Harley-Davidson Raptor Force Looks Primeval Enough to Prey on Everything with Wheels

Harley-Davidson Raptor Force 17 photos
Photo: Thunderbike
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Generally speaking, once you've seen a custom motorcycle based on a certain model, you kind of seen them all. After all, there are only so many things that can be done to make a two-wheeler stand apart. But, as with most things in life, the devil is in the details, and it is there where one can find all those elements that make all custom bikes unique.
Just think about it. How many times haven't we seen custom Harley-Davidson Fat Boys? And how many of them are the work of a German crew called Thunderbike? Do they look significantly different? No. Are they essentially different? Yes.

The Fat Boy is a cruiser that can trace its roots back to the 1990s, when the mighty Softail design was still relatively young, making it one of the longest-running models in the current lineup of the Milwaukee company.

In part, its resilience on the market is owed to the sturdy build and reliability, but I'm pretty certain that the Fat Boy's easy going nature when it comes to customization work contributed to its success as well.

The one you're looking at now is underneath all the visible changes a 2023 Fat Boy, a version as fresh as you can get these days. But fresh doesn't always mean enough for some riders, hence all the surgery it went through to become something that's now known as the Raptor Force.

The choice of name for the bike post-customization is an open nod to the dinosaur predator that lived so many eons ago. It's a name inspired by the green overalls the bike is wearing, a shade we've seen before on another Fat Boy conversion from Thunderbike, the Green Booster.

Harley\-Davidson Raptor Force
Photo: Thunderbike
Meant to express "elemental forces on two wheels," the ride was completely transformed from its stock self, to such a degree it takes a trained eye to identify it as a Fat Boy.

The first things to go, as with any Thunderbike project, were the wheels. The stock ones, unique as they are in the world of production bikes, were replaced by in-house made bits from a collection the Germans call Big Speed.

The wheel at the front is 23 inches in diameter, five inches more than what Harley offers from the factory and shielded by a fiberglass fender that is a lot more discreet than the original. Thanks to some clever engineering that involved the lowering of the aftermarket fork, the caster angle remains unmodified

On top of that, the original calipers can still be used, despite the wheel now using a 340 mm brake disc, larger than the original.

At the back, the wheel is 21 inches in diameter, and it is supported by a single-sided swingarm. A perimeter brake has been fitted here, and the license plate was moved to one side. The rubber that wraps around the tire, a Metzeler-sourced Cruisetec, is 260 mm wide, and is shielded by a steel fender that holds the rear lights.

Moving higher up, a new set of handlebars were fitted up front, propped on old-style risers. The grips on the ends come in a satin finish meant to remind the onlooker of the scales of a dinosaur - yes, dinosaurs are believed to have had scales, even if they were a lot different and didn't overlap as they do on some animals of our time.

Harley\-Davidson Raptor Force
Photo: Thunderbike
Behind the fuel tank there is a custom saddle meant to have a primeval look. Beneath the seat there are bolts meant to support a luggage rack. All around, various custom covers can be seen, most visible on the airbox, clutch, and ignition.

From a mechanical standpoint, the changes are not extensive, but they are more than enough to get the job done. An air ride suspension kit was installed, as was a Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system, to go over the otherwise stock engine.

Some changes were needed to accommodate the new breathing hardware, especially on the manifolds and the footrest system (including the one for the pillion), but other than that the new exhaust fits the new look of the Fat Boy like a glove.

If you go over to Harley's configurator right now, you'll find the 2024 Fat Boy selling for $21,999. That's a so-so price (some consider it pretty high) for a ride that has plenty to offer, but not nearly as much as the Raptor Force is likely to be worth.

Not including the base motorcycle, the man hours spent on modifying it, the paint job, and probably a lot of other minor but expensive things, the custom bits on the ride are worth about 16,600 euros. That's about $17,800 in extra parts alone!

But hey, at least its owner knows the Raptor Force looks ready to feast on any type of two-wheeler if it has to, and possibly even some cars as well.
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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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