1977 Ironhead Sportster by SURE SHOT

Harley Ironhead Sportster Tracker

This incredible 1977 Harley XLH1000 Sportster started as a complete mystery.  Scott T-Bone Jones of Santa Ana’s Noise Cycles posted a shot of it at the 2015 Hot Rod Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan, but it took a full day of inquiries to learn the builder:  Takuya Aikawa of SURE SHOT in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

Ironhead Sportster Tracker:  Built Like a Blade

The build was inspired by the Street Fighter scene of the 1990s.  Aikawa wanted to create a bike that was as narrow as possible–a fusion of new and old, that would fit in well among the hot rods of #HRCS2015.

Harley XLH Tracker by SURE SHOT

The ironhead v-twin of this era was a good start, slim-built except for the pesky stock carburetion.  What did Aikawa do?  He installed one of the signature aspects of this build:  downdraft Weber carburetors whose twin velocity stacks rise through the right half of the tank.  Certainly not the most practical setup, but this bike is a finely honed work of art, with practicality sacrificed in service of vision.

Harley XLH with Downdraft Weber
Downdraft Webers: one way to narrow a machine.

Another striking aspect of the build is the hot rod rear wheel and tire:  a 15″ steel rim wrapped in a Firestone bias-ply tire you’d expect to find on a ’32 Ford.  Probably a little scary when leaned on its side, but it looks incredible!  The wheel is mated to a custom single-sided swingarm formed from ovoid steel, which doubles as an oil reservoir.  The rear shock is a Sachs automotive model.

Cantilever swingarm doubles as oil reservoir.

The forks are from a CBR900RR, shaved and smoothed so they are hardly identifiable as such, and a pair of risers stand through the custom triple to hold a set of motocross-style handlebars.

Shaved CBR900RR forks


The tank is a matte blank with pink and blue pinstriped flames, and the custom exhaust boasts a muffler from Power Effects, best known for their Corvette systems.

Muffler by Power Effects, best known for Vette systems

Styles versus Miles

Some readers might decry the impracticality of this build, what with the downdraft carbs and squared-off rear tire, but we don’t see it this way.  Builds like this serve as inspiration for the garage-built creations of Everyman builders like the rest of us.  There is a bold, almost ferocious build, and we love it.

Photo Credit and Full Japanese Feature:  StreetRide.jp, a part of Bike Bros.




  1. Albert Fortin

    I really love the work that goes into these bikes any of them for sale

  2. Mathew Doero

    What is the front tire ?

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