“Modern Retro”. That’s how Taiwan born, LA based Samuel Kao of JSK Custom Design describes his ‘Ivory Comet’ Cafe Racer. Based on a ’97 XL1200 Harley Davidson Sportster the Ivory Comet takes fundamental aspects of Cafe Racer design and blends them perfectly with modern styling and modern performance components. Since its completion earlier this year the bike has brought home an impressive collection of prestigious trophies including “Best Cafe Racer” at Born Free 6. Taking over a year to complete the build of the bike pushed Sam to his limits, but as I’m sure you will agree his hard work was well worth it.
“For the fabrication of the bodywork I insisted on using traditional bodywork techniques. To do this I used the 60’s method of creating a wooden mold to form the metal gas tank, front fairing and rear cowl from. When I began I had several fairing designs in mind, but when I decided to use a Harley Davidson engine I believed it will be a shame to cover it, so the version I settled on left the engine completely exposed.”
“My vision for a modern retro cafe racer necessitated a suspension system that was unique and high performing. I decided to transplant the forks, single sided swing arm and brakes from a Ducati 916. Finding someone who would then assist me with fitting a spoked rim to the single sided swing arm was a real challenge. I was turned away many times being told it couldn’t be done before I finally found a company in Europe that met my requirements and even supplied a warranty for their work.”
The name Ivory Comet came from Sam’s idea of mixing elegance and speed. With it’s angular lines and pin striped bodywork the bike looks fast while it’s standing still, like any good Cafe Racer should. Final touches of gold detailing and a diamond stitched red suede leather seat add the elegance element and even though gold isn’t really my thing, this time I’m willing to make an exception.