Given the popularity of custom Harley-Davidsons, it takes a fair bit to stand out. But this custom steampunk Harley-Davidson Sportster manages it. The combination of vintage racing cars, Victorian-era explorers and the Wild West somehow combines to produce something that works.
The bike project began with Richie Finney, who went from a career working in film and TV to creating grooming products for gentlemen with the Captain Fawcett brand. As a Harley-Davidson owner since buying one in 1991, he runs tours for the company and the Harley-Davidson owners Group, and the company is a Harley-Davidson ambassador. So a bike to represent them would have to be a bit special.
And that was accomplished with the help of Linzi Mumford of I.O.C Design and Fabrication. After chopping a Harley-Davidson SST250 at the age of 16, she went on to spend 20 years building custom bikes. Her work appeared in a number of magazines. And also won Best Trike at Southwest Custom two years running, plus Best in Class at the 2004 Bulldog. After retiring from bike building, Linzi spent her spare time making steampunk props and electronic dance music. Until this project came along.
“The idea for the bike developed over a couple of days of looking at 1930s racing cars and Victorian expedition equipment,” said Linzi Mumford when asked about her inspiration. “The bags are completely original and something that just popped into my head to combine saddlebags with a drop down display. I suppose that the old Wild West snake oil sellers’ carts were somewhere in my mind at the time.”
Those bags are more than simply decoration. a drop-down mechanism reveals a stock of Captain Fawcett products and a pull-out mirror to allow the custom steampunk Harley-Davidson Sportster to function as a portable grooming station.
Mumford worked alongside Newmarket Harley-Davidson Custom King to create the bike. Which includes plenty of steampunk influences. For example the brass eyelets featured on the tank and front mudguard.
And when you spot the brass, you’ll also notice the stunning painjob by Beans Paints and Parts in Cambridgeshire. It’s a smokey, wood-like effect that was fairly common in the 1960s and 1970s. It involves using a naked flame and an acetylene torch to create the smoke effect. And then adding a clear coat followed by candy gold paint and transluscent dye. The end result is pretty stunning.
For a tie-in with a company, the custom steampunk Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight is rather subtle and tasteful. The tank has been left to highlight the stunning paint job, and there’s some classy black stencilling to mention Captain Fawcett.
The brass theme is matched with custom black and gold grips on the handlebars. And there is the same finish applied to the footpegs and filler cap. You’ve probably already noticed the matching gold headlight grill.
The Forty-Eight also received a quick release compact windshield with black braces to make long distance rides more comfortable. And a Bobber solo saddle. The engine hasn’t had too much tweaking, but there is a kit oil cooler, Screamin’ Eagle air filter and Screamin’ Eagle Buckshot head shields.
So there you have it. A particularly exquisite custom steampunk Harley-Davidson Sportster for Captain Fawcett which manages to mix practical riding, male grooming, and a mix of different eras into one very nice bike. Perfect for adventures in the Wild West, or discovering Dr Livingstone, whilst also managing to dress for dinner in an appropriately dapper fashion.
Hopefully we’ll see some more elegantly steampunk bikes in the future to balance the more post-apocalyptic approach. And it’s definitely time for the swirling smoke effect to make a bit of a comeback.
Here’s some of those new-fangled moving pictures featuring the bike.