Hooligan-Inspired Harley from South Africa’s Stoos Customs…
Across the industry, we talk about custom motorcycle builds, but the truth is, some projects involve a lot more building than others. On the near end of the spectrum, you have bikes with an array of bolt-on aftermarket or modified factory parts. On the far end, you have machines like the one you see here — “The XX” by Stoos Customs — whose only original component is the engine itself:
“Started with a 2015 1200 Sporty engine; that’s all we used from the original donor bike — everything else was fabricated in-house.”
Alex Stoos is a graduate of MMI who worked in the USA for several years before returning to his native country of South Africa to open Stoos Customs, a workshop specializing in service, maintenance, and custom projects.
Alex and his team have built many commissioned client projects, but each Stoos Custom done their own way gets its own number, and this one stands out as their 20th such build, aptly dubbed “The XX” — the Roman numeral for 20. This was Alex’s personal passion project during South Africa’s strict pandemic lockdown.
“It definitely was inspired by flat tracking and hooligan racing. I wanted to create a Harley that not only looked and sounded deadly, but also handled like a beast ripping around our crazy corners we have on the peninsula.”
Stoos Customs has a full engineering shop, which they put to good use in this build. The entire stainless steel frame was designed and manufactured in-house, as was the billet swingarm, oil tank, fork yokes — nearly everything but the BST carbon wheels, Öhlins suspension, brake calipers, and levers. Alex says he might be proudest of the exhaust, which was built from 127 separate sections — each hand-cut, deburred, tacked, and welded.
The bike caught our eye at the 2023 Handbuilt Show, where it stood out as one of the meanest V-twins we’ve seen in some time, and Alex says it’s a beast on the road:
“It’s super lightweight for an HD — it makes it really responsive and easy to throw around the corners. With the carbon wheels and Öhlins suspension it just makes for a hell of a fun bike to throw into the corners and beast out of the bends.”
Harley XX: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I have been riding bikes since I was 5 and always worked on my own bikes. I graduated from MMI for Harley and Honda, worked in the USA for a few years, then moved back to South Africa in 2012 to open Stoos Customs and have not looked back since. We specialise in custom projects and service and maintenance of motorcycles. We have full engineering shop and service centre.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Started with a 2015 1200 Sporty engine; that’s all we used from the original donor bike — everything else was fabricated in-house.
• Why was this bike built?
This was my passion project during covid. We had rather strict lockdown rules in South Africa so I used it to my benefit to work on my own project.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
It definitely was inspired by flat tracking and hooligan racing. I wanted to create a Harley that not only look and sounded deadly, but also handled like a beast ripping around our crazy corners we have on the peninsula.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We manufactured pretty much everything in-house including the stainless steel frame, billet swingarm, custom triple clamps, subframe, oil tank. The only thing we did not make were the brake calipers and levers. We had our friends at BST make us the wheels. We also wanted awesome suspension so we went for Öhlins back and front, fully adjustable to be dialed in for the rider.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
I call the bike “THE XX.” Which is the Roman numeral for 20. Twenty is iconic to Stoos Customs, as we’ve been commissioned to build many bikes over the years with guidelines from our clients, but this is our 20th build we have done completely our way. Each individual bike we build our way gets a number and THE XX is number 20.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Pure awesomeness, as it’s super lightweight for an HD — it makes it really responsive and easy to throw around the corners. With the carbon wheels and Öhlins suspension it just makes for a hell of a fun bike to throw into the corners and beast out of the bends.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
To be honest there were so many from building the frame to designing and manufacturing the swingarm, but I would say the top was definitely the exhaust. Each section was hand-cut, deburred, and then tacked and welded — over 127 joints and 27m of welding went into that bad boy.