Friday, 24 November 2017

Baechli Flying Diamond Twin Cam

50 years Baechli Anniversary-Bike #5 (of 7): 
2017 FLSS "Slim S"

Flying Diamond Twin Cam

The definite "Distinguished Gentlemen's Bike" for a classic ride: Harley Heaven's antique style Softail Twin Cam combines 1930ties Art Deco Look with modern Power & Performance.

Even if you are not a connoiseur in Harley-Davidson's history and tank designs, it is a fascinating fact that even the latest and most modern Harley-Davidson models can be "backdated" 80 years into the past by just changing a few parts and a different paintjob!

 Discounting a few minor details, this "Antique"styled Harley-Heaven Custom has been retro-styled with the use of only two or three major parts: Front and rear fender and the leather saddlebag! What looks like a Thirties-style classic is in fact Harley's state-of-the-art 110 Cubic-Inch 145 Nm Power-Bobber in a Sunday dress! 114 years after Harley-Davidson rolled out their first bike – and 50 years following Felix Baechli's entry in to the V-Twin business, this is the fifth "one-off" in the series of seven "50th Anniversary Baechli" customs. And an outstanding example of what is possible with a modest number of custom parts on a stock Harley!

November is definitely not a great month to photograph motorcycles in Switzerland, but if you are hard enough to ride in next to zero temperatures and love the colorful leaves on the trees in the hillsides above Dietikon near Zuerich, you will still have a great time, even under dull grey skys and a rain front approaching from France. Harley-Heaven's fifth "Anniversary" Bike seems to be a completely retro-styled antique custom, but is a surprisingly "modest" effort in customizing, yet with an outstanding result that really catches the eye! Yet, it did not come without digging deep into the "box of tricks" at Harley-Heaven's Customizing department, for some of the parts weren't as easy to adapt as it looks on these images. 

"We wanted at least one classic or antique looking bike in the 50th Anniversary line-up of 2017-built custom bikes, because that's what my father was famous for when he started the business in 1967 – and the rich history of Harley-Davidson has created some extraordinary and almost timeless designs on which you can create great custombikes", states Rainer Baechli, who is running todays Harley-Heaven operations, a 4-floor dealership and customizing factory that is the biggest and most successful in Switzerland. "The inspiration for the project came from a picture of one of my fathers bikes, taken probably in 1980", says Rainer: The picture of a
better-than-new restored 1947/48 UL Flathead was taken in front of the Bellikon garages that acted as the first shop location from 1967 on for quite some times and yes – the kid in the background is the young Rainer Baechli! 

"But looking through the history, there were more spectatcular options than the rather "uniform" colours of after WW II origin", adds Rainer – and the simple "Red Ball" tank emblem in use from 1947 to 1950, likely inspired by the legendary "Red Ball Express Route" of World War II which shipped the supplies from the Landing Beaches in Normandy to the advancing front lines against Germany from June 1944 to May 8th 1945. Especially in the Thirties, creativity "exploded" on the previous olive green paintjob that was popular after World War No. 1 and had a recent "comeback" in the very same "Slim" models as "Oliv Gold Denim" with a decorative white star as used as GI-marking on the WLA's. 

It started in 1933, by any means one of the worst years in Harley-Davidson's production history: An estimated 3.703 only (!) units rolled from the production lines in the Juneau Avenue Factory that year – of about 8.000 motorcycles produced in the USA, now deep into the depression and crime running wild. Indian had just been rescued by industry-tycon E. Paul DuPont, who implemented the bright colors of his chemical industry empire to the models of the brand – and Harley needed to follow up, if they would stand a chance. The 1933 model year not just saw numerous colour options, but also tank decals with a art-deco styled "Eagle" surrounding the classic "outlined" "Harley-Davidson" lettering, very rare today, thanks to the low production numbers of that model year. 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt cutting his "New Deal" and additional money coming in from a trade agreement with the Japanese Sankyo Company who bought a licence for the VL model, looked a little bit brighter – and the "Flying Diamond" logo in "Art Deco" style would become an all-time design classic. With the stock "Slim S" already equipped with black painted drive train, frame, fork and exhaust pipes, the elegant black/grey version of the paint sheme was the natural choice for this project. 

