Tetsu Mitsuhashi-Built – 2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200 Custom

In America, Cafe Racer, Custom by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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Post Listing Update: This custom Harley did not get any action at the BIN of $8,000.


Tetsu Mitsuhashi honed his skills working under Aki Sakamoto of Hog Killers Inc. Interestingly, Aki himself sharpened his teeth working under Jesse James at West Coast Choppers. While Mitsuhashi has worked on countless bespoke two-wheelers while at Hog Killers, this Sportster-based build is the first solo project to come out of Mitsuhashi’s new shop.

Starting with a 2001 Harley-Davidson XL1200, Mitsuhashi stripped the American mount down to the chassis before lopping off the stock subframe and replacing it with a flat hooped unit. Supported by the new subframe is a handmade tail section which now houses the V-Twin’s oil-tank, as well as an LED taillight (now powered by an Anti-gravity cell). A subtle set of micro indicators have been tacked on to the rear suspenders — a set of Progressive 600 shocks — keeping the Harley road-legal. The same signals can be found upfront too.

Mitsuhashi also hand-formed a one-off Dunstall-style fairing for the build. A single, mini, circular headlight sits flush in the fairing while a pair of dual analog gauges sit neatly behind the dome-style windscreen. Mitsuhashi also crafted a knee-dented fuel-cell to go along with the bespoke bodywork up front. Other one-off parts include the Harley’s instrument mounts, license-plate holder, and lighting mounts.

When it came time to paint the Sportster, Mitsuhashi opted for a very minimalistic design, employing a coat of matte and gloss black with grey outlining/pin-striping. The blacked out livery contrasts exceptionally well with the build’s polished chrome bits such as the two-into-one exhaust poking out the right side of the bike. The frame was also powder-coated (courtesy of Andrew Babish of Paint by Bondo).

Mitsuhashi laced up some new spoked rims for the build too, as well as adding new brakes and rotors. The build also received a new pair of clip-ons and foot-controls. I wish Mitsuhashi had opted to tack an inverted front-end onto the bike, though the completed build does boast a very vintage aesthetic — something I’m sure was done intentionally. A chain-conversion would have been nice too.

Minor gripes aside, this is a really neat Harley cafe racer, and apparently I’m not alone in my admiration for Mitsuhashi’s latest work as BikeExif also featured this Sportster in a recent Custom Bikes Of The Week, as well as receiving a writeup on InazumaCafeRacers. Unlike the vast majority of one-off two-wheelers featured on BikeExif, this custom Harley’s asking price is pretty reasonable (relatively speaking).

You can find this Tetsu Mitsuhashi-built 2001 Harley-Davidson XL1200 cafe racer for sale in Buena Park, California with a BIN price of $8,000

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