JUST BIKES MAGAZINE is Australia's leading motorcycle magazine for the buying and selling of motorcycles. It is the largest selling bike magazine in Australia with it's content including motorcycles to buy and sell, featured bikes with article and advertising material.

Just Bikes (Australia Edition) Pages 136 and 137. Harley Davidson Softail Promotion.

Shin Kou Sabre is featured with her Harley Davidson Softail motorcycle with 2 pages of photographs and interview. I talk about the build of the Harley Davidson, with some photos from the photo shoot. The article includes sources of custom components. Including businesses involved with the building of the project and parts sourced.


feature Article posted on Just Bikes March 27, 2013

As well as being a model, actor and producer with work published internationally, Shin Kou Sabre is a fan of custom iron, as evidenced by her Harley-Davidson softail springer. Shin Kou has wowed Sci Fi expo visitors with the mindblowing ‘Cyber Angel’ costume she built herself, but this Harley shows the Melbourne-based beauty’s creative talents extend to things that are closer to the ground, too. Yes, this is Shin Kou’s own bike. Yes, she led the resto and customisation. And yes, she does ride it – but not enough!

Surrounded by friends and family who love to restore and use custom cars and motorcycles, Shin Kou says it was only natural that some of that passion rubbed off on her, so when the opportunity came up to purchase a half-complete 1990 Harley FXSTS softail springer for her first motorcycle, she thought ‘Why not?’

The springer front end and S&S V124 Super Stock engine, along with a few bolt-ons like the slimline V-Cooler oil cooler were already fitted when purchased, which Shin Kou admitted was part of what drew her to this particular project in the first place. “(Those) features caught my eye straight away,” she said.


 copyright © Andrew Oatham

Unlike most custom builds, Shin Kou’s bike needed to serve two specific purposes: something that could be ridden regularly; and something where the finished build was show quality, so it could serve as an eye-catching and photogenic prop for her modelling work.

Working closely with Gasoline Garage in North Coburg, Shin Kou firstly decided to have a 250 rear end fitted and the existing spoke wheels replaced. “They had to go!,” Shin Kou said. A pair of Renegade Wheels “Venice” alloys were chosen for the blade-like quality of the spokes. Including the wait for the wheels to arrive, fitting the wider rear took about six weeks.

“Although I had to wait longer and bring in the front wheel from interstate, I am glad I chose the Venice wheel,” Shin Kou said. “It really made an impact.”


 copyright © Andrew Oatham

Next job entailed fitting a set of Performance Machine billet calipers, with 4-pots on the 21-inch front wheel. Grips are Pro One-style spike ends, as are the pegs and forward controls. These were already on the bike when purchased, but are a good complement to the Venice rims.

Most of the existing components were still in good nick, but the engine needed some tuning, which was entrusted to Gasoline Garage. The S&S runs to a BDL clutch, with an EVO-9S belt drive kit with a polished billet 6061-T6 plate to lock the tranny and engine together. The polished solid rear belt pulley continues the theme. The 9S is a good match for the overall look of this particular custom, especially with the polished pulley covers.

“When I was able to start up the motor for the first time, it shook the whole street!” Shin Kou laughed. “I love the sound of Harley-Davidson motors, but (the S&S) has so much more torque than your standard Harley v-twin.”


 copyright © Just Bikes

With new parts fitted and existing parts refitted, including the custom airbrushed guards and tank, it was time to take this uniquely-styled custom for its first road test. Shin Kou said the ride revealed a few minor problems, including loose ‘bars and forward controls, but nothing that a return trip to Gasoline Garage couldn’t fix.

With the ‘bars and risers, chunky bullet-style headlight and slimline digital instrument panel, the front end is a bit of a chrome-fest, so the deep red of the tank and guards is a nice contrast. The tinware had also been custom airbrushed with flame and skull designs. Like much of the rest of this bike, the leather solo seat is a custom item, too.

Six months after work commenced, Shin Kou achieved the goal of getting her own custom motorcycle finished at the start of 2012. One of the first “starring roles” for the softail springer was in a Punisher-themed photo shoot for www.shinkousabre.com, but it’s on rides where this uniquely-styled custom draws the most attention. We reckon the finished article is like Shin Kou herself – stunningly attractive and one-of-a-kind!


 copyright © Just Bikes

“Wherever we go, people can't help but come up and take a closer look. They are really blown away with the power of the engine,” Shin Kou said.

“Although I haven't had the opportunity to ride it a lot, I have enjoyed seeing it emerge from what it was - a half completed custom ride that became a polished and powerful machine that turns heads.”

With this project completed, enjoyed, and now on the market (see sidebar), Shin Kou is looking forward to future projects, including an intriguing collaboration.

“I now have my sights set on working together with Gasoline Garage on a two-wheel-drive, two-wheel-steer motorcycle powered by a 260 cubic inch v-twin fluid drive unit with automatic transmission.”

Visitors to the Australian Motorcycle Expo, Melbourne, will have seen the extensive custom display Gasoline Garage had on the concours area, so with Shin Kou on board, this next project will be one to look forward to!

Shin Kou extended thanks to Gasoline Garage and Action Motorcycle Towing for transporting the motorcycle for all of the repair work and to the photo shoot.

POSTSCRIPT: Having completed the goal of building her custom softail and spending some time enjoying it, Shin Kou has decided to put it on the market. “I'm happy to hand it over to the next owner who I'm sure will enjoy it,” Shin Kou said. “I certainly achieved what I wanted, something with a lot of power, individuality and appeal.”

The bike has been finished to a high level, with the aforementioned S&S 124 cube v-twin a highlight, but there are custom touches from nose to tail. Other features include straight out pipes, V-Cooler stainless steel oil cooler w/braided lines, BDL clutch with kevlar plates, BDL open belt drive with 6061-T6 polished billet motor plate, 3-inch belt drive, double row sealed mainshaft bearing, Performance Machine 4 piston front caliper, custom bars, grips, levers and forward controls, custom leather seat and airbrush artwork.

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