Local Motors Racer motorcycle gives the Harley a new look


June 4, 2014

Local Motors shows the Racer off at Overland Expo 2014

Local Motors shows the Racer off at Overland Expo 2014

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The lion's share of open field at last month's Overland Expo was dedicated to camping trucks, trailers and RVs, but there were also a few other interesting vehicles sprinkled throughout. Arizona-based crowd-source automotive firm Local Motors brought two Rally Fighter off-roaders, which we took a look at in our Overland Expo round-up, along with its new Racer motorcycle. The stylish motorcycle blends classic and custom design elements to "define a new class of cruiser."

We've seen what the Local Motors Forge community can do with four wheels in the Rally Fighter, and we've seen what it can do with three in the Verrado drift trike. The Racer gives it a voice in the motorcycle segment.

By sourcing and refining ideas with a global creative community, Local Motors manages to develop the type of original, captivating designs that the mainstream automotive industry saves strictly for concept vehicles. These types of designs have a way of attracting the crowd. The Rally Fighter looks like no other modern production car, and even if you have zero interest in off-roading, you're likely to take a closer look at it just to sate your curiosity.

The Racer has this same magnetic presence. I've never ridden a motorcycle and am not generally a motorcycle guy, but when I spotted the Racer, I couldn't help but abandon the Rally Fighters (which I've seen in the past) to check it out.

The Racer was born in a design contest held last year. The contest, which was sponsored by DP Custom Cycles and coordinated through Local Motors' Forge collaborative community, challenged designers to create a one-of-a-kind custom interpretation of the classic Harley Davidson Sportster. More than 150 designs were submitted, and DP selected a winner in the Racer, which was created by Andre Costa of Portugal.

“I really wanted to create something simple, something iconic, with a strong racing personality,” Costa explained when his design won in April 2013. "I’m a huge Formula One fan, and this design celebrates the Brabham BT44 Formula One racing car of the 1970s. The handlebars are lower, to make the gas tank really pop, and the air filter is tall and thin in honor of the styling of the roof scoop."

While the Harley Davidson Sportster that the Racer is based on might come across as intimidating and rough around the edges to those that don't grow big beards and ride bikes regularly, the Racer looks far more approachable. Its exposed tubular hard-tail frame is reminiscent of a bicycle, and the low seat and handlebars beg you to swing your leg over and sit down, if not start it up for a test ride. In place of the polished chrome and shiny paint typical on a bike like the Sportster, the Racer employs clean, understated cues like flat black accents and solid wheels.

The Racer doesn't completely conceal its rumbling Harley construction. The skeletal frame helps to highlight the 1200cc air-cooled Evolution V-Twin. The race-inspired air intake isn't mounted above and behind the driver, as on the Brabham BT44, but on the right side of the engine. That intake is 3D printed on a Makerbot printer. The bike spits exhaust out a custom two-in-one system and stops with disc brakes.

After wrapping the contest up in April 2013, Local Motors and DP built the Racer out and revealed it in July. The motorcycle is available in the buyer's choice of livery, starting at US$18,750. The build begins as a pristine-condition Sportster and is stripped down and rebuilt in Racer spec. The bike retains the original VIN plate to make for easier registration and insurance.

Local Motors is in the midst of its next crowd-backed design project. It plans to build a 3D-printed electric vehicle at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in September. The car will be a small EV designed specifically for Chicago, the IMTS' host city. Local Motors wrapped up a community challenge for the design last month and took delivery of the 3D printed chassis at its Phoenix micro-factory last week. The chassis was printed at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

"To deliver the first co-created, locally relevant, 3D-printed vehicle on an international stage dedicated to celebrating cutting-edge manufacturing technology is powerful reinforcement of our commitment to driving the Third Industrial Revolution," said Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers.

Source: Local Motors

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Yawn yet another harley custom. This one has that je ne sais quoi amateur look.


Looks cool, kind of like street legal. But I can't see the muffler. Open exhausts are illegal in my state. I think vertically mounted registration plates are too. But WTF? I ride a Harley; laws do not apply to me.


A hardtail, in 2014. Bikes are such a joke now. It's sad.


You are giving us an example of innovation with a hard tail Harley? That is just plane lame.

It looks like another naked bike with an unfortunate choice of wheels. In the 1960s this look was rather common. I like naked bikes but find this execution to be less than artistic. Jim Sadler

Hi Chris, as a confessed 'non-motorcycle guy' I can see why you found this bike appealing. The bare-bones, minimalist style has plenty of appeal, particularly when powered by a big v-twin, but other than a fairly tired old styling exercise ( search goes way back to the '40s) it is also very impractical in terms of comfort, and performance is not so good with that hard-tail rear end. But thanks for noticing .....

Martin Hone

Aren't human beings supposed to move forward? Anyone who has ever ridden a Sportster knows that "shock absorber" is nothing more than a figure of speech. Now there's the hard tail version? 5 miles on that thing and I'm visiting the chiropractor. That's after I pull over and lay down on my back for half an hour. 18K??? Absolutely pointless beyond someone asking, "What's that"?

Darian Scott

I think there are some cool aspects of this motorcycle that others don't have. One thing in particular is the 3D-printed air scoop. I don't know of any others that have something of this nature. I do agree it does seem pretty expensive though (

Jamie Hobbs
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