Randy Smith Holding Up a Harley

You’ve probably seen the classic motorcycle picture of a biker holding up a motorcycle, but you may not have heard the story behind this picture. The pictures are of Randy Smith Holding Up the “Time Bomb” 1970s Harley 45 Magnum.

The back story – Smith starting riding motorcycles in the late 40’s, when he was 15 years old. By the early 50’s, he was a diehard fan of Harleys and was a mechanical engineer. Later on, he started his company called Custom Cycle Engineering, which was one of the first companies to make custom motorcycle parts.

A lot of what customizers looked at back then, as well as today, is how to improve performance of motorcycles. Smith was also looking to do this in the 50’s on Sportsters, which were frequently the choice of racers and that held many records. The approach most customizers took back then was to increase the power the engine puts out.

To accomplish this, Smith took a 900cc Ironhead Sportster and a 45 Flathead and merged them together. The next way to get more power, which wasn’t as common back then, was to lighten the bike. He manufactured other parts and modified or used existing parts that were stronger and lighter than stock Sportster parts.

Although we do not know the exact weight, the bike was lighter than other Sportsters. Some people note that it was 320lbs, but Smith claimed it weighed only 203 lbs. The vintage picture of Smith holding the motorcycles was his way of showing how light the bike was.

The finished Harley 45 Magnum bike was named the “Time Bomb.” This was because with all of the modifications, Smith said that, if one thing went wrong, the bike would explode.

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