Here it is, our first custom bike for 2023, a Harley Davidson Street 500. This Harley rolled into the PBM garage looking worse for wear after some low quality parts were thrown on a few years back that didn’t stand up to the test of time.
We went top to tail on this bike, lifted the level of the style of the mini Harley and of course upgraded the lower quality parts that were really letting the Harley Street 500 down.
But before we get into the custom work we did on the Harley, I want to take a sec to tell you that we have some really sick projects planned for the year ahead that we’ve been working hard on for quite some time. If you haven’t already, make sure you’re subscribed to both the Purpose Built Moto YouTube channel and mailing list because you’re not going to miss what’s coming. Now, about this Harley…
I’ve always advocated for going the extra mile to buy quality parts when customising motorbikes for one main reason. Sooner or later, you’ll end up replacing them and spending more money than you originally intended. Is it really worth cutting corners with the cheap ebay special if you’re going to have to spend more money in the long run?
Custom Street 500’s are a pretty popular bike around here – they were a top selling learner bike for years and the new riders went to town adding custom parts. Smoked Garage in Brisbane did a lot of these builds. The usual suspects were a new set of tires, usually a fat rear wheel, a hardtail, a bobber seat and a set of clip-on bars.
The clip-on bars never made sense to me. They don’t really work on a bike like this, the riding position places your feet forward from your seat and then you’re laid over the tank to get to the handlebars, it’s not a comfortable way to ride.
I got some 8” Mini Ape ⅞” bar from a local Australian manufacturer Bar Craft and then some biltwell rises from Iron and Resin Garage. Because we changed the bar set up we had to remount the speedo, and then upgraded the indicators to a pair of PBM 3-in-1 LED Dome’s in black. Next we threw on some Vans ODI grips coupled with some Universal Scrambler Mirrors mounted on the lever pivot points and sitting under the bar.
The end result, a front end that looks like it belongs on a Harley Davidson Cruiser – it’s much more comfortable for the rider and a much tidier set up.
The wheel upgrade used a 21” on the front and a fat 18” on the rear. The original wheels were some of those cheap ebay specials I think, they looked like knock off Canyon wheels with fat spokes and poor quality chrome that had started rusting away. We sent them off to be blasted and rust removed, and then we had them black powder coated.
When we got started on a new exhaust we found out that it had been absolutely torn to pieces. The original street sweeper exhaust was made from mild steel, wrapped in heat wrap, heat wrap attracts moisture, moisture destroys mild steel – it was falling to pieces in our hands when we started working on it. For the new exhaust, we lifted the position of and went for a very simple staggered short stop design fabricated from stainless steel. Even though the exhaust is fabricated to look like it’s straight through, there are some small muffler sections hidden in there. They’re pretty small – but…Harley guys want their bikes loud.
The last bit of fabrication on the bike was the sissy bar set up. The last person who worked on the bike did a pretty good job fabricating the rear fender, so we kept it on the bike and just removed some of the fender struts. From there we mounted the sissy bar using a fabrication kit housing the number plate, Orbit tail light and a set of PBM Dome indicators.
With all the fabrication finished, we sent the Harley Street 500 off for a nice gloss black powder coat. If you’re familiar with these bikes you’ll see that the end result is a pretty big departure from the factory model. That was it for our Quick fix on the Harley Davidson Street 500 bobber, I’m sure this time the bike’s going to keep its good looks for a lot longer.
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