“I decided to put the XG on a diet and make it as cool as possible…”
In 2014, Harley-Davidson introduced their first new lightweight motorcycles in 40 years, the Street series. The Street 750, also known as the XG750, is powered by a 749cc version of the Revolution X engine — a liquid-cooled, 60° SOHC V-twin. The bike weighs 80 pounds less than an Iron 883 Sportster, has double the suspension travel, and makes 57.5 horsepower at the rear wheel. While it’s no rocket ship, it’s an affordable entry into the Harley world and begs to be modified.
“With its minimal café racer styling, the Street is a blank canvas for customisation.” –MCN
Enter Dan Torres of Milwaukee Moto, who grew up on a steady diet of dirt bikes and transitioned to the street only after getting out of the Navy. About ten years ago, after tiring of riding the same bikes as everyone else, he found himself a rough CB350 and set about chopping it:
“It was a total death trap, it was like 10 feet long, rigid and suicide shift. Rear brake only, but it was cool to ride around Milwaukee.”
Soon, he’d sold the bobber to fund his next project — the hook had been set. Today, he works as a machinist, operating out of his home shop whenever he can. When he heard Harley was coming out with a liquid-cooled 750, he was excited to check it out. He bought this 2016 XG750 intending to make a range of custom parts like custom parts like pegs, intakes, exhaust. The bike wasn’t quite what he’d hoped in the performance department, so he decided to take matters into his own hands:
“Once I got the bike home I realized how heavy and under powered it really was. I also noticed it wasn’t getting really good reviews so I decided to put the XG on a diet and make it as cool as possible.”
He swapped in Yamaha R1 forks and, after a lot of long nights sorting out the shock linkage, he successfully outfitted the XG with a Ducati 748 single-sided swingarm. After much consideration, he landed on a Honda CB200T tank, complete with external fuel pump, which he hid inside a custom fiberglass seat hump. Our mutual friend Brian Cox (@classicbikebuilding) guided him through the fiberglass process and built a seat to fit the pan.
The result is the most stunning Street 750 we’ve seen. With Handbuilt 2020 postponed due to C-19, we hope to see this incredible machine in person in the coming fall. Below, we get the full details on the build, as well as more gorgeous photos from photographer Sergio Meza.
Street 750 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I started riding young, dirt bikes mainly, but I didn’t really get into street bikes until I got out of the Navy and bought a Buell S3 Thunderbolt. I had a lot of different bikes after that, but I got sick of riding the same bike as other people. So I decided to take to the internet and find myself a good donor bike to chop up. I found a ’73 CB350 that was pretty rough, but perfect for my first build. With a grinder, welder, and a few things from TC Bros., I made a strange little bobber. It was a total death trap, it was like 10 feet long, rigid and suicide shift. Rear brake only, but it was cool to ride around Milwaukee. I sold it after a while to fund the next build. That was ten years ago and I still see it around Milwaukee (which is very scary). Needless to say I was hooked and had to keep building bikes. Thankfully, I got better after each build. Nowadays, I work as a machinist and work in my garage shop when I have the time. My beautiful wife and two kids keep me busy, but luckily they support my motorcycle builds 100%.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
2016 Harley Davidson XG750.
• Why was this bike built? (Customer project, company promotion, personal, etc.)
I remember when the XG came out I was excited to hear Harley came out with a water cooled V-Twin 750 so, I went out and bought this bike three years ago with the idea of making custom parts like pegs, intakes, exhaust. Once I got the bike home I realized how heavy and under powered it really was. I also noticed it wasn’t getting really good reviews so I decided to put the XG on a diet and make it as cool as possible.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
There really was no design concept. Just knew it had to be lighter, handle better and of course look better.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
I started with swapping out the front end with an inverted shock set up from a Yamaha R1. I had a Ducati 748 swing arm that I wanted to use real bad, but took me a long time to figure out how to fit the shock linkage.
Once the swing arm was on, I moved onto the tank. I struggled between a few tanks that I had laying around. Ended up using a CB200T tank. It was very small and slim and held the lines I was looking for.
Using the lines from the tank I designed the subframe and made it out of 1 inch DOM tube. Since the gas tank was so small I had to use an external fuel pump. Perfect place to hide it was under a cafe racer style seat hump. I really wanted to make it myself, but my sheet metal skills are nowhere near good enough to make something like that. So I thought why not make it out of fiberglass.
I met Brian Cox at the Handbuilt Show 2018. He had his BSA there that year. We hit it off and started bullshitting about fiberglass work and he said he would guide me through the process. Well I failed big time, got discouraged and stopped working on the bike for a while. Around September last year Brian called me and was giving me shit for quitting. So we decided to get our shit together and both be ready for Handbuilt 2020. I gave him my seat pan and an idea of the shape I was looking for. A week later he sent me a killer handmade seat that fit my pan.
After that, the rest of the build went smooth. Cognito Moto triple tree and handlebar clamp to house a Moto Gadget speedometer. Paint was done by Tim Gordon here in Northern Wisconsin. Powder coating done by Wiscoat from here in Milwaukee. Full stainless steel exhaust by a friend of mine from Blitzkrieg Racing.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Indie – I bought it in Indianapolis.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the bike?
The bike is very comfortable to ride and handles the road awesome. Still needs to have the computer programmed to give it some more power.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m most proud of the rear suspension mount/linkage. It was a lot of trial and error and long nights scratching my head, but I finally came up with a design. A friend of mine 3D printed the mounting brackets I designed and was able to mock everything up before cutting and machining my brackets. A lot of work went into these parts and it sucks that it’s completely hidden.
Follow the Builder @milwaukee_moto1