Curves for custom Harleys
At Harley-Davidson Graubünden motorcycles are made to measure.
Enjoying unlimited freedom and the unforgettable Harley feeling on a one-of-a-kind bike — that’s a dream shared by many. Jürg (Jr.) and his sister Natalie Ludwig turn that dream into reality. Their company Harley-Davidson Graubünden, located in Maienfeld, Switzerland, makes up customized Harleys that may cost the owner more than 100,000 euros. Needed here are not only a feeling for the technology and the physical appearance, but superior tools, as well. That is why the slitting shears made by TRUMPF are used for sheet metal work. Natalie and Jürg Ludwig are absolutely sure: “We simply couldn’t get along without these shears.”
Standard models and unique vehicles
Founded in 2009 by the Ludwig family, Harley-Davidson Graubünden sells not only standard models but about fifty unique vehicles each year, styled to customer specifications – the so-called Bündnerbikes and Radical Custom. The company is in a position to do this not only because, in addition to the mechanical shop, an automotive body and paint shop are also part of the family “group”.
Just as important are well trained employees – above all co-owner Jürg Ludwig, Jr., who – in addition to tremendous enthusiasm for these American motorbikes – also brings with him a journeyman’s certificate in automobile mechanics, experience in Formula 3 racing, and an additional apprenticeship as a bodywork specialist.
Indispensable equipment: the TruTool C 160
Just as important is high quality technical equipment. A fairly inconspicuous power tool makes a major contribution to the Ludwigs’ work: the TruTool C 160 slitting shears made by TRUMPF. Acting on recommendations made by friends, the first TruTool C 160 was purchased about twelve years ago. It is still at work today, which says a lot about its quality. In the meantime it has been augmented with a TruTool S 130 shear, running on a rechargeable battery, and a new TruTool C 160 slitting shear with integrated chip clipper.
The latter is used every day and Jürg Ludwig says it’s simply indispensable. “Whenever you look at our bikes, you will find almost no straight edges. Everything is curved – the fenders, the tank and the many small components we use to finish off our Harleys. I have no idea how we could achieve the quality we seek without the slitting shears made by TRUMPF.”
Cutting through sheet metal without warping it
Guillotine shears are suitable only for straight cuts and using a jigsaw requires too much effort. Cutting metal with a jigsaw takes far longer and extensive retouching work is unavoidable. “With the C 160 we cut through sheet metal like a hot knife through butter, without warping the metal, and have almost perfect edges,” Ludwig adds.
The sheet metal used when customizing the Harleys is normally mild steel from 1 to 1.5 millimeters thick. This is well within the capacity of the TruTool C 160, engineered to work sheet metal of up to 1.6 millimeters thick. Also of great benefit is the integral chip clipper so that the waste can be separated at any point. The tool can then easily be “backed out” of the sheet and, with various orientation marks on the cutting head, can be exactly restored to the previous position.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com