In the Middle Ages, the alchemist's goal was to turn a base metal into gold. If there is a modern day equivalent of a base metal in the motorcycle world, it is quite possibly the Harley-Davidson powerplant. Designed for appearance over performance, the big V-twins from Milwaukee surely excel at their jobs as successfully as a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 powerplant. But then, there are the alchemists. The men who strive to defy physics.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were literally hundreds of companies around the world building motor-cycles, all vying to capitalize on the burgeoning new industry of powered, two-wheel transportation.
Yamaha-Star devotees are no doubt familiar with Jeff Palhegyi's (pronounced pol-uh-jee) prolific imagination. Working with Yamaha's product development team, Palhegyi was instrumental in the development of the Road Star, Warrior, Roadliner and Stratoliner motorcycles. In addition to his work crafting Star production bikes, Palhegyi builds customs, concept bikes, and is responsible for hundreds of the parts found in the Yamaha accessory catalog.
With Street Glide inspiration, details on this otherwise Full Dresser were changed to create an elegant bagger that belies its heft. Most obviously, the rear Tour Pak and plush Touring seat have been replaced by only a slim Badlander perch. The windshield is a minimized smoked affair, and whitewall tires are mounted on Harley-Davidson wire spoke wheels. Screamin' Eagle pipes are throaty, without being obnoxious, and help the engine breathe more freely.
Harley-Davidson, that inimitable icon of Americana, has once again succeeded in bringing dreams to life through the experience of motorcycling and the irresistible Harley lifestyle.
As a well-scrubbed youth in the 1950s, Willie G. Davidson, grandson of Motor Company co-founder William A. Davidson, headed west from Wisconsin to attend the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. Out on the west coast, the sun was rising on the world of motorcycle customizing, with men like Ed Roth and Von Dutch on the crest of the new wave. The impact of the emergent custom scene would linger in Davidson's sketchbook as he joined Harley-Davidson's design department in 1963.