MISS UNIVERSE: SHAW SPEED’S HARLEY 48 CUSTOM
We don’t see many Sportsters with a racy slant. But this new machine from ShawSpeed & Custom shows what is possible. And it totally looks the part.
‘Miss Universe’ is a Harley Sportster 48 commissioned by Australian businessman Troy Barbagallo, who noticed Shaw’s Nascafe Racer and fell in love. He promptly got in touch with Shaw’s larger-than-life principal Steve Willis, and they started kicking around ideas.
“Troy wanted a custom motorcycle in his garage, but it had to be his own, something unique,” says Steve. “Inspirations were his love of timepieces, working movements and details. He wanted a nod to the past with retro racers and bobbers, but with a twist of modern—a rideable piece of art.”
The English workshop set to work. They’ve turned the humble Sportster into a classy retro-modern racer with British and European influences. There’s a lengthened custom swingarm, 21-inch wheels front and rear, and a race-style rear suspension with a rising rate Öhlins mono shock.
At the front is a custom-made, parallel-link girder fork built by a MotoGP technician. Huge 13-inch rotors handle braking duties, with twin six-pot Performance Machine calipers.
The remote oil tank is a low-slung chamber mounted under the back of the frame, and the gas tank is custom too—inspired by café racers. (It hides a dummy front end housing the wiring, battery, and ignition coil.)
The frame has been modified with a twin perimeter rail to surround the engine and lower the tank, and is finished in Perrier water bottle green.
The upper half of the fairing is a modified Ducati Panigale item. The seat unit is finished in the same grippy Alcantara fabric used on many race bikes.
The bars are not clip-ons, but what Steve describes as “low mounted kick up bars.” The switchgear and master cylinders come from Performance Machine and Brembo, and there’s a quick-action race throttle with a side pull to keep things looking simple.
The engine has been stripped back and fitted with new performance heads, a new throttle body, and a short but effective exhaust system inspired by the Britten race bikes.
Miss Universe is not your typical Harley Sportster custom, but she’s attracted a lot of admiration already. Harley-Davidson Europe shipped the bike to Biarritz in France for the Wheels and Waves event, and if you missed it there, you’ll be able to see it in November at the EICMA show in Milan, where it’ll take pride of place on the Öhlins stand.
Way back in 2010, Shaw Speed won the AMD Modified Harley-Davidson title in Sturgis—the first time a Harley dealer beat the custom workshops at their own game. If they enter Miss Universe into the next AMD World Championships, what are the odds of a repeat performance?