Deus transforms Nightster into cafe racer

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According to Deus, their 1200 V-Twin Cafe Racer is, “based on a new HD Nightster (not the special Twilight edition, why HD thought plump 17yr old girls would want a hog…beyond me).” The lost opportunity to draw a connection between custom motorcycles and sparkle vampires aside, we’re really liking the subtle good looks of this custom Harley.
Unlike some other Deus Ex Machina customs, this cafe racer is very
restrained, relying on its muscular proportions instead of flashy
details. That’s not to say it doesn’t have great detailing — check out
the tiny cowl over the headlight lending the front end a sense of
aggression for an example. The only thing we’re a little disappointed
with is the afterthought of a plate bracket. Now, if we could just buy
something like this straight from the factory.

Details of the conversion, straight from Australia:
modified Yammy SR400 tank, quick release strap, new taps etc.
custom fender’ectomy….warren got handy with the drill bits
custom 2 into 1, retuned fuel maps to suit
single saddle conversion
kept the belt drive, chains look nicer but the customer wanted his pants to stay up.

Deus Ex Machina

  • M.P.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this. I like it!

  • BobG

    Wait for it. Here it comes……………… It’s still a Harley.

    • Wes Siler


  • stempere

    This is what a Harley produced in this century should look like.

  • Matt

    I dunno about those “muscular proportions.” I think that it has a Hank Hill type of proportion: big gut; no ass. A thicker and longer seat would help with that a little, but you can only do so much to make an engine with such a large side profile look sleek.
    Don’t get me wrong though, it’s nice enough, far nicer than my bike, but it’s not as good looking as most of Deus’ other customs (with the exception of that DR650 SM they had last year).

    • bzr

      It’s definitely a bike that looks better in motion.

  • pbxorcist

    I think this bike fails for me on multiple levels as a custom.

    1. the proportions are all wrong. There is no real sense of balance from front to back

    2. the rear is a bit silly, doesn’t really lend any aesthetic or practical function.

    3. the seat suffers from a lack of lines, or integration with the frame rails

  • mxdork

    btw: the headlight cowl is stock.

  • jonb

    Throw some 19′s on it.

  • HW Pfabe

    Tell me Harley doesn’t REALLY have a Twilight edition? With the sale of Buell, no poor judgements would surprise me at this point…

  • gogo

    I think this bike fails for me on multiple levels as a custom.

    1. the proportions are all wrong. There is no real sense of balance from front to back

    2. the rear is a bit silly, doesn’t really lend any aesthetic or practical function.

    3. the seat suffers from a lack of lines, or integration with the frame rails

    i agree entirely with these comments. this is a pitiful attempt at a cafe racer. to call this bike a “mild” custom would gracious.

    not anywhere near the quality and style one finds with most Deus bikes. this is run of the mill backyard fender chopping stuff.

    i dont understand why this site or any other would bother to give attention to this bike…the novelty of a “new” Harley Cafe does nothing to redeem such an obvious build.

  • HW Pfabe

    Harley doesn’t REALLY have a Twilight edition, right?
    Though I guess at this point, with the sale of Buell and no financial considerations being given whatsoever, nothing from them would surprise me…

  • HW Pfabe

    Sorry for the double post. Something got screwed up with my browser, and it didn’t look like it posted the first time.

    My computer must just be revolting at the idea of me posting about anything Harley-related.

  • Yuri

    MXdork beat me to it. Isn’t that cowl over the headlight the standard Sporty eyebrow painted black?

    • Wes Siler

      I don’t know anything about Harleys and it shows.

  • chuluun

    I love Deus but this leaves me a little unmoved. If it doesn’t have a bum-stopper seat it’s not a cafe racer in my book. I still want one of their SR400 customs though.

  • V

    It’s something Gotham’s finest would ride.

  • Keith

    to reiterate what has already been said:

    -1. it definitely looks better in motion

    -2. it’s a harley

    bottom line: I’ll pass

  • RT Rider

    It’s a Harley – I’ll also take a pass.

  • carbon

    People, if you don’t like a motorcycle because of the name of the brand, you sirs, are lame. If you need to know why, just remember the last time a Harley (butt) pirate glanced at your Guzzi/BMW/UJM at a stoplight, adjusted his glorious doo-rag, blipped (blopped?) the throttle and stuck his nose up.

    Looks like they also added rearsets and a larger rear wheel. And yeah, as noted, the eyebrow headlight cowl has been on various Sportster models since the 1958 XLCH.

    • CBontheMV

      Agree with you 100% carbon. The asshats bashing this because it’s a Harley deep down are as bad as the pirates that they’re making fun of.

  • RT Rider
  • Hangar4

    Looks good. I would take it if dependability wasn’t going to be an issue in the future. Otherwise, PASS!

