Asterisk Custom Cycles Avanzare is a Hotter Harley-Davidson Sportster
Although long and loud cruising-oriented motorcycles bring home most of the bacon for Harley-Davidson, the famous American firm also offers a line of more touring focused bikes as part of its Sportster line. And the Sportsters aren’t exactly a recent addition to the H-D family; the first Hogs to wear the name hit showrooms in 1957. Needless to say, a few of the millions that have been made over the past 56 years have been customized by their owners.
One of the latest high-profile Sportster-based customs comes out of a somewhat surprising place: Japan, specifically the shop of one Hideki Hoshikawa and his company, Asterisk Custom Cycles. The bike is called the Avanzare (which is Italian for “progress”), and whether you love it or hate it, it certainly has progressed from a stock Sportster.
The stock front and rear fenders have been removed, and the gas tank and seat have been reshaped to give a more café racer/crotch rocket vibe. A custom, polished belly pan provides protection for the underside-mounted oil tank and funnels air toward the fluid coolers. The tank and tail section are painted metallic brown, with orange and cream inserts and what looks to be copper leaf stripes.
Out front, an Öhlins fork mated to the frame by a billet aluminum triple clamp replaces the stock unit, and Hoshikawa has reduced the fork’s rake from 29° to 24° for improved maneuverability and a silhouette more befitting a sportbike. In back, there’s a custom aluminum swingarm inspired by the one found on the Honda NSR500 Grand Prix bike, and the stock dual dampers give way to a single Öhlins piece.
Hoshikawa fabricated a custom 2-into-1 exhaust system that ends with a Pro Circuit muffler. It insures that you hear the big V-twin’s distinctive thubuda-thubuda-thubuda as it churns out about 100hp. Sure, peppier café racers have been built, but they don’t have this blend of classic elegance and 21st century swagger.
It is this fusion of old and new school style that no doubt helped endear the Avanzare to the judges at the famed L.A. Calendar Bike Show (Hoshikawa flew to Los Angeles with the bike in the cargo hold.), who awarded it both the AFT Visionary Award and Best in Show. Does this mean we’ll be seeing similar builds in the future? It wouldn’t surprise us, and frankly we hope that turns out to be the case.