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196. Harley’s Dark Custom Bikes.

What happens when a brand with roots in anarchist bike gangs and rowdy subculture needs to reestablish their roughneck ways? They create an even more tough and tumble sub-brand. For 2009 Harley-Davidson has launched Dark Custom. Dark Custom is a series of six bikes featuring bare knuckles design that mixes the creativity of the custom aftermarket with bare bones finishes. According to an earlier New York Times article, “The styling intended to appeal to younger riders and to evoke the company’s earlier days, when the association of motorcycles and rebelliousness was much closer."

Of particular note is the departure from the more corporate look that Harley has gradually taken on over the last few years, and the new identity. The Dark Custom look features a large numeral 1, that is a much darker, meaner version of the old Evel Kneivel red/white/blue 1. (The Times said the 1 logo was, “used by the company when it was owned by AMF, the sporting goods conglomerate, from 1969 to 1981.” ) And the Dark Custom minisite is an homage to grainy footage and gritty photography to match the tone of the design. All of this in an effort to bring younger buyers into the Harley fold. Personally, I love the matte blacks and minimal chrome and have certainly noticed that you can get the Nightster (the Dark Custom version of the Sportster) starting at about 10G. Harley, the way they ought to be. Dark.

DC1 logo:

Old Evel Kneivel 1 logo:

The Nightster:

The Night-Rod:

And I love this: Even though it has nothing to do with the Dark Custom. "MPG describes riding like biology describes sex." Nice:


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