"The customizing time on this project was surprisingly short, resulting in a very competetive price for a very stylish and startling custombike", states Rainer Baechli, "but there was one part that did need some extra effort..." Both fenders are from W&W Cycles origin, OEM exchange parts for "the real thing", means period Harley's. While the rear fender, foldable, like the genuine part, was adapted to the rear 16-Inch spoke wheel without much ado, it was the front fender that caused headaches. ABS and electronic regulators were either unknown or much smaller on the "classic" Harley-Davidson models of the pre-war years, it was the modern regulator that hit the curved tip of the front fender: "We had to re-think the idea and finally re-shape the front-fender position as was interfering with the 2017 regulator", explains Rainer, "and that was time consuming sheet metal work". The end result is quite convincing, especially in the light that only those modern components that would discommode the classic look were exchanged for (even more advanced) modern parts: Check out the super-bright Kellermann micro indicators that are almost invisible. A classic looking taillight adds to the tailend, Swiss riders enjoy a small and exchangable license plate, which can be run with either motorcycle or car. The spring mounted single seat has been assembled from aftermarket components. The extra eyecatching factor on the left side is the big Lejonkulans Läderhantverk leather bag: No fancy modern plastic clips, heave duty leather straps like in the "good ol' times". The Baechli Custom department created a special mounting bracket, anchored directly at the Softail frame, which also can be quickly stripped from the bike. But as mounted, it also hides the all too modern belt drive to the rear wheel. 

"The surprising "message" on this bike is how many stock "Slim" components ware retained and how well they fit the look", confirms Rainer at the walkaround of this "modern Antique". Not just are frame, rolling chassis, wheels, motor, drive train and brakes stock – details like floorboards, handlebar, instrument panel, headlight, "ribbed" coils, "cowbell" horn and even the often exchanged stock air filter fit the look perfectly. Round mirrors, tank caps and grips are Harley accessories. "There is the option of a homologated and fully functionable ABS Springer fork", reveals Baechli, "but we wanted to keep this particular "50th Anniversary" project bikes as close to stock as possible. Anyway, this "antique" and elegant looking classic is a devil in disguise: The 92hp/145 Nm 110 Cubic Incher of Scream Eagle and CVO origin is one of the wildest and most powerful stock motor versions of the Twin Cam ever mounted into the Softail chassis. Place this ride into a time machine and beam it back to the year 1934 – you would have a motorcycle that would only be potentially but definitvely able to break the then existing Land Speed Record for motorcycles, 1937 pushed by Joe Petrali to 138.183 mph. The 110 Cubic-Incher gets a smile on every riders face, even when you are riding only slow and in search for a photo location. The powerful thrust from the lowest rev-range is impressive – and a fitting "farewell" to the era of the "Twin Cam" models, now part of Harley-Davidson's history. While photographing the "#5" of Harley-Heaven's seven 50th Anniversary Motorcycles, images of the #6 arrived and the seventh – and last – project is in the planning, "most likely one of the new 2018 models to complete the circle", smiles Rainer, "with the experience of the "Flying Diamond", we certainly will have more requests for such retro-styled customs rather sooner than later." He knows his clients quite well – and this bike will act as inspiration to other Twin Cam customizers worldwide! When riding the bike, you should be prepared for curious looks and questions like: "WHAT year has this bike been built? 2017? NO WAY? Absorb them or let them drip off – this bike is worth the silly inquisitions. You can always surprise them with a quick ABS-stop on the spot, or a twist on the throttle: The "Flying Diamond" is here – to fly! Low and fast!

Text & Fotos: Horst Rösler, Rider: Marco Haage, Baechli Harley-Heaven

Historic photos: Bächli Harley-Heaven Archive


Technische Daten/Technical data/Spécifications/Technische Specificaties/Formulario Dati Tecnici/Informação Técnica:


Name/Bezeichnung/Name/Nom de la moto/Naam van de motorfiets/Nome della Moto/Nome da Moto: "Flying Diamond" FLSS "Slim"

Besitzer/Owner/Propriétaire/Eigenaar/Proprietario/Proprietário: For sale

Ort/Location/Ville/Stad/Citta/Cidade: Baechli Harley-Heaven

Auf-/Umgebaut von/Assembly/Refait par/op en ongebbouwed door/Costruttore/ Montagem por: Baechli Harley-Heaven

