"I wanted to pay homage to the original caf racers from England where it’s common to see a lay-down bike sporting an alloy gas tank."
As I pointed out in part one and two of this project, the purpose behind XLRCR was to resurrect the spirit of Harley-Davidson’s ’77 XLCR Caf Racer. I noted in part one that the XLCR’s Achilles’ heel was its suspension, and so my focus for this project not only was a bike with caf racer styling, but one that offered respectable handling performance.
Make no mistake though, I had no intention of making an award-winning show bike. My goal was to show how Harley-Davidson could, if marketing wags so chose, reintroduce a modern version of the classic XLCR using existing components from its parts and accessories inventory to do so. Indeed, most of XLRCR’s styling components, with exception of a few parts like the Saddlemen seat, Patriot shocks, and Vance & Hines pipe are from the Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories catalog. I took the liberty to finish them with a mild custom paint scheme and aluminized coating; certainly Willie and the boys in H-D’s styling studios could do similar treatments, should they elect to do so.
About the paint and aluminized finish on XLRCR: as I explained in part two, I steered away from an excessively flashy paintjob because I wanted XLRCR to represent a bike that you might see on a dealer’s showroom floor. Randy Morton at Rock & Roll Custom Paintworks did an excellent job translating my thoughts onto the bike’s fairing, front fender, and chin spoiler.
As for the gas tank, I wanted to pay homage to the original caf racers from England where it’s common to see a lay-down bike sporting an alloy gas tank. Most of those tanks are prohibitively expensive, so as chief stylist (call me Dain G.) for the project, I considered a more cost-effective solution: using the same aluminized treatment found on exhaust systems to coat the tank for a faux alloy finish. The guys at H.M. Elliott came through, and I was so pleased with the results that I later sent them a spare front fender and Nightster belt guard to coat as well. I got the inspiration to use two different front fenders and belt guards for the project from the detachable quarter fairing. Allow me to explain.
Removing the fairing gives the bike a completely different look. The metric-bike manufacturers discovered this with their naked bike styling treatments, using the same basic platform from their full-on sportbikes to create hooligan street fighters. By coating the fender and belt guard, XLRCR, you might say, acquired a dual personality. As you can see, the effect creates a completely different motorcycle.