Most people would not select Milwaukee iron as their first choice to tackle crossing the Sahara, but David Borras of El Solitario (The Lone Wolf) definitely travels to the beat of his own drum.
The story begins with three friends and an idea. A ten day road trip across the Sahara, on identical bikes, with bespoke gear, clothes and support vehicle. El Solitario was tasked with preparation of the bikes, as well as the garments and accessories needed to survive the rigors of the desert.
With El Solitario, there is often no middle ground. Love it or hate it. To categorize their bikes as unique would be an understatement. Borras says their mission statement can be reduced to four words: ‘eclectic, one of a kind, bold, and anthropomorphic.’ Further, character is emphasized over metrics.
El Solitario has a history of controversial builds, none more so than the ‘Imposter.’ Often derided as appearing to be the result of a high speed collision between a BMW RnineT and a shopping cart, it quickly earned the title of ‘World’s Ugliest Custom.’ On the other hand, this shop in Galicia, Spain, has always turned out well crafted bikes and gear, and when Borras approached Harley with this wild idea, they jumped aboard, as did a number of other high end vendors.
The process of converting an iconic 550-pound cruiser into a reliable desert sled is not a simple one. Obviously, the first issues to be addressed were ride height and suspension. El Solitario went directly to the Swedish suspension experts, Ohlins, to craft a solution. While the inverted front forks’ internals could be dealt with through with re-valving and revised springs, the Sportster’s weight and ride height presented rear shock constraints Ohlins Race Division hadn’t faced before. In the end, they modified a set of rear shocks from an off road racing ATV and the problem was solved. A custom skid plate was fabricated for the inevitable impacts.
The carbon fiber hand guards were designed by Bark Busters. Clearly, spokes were mandatory. Kineo produced the 19” front and rear rims, which were shod with Dunlop tubeless DT3 flat track tires.
The matte black 2 into 1 exhaust was designed and produced by SC projects. The custom brake discs and calipers are by the Swedish manufacturer ISR while the soft luggage is by Kriega.
The Desert Wolves accomplished their mission and were recently presented to the public at the 2017 Wheels and Waves in Biarritz, France. Appropriately, they were housed in six foot steel cages.
Baja Red: Honda XR628 Desert Racer-GPgarage Moto builds a ’90s Baja dream racer… Introduced in 1985, the Honda XR600R was destined to become one of the most successful off-road motorcycles in history. In a recent retrospective on the mighty […]
Harley vs The Desert: Sportsters at the Mint 400!-BikeBound sponsors Good Times Racing Family’s Mint 400 “Bajarley”… This weekend is the 55th running of the Mint 400, the “oldest and most prestigious off-road race in America,” held each March in the treacherous foothills […]
Sahara Sled: “Desert Song” Adventure Scrambler-Monduke Moto #M03, inspired by the ’71 Husqvarna 400 Cross… Introduced in 2019, the DAB LM-S was the first Euro4-certified custom motorcycle, meaning it could be sold through dealers and European owners wouldn’t have to […]
Catching Freedom: Serge’s 1973 Triumph Tiger 750-A British Tiger, German Friends, and One French Beach… We love motorcycles themselves — the sight, sound, speed, sensation, even the smell — but if we had to pick one thing that makes this two-wheeled […]
Top 10 Scramblers and Desert Sleds of 2022-Here at BikeBound, we’re big fans of scramblers, desert sleds, rally bikes, and adventure machines. So are you, our readers, as several of the machines that made our list of the Top 10 Custom Motorcycles […]
Dirty W650: ’99 Kawasaki W650 Scrambler-From Retro Roadster to Adventure Enduro… Introduced in 1999, the Kawasaki W650 was a modern throwback to the British twins of the 1960s, with classic styling, modern electronics, and a bevel-gear-driven OHC parallel-twin engine. The […]
Black Bird: ’56 Triumph Thunderbird Desert Sled-A Triumph 6T Thunderbird desert sled from Japan! On one of his trips to oversee Triumph operations in the States, Edward Turner — the legendary designer and director of Triumph Motorcycles — had the idea […]
Trophy Bird: 1956 Triumph TR6 Scrambler-Heiwa Motorcycle’s Triumph TR6… In 1956, Triumph launched the TR6 Trophy, a lean and mean street-legal scrambler developed with an eye toward a US market hot for desert racers. The 42-hp 650cc parallel-twin featured Triumph’s […]
Desert Hooligan: “Bajarley” Sportster Enduro-Good Times Racing’s Sportster Desert Racer… The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been undergoing something of a racing renaissance in recent years. The Roland Sands Super Hooligan series, along with hooligan classes all over the country, have […]
Baja Runner: Suzuki DR650-BCKustoms builds a Baja-inspired DR650… Where we are in our lives has a big influence on the types of motorcycles to which we’re drawn. Former WSBK team coordinator and MotoGP journalist Yann Le Douche of […]
Sunset Rider: Triumph Scrambler 900 “Susie”-A fuel-injected, vintage-styled daily rider from Bunny Builds Customs… In 2006, Triumph introduced the Scrambler, which featured a twin-shock chassis, an air-cooled 865cc parallel-twin engine, and styling that spoke directly to the glory days of […]
Hooligan Enduro: Rusty Butcher’s Sportster Desert Sled-Rusty Butcher Racing builds a desert-ready Sportster… Introduced in 1957, the Harley-Davidson Sportster has long remained the most versatile machine in the Motor Co.’s lineup. It’s been used as everything from a learner bike to […]
Desert Sled Redux: Ducati Scrambler by Parr MC-Over the years, one of the unexpected joys of running BikeBound has been to watch builders grow and evolve over time, in terms of both their style and skills and their recognition in the customs […]
Big Red Baja: Honda XR680R Desert Racer-From 1988 to 1996, the big-bore Kawasaki two-strokes ruled the Baja 1000, ripping across the desert chaparral at more than 100 mph, covering the 1000-mile race in 10-20 hours. However, their arch-rival, Honda, has never […]