Ten Years GONE
2007 marked the 5oth Anniversary of the Harley Davidson Sportster. That bike has always been my favorite - but the prices are far out of my reach and the number of remaining survivor units are getting more rare every year.
While still stunning in Black & White archive literature - Harley - Davidson Motorcycles always had to an Orange. Always.
The classic lines of the first Sportster had a large tank, over the 4 gallon mark, perfect for rolling around the town or out into the hills. The 'Peanut tank would not appear until 1958 - and I have never been a fan of the shape nor the capacity of it. I wanted to build a modern bike - to celebrate the original - but keep all the benefits and technology that had been introduced to the model over the five decades of production.
I started with the 2007 XL883R - in Mirage Orange. Here is the factory brochure pic of what a stock unit looked like.
I chose this model - because at the time - this was the only way to get a purely blacked out motor on the bike - this was before Harley Davidson would produce their line of Dark Customs - where the dark and black would appear throughout the entire line out. The first thing to go was the small 3.3 peanut tank. GONE. The XLC 4.5 gallon bolts right up.
Another classic Original 57 for reference.
First brush - and how to blow 5,ooo in Parts and Accessories on a 8,500 bike.....
Custom paint and repop antique tank emblems - an Orange with a lite gold flake, separated by a pinstripe and the iconic gloss black lower. The front headlight cowling was replaced. A chrome engine guard was mounted. The motor was pushed out from 883cc to 1250, and the intake came from Arlen Ness to give out a round nod to history. Classic 2 into 1 pipes were not available for this year and fitment, but the Black ThunderHeader does nicely - rendering 10% more horsepower and cleaning up the double stacks. All of the grips and controls were replaced with period correct 'Bicycle' grips. The long twin seat was offed and replaced by a plush solo model - and a luggage rack rounds out the rear. What you don't see in the photo - is that the bike was 'convertible' to be dressed up for carrying more gear and passenger.
The Next Step ...... Getting a new set of shoes. The original 57 Sporty had laced wheels - my 'Betty' needed them too to complete the look. A set of black rims with dual front calipers were sourced, laced and mounted. A new look and set.
The rear shocks are from the Dyna FatBob and bolted right on. A set of Fork gators were added to the front of the ride - and the look was nearly complete. I still had to find the megaphone air horn in chrome to finish off the Tribute.
Not shown in this last photo is the set of mini gauges for Speed and Revs on a custom blacked dash. I will have to see what thumb drive those photos are on - updates when found.
The Plate for the Bike was a custom Vanity: DSTN8N - as the Dealership that I worked at was called Destination.
Hard to believe it has been 10 years since I built her. Betty was my first Harley Build - my bikes always have girls' names.