Barkbusters outfit Desert Wolves H-D Roadsters for Sahara crossing


Riding across the mighty sand dunes of a vast empty desert on a motorcycle is something that many riders dream of at one time or another, but few make that a reality and even fewer still would do so on a Harley-Davidson Roadster, with these bikes requiring the best of the best in accessories and modification for the trip. Enter the Australian Barkbusters, chosen alongside industry names such as Öhlins and Rekluse.

Barkbusters were specifically chosen for the El Solitario project Harleys, which would cross the Sahara
Barkbusters were specifically chosen for the El Solitario project Harleys, which would cross the Sahara

Those riders that do take on the challenge of desert riding are usually seasoned off-road racers on highly modified dirt bikes set-up for the extreme conditions of riding through endless miles of featureless sand.

The El Solitario 'Desert Wolves' HDs
The El Solitario ‘Desert Wolves’ HDs

Then there are people like David Borras. Borras is the driving force behind Spanish custom bike collaboration El Solitario. He didn’t just dream about riding across the Sahara Desert, he and two friends did it. In 10 days. On Harley-Davidsons. Yes, that’s right on Harley-Davidsons.

Working under the banner of Desert Wolves, Borras and the El Solitario crew knew that the standard 1200cc H-D Roadsters, supplied especially for their adventure by the Motor Factory, would not be up to the task of crossing the Sahara Desert.

Crossing the Sahara on Harley-Davidson Roadsters was always going to be a challenge
Crossing the Sahara on Harley-Davidson Roadsters was always going to be a challenge

In order to make the bikes capable of undertaking such an epic journey, they turned to the biggest names in the motorcycle aftermarket for help. Among those that stepped up to the plate were Swedish suspension experts Öhlins, transmission specialist Rekluse, tyre brand Dunlop and Australia’s Barkbusters.

Barkbusters is more accustomed to preparing dirt bikes for desert crossing, making use of its extensive range of protective handguards. However, the brand is increasingly finding its way onto street bikes these days and so why not Harley-Davidsons too?

Specially designed carbon-fibre Barkbusters were designed for the project
Specially designed carbon-fibre Barkbusters were designed for the project
Robert Veljanoski – Barkbusters

“We began the collaboration with El Solitario about a year ago. These guys are a unique bunch and when David Borras came to me and said, ‘Our vision is to create an international multi-brand collaboration to design and produce the necessary vehicles, garments, and artefacts needed for a cross-Saharan motorcycle adventure.’ I knew we had to be involved. I set up a bunch of Barkbusters hardware suitable to work with the Easton Fat handlebars the El Solitario guys had outfitted the Harleys with and then had it powder coated in black to suit the bikes. I then matched that up with sets of carbon guards. Once it was on the bikes it gave them a really purposeful look and matched the whole attitude of the adventure.”

Despite plenty of challenges the three HD Roadsters went on to be displayed at the Wheels and Waves festival in Biarritz
Despite plenty of challenges the three HD Roadsters went on to be displayed at the Wheels and Waves festival in Biarritz

The three heavily modified Roadsters made their public debut, after the successful crossing of the Sahara, at the Wheels and Waves festival in Biarritz, France.

David Borras – El Solitario

“El Solitario Desert Wolves starts as a multiple-sided collaboration between genuine brands. The ride into the African Sahara served as a leitmotif for the creative process and the definitive test for every product.”

The Desert Wolves Roadster with Barkbusters handguards
The Desert Wolves Roadster with Barkbusters handguards

And one product that made it through that definitive test was the Barkbusters hand guards. Now any rider who has ever thought about riding the high dunes of the desert can, with the help of Barkbusters, get one step closer to achieving that dream, whether it be on a dedicated dirt bike or a totally unsuitable Harley-Davidson.