Black Pearl

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customized Thunderbike Harley-Davidson Night Train

Performance as a bad boy

Text by Michael Ahlsdorf - Bikers News

Somehow Harley-Davidson can still try so hard to put its own custom bikes. Nevertheless, they will never stay the way they came off the rack. The Street Bob and Night Train were launched as such ready-made custom bikes. And professional customizers promptly show that even with these models there is still a bit more to be done. Andreas Bergerforth from Thunderbike in Hamminkeln in the Lower Rhine region loves both models very much, because there is a lot of material for pimping in his drawer for both of them. He works hand in hand with the company, because Thunderbike is not a backyard screwdriver, but an official Harley-Davidson dealer.

The direction of the Thunderbike Tuning is clear. Nowadays the engine doesn’t have to believe in it anymore, Harley has already got what to get out of it. But the colour black alone is not enough for the appearance as a bad boy. It is still allowed to be a little flatter and wider. Thunderbike shows how it works at the Night Train, named Oregon. The thick wheel in the rear is her calling card, because bad guys can only be seen from behind. Now fat tires are not baked by nature to rob curves. All the more Thunderbike attaches importance to readiness to drive, namely by clean tuning of the remaining components. The 260 tire was pulled onto a 9 inch wide rim with a diameter of 18 inches, and it is still in the middle without any noticeable offset. The trick is a primary offset of just under one centimetre. And then Thunderbike took out another seven millimetres with the further offset of the drive pulley. The mechanics didn’t even have to carve the secondary belt anymore. The original belt of the Night Train is hardly wider than a chain anyway, it could stay in.

In-house fork shortening

The men of Thunderbike also made it “bad” in front. They replaced the fork with an in-house front end consisting entirely of a bridge, standpipes, diving tubes and cover, and installed an 18 inch front wheel on a four and a half inch wide rim. The 130/60-18 tires ducked the front down like a bull neck heavyweight fighter. And let’s stick to the picture: The bull’s neck delivers its own custom tank. And it should be noted that this is not just about cosmetics. Because of their innumerable innards, starting with the fuel pump, tanks for motorcycles with injection systems can no longer be put over as easily as the coffin tanks of the very first conversion generations. Harmoniously the Monocock unit of seat and fender follows, as far as we may call the bull as “harmonious”. Also this part a product of the house Thunderbike. And Bergerforth proudly refers to the silencers from their own production. He is delighted about them: “Screw on and drive”. Because they comply with our strict noise guidelines, and this is what their e-marking announces. Their sound, however, is not from bad parents: snotty and a real V2 defined according to them, they comfort over the lack of sensuality of the Twin Cam engine with its compensating corrugation. Hearing is half the feeling with Harleys.

Right, we’re coming to the pot, because now it’s about driving. The Oregon is no extreme custom, like Thunderbike’s Spectacula once, who bagged cups on all bike shows. Nevertheless she has a few surprises in store. Less because of the primary offset. It hardly weighs a centimetre, and only a larger offset would cost a noticeable side. But you have to get used to the tyres first. The thick rear push likes it best straight ahead, only the front part announces something different. Due to the shortening of the forks and the smaller fork diameter, the caster has also been shortened, and the front is greedy for curves. After half a day, however, this combination becomes interesting, because finally such a motorcycle still wants to be steered with the butt. That’s why you should simply forget the smooth steering at the front and keep your arms straight and steady. Instead, your ass is going to push the Night Train into the corners. And if you have the trick out, then only such a good photographer as our Volker Rost has to stand in the curve. Already you have the best pictures. Nevertheless you shouldn’t imitate it, because we have these pictures for a long time. And the story is now also in dry cloths.

Pictures Volker Rost – Easyriders

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