Milwaukee via Luxemburg
This Is the Motorcycle Harley-Davidson Should Be Building
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As Harley-Davidson continues to try and find ways to boost sales and reach a younger generation of riders, like sponsoring the X-Games and a Formula E race car or bringing the $30,000 all-electric Livewire to the market, the Luxemburg-based Blacktrack Motors offers Milwaukee a glimpse of an alternative path forward. The BT-03 is Blacktrack’s gorgeous new creation and is the cafe racer Harley-Davidson should be building.
Even though the BT-03 is based on an HD Fatbob, not much remains of the original bike. Blacktrack replaced the subframe, triple trees, front fairing, fuel tank, tail, and, while the engine remains stock, the Luxemburg-based shop fitted a new performance air filter and a custom exhaust. The stock suspension, brakes and wheels were also tossed out in favor of lighter, more performance-oriented versions. All told, the BT-03 saves over 100 pounds compared to the Harley and with the upgrades, it’s reasonable to assume the lighter BT-03 can best a Fatbob through corners, too.
In recent years, major manufacturers recognized the cafe racer craze taking hold in certain circles of the custom bike industry. Brands like Ducati, Honda, Triumph, and well, pretty much anyone who makes motorcycles all countered swiftly to cash in — except for Harley-Davidson. The quick twitch reactions clearly paid off. The Ducati Scrambler is now one of the Italian brand’s best selling motorcycles ever, while the excitement around the new Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 is palpable and reaching an audience which normally wouldn’t consider Indian.
Blacktrack doesn’t list the price, which is standard procedure for builds of this caliber and usually means it’ll be quite expensive. But if HD could focus on building a bike like this and somehow managed to offer it at an affordable price tag, it wouldn’t be farfetched to think it’d be a knock-out success that would improve its visibility with a new generation of riders.