When it comes to the Mt. Rushmore of custom motorcycles—bobber, chopper, café-racer, street-tracker—it’s the latter that’s the most rational. Street-trackers have livable ergonomics, suspension at both ends and usually a pair of big ol’ twin disc brakes up front. Think of ‘em as choppers for the thinking man…
It’s one of the reasons we’re huge fans of the genre here at
We’re also suckers for stories on street-trackers, especially those machines turned out by Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles. It was during an interview about one of his bikes, a super-clean Yamaha XS, that Richard proposed we collaborate on a project bike.
Now, while I liked the idea of a Team CW street-tracker, a magazine project bike can be rife with pitfalls. A set of carbon-fiber wheels here, a full-titanium exhaust system there, and it doesn’t take long for the parts tally to price the bike right out of practicality. Besides, Pollock’s bikes—he’s done about 75 so far—are already a pricey proposition. Figure about $25K. Worth every last penny due to incredible build quality, granted, but as a project bike, not exactly right for the economic times.
Richard argued otherwise: “We do an article using the power of good deals on eBay as the basic theme…call the bike the ‘eBay Special’ or something like that. We could throw in a lot of my tricks for Joe Average to make his stuff look good without high cost. I figure we could do a trick, show-quality piece for about $8500. Give me a reasonable deadline and we’ll whack it out!”
Sold me. The bike’s name would change (more on that in a later installment), but the start of the project was true to the bargain-build concept. Richard turned up an unloved 1972 Harley-Davidson Sportster rolling chassis—no motor—at a garage sale. Had to give all of $100 for it. Over the next year, we’d refine our frugal parts picking. Friends’ garages were raided, dealers’ backrooms exploited and, of course, there was eBay, our virtual, 24-hour swapmeet.
But first we had to get the frame sorted, which turned out to be way more involved than first thought. For details, see the photo gallery.