Chrome, silver, spare architecture and a steampunk sensibility make the Harley Davidson Sportster 883 “Opera” By South Garage a one of a kind ride for the hippest cats in town. If you’re crazy for the feeling of the wind in your teeth and love the bygone café racer scene, then this bike is calling to you. Or maybe you just want the damned thing, there’s no reason to get mystical about it.
Built on the foundation of the classic and powerful Harley 488, this bike isn’t just a thing of beauty, it’s also big, loud, heavy, and fast. A handmade campomaggi leather saddle is perched perilously over the long arm rear suspension. Copper accents, possibly superfluous copper pipettes and a ridiculously stylish frame bar spine running down the center of the top of the gas tank make this look like it came right out of a Will Smith movie that doesn’t deserve a prop this nice.
The original bike is a regular on the dragstrip, built for speed and stability. Its engine is water-cooled, a fact that Harley did a good job hiding- but South Garage decided that it would make a great detail on their steampunk version. The V-twin mill has a lot more charm now that it’s got a look that is meant to capitalize on the romance of fictive machines from an imaginary bygone time.
The one mismatch is that it’s made to perform best at top speeds in straight lines, which means when it’s performing at its peak, it is rather difficult to stare at it. But if you like looking at it, you can get to a comfy spot to sit down right damned fast.