Though it’s been almost 40 years since his death, Steve McQueen continues to influence the motorcycle industry. The motorsport enthusiast and film star was a champion of motorcycling who made a profound impact on the sport, industry, and culture. As a tribute to the “King of Cool”, South England-based bespoke bike operation Shaw Speed & Custom decided to build a one-off two-wheeler paying homage to one of the motorcycles most closely tied to McQueen’s legacy: his 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross that he was famously photographed riding for the cover of the August ’71 issue of Sports Illustrated.
Using the motto of “Rideable Customs”, SS&C is the customs shop connected to a Brighton-based Harley-Davidson dealership which has won the coveted “Bar and Shield Award For Excellence and Customer Service” a half-dozen times. Despite only being founded in 2009, SS&C quickly built a beyond-impressive name for itself. In its first half-decade of operation, Shaw had more than 80 completed one-off builds to its name, and received coverage in more than 50 magazines within the span of just two years. And within two years of opening its doors, Shaw also secured an AMD World Champion of Custom Bike Building title.
Dubbed the “XL1200 Cross”, this project started out as a used 2010 Harley Forty-Eight (1200), that the Shaw crew stripped down to the frame. The original tank, chassis, and swingarm are all still in play, though pretty much everything else is a custom element. The build features a one-off seat, subframe, number plate, skid plate, fenders, and side-panels. The stock forks remain, though they now sport upgraded internals, and out back there’s a pair of Ohlins shocks.
The wheels on the build are aluminum hoops laced up with stainless spokes and wrapped in Continental Twinduro rubber. The cockpit is made up of a set of retro 7/8” motocross bars have been fitted with Magura levers and retro grips. The brakes are drum units plucked from vintage Hondas; the front off a ’64 250 four racer; and the rear from a ’67 500 Four. On top of the Husky 400 Cross, the build also boasts some features inspired by McQueen’s 1964 Triumph TR6 ISDT bike. The front fender, fork gaiters, and custom dual one-into-one Zero exhaust all take cues from Steve’s ISDT mount.
There’s also a chain-drive conversion and a handful of bolt-on goodies from RSD, Rizoma, and Burley. Several components such as the ECU have been relocated to underneath the engine, and the bulk of the wiring now runs internally through the frame tubes. Connected at the steering stem bolt is the one-off aluminum housing for the custom Harley’s speedometer.
The frame and swing-arm were powder-coated, while Image Design Custom was responsible for the bike’s Husky 400 Cross-themed livery. The project was first unveiled around Spring of 2014 and was featured on the Cyril Huze blog, King of Fuel, the Roland Sands Design blog, and BikeBound, just to name a few. In addition to the online coverage, the XL1200 Cross also received full writeups in print publications including Moto Heroes, American V Magazine, Club Harley, and Moto Journal.
It’s definitely an interesting and well-executed take on one of the most famous motorcycles of all time. The donor may seem an odd choice, but SS&C only works with Bar and Shield Branded bikes. You can find this McQueen-themed 2010 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 custom dubbed “The XL1200 Cross” for sale here on TheBikeShed in West Malling, England with a price of $34,300 (or £28,000).
Pictures from Roland Sands Design blog.