I’ve always thought that the older Nightsters are the best-looking Harley Sportster variant. The mix of dark finishes, wire wheels and blacked-out hubs gave them a subtle, low-key vibe.
This custom Nightster is anything but subtle, though. And none the worse for it. Nicknamed ‘Traffic,’ it’s the work of Chicago-based Bull Cycles, the shop run by fabrication specialist Justin Powers.
Justin describes his inspiration as “modern muscle car with a twist of café. In my mind, it’s what a modern Sportster should look like.” He adds: “I use the term cafe lightly, as not to offend the purists! However, everyone calls it a cafe racer at first glance, so I’ll let the public decide.”
The base bike was a 2007-model Nightster. Fuel injected reliability was a big deal on this bike, so the ’07 was a must. The tank was sectioned two inches and the pump reconfigured to allow for a lower stance.
It’s far from a bolt-on special: the tail unit and side panels are hand-fabricated, and the under-mount tracker bars and LED projector headlight surround are Bull’s own design. The stock belt drive has been swapped out for a chain, and allows room for the 180-section rear rim. The paint is a flat anodized silver, and works beautifully.
“There are lots of little details that make up the difference,” says Justin, who cheerfully admits to being a control freak and micro-manager. And that’s fine by us: this is one of those rare customs that rewards extremely close inspection.