If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? It would if it’s turned into today’s Nice Price or No Dice Harley. Let’s see if this custom bike’s price could have you saying “Yes I wood!”
The coelacanth is an ancient lobe-finned fish that was long thought to be extinct. That is, until one was pulled up in a fisherman’s net off the coast of South Africa in 1938. The unexpected discovery of things long forgotten can engender a multitude of emotions. Those can range from elation when that discovery is of a living fossil like the coelacanth to abject horror when it’s of a suppressed memory of childhood trauma — but I wanted ice cream, too, mummy!
When many of you saw yesterday’s tidy 1985 AMC/Renault Encore — a car hardly anyone expects to still exist — almost nobody quite knew how to react. Many of you noted with incredulity that the car shouldn’t still be around, much less be in as nice of shape as it certainly seemed to be. A few of you took issue with that mere existence, claiming that these were terrible cars when new and that time has done nothing to change that fact. These mixed emotions resulted in a mixed vote for the Encore’s $US3,500 ($4,885) asking price. In the end, the naysayers won out, as the stage lights darkened on the Encore in a 58 per cent No Dice loss.
While that old Renault may have been an unexpected sight, I’ll bet no one even remotely predicted that today we would be discussing something as wild as a woody Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But hey, that’s just how we roll.
This amazing, and possibly splinter-inducing, bike is claimed to be both show-ready and roadworthy. As you’ll no doubt note in the pics, it sits lower than a politician’s morals while at rest, with the skirted fenders seemingly at risk of fracture rolling over a penny or in the gentlest of turns. That’s a great look but, of course, would make actually riding the bike pretty dicey. According to the ad, it has airbags and an onboard compressor that let the rider raise the suspension “6-8 inches for riding.” That makes it actually usable, if just for short jaunts. Despite that, this bike is really all about function following form, and at some distance.
The detail of the custom work on this woody bike’s form is remarkable. The footboards feature inlay work and look like tiny old-school surfboards, matching the colour combo on the frame, tank and fenders. Of particular note is the centre spine and hand grips which have been made to look as if they’ve been crafted from bamboo. If Gilligan’s Island was ever to be visited by a biker gang, this would have been the leader’s ride.
Power comes from a 1500 cc Harley V-twin breathing through googly-eye velocity stacks and exhausting through a pair of short straight-pipes. Yes, it’s most likely crazy loud, but then you never liked your neighbours anyway. Everything on the engine is highly polished or chrome-plated and looks impeccably clean.
Power is sent to the transmission through an open belt drive, which comically looks like a belt sander amid all the wood. The ad does not provide the age of the bike or its mechanicals, although it does list its condition as being “like new” so I guess that’s as close as we’re going to get.
Along with the woody trim, the bike features handsome metallic orange paint on the tank and fenders. That’s complemented by copious amounts of chrome throughout. The bike has been built long and low, like a “dragster” according to the seller. The saddle (thankfully not wood) sits in the well between the engine and sweeping rear fender and looks reasonably comfortable. This is not a bike that you’d plan to strap a couple of panniers onto and hit the highway with your goggle-wearing mutt, so long-term comfort isn’t really a consideration here.
This is first and foremost a showpiece. It does need to be rideable to get to and from the trailer for transportation to those shows, but major road use would result in dings and chips that would probably sully the enjoyment of that primary purpose.
That makes this bike a bit of a uni-tasker, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What may be a challenge, however, is its lack of a licence plate and the ad’s omission of any mention of registration. It does note that it’s roadworthy, but is it road legal?
That’s just something to be worked out with the seller. Another is the bike’s $US15,000 ($20,937) asking price. There’s a fairly strong market for custom Harleys, and you don’t get much more custom than this. The question for you is whether that may make it worth that $US15,000 ($20,937) price tag. I know, you have your work cut out for you today.
What do you think, is this woody Harley worth that much cabbage? Or, is that just too much for a bike that may need a visit from the termite exterminator before it transfers owners?
H/T to analogalan for the hookup!