KUSTOM KOMMUNE K1 - H-D 48 Sportster

kustom kommue k1 sportster

This wasn’t your ordinary custom motorcycle build. The ‘K1’ Harley Davidson Sportster was more of a proof of concept than anything else. Ninety percent of the build was completed in house at Australia’s first communal motorcycle workshop, The Kustom Kommune. Since running a successful crowd funding campaign, setting up a fully functioning workshop facility and building a strong community the Kommune team had a dream of building a show quality, street ready, workshop bike and Harley Davidson motorcycles made it possible with their donation of a 1200cc Forty Eight Sportster.

When we set out to customise the Sportster we had 2 goals in mind. Firstly we wanted it to look amazing. The bike had to look fast so we decided to pay homage to Harley’s racing past, in particular it’s XR750TT. Secondly we wanted the final bike to be one that could be worked on in the Kommune workshop. Being a community funded, communal space facilities such as dyno’s and diagnostic computer hardware aren’t something we have access to, so we had to pull the bike back to basics by removing any components and electrical systems that couldn’t be worked on using basic tools and old school mechanical know how.

The build was completed by a talented group of individuals who dedicated their time and skills to help make the K1 a reality. There was a budget involved, but it was spent primarily on materials and parts, time was all generously donated. A dream team (of sorts) was formed. It consisted of Robby Ante a skilled welder, Glenn Aitken a Harley guru, Matt McLeod an engineer, Karl Stehn a custom painter, Kenny an automotive electrician, Aaron Sinclair an upholsterer, myself and Jimmy Goode the founders of the Kommune and a handful of our members. Over 4 months we tore down and rebuilt the bike using our combined skills. With so many people involved opinions sometimes varied and timeframes were hard to stick to with most people working after hours, but looking back now it all came together relatively smoothly.

The original plan was to put an XR750 TT style fairing on the bike, but with time working against us the idea was shelved and we instead stuck to an XR inspired colour palette. Karl Stehn at KDS Designs put together a slick paint design using the classic XR black, white and orange and adding plenty of flake to really make it pop. We mimicked old school Café Racer techniques by using 2 Cole Foster fuel tanks, chopping one in half to function as the tail. Since we’d removed the oil tank from the frame we modified the tail to double as the oil tank. Robby and Glenn devised the internal plumbing before welding it all up to a custom fabricated seat pan. To support the weight of the tail Glenn fabricated rear struts that follow the line of the frame blending perfectly with the existing lines of the Sportster. To continue the Café Racer styling we swapped the forward controls for rear sets, slid RSD clip-ons onto the fork stanchions and left the front end naked, mounting the OEM Harley headlight as far back into the forks as we could.

Out of the factory the Forty Eight comes with some trick electrical features such as ABS brakes, an anti-theft alarm system, electronic fuel injection and loads of fancy sensors and thing-a-ma-jigs. Unfortunately none of them would work with our previously mentioned second goal, so they all had to go. Matt from Krank Engineering machined spacers to replace the ABS sensors on each axle and the entire wiring loom was removed. An S&S Super E carb replaced the EFI system, tuned by ear by Glenn upon the bikes first fire up. An all new wiring system was put together using an aftermarket ignition system and a Motogadget M-unit now controls all of the bikes wiring circuits.

We also opted for a chain drive rather than a belt (we love the old school look) and blanked out the rear wheel using a set of raw alloy Moon Discs. Aaron from Weird-o-pholstery finished off the bodywork with a diamond stitched leather saddle and the hidden brake lights and indicators are all LED powered. We ran all the wiring internally to keep it looking super clean and used stainless braided lines rather than rubber to add some extra bling to the lubrication system.
Of all the design elements on the K1 the one thing that has generated the most interest from start to finish, is the bikes full stainless steel exhaust system. It was the brainchild of Jimmy Goode and Glenn Aitken and was built entirely at the Kommune. Starting with a set of 180 bends and straight lengths, Glenn cut each section by hand, measuring each curve and section by eye. Robby then tack welded each piece in place until we had the two pipes exiting on the rear left of the bike. Everything was then removed, polished and brushed clean before being welded together by Robby and re-mounted to the 1200cc v-twin. Despite all the other trick bits of fabrication and custom work it’s the pipes that show exactly what can happen when skilled individuals work together. Love ‘em or hate ‘em they’re our crowning achievement and to me they sum up what the K1 and the Kustom Kommune is all about.

Modification list:

  • EFI to S&S Super E Carb Conversion
  • Belt to Chain drive conversion
  • Removal of ABS systems
  • Complete MotoGadet electronics setup
  • Entire factory loom removed
  • 2x Modified Cole Foster fuel tank
  • Aftermarket hand controls
  • Custom fabricated seat that acts as oil tank
  • Custom made black leather seat by Wierd-o-pholstry
  • Custom made exhaust by Robbie Ante & Glen Aitken at Kustom Kommune
  • 2″ Lowered front end
  • 330mm Piggy Back Shocks
  • Mooneyes moon disk rear wheel
  • CNC’d Rear Sets
  • Modified rear frame
  • Custom made bars, spacers, points cover by Krank Engineering
  • All State Deluxe tyres from Antique Tyres
  • Roland Sands Designs engine dress up kit
  • Paint by KDS Designs