  • CBontheMV

    The one thing that is horrible is that color. Depression grey.

  • Tom

    Wait for it. Here it comes……………… It’s still a Harley.


    Well, it is what it is.

  • meatspin

    is this bike really in Twilight? that’d be awesome and I’ll have to look for it. I heard there were a couple of HD dirtbikes in it.

    as for this bike, I like the look but I’d want a more substantial seat. I dont know why HD doesnt design their bikes to look more standard (cafe looking) I suppose to get this look with the sportster all you’d need was to crank up the back a bit, and a bigger rear. Ditch the handlebars for clips and you’re set. Am I right?

  • bzr

    O HAI GUYZ, is it a Harley? I had no idea!

  • Yukes {SO~SO's}

    To me the bike looks a funny w/o rider, but looks great with. The latter being much more important in my opinion. Pretty much the opposite of the Confederate Wrath. Hope that doesn’t offend you Grant.

    Personally the idea of a Sporty Racer is done better here:

    The details aren’t there, but the overall is better. The narrowed and channeled mini sporty tank really makes it for me.

  • Adrian.

    It’s a nice looking bike, but somehow I expected something less bland and safe from Deus.

  • CafeRacer1200

    I love this! It’s nice to see a well thought out alternative to XS650s, SR500s, etc. The lines work really well to my eyes and it would certainly be a presence bellowing through town or shaking away at a light. One more thing. Deus? If HD calls and waves money and promises at you I’d like you to meet a certain Mr. Buell who might be able to give you some guidance.

  • AJ

    It’s simple really – if you DON’T like Harleys (me), then you’ll probably agree that this looks great (I do).

    Conversely, if you DO like Harleys, this would probably “look funny” or “silly”.

    Whatever the case, I’m confident that if Harley thought a bit more like Deus, they’d wouldn’t be in the shit they are in now…

  • wyatt

    why do so many people only comment when they hate something? as for people questioning a harleys reliability it only shows how ignorant they are. there are no bad bikes out there but hey what do i know except having owned over 2 dozen and a life time rider in my fifties of many brands.true bike riders like all bikes, fools only like what they own to boost thier own fragile ego or bought cause there friend has one it would be like saying you would only date a blonde woman very shortsighted . choices are wonderful thank god we have them!

  • Keith

    Carbon & CBontheMV

    here I thought it was because I wanted a bike that was built in 2009 to have something more than an engine that hasn’t gone thru a major design change since 1956

    silly me

  • Mattro

    While not quite being redesigned, the Harley Twin has had plenty of time to get dialed in. Reliability and performance among the “custom” market is above average for this engine, which, honestly, isn’t a resounding endorsement, but it’s also a fair sight better than Harley’s oil-gushing stigma — well-earned as it may have been.

    I personally like the looks because it takes this extant and tired segment of the motorcycle world and addresses its aesthetic with some degree of reservation and refinement, which we don’t always get when people get hold of a Harley, a fedex workman’s comp case-worth or bolt-on parts, and some very glittery paint. It isn’t a perfect gesture, especially, as has been said, compared to the rest of Deus’ oeuvre, but it is a very, very good one, and better than most major custom shops have managed from what I’ve seen.

    I wouldn’t kick ‘er outta bed fer eatin’ crackers…

  • Shaun Power

    I think it looks FAb. Probably the best yet from Deus. The styling is a work of restrained genius and as a rule i’m not a Harley fan so well done Deus!

    Harley are in the shit for being greedy. If they’d stuck to developing, designing and producing motorcycles that buyers want instead of selling finance, they’d be fine. They’ll survive, but only because the brand has such an iconic status up there with Ferrari and porsche. It’s the only brand that non-bikers are aware of so will still be here in 10 years time…hopefully.

    Shaun Power

  • the webman

    I, for one, really like this bike. I like cafe bikes, dirt bikes, harleys, japanese bikes, italian bikes, etc. I like anything that’s well-thought out and well-executed, and this certainly qualifies.

    BTW, those of you bashing HD reliability don’t know what you’re talking about. Sure, back in the ’70s they had a well-deserved reputation for reliability, but since the advent of the buyback from AMF around 1982, they’ve been as reliable as anything else. Blaming the current crew over at HD for what happened under the old owners is akin to hammering Triumph today for the abysmal quality of late 70′s Bonnevilles (believe me, they were atrocious compared to the Bloor-era Triumphs).

    Anyway, nice job Deus!

  • Greg

    In my opinion these bikes are made purely to sell their clothing brand. Some of their Japanese bolt on part bikes dont even meet Audtralian Design Rules yet they somehow are allowed to get the bikes registered. ?

  • sydney

    had a sit on this bike a while back and almost dropped it! not used to heavy bikes!!