfect stance and style.

Ms. Zhenyue may be compact in stature, but this Sportster is not short on power. Max has swapped out the EFI for a chunky Mikuni HSR carb that delivers smooth fueling and an extra 15 (or so) horses to the back wheel.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
Custom timing and clutch covers clean up the side of the engine, and the low-key air filter is also a one-off. Exhaust gases now exit via a pair of almost symmetrical straight-shot shorty pipes: Max says that they sound quieter than they look, thanks to hidden baffles.

Adding a hardtail to a custom bike in the US or Europe is a well-trodden path. But in Taiwan, things get tricky—the inspection regulations are amongst the strictest in the world.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
Max made the hardtail assembly himself, configuring it so that he can remove the upper struts and install shock absorbers before going to the testing station. Despite this complication, the setup is as clean as they come.

At the front, Max has lowered the forks a little and polished the stanchions until they gleam. The wheels gleam too: they’re actually the standard rims, but given a fresh coat of glossy metallic paint and fitted with new stainless spokes.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
The rubber is Duro Adlert, with a modern bias ply construction hidden under a vintage-style sawtooth pattern.

This is one of those bikes where there’s a place for everything, and everything is in the right place. Max has created all the bodywork himself, from the tiny tank to the bobbed rear fender and the side panels.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
The righthand side panel conceals a Shorai lithium ion battery, and right above is a beautifully crafted black leather seat—complete with curved accent stitching for a feminine effect.

On the left, the side panel is part of the new handmade oil tank, with access granted after lifting up the seat cushion.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
Max bent the sissy bar from 16mm stainless steel tubing, and machined up a set of new brackets to flush-fit the old school headlight nice and tight between the fork stanchions.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
The paint is the best we’ve seen on a custom for a long time. Max describes it as a ‘cement grey,’ with a mix of deep and light silver tones. At the base of the tank is the word ‘AMISAWU’—the name of Zhang Zhenyue’s wife, and the lucky new owner of this machine.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
The whole vibe is monochrome without being too stark or masculine. The chain provides the only flash of color: Max has converted the Sportster to conventional drive, and fitted a beautiful gold RK 530 chain.

An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD
The Sportster is probably the most customized motorcycle model in the world, so it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. But 2LOUD has delivered a subtle and stylish machine that speaks softly and carries a big stick.

We reckon it’s time Max Ma took his place in the upper echelon of custom builders—and we can’t wait to see what style he tackles next.

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An ingenious Harley Sportster hardtail from 2LOUD

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