First off, the final design is nothing like the initial idea the owner had in mind for his Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. Having said that, let us take you through the transformation of the Streamliner.
This particular Knucklehead is owned by one Jürgen Potocnic. The 1949 Harley-Davidson FL was in need of a facelift, and Jürgen wanted a rat-rod worn-out look for his beloved steed. With that image in mind, he approached Martin Becker of MB Cycles, famed for his expertise with Harley-Davidsons of all years. MB Cycles has also churned out some pretty radical rat-rods. Jürgen’s choice of builder was pretty solid.
After an initial hesitation to commit to the project, Jürgen came back to Martin and told him he was “The chosen one.” Things took off from then on, and Becker set to work turning the old Knucklehead into an aesthetically even older motorcycle. Potocnic was specific in the regard that his bike should be thoroughly modern when it came to electronics, drivetrain, auxiliary equipment, and accessories.
The project took longer than originally anticipated since MB Cycles moved to a new, bigger location between the development process, but Potocnic patiently waited for Becker to deliver without hassling him. When he laid his eyes on the finished bike six months after he had handed it over to MB Cycles, he could hardly believe what stood in front of him. There was no rat rod covered in rust; for all the world the Knucklehead looked like a jeweller had furiously buffed it to have managed the kind of gleam it commanded.
The 1949 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead modified by MB Cycles is one of the cleanest, visually proportionate, and modern motorcycles you see out there. Shiny and chrome is the body, with a dark, 1524cc V-Twin heart. The motor is supplemented by new performance parts and bellows through a handmade two-into-one shorty exhaust by MB Cycles. An S&S oil pump sits between the cylinders, with a minimal performance air filter poking out the other side.
Except for the cooling fins, the head and block are chrome, with the crankcase finished in silver to complement the transmission’s finish. The frame (from a 1949 Panhead) is also silver, and so are the five-arm wheels. Even the girder forks and the rear fender are silver. A subtle but classy way of singling out the Knucklehead’s distinguishing traits. The attention to detail is phenomenal.
Tasteful modifications include the 4-inch headlamp, mini-LED taillamp, LSL bars, with Biltwell whiskey throttle and risers in addition to the bracket for the seat. The speedo is from MotoGadget, levers and hand controls courtesy of Kustom Tech. Biltwell again provided the footpegs and pedals.
There are minimal electronics aboard the Streamliner. A lithium-ion battery powers the electric starter and gadgetry, and the kicker has been removed. Chrome and polish are by the talented folks at DOT MECHLER, while Messerklinger powder coated the bike. Pinstriping was applied by Chikos Pinstriping.
While all the above details do make the bike one head turner, what cannot be ignored is the vision of Martin Becker. Not only did he choose a directly opposite path to what the customer wanted for his bike, he actually went ahead and finished the project as he had envisioned it. Did the client like it? The answer lies in the mile-wide smile of the proud owner of the Streamliner!