Jahr/Year/Année/bouwjaar/Anno/Ano: 2017

Bauzeit/Time/Terminé/bouwtijd/Periodo di lavorazione/Tempo: 1 month

Fertigstellung/Finishishing date/Finissage/afbouwdatum/Dati di completare/Data de Acabamento: October 2017

Modell/Model/Modèle d'origine/model/Marca e Modello/Modelo de Origem: H-D FLSS; "Slim"

Wert/Value/prix/waarde/valore/Preço: On request

Sonstiges/Other/Autres/ovenig/Altro/Outros: #5 of Seven "Special Edition" 50th Anniversary Baechli Custombikes

Baujahr/Year/Année/bouwjaar/Anno/Ano:  2017 

Block/Lower end/Bas moteur/onder blok/Blocco Motore/Carter: stock, Baechli 50th Anniversary Motor Covers

Kurbelwelle/Crankshaft/Vilebrequin/Ceruleas/Albero motore/Cambota: stock

Zylinder/Cylinder/Cylindrée/cilinderse/Cilindri/Cilindrada: Screamin' Eagle

Kolben/Pistons/Pistons/zuigers/Pistoni/Piston: Screamin' Eagle

Hubraum/Displacement/Cylindrée/cilinderinhoud/cilindrata : 1.801 cc - 110 Cubic Inch

Pleuel/Con Rod/Bielle/dryfstangen/Biella/Biela: Screamin' Eagle

Zylinderköpfe/Heads/haute Cylindrée/cilinderkop/testata/po cilindro: Screamin' Eagle

Ventile/Valves/soupapes/kleppen/Valvole/Válvulas: Screamin' Eagle

Stößel/Pushrods/Tiges de poussoir/klepstoters/regolabili/Tirante: stock

Nockenwelle/Camshaft/Cames/nokhenas/klepstoters/Veio de excêntricos: Screamin' Eagle

Vergaser/Carburator/Carburateur/carburateur/Carburatore/Carburador: EFI - stock

Luftfilter/Air cleaner/Filtre à air/luchtfilter/Filtro Aria/Filtro de Ar: Stock Harley-Davidson

Zündung/Ignition/Allumage/ontsteking/Accenzione/Ignição: Stock Harley-Davidson/ Screamin' Eagle

Krümmer/Pipes/ Pipes d'échappement/uitlaten/scarichi/Escapes: Stock Harley-Davidson

Endtöpfe/Mufflers/Silencieux/demper/silenziatore/Silenciador: Stock Harley-Davidson

Leistung (PS)/Horsepower (hp)/Chevaux/vermogen/Cavallo vapore/Cavalos: 92 hp

Sonstige Bemerkungen/Other/Autres/ovenige bejzonderheeden/Altro/Outros: Baechli 50th Anniversary Motor Covers

Baujahr/Year/Année/bouwjaar/Anno/Ano: 2017

Typ/Type/Type/type/Typ/Tipo: stock HD

Gänge/Gears/Vitesse/aantal versnellingen/rapporti/Velocidade: 6

Schaltung/Shifting/changement de vitesse,/schaledwijze/azionamento/Velocidades: stock

Primärantrieb/Primary Transmission/Transmission primaire/primaire overbrenging/trasmiss. Primaria/Transmissão primária: stock, Baechli 50th Anniversary Primary Cover

Kupplung/Clutch/Disques d'embrayage/frizione/Disco de Embrayagem: stock

Sekundärantrieb/Secondary transmission/Transmission secondaire/sekundaire overbrenging/trasmiss. Secondaria/Transmissão Secundária: stock belt drive

Sonstige Bemerkungen/Other/Autres/ovenig/Altro/Outros: ---
Fahrwerk/Frame; Brakes/Cadre; Freins/frame en remmen/Telaio e freni/Quadro e travão :
Rahmen/Frame/Cadre/frame/Telaio/Quadro: stock FLSS "Slim"

Baujahr/Year/Année/bouwjaar/Anno/Ano: 2017

Lenkkopfneigung/Rake/Chasse/balhoofdshael/inclinazione: 32,1°

Verlängerung (Verkürzung)/Stretch (Shortage)/Allongement (Abréviation)/verlenging (inhoulang)/allungamento (riduzione): ---

