Motorcycles Mechadoll: A Harley-Davidson Sportster With Dirty Swiss StyleCrabmotors of Switzerland were ahead of the curve when they turned a Sportster 1200 into a hefty dual-sport.
- Words Gregory George Moore
- Images Lorenz Richard
Daniel of Crabmotors set out to build a Sportster that had some off-road competence for journeying and camping in and around his home of Lucerne, Switzerland. The resulting ‘89 Harley is stout, dirty, and all-purpose. It’s a hybrid of a 1200cc cruiser that wants to be a dual-sport, and has the soul of a stripped-down bobber. On paper, these things might seem disconnected, but as you can see here, the sum is more than its parts, and the result is appealing.
“The bike looks ridden hard and put to the test and instead of prettying it up for the photoshoot with soap and wax, they left it wearing mud like a badge of honor.”
Switzerland has some rather rigid laws concerning motorcycle customization, so Daniel was forced to be inventive and minimal in his modification. Working within these confines meant nothing on the Sportster’s frame could be cut or welded, and the exhaust’s volume had to stay below a certain decibel level. A hard sell for a customized Harley.
“The bike looks ridden hard and put to the test and instead of prettying it up for the photo shoot with soap and wax, they left it wearing mud like a badge of honor.”
Daniel stripped the motorcycle of anything he deemed extraneous and headed to the drawing board. After laboring over the lines and direction in the conceptual stage, Daniel found a plastic motocross fender that fit the frame perfectly, which influenced the direction for the rest of the build. The Sportster was then fitted with a larger capacity fuel tank, Biltwell seat and handlebars, longer rear shocks, a 17” rear wheel, and Avon Distanzia tires. Considering Daniel’s limitations, the transformation is drastic.
When talking about Mechadoll, Daniel says, “This is pure freedom to me.” He claims it’s the first bike that instills the confidence to go anywhere. We’re inclined to believe him, as the bike looks ridden hard and put to the test. Instead of prettying it up for the photoshoot with soap and wax, he left it wearing the mud like a badge of honor. The bike was then handed over to the talented photographer Lorenz Richard to document the Mechadoll’s exploits and capabilities. The resulting motorcycle and photo-set are gnarly. Straddling this brute through the mountain mud and wind of the Swiss Alps sounds surreal and nothing short of amazing.