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Tuning: Harley-Davidson Softail Green Flame

Tuned chopper from Harley-Davidson

Huge wheels, a bombastic sound and sitting like God on the cloud – hardly any other type of motorcycle is as conspicuous as a pimped Harley. But how does such a show bike ride??

Riots in the underground car park. Immediately after the air-cooled motor starts its first heartbeat, a couple of car alarm systems go off. Because the converted 2009 Night Train from Harley-Davidson Hannover called the Green Flame has it all. And lets it out: through two stainless steel pipes, each 65 millimeters in diameter, which apparently wind their way down from the cylinder towers to the ground without sound attenuators, waves of burns roll out into the open. Anyone who thinks that the V2 grows with infinite displacement is wrong. Because the V2 called Twin Cam 96B is in series production.

E.r draws its 73 hp from 1584 cubic meters. A process that is also quite compatible with the residential area with the series flush. The built-in exhaust system from the Austrian forge BSL is called Rainbow Down Under and has an EC operating permit. How can that be? Harley man Kai Hocker from HD Hannover is the creator of the bike and excuses the riot: "The inserts fell out on a test drive, sorry." With the damper elements screwed in, the system is duller and more powerful than its series counterpart, but it is absolutely legal. Whereby we are on the topic: Customizing and tuning in the cruiser sector. "An estimated 80 percent of our customers convert their Harleys with an accessory exhaust system", sums up Kai Hocker. It’s not just about a stronger sound, but also about the look. The demand for more power or displacement is low. But it can certainly be served from the Harley shelf: Based on the Twin Cam 96 engine, it contains 1,800 cubic meters. For those who want to draw on the full, Harley offers a 120 cubic inch engine with 1962 cm³ for around 6500 euros. With additional parts such as intake manifold, air filter or wiring harness, you can quickly get to 8,000 euros. Specialists like Gunther Sohn from Walsheim (www.gr-sohn.com) in the Palatinate get up to 120 hp from the 96 engine, which is then bored out to 1920 cubic.

But top performance is not really what counts in this segment, it is more the appearance. “Until five or six years ago, customers ran into us with the desire for wide tires,” says Kai Hocker on behalf of many Harley dealers. In the meantime, the manufacturer has reacted and increased the series tires of many models – 200 or 240 slippers are now standard on some models ex works. On the back of the Green Flame a 280/40 rotates on a 20-inch rim. At the front, the Hanoverians left it with the 130/60, which, however, is stretched on a 23-inch rim. How does something like that?

Aisle in the underground car park. Even when circling the concrete pillars one is astonished. The somehow expected driving dynamics properties of a steamroller do not materialize. The machine swings surprisingly easily and precisely towards the exit and 20 minutes later through the curves. The wide tire can certainly not be discussed away, but it is not a staunch enemy of lean angles. The swing arm kit from the specialist Ricks in Baden-Baden (www.ricks-motorcycles.de) enables problem-free drivability despite the Ferris wheel. With the help of this unique construction, an extremely wide tire can be installed without the previously obligatory frame changes and the offset of the transmission and primary drive. In conjunction with a special hub, the rear wheel runs exactly on track with the front wheel after the conversion – which was often no longer technically possible with many extreme conversions. Another advantage: the freedom from inclination ex works is retained. Although: that’s not what cruising is about.

The special swing arm from Rick’s enables up to 300 mm wide tires without the offset of the primary drive and transmission.

Coming across well, sitting casually and a full sound are the be-all and end-all. According to these criteria, the Green Flame is a top prize, for which you have to dig deep into your pocket with 47,500 euros. Many details, such as the display sunk in the tank, the elaborate airbrush painting, the five-spoke wheels milled from solid, the embroidered seat or additional gimmicks such as the pneumatically lowerable rear, explain the price.

With the latter, the air suspension strut is inflated using a small compressor. The so-called Air-Ride-System only serves the optics: Without air in the shock absorber, the machine is set so low at the rear that the fender almost rests on the tire. Driving is so impossible. In the inflated state, however, you shouldn’t expect a lot of comfort – if you roll over a euro piece, you immediately know whether the eagle or the number was up. But that is not really important here either. Because what is it called? Those who want to be beautiful have to suffer, and so do those who want to drive beautifully.


Elaborate paintwork plus airbrush and gimmicks such as the fuel level indicator embedded in the tank drive the price up.

  • Base: Harley-Davidson Softail Night Train, built in 2009
  • Exhaust system: BSL Rainbow Down Under 2100 euros
  • Triple clamp: Muller Bob Style FXST with five degrees offset 850 euros
  • Swingarm: Ricks 4950 euros
  • Rear shock absorber system: Legend Air 2150 euros
  • Front wheel: Ricks Rodder 3.5 x 23" 2400 euros
  • Front tire: Avon 130/60 185 euros
  • Rear wheel: Ricks Rodder 10.5 x 20" 2700 euros
  • Rear tire: Avon 280 / 40-20 420 euros
  • Tank extension: Ricks 629 euros
  • Rear brake: Ricks 950 euros
  • Airbrush: Dannys 3500 euros
  • Bench: leather, quilted 1000 Euro
  • Heck: Ricks 1100 euros

In total, parts are worth around 23,000 euros has been installed. Plus the labor costs and the basic machine price, the vehicle represents a value of around 47,500 euros.

Harley-Davidson Hannover GmbH, Grambartstr. 27, 30165 Hanover, Tel. 05 11/3 50 36 72, www.hd-hannover.de

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