Sonstige Umbauten/Other/Autres/andere wegrigingen/Altro/Outros: ---

Schwinge/Swinging arm/Bras oscillant/achtenbrug/Forcellone oscillante/Braço Oscillante: stock

Stoßdämpfer/Shock absorbers/Amortisseurs/schokdempers/ammortizzatori/Amortecedor: stock 

Gabel/Fork/Fourche/vork/Forcella anteriore/Garfo: stock "Slim"

Hersteller/Type/Constructeur/merk/Marca/Constructor: Showa

Verlängerung/ Stretch/Extension/verlenginging/allungamento/Alongar: stock

Sonstiges/Other/Autres/ovenig/Altro/Outros: ---

Größe/Size/Dimensions/maat/dimensione/Dimensões: 16 Inch Stock Harley-Davidson Spoke Wheel

Nabe/Hub/Moyeu/naaf/rotore/Rotor: Harley-Davidson

Speichen/Spokes/rayons/spaken/raggi/Raios: Harley-Davidson Spoke

Reifen/Tyre/Pneu/banden/pneumatico/Pneus: MT90B16; Dunlop Harley-Davidson D402F

Größe/Size/Dimensions/maat/dimensione/Dimensões: 16 Inch Stock Harley-Davidson Spoke Wheel

Nabe/Hub/Moyeu/naaf/rotore/Rotor: Harley-Davidson

Speichen/Spokes/rayons/spaken/raggi/Raios: Harley-Davidson Spoke

Reifen/Tyre/Pneu/banden/pneumatico/Pneus: MU85B16; Dunlop Harley-Davidson D402

Vorne/Front/avant/voor/anteriore/Frontal: stock
Bremsscheibe(n)/Disk(s)/Disque(s)/remschiguen/Disco/Disco: stock

Bremszange(n)/Caliper(s)/Bloc(s)/remklaumen/Pinza freno/Bloco: stock

Bremsscheibe(n)/Disk(s)/Disque(s)/remschiguen/Disco/Disco: Harley-Davidson

Bremszange(n)/Caliper(s)/Bloc(s)/remklaumen/Pinza freno/Bloco: Harley-Davidson

Sonstige Bemerkungen/Other/Autres/ovenig/Altri/Outros: ---

Riser: Harley-Davidson

Lenker/Bars/Guidon/stuur/Manubrio/Guiador:  Stock HD

Spiegel/Mirrors/Rétroviseur/spiegel/Specchietto/Retrovisor: Harley-Davisdon Accessories

Armaturen/Griffe/Grips/Poignées/handgreepen/manopole/Punhos: stock HD

Fußrasten/Pegs/Repose-pieds/voetsteunen/Pedaliera/Pousa Pés: 
Vorne/Front/avant/voor/anteriore/Frontal: HD "Slim" classic "Half Moon" floorboards

Hinten/Rear/arriere/achter/posteriore/Traseiro: HD accessories

Tank/Gas Tank/Réservoir d'essence/tank/Serbatoio/Depósito:  Stock "Slim", HD accessories tank caps

Sitzbank/Seat/Selle/zadel/Sella/Banco: Single Seat, aftermarket

Öltank/Oil-tank/Réservoir d'huile/olie tank/Serbatoio olio/Depósito de oleo: HD stock

Vorne/Front/avant/voor/anteriore/Frontal: W&W Cycles, adapted by Baechli Harley-Heaven

Hinten/Rear/arriere/achter/posteriore/Traseiro: W&W Cycles, modified by Harley-Heaven

Sonstiges/Other/Autres/ovenig/Altro/Outros: Special bracket for leather bag, quick detachable, Leather bag Lejonkulans Läderhantverk


Lampe vorne/Headlight/Phares/koplamp/Faro/Faróis: Stock HD

Rücklicht/Taillight/Feux arrière/achterlicht/Luce posteriore/Faróis traseiros: LED

Blinker/Indicators/Clignotantes/richtingaanwejzers/Lampeggiatore/Piscas: Kellerman Micro Indicators

