Harley-Davidson Breakout Goes Into Custom Shop for Minor Tweaks, Ends Up Looking Like This

Harley-Davidson Dark Horse 17 photos
Photo: Thunderbike
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Over on the American market, Harley-Davidson is presently offering a total of eight cruiser motorcycles. Any one of them would make it on any list of best such bikes, no matter who puts it together and why. But for the purpose of this here story, we'll focus on only one of them: the Breakout.
The moniker has not been a presence in the Harley-Davidson stables for long. It came about a little more than a decade ago, in 2013, as a "raked-out cruiser dripping in chrome" built in the purest softail style.

The model didn't have a smooth run, like some other Harley rides did, as it was in an out of production, including on the American market, depending on the company's needs of the moment.

The last time Harley stopped offering the Breakout for its U.S. customers was in 2021, but the decision was reversed two years later, when the new interpretation of the bike broke cover with lots of bells and whistles and packing "more muscle and flashing bright new styling over its long-and-lean chopper profile."

Although the present-day Breakout is still recognizable as the good-old cruiser it has always been, it comes with one major difference compared to its previous self: the Milwaukee-Eight engine that powered it until 2021, the 114ci, was swapped for a larger 117ci from the same family.

The new Breakout instantly made it on the wish list of customers all across America and elsewhere, with enough of them going for the new cruiser, it seems, for Harley to still be offering it. Just like it happened with the previous versions, the new Breakout also quickly became a canvas for customization for various garages from around the world.

Harley\-Davidson Dark Horse
Photo: Thunderbike
Germany-based Thunderbike, one of the largest Harley customizers in the world, quickly jumped at the opportunity to modify the Breakout 117 in its own image and style. As such, we've already seen a number of custom rides from this breed come to light over the past couple of years.

The ride you're looking at now is a Breakout as well, not a 117, but a representative of the previous incarnation. There are plenty of them to go around still on the roads of the world, and that means we'll probably keep seeing projects based on them come to light from time to time. And we're not sorry in the slightest that's so.

The motorcycle we have here was transformed at the request of its owner, who crossed paths with Thunderbike's people as he was looking to have it re-saddled. And it was just a small step from that to the ride turning into a full-blown custom project.

Thunderbike did what the customer asked, but went above and beyond the call of duty and transformed the cruiser into a much meaner version of its former self. The thing went from being the usual chrome-drenched cruiser to looking properly German and wicked, and all it took were some clever changes to some of its components.

The first thing you'll notice as being different is the stance, modified by means of a fork lowering kit and the fitting of an air ride suspension system that can lower or raise the motorcycle depending on needs.

The wheels of the motorcycles, one of the first things any respectable custom garage goes after, seem to have been left in their stock form, but the one at the rear was shod in a new, 260 mm wide tire made by Metzeler.

Harley\-Davidson Dark Horse
Photo: Thunderbike
Over it a new rear fender was installed. Made of steel, the part comes with included LED indicators and no struts. That, together with the fitting of a side-mounted license plate, makes for a very clean rear end on the Breakout.

At the opposite end the chrome on the fork was replaced by a diamond-like-carbon coating, A new headlight fairing was installed, and above that we can see a new set of handlebars with custom satin grips and strip turn lights.

Thunderbike did not perform any actual mechanical changes on the bike's powertrain, but it did fit new covers over the engine to kind of make it look like it did. The same treatment was also devised for the axles, derby, and timer.

Thunderbike did add a new exhaust system to the ride, and as it usually does it went for a Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde setup. The new hardware does not change the engine's power output, which remains at 95 hp.

The modified Breakout was named by its makers Dark Horse, most likely not an intentional jab at the bikes Harley's rival Indian is selling under the name, but something that makes you wonder about that nonetheless.

We don't know the exact cost of the Dark Horse build, but the German crew does share the cost of some of the parts it used for the project, and they amount to just 5,500 euros, which is under 6,000 at today's exchange rates.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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