Blacktrack Motors have got cafe racer design down to a fine art. Their first build was one of the sharpest Honda CX500 cafes we’ve ever featured, and they followed it up with a pixel perfect custom Thruxton.
Now they’ve tackled their most ambitious project yet, the BT-03—a cafe racer based on the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob 114 FXFBS.
The Fat Bob 114 is one of the most fun bikes in Harley’s range. Its 114 ci power plant generates 155 Nm of torque, and handling from the new generation Softail frame is actually pretty respectable. But its power cruiser stance is a far cry from that quintessential cafe racer fly line.
Despite this, it was exactly what Blacktrack founder and designer, Sacha Lakic, was looking for. And that was partly because of the bike he was looking to for inspiration.
“The inception of the BT-03 style study came from a bike that marked my childhood,” he explains. “The Harley-Davidson XLCR.”
“Produced between 1977 and 1979, it was the only cafe racer in the history of Harley-Davidson, with only 3,133 units made. I was spellbound every time I saw one on the streets of Paris.”
Blacktrack didn’t set out to replicate the XLCR bolt for bolt, but rather to create a contemporary interpretation of it. Their mission was also to shave off weight, improve performance, and make the Fat Bob as nimble as possible.
To do so, they only really kept the Harley’s Milwaukee-Eight motor, transmission and frame. Everything else was either upgraded, or replaced by purpose-built Blacktrack components.
There’s a new composite nose fairing, fuel tank and tail section, all hinting at the original XLCR’s elongated and squared-off bodywork. Blacktrack also included a small front fender, and a cover plate for the rear shock.
But the real magic’s happening under the seat. To get the BT-03’s lines just right without altering the OEM frame, Blacktrack designed a three piece aluminum subframe that bolts to existing mounting points. Bordering on mechanical art, it gets the job done without detracting from the overall design.
Other custom aluminum bits include a new set of triple trees, and rear set foot controls. Blacktrack designed all the parts in-house, then had them CNC-machined by their technical partner.
To tweak the Harley’s stance—and improve handling—Blacktrack installed Öhlins suspension at both ends. The wheels are 17” Dymag aluminum units, wrapped in grippy Michelin Power RS rubber. And the brakes have been upgraded to a full Beringer setup.
The control area features ABM clip-ons, Rizoma grips and Beringer controls, and the lights at both ends are from Highsider. Blacktrack kept the stock Fat Bob speedo—but relocated it from on top of the fuel tank, to behind the fairing.
Like most modern bikes, the Fat Bob won’t run without the OEM speedo, but Sacha had intended to use it from the word go anyway, since he liked the design. The BT-03’s simplified layout meant that a fair amount of electronic components had to be tucked away.
Blacktrack gave the motor a slight performance hop too. There’s a Screamin’ Eagle air filter, and a pair of Jekill & Hyde mufflers mounted on custom stainless steel headers. Along with a new fuel map, they’re good for 105 hp and 163 Nm.
Not only does the BT-03 now run and handle better, but it’s a whole lot lighter too. The parts that went on are forty percent lighter than the parts that came off, bringing the overall weight down by sixteen percent, to 248 kg dry. And the lean angle’s been improved too.
Black and silver liveries with a hint of red are Blacktrack’s signature, but the BT-03 kicks things up a notch. The grey here is based on Audi’s ‘Nardo Grey,’ but altered with a drop of blue in the mix. It’s capped off with a classy leather seat cover.
Blacktrack Motors doesn’t just build one-offs; their bikes are offered up in limited production runs. And the BT-03’s run is going to be extremely limited, with only four slots open. And each order takes a year to fulfill.
Blacktrack Motors’ boldness has paid off. The BT-03 has the look of a purpose-built cafe racer and just enough of the XLCR’s DNA.
If your pocketbook was big enough, would you?
Blacktrack Motors | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Sacha Lakic, portrait by Sébastien Nunes
Blacktrack Motors would like to thank Sacha Lakic Design, Acor, Allio Group, Beringer, Dymag, Gilles Tooling, HEL Performance, Jekill & Hyde, Michelin, Öhlins and SQP Motors.