Evo Sportster Swing Arm Choppers

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About a week ago I went down while riding my Triumph around town. I’m fine, the bike is banged up and that’s about all I’m going to say about that until all insurance matters have been settled and signed off on. However, as a side effect of the whole thing I started entertaining the idea of swapping my modern Triumph (2003 America) - which serves as my daily rider / commuter - for a modern sporty. As I surfed the interwebs for information and inspiration, I saved a few pics of some of my favorite examples of modified Sportsters that kept their swing arms intact and I figured I’d share them with you. Why the swing arm? Why not an ironhead? This is a bike I would ride 90 miles round trip to work, I need it to get me their reliably and I don’t want to be constantly wrenching on it - I have plenty of other projects to be working on.

I also dig the challenge of making a swing arm bike look cool - it’s a lot harder to do than tossing the motor into a rigid frame. No surprise that many of the examples I’ve got come from Japan - those dudes got cool swing arm bikes down cold. But not to be outdone, there are a few QCB’s representing the states in there too.

I honestly haven’t made up my mind on if I’m going to jump into a sporty or keep the Trump, but the research has been fun. Check out the pics, and thanks to Bratstyle, Sparetime and the QCB’s for the inspiration.


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7 Responses to “Evo Sportster Swing Arm Choppers”

  1. OldStaleNegative says:

    yes!!! just got back from Japan and saw this sick swingarm HD too…sorry it’s not an EVO, but maybe I’ll send pics of my Ironhead sporty when it looks more like this ;)

  2. OldStaleNegative says:

    OK, try this link instead?…

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2206/2902606036_33dc2c59cf.jpg

  3. rocket says:

    The pictures you post are great examples of customzing. A few are even approch sick status. Well done.

    but; “….it’s a lot harder than tossing a motor into a rigid frame.”(?)

    I’d’say the task of building a rigid Sporty from the ground up is at least on equal footing with your project, worthy as it is.

    best to you,
    rocket

  4. Simon says:

    I think what he meant is it’s harder to establish good clean lines in a sportster with a swingarm than a rigid, which I think is pretty true, I’m keeping the swingarm on my ironhead because I think it will give it a more unique look and I think when it’s truly done right it looks awesome and is more functional.

  5. grail21 says:

    Just to be clear, I was speaking from a purely aesthetic standpoint, not from a technical standpoint. Most builds have their challenges whether they’re rigid frames or use a swing arm. However, rigid frames - from an aesthetic standpoint - just look better right off the bat. They’re simple, have clean lines and less things to get in the way of look. My point was that with swing arm frames you have to work a bit harder to achieve the same level of aesthetic success. Obviously it’s do-able, there are plenty of examples of chops that look killer with a swing arm. But you can grab an evo sporty and toss the whole thing in a Smoking Gun frame and bam, you have a killer looking bike. Not that the build would be easy, but from a aesthetic standpoint, you know you’ve got it. Swing arms are a little trickier.

  6. rocket says:

    Thanks for the clarification, grail, your point is well taken. I misunderstood.

    Although my preference leans towards rigid bikes (Sportsters in particular) the one obstical I see on the EVO Sportster’s profile is the rear shock hung directly over the swingarm. That feature gives it the old hum drum look of the UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) from a decade or two ago.

    Although it would take a bit of engineering, some welding and a few bruised knuckles, if and when I build a suspended bike it would be an EVO Sportster but with the rear shocks moved forward about 6 or 8 inches on the frame and swingarm. This, to me, would achieve the look of the earlier era Big Twins and Sportsters (like the one in the link ‘OldStaleNegative’ posted. Bravo OldStale, you have an eye for the sublime.)

    You have one heck of a commute, grail. A stock Sportster config sounds like a way to be cool and show up for work on time with some regularity. I cheer you on in your build.

    rocket
    >40 degree Paughco EVO Sporty chop (daily rider)
    >30 degree Paughco Buell chop (in progress)

  7. Derek says:

    You could always try to bring back the “Praying Mantis” style swingarm chops from back in the day. 6+ front end with stock rake, a king & queen seat and a righteous sissy bar! You’re right about Japan, they got the swing arm bikes nailed, it would be hard to come up with something unique that can top the super sanitary look they got going on.

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