Web Surfer 2 from Mule Motorcycles, the Master of Trackers

Web Surfer 2 from Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles

Web Surfer 2 from Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles

There are a lot of different interpretations of the street tracker style and we've seen quite a few of them here recently, including a Ducati and even Mert Lawwill's version, but when you want to see what many believe are some of the best, you go to the master, Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles. Richard's eye for symmetry and proportion, not to mention his ability to mix and modify parts from many sources, results in some of the most unique and classy builds you'll see anywhere.

The latest issue of Motorcyclist magazine has a really nice article about his booming business which operates out of his two car garage, and it tells how he's been converting a lot of Triumphs lately because with the right touch you get not only a great looking tracker, but more power from the engine than his popular XS650 trackers can muster. But, when you want a street tracker with a really authentic look, the Harley Sportster is the way to go and this Web Surfer 2 is the latest in the line.

Web Surfer 2 from Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles

Web Surfer 2 from Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles

I thought I'd touch base with Richard and it seems he's up to his ears in current builds, customers all over the world know where to go for the one off custom specials you can't get anywhere else. I asked about this Harley, the Web Surfer 2, a newer version of the Web Surfer we mentioned some time back and he told me how it came about.

Here's Richard:

Originally, the chassis was built as a joint effort Between Sundance in Tokyo, The Real McCoy’s (a clothing company in Tokyo), myself and rider Jay Springsteen. In the year 1999, a plan was hatched to campaign a Sportster based racer in what the AMA called “Supertrackers” or “Project 2000”. The intent was to get more people involved by opening up the racing to more available engines instead of all the racing being restricted to just the Harley XR750’s. The new rules allowed 2-valve, air-cooled 1250cc limit streetbike based motors (the Sportster), among others. In racing, if you think you’ll have some sort of advantage, you're keen to join the fray. Well, Sundance had two advantages. First, they had developed an XR750 “Style” top-end, cams, exhaust, ignition, etc., that with much expensive hand work, can be installed on a 5-speed lower end. Power output is as high as 116 at the wheel with stock 1200cc displacement, bore and stroke and RPM range. Great guns! Next, they had rider Jay Springsteen waiting and game to give it a go. There is only a small handful of riders that could beat him 10-15 years ago.

Web Surfer 2 looks good from all angles

Web Surfer 2 looks good from all angles

“The Real McCoys” would handle the financial end and I would build the bike with a supplied, built motor. Long story short, McCoys went South, the motor stayed in Japan, Springsteen continued his successful career on XR750’s and I ended up after some trading, with a race bike chassis. I installed a Buell M-2 motor into the bike and sold it to a beginning local who raced it a couple of times, never really stressing the package. A few years later, I saw the bike on eBay where it had been purchased by a gent in Colorado. He installed new forks, front brakes and lights as well as getting it street registered. When a customer in Germany contacted me wanting a replica of Dave Edwards’ Web Surfer Special, I purchased the bike only to have the customer back out at the last minute. The “last minute” after I had paid for it and had the bike shipped here to California. Soon after that, a deal was struck with a man who shall remain nameless, to build a Web Surfer 2. With wood seat and all.

 

I had planned for things to go quickly and smoothly, but as I fussed over every tiny detail, time marched on and costs increased. Duplicating the original wood seat which took about 40 hrs or so skyrocketed to 60-70 hrs and that didn’t include a much more sophisticated attachment structure. Yet, I wanted this bike to be much better than the original (Sorry Dave!). This bike had a racing chassis which was easily 30-40 lbs lighter and utilized a Penske monoshock among other features.

The beginnings of the redwood and balsa tail section

The beginnings of the redwood and balsa tail section

The look is slightly different from the original with some silver paint on the tank and the sides of the seat using Redwood instead of exclusively Balsa as on WSS-1.

Underside of seat with mount

Underside of seat with mount

Similar, but even better than the first and just the latest example of some of the best looking, if not THE best looking street trackers to be found anywhere. No two exactly alike, each one the product of a well developed sense of what looks just right and then having the skills to put it together.

Nice job, Richard!

Link: Mule Motorcycles

Web surfer 2 in progress

Web surfer 2 in progress

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Comments

    • says

      That “Project Bike” went to Australia via EBAY. Couldn’t get any gaskets or hard parts and had plenty else to do. I’ll miss it.

