This bike won the Bike Build-Off competition at IBW earlier this year. Time to get under its skin
ES, I KNOW IT IS HARD to believe but not too long ago, the bike you see on that page used to be a HarleyDavidson. When you think of custom Harleys (well, at least when I do) all sorts of low-slung cruisers, bobbers and choppers with custom paint jobs, ape-hangers and even the odd café racer comes to mind. But not to Faizan Saith. He envisioned something else – a street fighter. So he set up Legacy Custom Motorcycles in the sleepy town of Belgaum and built the Immortale.
But why would anyone want to do that? Why go through the trouble of converting something like a Harley into a street fighter when you’ve got plenty of great, easily customisable street fighters already available? Well, these customisers are a funny lot – they do these things because they want a bigger challenge than just slapping on some new panels and paint. They want to go through the trouble of taking a bike and converting it in to something that’s from a different school of thought. By the look of it, Faizan has succeeded. This bike started out as an Iron 883 but by the time Legacy was done with it, the only thing that has remained stock on the bike is the instrument cluster. This bike was one of the contestants in the Bike Build-Off competition at this year’s India Bike Week, and it took the first prize. Honestly, it is not hard to see why.
So, what exactly has Legacy done to the Immortale (pronounced Immor-tell) to make it what it is? Alright, for starters, the frame has been chopped and modified to fit in the massive 300-section rear tyre (for those of you who’ve forgotten your metric system, 300mm is a whole foot wide) and a custom swing arm was designed and fabricated to accommodate it. They’ve given the suspension a complete overhaul — out went the telescopic forks on the Iron 883 and it was replaced by a girder suspension using the rear monoshock off an R15. Changes were made to the spring, it had to be shortened a bit to fit and the forks were fabricated from strong, lightweight aluminium. The twin rear dampers of the Iron 883 have been replaced with a monoshock that has been lifted from a (you won’t believe it) Honda Unicorn.
The engine hasn’t been spared either. Courtesy a big-bore kit from Hammer Performance, the V-twin engine now boasts a displacement of 1250cc instead of the standard 883cc. Such kits are quite common in the US of A and can be imported to India without much trouble. He’s also gotten rid of the exhaust and has two short, straight pipes wrapped in heat tape leading out of the engine, and pointing straight down.
A few other interesting bits have been imported as well, like the neat-looking indicators which are integrated into the barends of the handlebar and those absolutely monstrous tyres. But all this aside, quite a bit of the work was done in-house. Faizan doesn’t
Courtsey a big-bore kit, the V-twin engine now boasts of 1250cc instead of 883cc
have a massive team at his disposal – it is just him, an automobile engineer, a metal worker and a technician. Faizan was all praise for his metal worker who fashioned the sprocket, the counter sprocket and a lot of the other parts by hand. In fact, all the panels on the bike were shaped in metal by hand, and these were used to create a mould.
Sure, like any customised bike, it has its issues. For example, the stand scrapes the ground every time you lean the bike left or go over a speed breaker and the pipe leading into the oil tank has been chaffed by the spinning shaft that connects to the sprocket. It leaks a bit of oil as a result. These are minor issues that can be fixed in a couple of hours with a little bit of tweaking. Other than that, the finish on the bike is top class – I’d even stick my neck out and say that it is production-line rivalling. You won’t find gaps in the panels, the paint finish is fabulous and the mechanical bits come together so well and leave you with a truly exciting bike.
If you do dare get on the bike, the first thing you notice is how wide everything is. The handlebar is wide, the tank is wide, the footpegs are placed way back, and are wide as well. The riding position you end up taking is akin to what you see on dragsters, with your torso leaning forward and your legs swept back albeit less aggressive. Thumb the starter button and you hear the high-pitched whine of the starter motor followed by an absolutely guttural roar from the straight pipes. I only rode it on the open road, I didn’t dare take it into the narrow lanes of Belgaum (I was in no mood to get a scratch or a dent on a bespoke one-off bike) but Faizan assures me it is more than manageable. And I don’t doubt that because even though it doesn’t look it, the bike is very comfortable to sit on and very easy to manoeuver. In fact, in addition to innovation, styling and all the other obvious criteria, comfort was one of the most
important factors that the bikes were judged on at IBW’s Bike Build-Off. Torque is ever present and wringing the throttle leaves you clinging on to the handlebars as the bike surges forward with a great big bellow from the exhaust. Getting used to the position of the pegs takes a bit of time as it is completely alien to anything I’ve ever ridden before, but the more time I spend on it the more comfortable it seems. I soon get the hang of it and this green machine doesn’t seem so intimidating any more.
And now with this trophy in the bag, what’s next for Legacy Custom Motorcycles? Faizan says he will continue creating custom motorcycles but not for too long. His plan in the long run is to foray into production bikes. He intends on importing engines and creating limited production runs of say around twenty and fifty units per design and creating exclusive products for people who don’t mind paying for something different. You can almost draw parallels to what Pagani have done with some of their more exclusive Zondas — getting those mad 7.3-litre AMG engines and building bespoke limited edition cars around them. For now Faizan has his eyes set on the next IBW. He refuses to tell me what he’s planning but has promised that it will be interesting. And completely different from the Immortale. Honestly, I’m quite excited to see what he comes up with! ⌧
The Immortale is up for sale. If you are interested in it or want another bespoke oneoff bike, contact Faizan at +91-8197324926 or email email@example.com
1: The free-flow exhaust is insanely loud. 2: The speedo is the only part that is stock. 3. The girder uses an R15 spring. 4: The sprocket and the swingarm were made in-house. 5. 300-section tyre lends a mean stance