Harley-Davidson Sportster. Originality is a thing ...

Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 rebuilt
ER Classics Desktop 2022

The Harley-Davidson Sportster was conceived in the XNUMXs as an answer to the fast English twins. Then they mutated into 'little' Harleys. They became lower and more user-friendly and with that they lost their last bit of Harley Stoerheid for Het Publiek. In Echt Stoere Harley circles fiercely tattoo bikers and accountants talked to weekend beards about Sportsters as 'Wijvenficycles'. In the meantime, it has been proven with our photo model that the Sportsters can be structurally restored to combat strength. Although a woman could of course continue to ride it. But that must be an athletic type with a big heart and long legs. That fashion model is a seriously rebuilt Sportster.

The recipe

Take a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 (from 1986). Plastic parts: Acerbis / KTM. Buell turn signals, block bored to 1200 cc, power unknown, Scrteaming Eagle set on the intake side, Buell valve covers, 8 inch overstock fork legs with Screaming Eagle fork brace, Goodridge brake lines, a V Rod luggage rack. Plus a few hundred man hours. Ready!

With the handles on a proud 120 cm above the asphalt you feel like a toddler behind a shopping cart when you stand next to it. You don't often find a factory original Harley. But mostly it's just bling bling up work. This combat vehicle is a completely different approach. Thanks to KTM and off-road plastics supplier Acerbis. The machine, which started its life as a 27 kW Harley-Davidson Sportster 883, eventually came into the hands of a talented employee of Harley-Davidson Amsterdam 1.0. That HD adept with Willie Root Genes was called Patrick and he rolled up his sleeves firmly.

Completely illegal on license plate

In any case, there is no longer a question of 27 kW and 883 cc. Like most of its peers, the Sportster was upgraded to 1200 cc and got the valve covers of a Buell XB 9R. The Harley-Davidson Sportster + now breathes in via a Screaming Eagle set. The rear frame was modified to accept the KTM plastic and the lower mounting points for the FXDX rear shocks were moved four inches forward to raise the butt. At the front, 10 inch overstock legs were fitted plus a Screaming Eagle fork brace, just above the front wheel. The case was professionally capped by a Dyna Glide FXDX tank and a one person seat. Oh yeah; the passenger footrests were retained. Maybe a joke? There is a tiny analog clock on the brake reservoir at the front and an oil cooler is located tightly along the front frame tube.

We were allowed to kiss the Anabolic Sportster awake after years.

During the dust removal process, it was already apparent how professionally the engine had been rebuilt. Especially as 'ex works'. During the cleaning, it was also noticeable how high the machine is and how hard you have to press to get it from its side stand into the vertical. Think: "I'll put the Tower of Pisa upright for a while." It is the touchstone between appearing tough and being strong.

We feared the worst for what would happen if this high-potter had such a top-heavy feel when stationary. Or fall over. With a fresh battery, a few liters of fresh gasoline and a good dash of Forté Advanced Formula Gas Treatment, the tuned 1200 didn't have much trouble waking up. The V-twin started with an almost shrill, crumbly engine run. After a few minutes of warming up, the block was running at zero load like a metronome and it turned out to be unexpectedly hungry to climb the revs at the first careful hand of gas.

The buddy is about 86 centimeters above the road surface.

With its own length of 186 cm, my feet touched the ground… Not. The container, operated with a short pedal, breaks into one and then the lower jaw falls loose. No high center of gravity, no idea to sit on the windowsill of the first floor. The Harley-Davidson Sportster hybrid dances down the road like a foal in the pasture: lively, light and agile. The high seating position is now an advantage: the overview on the road is great. The intake noise from the Screaminmg Eagle side is impressive, but not Harley-like deafening. The exhaust barks clearly and nicely.

A bad investment

You can drive an HD Sportster from about 3.500 euros. If you are not an HD Fanatic, you might see it differently, but: It's just what the fool gives. And that is not meant to be mean. You never get out of the cost of drastic changes in cosmetic and technical terms.

Also read:
- More articles about classic engines
- The timing belt transmission: Again almost 40 years old
- Harley-Davidson Nova Project
- A Harley-Davidson for ...
- Air suspension: A Harley crash bar with a valve


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