The Freak Harley-Davidson Burning Skull is an attention-grabber crafted to warm your soul.

The fascination with skulls remains a mystery to many. Some believe it's due to their symbolism of strength and power, others see them as emblems of rebellion, and some view them as reminders of life's fragility. Regardless of the reason, skulls have been, and will likely continue to be, prominent motifs in various aspects of human culture, particularly in the world of motorcycle customizers.

In Germany, there’s a garage called Thunderbike. This group, formed about three decades ago, started by modifying various bikes but eventually specialized in Harley-Davidsons. Today, they roll out dozens of custom Milwaukee rides each year, each more impressive than the last.

The skull motif is central to one of Thunderbike's recent creations, a custom bike named the Burning Skull. This two-wheeled marvel began as a Breakout 114, one of Harley's eight current cruiser models and a favorite for Thunderbike's custom projects.

Introduced in 2013, the Breakout is a relatively new addition to Harley's Softail lineup. It debuted as a chrome-laden, raked-out cruiser that quickly gained popularity in markets like Europe, although it was not available in the U.S. from 2021 to 2023. Before its U.S. discontinuation, it housed a Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine; upon reintroduction, it featured a larger 117ci unit. The Burning Skull we're discussing is based on the 114 model from 2022.

Typically, skulls are depicted in aggressive, intimidating styles. However, on this motorcycle, the aim is to evoke warmth rather than fear. Thunderbike designed the Burning Skull for a woman rider, which influenced its unique, heartwarming aesthetic. The bike's name comes from the numerous skulls surrounded by flames adorning its bodywork, including Harley-sourced covers. The most notable artwork is on the fuel tank, where a skull is framed by two skeleton hands forming a heart shape.

Thunderbike's modifications extend beyond the paintwork. The fuel tank itself is a custom-stretched version with a 4-gallon capacity. Custom handlebars are mounted higher on either side. The front end features a new headlight cap and a fender that covers part of the stock wheel, held by a lowered fork coated in diamond-like carbon instead of chrome.

The bike's side showcases satin footpegs, while the custom seat boasts a padded saddle. At the rear, a wider 260 mm tire replaces the stock one, sitting beneath a steel fender with integrated taillights and turn signals. A pulley brake system and side license plate holder streamline the back end.

Mechanically, the bike includes a new air filter, forward control kit, and air suspension kit. The only engine modification is the Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde exhaust system, though it's unclear if it affects the power output.

Thunderbike doesn’t list all the custom parts used, making it hard to estimate the project's total cost. However, considering the current Breakout 117 retails at $22,499, the Burning Skull's value is undoubtedly substantial, especially given the custom paint job and other bespoke features.