      • todd says

        awe, should have asked. You can get everything you need from XJ4Ever here:
        http://xjbikes.com/Forums/viewforum/f=23.html

        This is one thing I love about the internet, pretty much every tiny niche is supported in some way. I remember calling every Yamaha dealer I could find in the country to find pistons for my HS1. When EBay was in it’s infancy, we’re talking months old, I found two sets for less than $20 shipped!

        -todd

  1. rohorn says

    That would be really hip if it had pipe wrap, Firestones, fork springs removed, less paint, more rust, and handlebars turned upside down.

    ….oops, wrong website….

  2. Greg says

    It’s too bad, except for the lucky “man who shall remain nameless”, that the exhaust is probably one of Mr. Pollock’s one-offs. I like how it is tucked in nice and tight so as not to detract from the clean lines of the bike, but has enough header tube length and a muffler for good performance without being obnoxiously loud.

  3. GenWaylaid says

    It’s nice to hear that there’s still a healthy market for custom conversions.

    On a different note, how does one carve a lamination of redwood and balsa like that seat? I would expect the significant difference in hardness at the interface between the two woods to cause problems with blade control.

    • says

      Nice dog. If you used a larger gas tank you could also use a lager MULE decal. The air cleaner set up belongs on one of OCC bikes, other than that another outstanding Sportster from Mule. ..Z

  4. says

    “Lager” decal was requested. The down side of any Harley (Sportster) build is the carb faces sideways from the center of the V. So there are two choices. Put the aircleaner into you knee or run it forward like this. Not running an aircleaner to me is not an option. I’ve heard that OCC builds Harley based bikes so it’s no surprise that would have a carb coming out of the center of the V facing sideways too.

    On the wood sanding/shaping from hard to soft, that was a problem. Knowing it was going to be an issue, we stayed away from the Balsa till the seat was almost done. Building the seat was fun actually till the fiberglassing part. My surfboard builder connection had a hard time getting the wet glass to wrap on the tight edges and not lift (air bubble-city). This glass job cost me a lot of sushi!

  5. fred says

    Lovely work, Richard! As a woodworker, I really appreciate the effort involved in the seat, but the result was worth it. You really have a talent for making bikes that are not only pleasing to the eye, but can perform as well.

  6. Pete says

    Nice. I like it better than Lawwill’s. This would be my speed when I get back to street riding. I wonder how well these bike handle compared to some of today’s retro standards? I’m thinking it’s not going to be much different than a regular sportster.

    • says

      Just shorten the Sportster wheelbase by 3″, pull the steering angle in 3-6 degrees, add USD Buell forks, a Penske monoshock and take off 200 lbs. Oh yea, add a Buell motor, Andrews cams, a better exhaust, Dyna ignition, and an HSR42 Mikuni carb. Then a stock Sportster would be pretty much the same as this.

      • todd says

        let’s not forget the ability to put your feet under your body for more positive control and all the extra ground clearance and rear suspension travel…

        -todd

      • says

        Knock 200lbs off a stock sportster? I’d have to see Surfer Two on the scale @ under 300. A stock 883 (to 2003) weighs in aprox. 495. A C&J XR 750 weighs in @325. .. Z

  7. says

    You may be correct, but according to the Harley handbook the dry weight of the 1200 is 490 lbs. and 883 is 488 lbs.. That is until 2003 when the last good XL was made. In 2004 the rubber mounted Sportster gained a lot of weight probably your 560 lb. figure is correct if not heavier. My point being I would have to see the scale of any Sportster engine based custom claiming to weigh under 340 lbs. unless of course you family owns a titanium factory. ..Z

  8. says

    I was estimating in the 365-375 range. No, this is not a 300 lb Harley. I’ve pushed, lifted, diassembled, put motors on the bench etc with Sportsters and I’d be surprised if they weighed under 500 lbs. Ever. But if you’d like, disregard the 200lb statement, and everything else still applies. Actually, I could get an accurate weight on this one. I built one for myself in 99 that was very similar to this at 365lbs. and I’ve never weghed a stock Sportster.

    Here’s a fact you can take to the bank. There are two cruel mistress’ that will break your heart every time. A scale and a dyno. If a guy hasn’t run a bike on a dyno or put it on a scale, the numbers don’t mean anything. So, you may be right.

  9. Alex says

    What are the two aluminum cylinders above the exhaust, with the black sheathed cables (or hoses) running to them?

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