Firstly, Josh’s inspiration came in the form of a mash of his two favourite styles of bike. A bit of brat melded with the iconic café racer, a Honda CB550 played the brat and the rest came from a café racer styled Harley-Davidson Sportster build by Deus Ex Machina. Together the two melded in to what became ‘The Reverend’.
As the build moved from Josh’s mind to garage floor the concept skewed, “I decided to tone down the original concept a little to reign in the costs, but I wanted to turn a big fat sportster that began all white & chrome (the donor bike’s original scheme) into a blacked out brat/café bike that turned heads and upset Harley purists.”
Josh’s fascination with all things old began before a move to the hustle and bustle of Sydney, the addiction to the freedom behind bars came far later. “Seeing classic bikes in movies and on the street certainly always copped plenty of staring from me, but I hadn’t really ever thought about owning one until more recently. I’d moved to Sydney from growing up in the country and the traffic was literally driving me insane! I watched motorbikes roll past me in traffic and it was then that I was convinced; I needed to get on a bike. I told myself it was pragmatic, for functionality only and that I wouldn’t enjoy it and get addicted. As soon as I bought my first bike and rode it for 10 minutes I was completely hooked. It was just a completely different experience to driving a car, and I loved it. I was never into newer cars or newer anything really – I was always drawn to older style things, so naturally café racer bikes became my weapon of choice.”
After a quick start to the project progress slowed as the final design elements had to be decided on to make the bike the as close to that perfect idea that was hatched as possible “I was trying to mesh together a lot of different bikes I had seen. I’d create Photoshop mock-ups, and then decided to jump right into it and get to work with the angle grinder. Harley’s aren’t the best shape for café racers so that meant cutting pretty aggressively into the frame to build a whole new rear end. I then chucked on some new suspension to change the geometry of the bike even further. Once the way it sat was right, it needed some custom fabrication on the rear for the seat, which my mate Chris expertly took care of. It was then time for me to begin tearing every piece of chrome off and begin painting everything black.”
Josh ingeniously didn’t opt for too many aftermarket parts but recruited friends to help with the custom elements like the rear seat. However, two of the most important elements to make the bike functional and complete the look couldn’t be made, the Super Classic 270 Shinko Tyres and the aftermarket suspension. The Shinko’s made the bike look the way josh intended after struggling to decide on which way to go and researching many different options the 270 Super Classic made the most sense.
Although new(ish) to the fabrication and engineering side of building a custom bike Josh persevered with his vision and came out the other side with a unique and most importantly functional custom bike that reflected his vision. “There weren’t too many hiccups with the build, other than my lack of experience with electrics and fabrication. It took lots of frustrating hours playing around to make things work. Not having the right tools for most of the jobs was tricky as well. This meant doing it very slowly – the way you’re not meant to do it. For instance, painting the engine and wheels whilst they were still on the bike.”
“It’s tough to say what my favourite thing about the machine is, but maybe the tank lettering. The name for this bike was picked out long before I had even purchased it. I knew I wanted to build an aggressive looking bike and call it the Reverend. It’s a name that’s a half tongue in cheek joke about this bike being the thing that will bury me, and half a bit of a joke on usually being the only token Christian around the motorcycle scene. But other than the tank I think just the way the bike makes me smile when I twist the throttle. It’s just really fun to ride. It feels so different to ride it now than when I began cutting it up, and it’s a seriously fun bike to ride now with the new geometry and controls the way it’s set up. I think perhaps most though I like that I did what people tell you not to do with a Harley-Davidson. I see why you’re not supposed to do this to a Harley, but it was fun and a challenge.”
This blog has been adapted courtesy of Throttle Roll and Pete Cagnacci