One of the best parts of riding motorcycles is talking about it. It sounds funny, but it’s true. We love to tell stories of places we’ve been and of the things we have seen. Unfortunately, if you are a fan of good ol’ American iron your adventures are stuck strictly to the pavement. Well, at least that used to be the case.
If the idea of a dual-sport Harley-Davidson makes you weak in the knees than the Carducci is for you. The Carducci dual-sport is the brain child of Jim Carducci, taking form after 15-years of thought. Jim wanted a Harley that he could ride everywhere, just like all the other big touring bikes. Having owned several Harleys in the years past, Jim was infatuated with the power plant. There was just something about the experience that comes from a lumpy V-twin. It’s a phenomenon many Harley riders talk about. They exude a quality that is invisible to the eye, yet present in feel. So, when Jim’s wife finally got sick of hearing about his would be pipe dreams, she simply said ‘just do it.’ And that’s exactly what he did.
Jim Carducci isn’t just your average Joe with an idea. When asked what his day job is he typically responds with, “I am a mechanical systems design engineer and senior engineering director in the semiconductor industry with over 34 years of design engineering experience. My co-founder wife has an electrical engineering control systems, SW and operations background.” It’s safe to say the duo is a little overqualified for such a project.
So we have a genius with a passion for adventure, no wonder the Carducci Dualsport is absolutely brilliant. Based on a pre-2004 Harley-Davidson Sportster the Carducci is a drastic departure from anything branded Harley-Davidson. Carducci selected the Pre-2004 Sportster 883 because of its solid engine mounts, much needed for the rugged abuse it will surely see. So with the 883 sourced, Jim ditched everything except the frame and engine. Project Harley Dualsport was underway.
With Jim’s background, he had all the tools to design his dream bike, but he didn’t have the means to produce them. With that, he set out to find a machine shop that was willing to partner with him to make the bike a reality. Lux Manufacturing was able, and more than willing to partner up with the Carducci name.
So how did the project turn out? Smashing success comes to mind, but it feels like quite the understatement. The Carducci Dualsport is a stunning machine that can easily compete with any adventure bike on the market. Yet when it comes to styling it absolutely murders the competition. The Harley twin seems surprisingly at home wrapped in the adventure platform. No longer does it have the marginal 883cc displacement, thanks to a big bore kit the Carducci is now a 1250cc monster. Combined with some mild cams, carbon air filter, and a hand crafted exhaust system the big twin will eat up any type of terrain thrown its way.
The frame is 80% stock, which I found extremely surprising. The only modifications have been to the rear subframe, and of course moving some brackets around for the new bodywork and such. For the suspension, Jim sourced a set of 48mm USD forks from Öhlins. You know, the same kind you would find on a KTM Adventure. This gives the Carducci 9-inches of travel up front. To compliment the new forks Jim once again opted for a set of Öhlins twin shocks, bring the rear to a stout 8-inches of swing. You won’t find that on your Grandpa’s Roadking, that’s for sure. To make all these new bits work Jim had to design new triple trees and a brand new Swingarm. Lux then cut these from a block of billet aluminum to give the chassis some strength.
From there Jim had a set of Excel rims laced up to a Rad front hub and a Billet Boys rear. Carducci offers two different wheel sets, but the one we are after is strictly off-road. With that wheelset, you get a true 21-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear wrapped in a fat 140 tire. Because this is no ordinary adventure bike Jim had the front wheel fitted with a 380mm single disc rotor and a 6 piston radial brake. All made by Beringer for good measure.
Aesthetically the Carducci is breathtaking. It’s like a gorgeous mix of vintage enduro and modern adventure bike. The tank is a gorgeous hand formed aluminum 6.3-gallon unit that Jim designed himself. The use of aluminum for the tank and rear rack makes the Carducci as stylish as it is functional. To finish off the Carducci, Jim slaps on either a single round headlight or dual LEDs, carbon front fender, and enough armor to make a Sherman tank jealous. The end result is an all American born Harley-Davidson that can go more than anywhere, it’s meant to go everywhere.
But don’t take just our word for it, our buddy Jamie Robinson from MotoGeo was able to get his paws on the fantastic Carducci, taking it through its paces with proper form. Check it out below.