Project7: A low-riding 1994 Sportster café racer from Indonesia

Harley-Davidson Sportster café racer by Solace Motorcycle
Kevan Cahyadi is the type of guy who has fully embraced the eclectic nature of Indonesia’s custom motorcycle scene. His shop, Solace Motorcycle in Jakarta, has worked on a diverse offering of bikes; from scooters to dirt bikes and everything in between. But this Sportster café racer treads more traditional ground.

Based on a 1994 Harley-Davidson Sportster and referred to internally as ‘Project7,’ it’s a low-slung café racer with compact proportions and a killer design. “The genesis of this project stemmed from the challenge of transforming a V-twin cruiser into a café racer with a level frame structure,” says Kevan. “The mid to rear frame has been reworked to align parallel with the gas tank, with smooth curves achieved through meticulous metal shaping.”

Harley-Davidson Sportster café racer by Solace Motorcycle
To get the build started, Kevan used his 3D design skills to carefully plan the entire workflow. From the beginning, he knew that the Harley’s proportions would be a major pain—but he’s always up for a challenge. With the 3D model, Kevan could see exactly what he needed to do to level out the Sportster’s cruiser silhouette.

He started with the wheels, swapping the front for an 18-incher and the rear for a 17-incher. Fitted with a classic tire up front and a huge Hoosier drag tire at the back, the chunky rubber helped set the tone of the build.

Harley-Davidson Sportster café racer by Solace Motorcycle
Next, Kevan lowered the front forks substantially with help from his friend, Juli Purwantoro, then swapped the top yoke for a new part that he designed and machined himself. Clip-on handlebars make for a very committed riding position, which is compensated for by a set of highly modified rear-set foot controls. The cockpit also features bar-end mirrors and turn signals, and a repro Lucas P700 headlight.

Kevan spent a lot of time trying to find a fuel tank that would suit the bike. Numerous options were tested, but none would fit without substantial modifications. So, to get the tank just right, Kevan turned to his friends at Brilliant Motorcycle.

Harley-Davidson Sportster café racer by Solace Motorcycle
The team at Brilliant hooked Kevan up with a custom fuel tank, oil tank, and seat unit, bringing Kevan’s digital dream into reality. While they were there, Brilliant also fabricated a new front fender and custom side covers. The seat was covered in black leather to match the paint scheme—again executed by Brilliant.

At the back of the bike, Kevan chopped and looped the rear section of the subframe before the new seat went on. He then raised the rear ride height by lengthening the lower shock absorber mounts. With the stock rear suspension bolted back on, the rear of the bike was now sitting nice and level.

Harley-Davidson Sportster café racer by Solace Motorcycle
With the aesthetics and ergonomics taken care of, it was the engine’s turn to receive attention. The bike began life as a Sportster 883 but was quickly bumped up to 1,200 cc. The factory belt drive was converted to a chain-driven system, giving Kevan wiggle room with gear ratios.

The intake wears an elbow-sucking velocity stack, and the unapologetic straight-through stainless steel exhaust system is a custom piece. Sportsters are loud enough as they are, so we can only imagine what these big-bore shorty pipes must sound like at full tilt.

Harley-Davidson Sportster café racer by Solace Motorcycle
Although Solace Motorcycle has been whittling away at their skillset for quite some time now, they also have a tight network of craftspeople and suppliers that they lean on. “Numerous individuals have played pivotal roles in the development of Project7,” Kevan adds, “including Brilliant Motorcycles, Juli Purwantoro, and Universal Motowork. Their contributions have been integral to reaching this stage, and the journey of improvement continues!”

Long, low, and mean, Solace’s Sportster café racer might not seem particularly practical—but since when have café racers been about practicality?

Solace Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson Sportster café racer by Solace Motorcycle