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£50,000-worth of retro Harley

Published: 15 April 2001

Updated: 19 November 2014

THE Trakker might be a Harley under the skin, but its looks might make fans of more sporting bikes drool.

Designed to resemble a Harley board-track racer of the 1920s, it harks back to a time when the name Harley-Davidson stood for high performance rather than chrome and leather.

Cobra hasn’t released any power or weight figures for the bike, but its skimpy design means it should be surprisingly light despite the hefty Harley engine – a modified 1340cc V-twin, taken from a Harley Dyna Glide.

Cobra hasn’t bothered to tune it, but has simply swopped the original carb for a free-flowing Mikuni unit. That, combined with the straight-through exhausts, should see the power raised from 55bhp to nearer 70bhp.

To maintain the 1920s-style, Cobra has given the Trakker the narrowest tyres it could find. Both the front and the rear feature pencil-thin 90/90-21 Metzeler Enduro rubber. They’re fitted to lightweight Performance Machine alloy wheels.

However, it’s possible no-one will ever discover how the bike feels to ride. Cobra’s Ken Boyko said: " We haven’t run the bike yet and may never run it. It is a contender to be an exhibit in the Guggenheim Museum in Las Vegas from September. "

Apart from the engine, virtually every part of the bike is hand-built – making it so expensive to produce that it will probably remain a one-off. Boyko said: " I don’t believe you could replicate this bike. I don’t know how much we spent, but if I was to estimate, it would be up to £50,000.

A single steel tube frame runs around the motor – just like a real board-track racer.

To keep the lines clean, the firm has dispensed with the normal coil spring for the rear suspension, instead using a torsion bar under the engine. Since that leaves nowhere to put the rear damper, the Trakker has a pair of slim shocks from Progressive Suspension under the rider’s seat. The forks are conventional Harley Sportster units.

Cobra’s carbon-fibre work is also the main part of its second project – the Red Rider VTX. Based on Honda’s new, 2002 VTX – which has yet to be released in the UK – the Cobra machine can lay claim to being the first modified version of the massive 1800cc V-twin cruiser.

Like the Trakker, it features a one-piece, carbon-fibre seat unit and dummy fuel tank – giving a futuristic new slant to a traditional design.

Like the Trakker, the bike is designed as a showpiece for Cobra’s expertise with design and materials – so there is little prospect of a production version seeing daylight.

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