In rural New Zealand, where I am writing this, you often hear that someone has a ‘number eight wire mentality.’
‘Number 8’ is a 4.0 mm gauge wire that was used for farm fencing decades ago. More importantly, it was also co-opted by clever types for general repairs and unusual fixes. A forerunner of duct tape, if you like, and now part of the Kiwi cultural lexicon.
So when I saw that this very smart Harley Street 750 was from a company called No. 8 Wire Motorcycles, I knew instantly that the builder had to be a Kiwi—even though the email came from Montana, USA.
Colin Cornberg is indeed an expat Kiwi, although he’s been working in Missoula since 2013. He runs a full service moto-stroke-fabrication shop, and also does the odd custom build.
“This build started with a bone stock Street 750 that I got through a friend at the local Harley dealership,” Colin tells us. “After building two XG750 commissions—one supercharged—I wanted to have a go at building one under my own direction. How I’d want it if it was my ‘daily’.”
Colin regards it as an experiment too, since he rarely builds customs that aren’t commissioned. “My shop is about 50/50 service and customs. And with such a competitive market for custom builds, I’m still trying to find my niche.”
With this sleek, minimalist build, we reckon Colin has found his métier. It’s clean and uncluttered, throwing the focus onto the v-twin engine rather than cluttering the view with fussy details.
The long subframe and extended rear fender of the stock XG750 is gone. The new rear end is short, with repositioned shock mounts on both the frame and swing arm, but still provides protection from road muck.
Colin built the new tank and seat cowl out of aluminum, and the tank also houses a Sportster fuel pump. “The shape of the tank is based on the old Harley XR100 and the XR750 flat track bike; it holds about three gallons.”
Most of the electrical components, the coolant overflow tank and the lithium battery are housed in a polished aluminum tray under the seat. This also doubles as a splashguard for the rear wheel. The upholstery is a typically smart job from New Church Moto.
Next up was the front end. Cognito Moto made a new set of triples and handlebar risers, which now house a Motogadget display and blinkers. The forks are a major upgrade: they’re from a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R750, and Colin has completely rebuilt them.
He’s also machined new spacers for the front wheel and brake rotor, and had to trim the front brake caliper slightly to get it all dialed in and safe.
“I kept the stock handlebar controls, with the budget in mind, and they work well,” says Colin. “But I upgraded the master cylinder to a Magura unit and went with Biltwell grips and Motogadget m.blaze turn signals.”
To give the 749 cc ‘Revolution X’ engine a power boost, Colin has installed a K&N-style washable air filter (with a handmade aluminum cover) and custom stainless 2-into-1 pipes with a new collector. The low-key muffler comes from Cone Engineering.
To keep everything in optimum tune, Colin has added a Vance & Hines Fuelpak FP3 Autotuner. But when the bike is sold, he’ll suggest an even better upgrade: “I’ll try to talk the buyer into a ThunderMax, which completely replaces the stock ECM.”
The last job in Colin’s shop was the handmade front fender, attached with brackets made out of stainless rod, and a new license plate bracket out back.
Then the Street 750 went off to local paint experts Action Auto Body Shop for finishing. “They knocked out the paint job—which incidentally was the first time in years I got to choose the color of a bike!” The slightly desaturated blue suits the XG750 perfectly, giving it a fresh but understated look that’s anything but agricultural.
We’re thinking that this style suits the Street 750 perfectly. If Harley revamps the six-year-old model soon, perhaps there are some styling cues that could be stolen here …
Published at Tue, 04 Feb 2020 17:01:02 +0000