Kabelbaum/Wireing/System électrique/kabelboom/Imp. Elettrico/sistema eléctrico: stock, modified by Baechli Harley-Heaven

Sonstiges/Other/Autres/ovenig/Altro/Outros: ---

Idee/Idea/Idée/idee/Idea/Ideia: Baechli Harley-Heaven, 1934/34 Art Deco "Flying Diamond" design

Ausführung/Painter/Peintre/spuiter/Autore/Pintor: Zsukart Airbrush, Witterswil

Basislack/Base laquer/Laque basique/basiskleur (soort)/Colore base/Côr de base: Grey

Farbe/Colour/Couleur/kleuren/Colore/Côr: Grey 

Airbrush-Gemälde/Design/Airbrush Art/Design/Peinture speciale/ontwerp/Aerografie/Artista: 1934/34 Art Deco "Flying Diamond" Graphics.

Harley-Heaven Bächli AG
Ueberlandstraße 74
CH-8953 Dietikon
Tel. ++41 (0) 44 - 744 30 44


50 years business for American V-Twins in Switzerland!
A short history of Harley-Heaven 

A date that is defining Swiss Motorcycle history: In 2017, Baechli Harley-Heaven, Switzerlands biggest and most successful Harley-Davidson dealer is celebrating all year around the start of the motorcycle business started by Felix Baechli in 1967. The last weekend in March saw the "official" party, but while lacking an "official" starting date, such as an entry into the commercial register, 1967 nevertheless saw the start of Felix Baechli's business from humble beginnings in the home garage – where it was staying for a surprising long time!

1967 also was the "Summer of Love", in some ways ignited by the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper" album, but not all was "Love & Peace". In fact Milwaukee, home of a then struggling Motorcycle manufacturer we all know, went up in race riots for ten days and the Vietnam War was heating up too. Sharing the birth year with John Lennon and Ringo Starr, Felix Bächli then was a motorcycle enthusiast of 27 years, riding and racing all types of british and American Motorcycles, when in 1967 he started his long-lasting relation with the Harley-Davidson brand, buying two 1957 FL Panheads, from which he started a service and restauration business on American motorcycle brands as HD, Indian, Henderson, and others. Based from the home garage at Bellikon for a surprising long time, even after becoming official HD station in 1978 and expanding the business into the boom years of 1990-up, he soon became a favourite of Swiss Harley riders. Back then, MOHAG was acting as Importer and dealer until June 2003, the quality of Baechli's work soon spread from ear to ear, making him one of the best-selling and performing Harley-dealers in Switzerland. Envy also came with it, as the independent spirit imported more Harley's than all "official" importers – so in 1978, Felix was installed as Harley-Davidson shop. Still retaining his "Day Job" at Bosch/Switzerland, it was only 1994 when the business moved "downhills" into Dietikon, where the current shop location became avaibable as building site and has been expanded ever since. 1998 saw the first bigger extension followed by smaller ond and the massive 2013/2014 floor space addition of another floor and Restaurant/Bar, which is again breaking the barriers which weren't enough even in the planning stages. Son Rainer, having worked beside his father and then learned a job in consumer electronics before fully entering the business, has lifted the business to new levels. In particular in terms of Customizing, where Baechli can be ranged among the top-customizers in Switzerland, Rainer has added his "mark": "We have built Swiss-homologated Walz-chassis extremebikes and became dealer for the japanese Bobber-Style Zero Motorcycle", recalls Rainer, "and we have legalized many parts that now can be mounted to our Custom-projects. My own passion for "customizing" and Harley-Davidson started with the "Fat Boy of 1990 and Russell Mitchell of "Exile" was one of my favourites when he came to California". Now that the own sheet metal workshop (and Dyno test station!) can make everything possible, they also make it street-legal for Switzerland – and that is certainly a task of its own! No less than SEVEN "Anniversary Customs" will be built and sold this year, the first three were introduced at the Birthday Party in March, all exclusively customized and painted, but not "branded" to Harley-Heaven. Four more bikes will premiere during the anniversary year, the last mot likely of the upcoming 2018 model year, featuring the Milwaukee Eight! The Baechli Story will continue – as long as motorcycles roll through Switzerland... 

Bächli Harley-Heaven Websites:

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