bikerMetric is the land of Metric bobbers, choppers, cafe racers, and a whole lot of other Metric motorcycle goodness, but if you were paying attention to our post a few days ago about Chappell Customs’ latest build, you might have noticed something different.
The bike was a Harley.
A Harley-Davidson on bikerMetric. I know what you’re thinking… Sacrilege, am I right?
Not so fast, ladies and gents, stay with me for just a moment. See, this Harley, for all of the MoCo’s American rah-rah, is actually a Metric bike.
I’ll be honest, when Chris Chappell from Chappell Customs sent me an email from Chatsworth California about his custom Metric Harley, I thought, “Either this guy is nuts, or his nuts are metric.” I reached out to a buddy who worked at Harley-Davidson Canada. He confirmed that yes, the Harley-Davidson Street 500 and Street 750 motorcycles, are in fact Metric!
Here’s the story on the build from Chris Chappell himself:
Chris: Yes this Harley is actually all METRIC!
OK people, before we start jumping up and down about “I would have done this and blah blah blah” here’s the deal… We’ve been contacted by a few local Harley Dealerships to create “something” out of the new “METRIC” Harley-Davidson Street 500/750 models. Not all of the decisions in the process were up to us, we ultimately had to do what the dealers asked for regarding some of the parts we put on the bikes.
bikerMetric: What kind of timelines were you given?
Chris: We only had about a week to work on each of these bikes, so we literally did about 10 of these bikes in about 10 weeks or so (can’t remember – it’s all a blur).
Timeframe aside, we managed to create the first Street 500/750 TUFFSIDE brand cafe seat, our own custom slip on muffler, fork brake, custom “Chappell Customs” brand wheels, and a handful of other little things like our bolt on license plate and rear L.E.D brake/signal strip mount that comes with our new seat.
bikerMetric: Was the plan always to go full blown custom?
Chris: The first few bikes only received some modest treatment to “test the waters”. But every one we did for the dealership practically sold overnight, so that led to more and more bikes coming in.
bikerMetric: And the custom parts?
Chris: All of these new parts are made in house with our own hands as well, and some help from the CNC machines. The other parts we use are all available on our stores website www.tuffside.com
bikerMetric: Love the tuffside site. Those tires and frames seem a little different. Did you go to town on ‘em?
Chris: Some of the bikes we’ve done kept the stock wheels and tires, some got custom wheels, longer suspension and different handle bars etc.
All of the bikes require some frame modifications because the stock frame is a nightmare and about a foot too long. Actually the very first one we did (for Bartels’ Harley Davidson in Marina Del Rey California) we were not allowed to cut! The seat was crazy long and looked like sh#@, after some convincing we got another bike we were allowed to chop it a bit.
The stock rear fender, and rear cowl are bolted to what seems to be an afterthought of a frame, so the rear hoop gets cut off these bikes completely.
If anyone has ever seen one of these bike with the bare frame you will see what we mean.
bikerMetric: You did ten custom Harley-Davidson Street 500/750s in ten weeks. You must be a wiz by now.
Chris: After doing so many of these bikes we’ve come up with some shortcuts and tricks to move the process along fairly fast. We even did a video series on 2 bikes in 1 week, these were a couple of the earlier builds.
This current bike has the best of the best – rear frame treatment, our diamond stitch paintable back seat, custom made pinstripes, 13.5″ Works Performance rear shocks 17″ and 19″ Chappell Customs spoke wheels, bad *** tires, our new all stainless steel slip-on muffler and our new fork brace. We also added the LED rear brake/turn signal strip and smaller front signals to keep it somewhat “legal.”
bikerMetric: The Street’s body and style really aren’t characteristically Harley. How did the shape and size play a role in the builds?
Chris: The biggest issue with these bikes is the foot peg position. We would love to add some rear sets to the bike, but there just isn’t enough time to fabricate something that will work in the time we have to complete the bikes.
The stock exhaust would be in the way for starters, and that would require much more time to sort out. So YES we know, it needs rear sets….
If this was my personal bike i would do some rear sets, and remap the computer. But that is not the case so we do what we can in the timeframe allowed.
bikerMetric: What are you working on now?
Chris: We are currently working on another HD750 for Bartels’ Harley Davidson (California), and one for Henderson Harley Davidson (Las Vegas). Bakersfield Harley Davidson (California) is also in the process of installing our new seat and muffler on one of there own custom builds as well.
bikerMetric: Plans for the future?
Chris: As we have the time we will refine the products, and eventually come up with the perfect setup for this new odd-ball Harley Davidson and hopefully develop some new products that will make this bike a bit more than just a first time bike buyer’s bike.
On a side note…. I must stop to say something… during the final steps of this particular build my right hand man at the shop “Chris Hensley” (https://instagram.com/c136/) only 1 day before the bike was to be completed was in a tragic motorcycle accident on his way to the shop.
This has been overwhelming and definitely put a damper on the progress at the shop to say the least. He can also be seen in the youtube videos of the previous 750’s we worked on.
But… the bike is complete and I’m sure he would love it. We both stood back and looked at the bike with smiles on our faces one day before the accident when the new wheels were finally installed. We will always remember him and the contributions he made to our lives and the lives of so many others.
Please look twice for motorcycle riders!
bikerMetric: Thank you Chris. bikerMetric has had over 1,500 articles published, and this is our very first one shining the spotlight on a Harley. A Metric Harley.
Who’da thunk we’d ever see the day.
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