Hide Motorcycle builds a KR-inspired street and circuit Sportster…
Introduced in 1953, the Harley-Davidson KR would come to dominate motorcycle racing in the United States. A year earlier, Harley had introduced the Model K, a fully modern street bike with hydraulic forks, a suspended rear swingarm, four-speed transmission, unit engine construction, and a hand clutch — technologies that kept it apace with the likes of BSA, Matchless, Norton, and Triumph machines. Then came the KR…
“The KR750 was the racing version of the roadster Model K, destined for glory on America’s flat tracks.” —Mecum
The Harley-Davidson KR, also known as the KR750, was specially developed to compete in AMA Class C dirt track, which kept racing accessible to the general public, allowing amateurs to buy the very same bikes and speed parts as the factory teams. The KR simply dominated on the dirt track, but it was a pavement winner too. The KRTT was the road racing version, which won six of the first nine Daytona 200’s on the new Daytona Speedway circuit, hitting 150 mph on the banking.
Enter our new friend Hideya Togashi of Hide Motorcycle — aka Hidemo — one of Japan’s most renowned workshops. Though Hidemo specializes in Harley-Davidson parts, service, and customs, they’ve always pushed the envelope of what’s expected from the brand:
“We do not hesitate to incorporate designs from other genres and create products that are not bound by the conventional image of Harley.”
The build you see here, nicknamed “Black Owl,” is a case in point, a Sportster that’s as comfortable on the circuit as the street. Says Hideya of the design concept:
“A café racer that uses the KR750 as an image source and fuses vintage and modern parts.”
The bike started life as a 2003 Harley-Davidson 883R, but the motor has been punched out to 1200cc and the bike has Ceriani GP forks, Performance Machine brakes, upgraded rear suspension, and a modified swingarm. The stainless steel pipes, oil tank, gas tank, front and rear cowling, fenders, seat, handlebars, and pegs were all handmade by Hidemo’s N. Watari. Says Hideya of the completed build:
“The tuning from 883cc to 1200cc gives it a powerful and good sound. It’s an easy to ride motorcycle that can be enjoyed both on the street or on a closed course (circuit).”
Below, we speak with Hideya Togashi for the full details on the build. And if “Black Owl” is the Sportster of your dreams, it’s currently for sale on Hidemo’s website!
883R Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Hide Motorcycle opened in 2003 as a custom store dealing with Harley-Davidson. Going beyond the boundaries of Harley customization, we do not hesitate to incorporate designs from other genres and create products that are not bound by the conventional image of Harley.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
2003 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH883R.
• Why was this bike built?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
A café racer that uses the KR750 as an image source and fuses vintage and modern parts.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Builder: N.Watari [HIDE MOTORCYCLE]
Bike Name: “Black Owl”
Year/Model: 2003 H-D Sportster XLH883R
Engine Make/Size 883 –> 1200
Frame Make/Type: Modified H-D frame
Front End: Ceriani GP
Swingarm: Modified H-D
Wheels, Front: 19″ aluminum
Wheels, Rear: 18″ aluminum
Tires Front: BT39 Bridgestone
Tires Rear: Dunlop
Brakes, Front: Performance Machine
Brakes, Rear: Performance Machine
Painter: Keen Edge
Additional Info: Mikuni HSR Carburetor
Air Filter: Hidemo original
Pipes: Hidemo stainless steel exhaust
Other: Pipes, Oil Tank, Gas Tank, F&R Cowl, F Fenders, Seat, Handlebars, Pegs — all handmade by N.Watari.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The tuning from 883cc to 1200cc gives it a powerful and good sound. It’s an easy to ride motorcycle that can be enjoyed both on the street or on a closed course (circuit).
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The beauty of the three-dimensionally shaped fuel tank.