I think every motorcyclist has talked a bit of smack on the tiny Harley 883. It’s not that it’s a bad bike, it’s just that there can be better options. Also, it’s really easy to make fun of. But you have to give credit where credit is due when you see one done right. And I’m here to tell you, 2Loud doesn’t do bikes wrong.
Run by ‘Max’ Ma Yicheng, 2Loud is a custom motorcycle shop in the unlikely city of Taipei, Taiwan. Regulations can be quite strict in Taipei, making any custom fabrication even more difficult. And yet Max makes it look like second nature. Having built an impressive resume of bikes Max is always looking to improve, hence this incredible Sportster.
Now, this is no ordinary Sportster, and before you ask, no it isn’t from the AMF years. While vintage bikes are all said and good, they do have some quirks. Or at least that is what us enthusiasts call them. Other people just call them ‘junk.’ Honestly, they have a point. If you own a vintage motorcycle it’s likely because you like to tinker, and you enjoy working on your bike as much as riding it. The reason that is important is well, you will likely work on your bike as much as you ride it. It’s an unfortunate side effect, but the only way to truly get those classic lines. Or so we thought.
Max started with a 2009 Sportster 883 Custom as a donor bike. If you know Harley you know this ‘Custom’ is about anything but. Still, Max wanted something that would fire up every time, with out questions asked. He also wanted modern performance and a better chance when it comes to government regulations. “How do you have style and still pass tests?” he asked. “How do you have a great sounding exhaust that doesn’t bother people? How do you have performance, beauty, and durability? Finding a balance between these factors is the real challenge.” These were the questions Max asked when setting out to build his one off 883.
And by just looking at it, you can see Max had some serious success getting the modern bike into the vintage spec. Max utilized the stock frame, engine, and some other minor parts before ditching the rest. Starting from the ground up Max had an 18-wheel laced up instead of the stock 16-incher. He used this to match the ‘customs’ stock 21-inch front wheel. Then he had both wheels wrapped in vintage tread, all for good looks. Then, because Max has exceptional taste, he installed a springer front end. From a performance stand point the new front end is practically useless, but for this bike, it’s all form over function, something Max easily accepts. For the rear of the bike, Max decided not to modify the frame to give the bike that vintage look. Instead, Max had solid struts fitted, turning the 883 into a hardtail by default.
Things get most intriguing when it comes to the engine. Being of a vintage soul through and through, Max thought it best to delete the entire fuel injection in favor of a carb. While I’m not protesting his decisions, I am merely curious as to why. Most people go for some sort of tuner to get things sorted, but I guess Max isn’t most people. With a well tuned Mikuni HSR42 carb, Max claims the puny Harley now has more power and torque, with all the same reliability. If that weren’t enough reason to ditch the FI the massive bundle of wiring that Max removed should be. With his carb setup, Max has a good running machine that looks like it went through a time warp.
One of the coolest aspects of 2Loud’s build is his new 2-into-2 exhaust system. Stylistically the pipes are perfect. But on top of that, they are functional, and I absolutely love that. Max was able to pack both pipes with the necessary equipment to keep his amazing retro street legal. With that added grunt from the mini-Harley Max saw it fit to have a set of Performance Machine four-piston calipers strapped on at both ends. That gives’ this ‘bobber’ more stopping power than you would find on any true vintage bike.
So max knows how to build a successful chassis. Would you believe me if I said that was his weak point? His selection of parts used is a nice touch, but his paint and bodywork are second to none. Take that 4.5-liter gas tank for example. Not only does it compliment the bobber styling to a T, it also features a paint scheme we rarely see anymore. Today’s bobbers are always black or silver or some other obnoxiously overused color. Not Max’s. Instead, his is rocking a polished metal which is then pin-striped and finished with red on the bottom. Inside those colors lies enough gold flake the make anyone happy.
Honestly, it is that level of detail that is allowing Max to make a name for himself. And it doesn’t just manifest in the paint either. Anything Max touches he tries to make it more beautiful, a characteristic we should all strive for. The headlight used on this bobber is built in house by Max himself. Then you have the ‘middle finger’ choke, just for good fun. Honestly, that is my favorite piece. It’s so subtle, yet matched in the same gold as the pin striping. That is a stroke of genius if I’ve ever seen it.
There is only one fault in the entire build. It’s a simple one, but it drives me nuts. I love a hardtail bobber, I do. But when you just bolt in some solid struts where the shocks would be, you are cheating. Not us by the way, but yourself. If the rest of the bike wasn’t perfect I would really have to complain. But in this case, I just can’t.
Overall this is one of the coolest 883’s to hit the streets, even more so when you consider it’s from Taiwan. You don’t have to have an old bike to get those classic looks, you just need someone with an absurd amount of talent. If you live anywhere near Taiwan, ‘Max’ Ma Yicheng is just that guy.