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The Little Bike That Could: A Hartford cafe from 2LOUD

Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD
Ever heard of the motorcycle brand Hartford? Neither had we, until just now. It’s a small manufacturer based in Taiwan, but they’ve been operating under the radar for 20 years. And they now export bikes to the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy, as well as the more local markets of Thailand and Nepal.

This elegant, pared-down custom is based on the Hartford HD200, a small commuter bike—which in turn was based on the Honda CD200/CM200.

Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD
If you know anything about the high-end Taiwanese custom scene, you’ll recognize the signature of ‘Max’ Yicheng right here.

2LOUD have taken the gawky and indeed utterly nondescript Hartford and turned it into a compact little café racer-style bike, ideal for buzzing around tight city streets.

Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD
The modifications are typical of those you’d see from a mid-range custom shop, but the result is anything but average.

Every millimeter is perfectly judged and the little Hartford looks a million dollars. Not bad for a bike that sold for just £1,999 (US$2,500) in the UK.

Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD
Central to the new look is the modified vintage Benelli fuel tank. After a phase when they were stuck on every custom Yamaha Virago going, we’d thought we’d seen the last of them—but Max has made it work brilliantly on the Hartford.

The new tank is matched to a custom fiberglass seat and tail unit, which sits on a truncated custom subframe.

Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD
Max upholstered the new seat himself with cowhide, and he’s expertly mirrored the curves of the Benelli tank in the tail unit.

The tail also hides a tiny battery now, and Max re-routed some of the wiring inside the frame tubes to clean up the overall look. He then had the bodywork finished in black with simple silver pinstriping—“to emphasize the proportions of the bike,” he says.

Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD
And it works: coupled with the new hand-made exhaust system, there are shades of Auto Fabrica’s sleek design style here.

The spindly stock rims are gone, replaced with 18-inch aluminum spoked wheels front and rear, protected with high-temp paint. They’re fitted with Adlert Classic tires, a modern compound from the Taiwanese maker Duro that replicates an early Goodyear Eagle sawtooth tread pattern.

Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD
The rear wheel is hooked up to a new swingarm made by Mark Motorcycle, plus OEM Harley-Davidson shocks originally designed for the old Sportster XL883R.

The get the stance right, Max has shortened the forks a little, and fitted them with new internals. He’s also fitted new triple clamps, clip-ons and rearsets, all manufactured locally, and polished them up to a sheen.

Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD
It’s a classic case of making a little go a long way. Which could have been rather underwhelming, were it not for Max Yicheng’s incredible eye for a line and meticulous detail work.

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Custom Hartford HD200 motorcycle by 2LOUD