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The blokes at the Bikes and Beards YouTube channel read the comments left on their videos, and finally giving into the tide, declared “We are finally doing what everyone’s been asking us to do.” Closer inspection reveals the comments were along the lines of, “You talk too much. Bla, bla, bla, like a sheep,” and, “Why am I watching this.” So what Bikes and Beards decided to do was yank the 110-cubic-centimeter V-twin engine out of a 1995 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic and replace it with a Harbor Freight 212-cubic-inch Predator engine. The tiny lump’s pull-cord starter made the leap, too. We’re not saying we’d do the same thing in their situation, but we understand. And the word “YouTube” is almost as handy as “science” for justifying anything.
The crew bought the Ultra Classic at auction for about $2,000, and a previous owner had performed an engine swap as well. Instead of the Harley’s original 82-cubic-inch V-twin that made 60 horsepower and 69 pound-feet of torque, the auction bike housed a RevTech 110-cubic-incher. Bikes and Beards didn’t mention output, but Chopper Surplus sells a RevTech 110 with 115 hp and 120 lb-ft.
The $99 Predator engine, often thrown into go-karts and minibikes, rocks 6.5 horsepower in stock trim. For this build, the restomodders spent about $400 to increase the pony count to roughly 18. Obviously, it took some fiddling to make everything kosher, like laying the engine on its front, using a TIG welding filler rod in the throttle linkage, and fitting the custom exhaust from a drift trike. As a sop for the Harley-Davidson fans they knew would tune in, Bikes and Beards left some rough edges, saying, “we made sure it still leaked oil.”
The resulting bike earned the proclamation, “This right here is the future of motorcycles.” If so, two-wheelers might want to stick with the present. The Predator is “twice as loud” and “vibrated ten times as much” as the stock motor — impressive when one starts with a Harley. Nor does the Predator agree with the 22-tooth sprocket in the RevTech six-speed transmission, so starts are slow, and our sun will go supernova before the bike hits 60 miles per hour. Then there are the gas mileage and reliability issues…
But watch this video. Because science. And these guys could be onto something. Eventually.