The Rebellion | Studio Motor Harley-Davidson Softail


Words: Geoff Baldwin Photography: Luke Ray

Another workshop I was looking forward to visiting during our trip to Indonesia’s capital was the workshop of Studio Motor. I had talked to workshop owner Donny Ariyanto several times in the past over email when I featured his builds on my Return of the Café Racers blog. I was always impressed by what I saw and the idea of actually visiting Donny was something I had never imagined happening so I was pretty excited when the day to go to Studio Motor arrived.


Studio Motor was born in 2008 after Donny left a career in telecommunications to pursue his passion of customising motorcycles. Now seven years later with his two business partners, they custom build both two and four wheeled custom creations with an in-house team of talented mechanics, painters and fabricators. When we arrived at the Studio Motor workshop in Jakarta it was bursting at the seams with both motorcycle and car projects. That day Donny was driving an awesome pearlescent orange, early series Corolla wagon and much to my excitement he also had a bright red Holden Torana (oi, oi, oi!) tucked away in his garage, awaiting a full rebuild and SLR 5000 custom treatment. But we were there to look at the bikes.


Studio Motor had recently moved this new location and renovations were still taking place. The new workshop space boasts several undercover areas for working out of the elements along with an almost complete, full sized paint booth, devoted metalworking and engine rebuild areas, a small show room and some office space. As with other workshops I arranged to visit we had planned to shoot a particular bike when we got there, but once again we changed our plans when we had a chance to see the motorcycles they had in the shop that day.


At Kustomfest one thing that stood out to me on several of the bikes was the engraving work. Indonesia is famous for its cultural arts and engraving is a traditional technique that has been carried across into the custom scene. This has resulted in some incredibly intricate and beautiful artwork you won’t find in other custom scenes around the world so when I spotted a Harley in amongst the other bikes that boasted some engravings we asked for a closer look.


The bike was a 2006 Harley Davidson Softail that had just been completed for the owner of a coffee business in North Jakarta. With a passion for Japanese artwork, surfing and Harley Davidsons he tasked Studio Motor with building his dream bike. The artwork adorning the tank and the patterns used in the engraving came from sketches supplied by the owner as well as a rough idea of how he wanted the bike to look.


The build began by importing the stock ’06 softail engine complete with a five speed gearbox from the home of Harley Davidson. Along with the engine Donny also arranged an Ultima open primary, a set of RSD Gold Tracker grips, the Vance and Hines two-into-two pipes and a set of Khrome Workz handlebars. A Softail front end was also sourced out of the US along with a set of cast Sportster 19/16 inch rims and Sportster hand controls.


Once the engine arrived Donny and his team set about building the one-off frame. The design was inspired by Harley’s original Softail set up with low mounted double shocks and linkages, but would use a 10cm longer swingarm to lengthen the bikes stance. Donny also designed a custom oil tank to match the frame’s dimensions making it as inconspicuous as possible and opening up the rear of the bike. Once the frame was complete and ready to paint the engine was treated to some detailing. The rocker covers were sent to Bandung where Donny’s engraver worked his magic carving the intricate patterns supplied by the customer straight into the alloy. The lower rocker cover and pushrod covers were then gold plated for a touch of class and the rest of the motor was freshened up with a powder coat of satin black.


Next came the bodywork. As per his customer’s request Donny had a teardrop style fuel tank and short, frame hugging rear fender made by the Studio Motor fabrication team. The chrome plated velocity stack was another custom item made in-house as was the chocolate brown, diamond-stitched seat. With almost six months of build time behind them the final stage of the build was to paint the bike. Once again as per his customer’s request Donny had a flat, metallic green/teal paint mixed to sit alongside the gloss black of the frame and bodywork. With the green laid as side panels on the tank and fender the finishing touch, a gold pinstripe was added to compliment the ocean illustration on the tank supplied by the bike’s new owner.


If you’ve been to Jakarta you’ll know its traffic is some of the worst in the world (3rd worst if I’m not mistaken) so a Harley like this one may not seem like the best form of transport. However, bikes like this are usually reserved for weekend riding when around two million of Jakarta’s workers return to their rural homes and the inner city streets become a playground for exotic cars and cool custom rides. If you happen to be in Jakarta on the weekend I recommend finding one of the cruising strips or hang outs (like Gearhead Monkey Garage) and I’m sure you’ll be surprised by what comes out of the woodwork.

This article first appeared in Tank Moto issue 07.

Follow Donny: @studio_motor.