Lakeside Racer: A Sportster inspired by the Riva Aquarama

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles
If you’re a classic watercraft aficionado, this custom Harley-Davidson Sportster should feel familiar to you. That’s because it’s modeled after one of the most exquisite and unique boats ever built: the Lamborghini Riva Aquarama.

The storied Italian boat maker Riva started out building ferries, and has since graduated to super yachts. But they’re best known for their classic wooden boats—specifically, the iconic Aquarama, in production from 1962 to 1996. One of the most notable Aquarama boats, is the one that Riva built in 1968 for Ferruccio Lamborghini.

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles
The legend goes that Sig. Lamborghini ordered an Aquarama for himself, but wasn’t too keen on the American-made V8 engines that powered it. So he supplied Riva with a pair of V12 Lamborghini power plants, as used in the Lamborghini 350 GT. Thus, the fastest Aquarama ever was built.

It’s a story that Matteo Fustinoni at Hazard Motorcycles knows very well. He grew up on Lago d’Iseo—the home of Riva boat works—and recalls time spent on a family friend’s own Aquarama as a kid. So he’s built this Sportster as a tribute to Ferruccio Lamborghini’s special order Riva.

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles
The homage goes a lot deeper than just the bike’s livery and trim. Matteo’s paid his respects to the Lamborghini Aquarama in myriad ways, with many details that you’d easy miss on the first pass.

For starters, he went to the trouble of rotating the ironhead motor’s front cylinder by 180 degrees. Why? So that he could install two Weber carbs—just like the ones found in the Lamborghini Aquarama.

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles
The engine also features hot cams, S&S Cycle pistons and a modified Morris magneto. And it’s fitted with a Pingel electric gearshift kit; gear shifts are now handled by a pair of buttons on the handlebars. Exhaust gases exit via a pair of scarily short pipes.

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles
The Harley’s overall layout recalls that specific boat’s most distinguishing feature: its speed. Matteo went for a drag bike silhouette, starting with a hand-built, stretched-out rigid frame. A shortened aftermarket springer fork does duty up front, gripping the 18” front wheel (and drum brake) from a Laverda 750.

Out back, a MH Racemaster drag slick wraps around a solid 16” wheel. Keen eyes will spot a disc brake caliper here too, alongside the bike’s foot pegs.

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles
At the opposite end, vintage Tomaselli Matador levers are fitted to clip-on bars, with a single Jaeger tacho sitting front and center. But what the rider is more likely to stare at while aboard this magnificent machine, is the alluring fuel tank design.

It’s the work of Andrea Pozzoli, who was roped in to handle all the metal-shaping jobs on the project. Andrea fabricated the split fuel and oil tanks, and the Harley’s generous front fairing. Then master cabinetmaker, Davide Aresi, added a generous helping of rich mahogany to the build.

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles
But it’s the overall color scheme that really drives the point home. Ivan Motta handled the paint, delicately balancing the original Riva’s white and blue tones. The engine was finished in the same blue as the engines in the Lamborghini Aquarama, while Luca Ronzoni upholstered the seat using original Riva materials.

Marvel at the finer touches—like the polished drillium bits, the contrasting fins on the outside of the engine, and the tiny carved winglets that pop up in various places. It’s a clear sign that this project was close to Matteo’s heart.

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles
Considering that the Aquarama is widely considered the most beautiful runabout ever made, building a motorcycle as a tribute to it is a bold move—but it’s a move that’s certainly paid off.

Bravo, Matteo!

Hazard Motorcycles | Instagram | Images by Daniele Grassi

Riva-inspired Harley Sportster by Hazard Motorcycles

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