Sportster Redux: 2010

Been a while since I caressed the sporty with a wrench - here’s where we left off.


Nice, but there is always room for improvement. She was a bit of an ass kicker on long rides, and not having any place to strap camping gear to was less than ideal. Plus there were a whole bunch of “to-do’s” I didn’t get to when we tangoed in the shop the last time. Wonderful - time for round 2.


Let’s start with some drawwwwwingz. I know some guys who can grab a piece of steel and a cutting wheel and without an idea, sketch or template churn out picture perfect parts - they just know and go. I am not one of them. I need visuals, I need to stare at the bike, I need photographic inspiration - sometimes I need to look at things 50 times before the obvious solution whacks me in the face. It is what it is; at this point I embrace it. I did about 50 sketches like this - these are 2 of my favorites, which should give you a general idea of where I’m going with the bike.


Time to play in the real world - grabs some parts, some cardboard and start mocking up. Tank is off a CB175 - I thought it was going to be a mock up piece, but it fit so well I’m going to move forward with it. Just needs a bunch of love to make it fit the backbone. The tailpiece is just for mockup to help visualize the lines - not sold on this approach yet, I’d have to loose my current seat, which I dig a whole bunch. Need to make a fender out of cardboard closer to the sketches and see how that feels. I have to go get my hands on a bunch of 16ga to play with and we’re off to the races. If anyone has a set of jap bike hand controls they want to get rid of cheap, let me know. A R1/R6 Nissin MC and matched clutch perch would be right up my alley, or a set of grimeca or magura controls would be sweet tits, but I’m on a budget.

Whole bunch of other stuff I’ve got planned and will get to, like rewiring, new lights all around, finally getting around to the cam cover chop. But that’s where I’m at for now. With any luck I’ll be able to get back to the shop sometime this week to play around with a few other things.

October 22nd, 2010 by grail21 in Moto Art & Pics, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (4)



I have no idea what this hunk of scrap was it its previous life, but it’s about to get the slice and dice treatment to turn into something usefule. Hit the read more link to see how I turned this piece of scrap aluminum into a functional piece of bracketry.

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July 28th, 2009 by grail21 in '94 Sportster Project | No Comments

Sportster Project: She Rides!


With the wife away for the Fourth of July, I headed over to the garage, sleeping bag in tow (my garage is an hour away from my house, but close to work) determined to get the bike on the road by the end of the weekend. Well, 38 hours of wrenching, wiring, painting and sanding later I can say - mission accomplished. It wasn’t a long ride - 1/4 mile down the road to get some petrol only to realize I forgot to put the nuts on the tailight bolts (doh!) and my kickstand was scraping - but it felt damn good to actually be on the road.

There is still a lot to do before she’ll be ready for some good long riding - shorter spring for the kickstand, re-route the fuel line (little too close to the cylinders), wiring still needs some cleaning up, turn signals need to be painted, loctite, loctite, loctite, gotta put the correct grip on the throttle side… couple other things I’m forgetting - all little stuff that I can do while shaking her down. There are some bigger projects that I’ll finish over the winter - like the paint (it’s about 50% done at this point), the cam cover chop, making my own tail light and pipes (although I really dig the set I’m using now that I got from hatch)… I could go on with other winter projects, but right now, it’s just time to ride. Shake her down real good and crank up some miles - gotta make sure she runs perfect for the Gypsy Run in August.

(Click on read more for pics)

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July 17th, 2009 by grail21 in '94 Sportster Project | Comments (10)

Sportster Project: Photo Dump Update

Bratstyle Sportster Chopper Project
Playing make believe

My desire to get rubber on the road is driving me into a Denethor type of madness. The weather taunts me from outside my office window - vivid memories of last years incessant rain reminding me of how fleeting the good weather lasts around these parts. Onward we go - heave ho!

(click read more for the full photo update)

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April 29th, 2009 by grail21 in Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (8)

Sportster Project: Seat Tease

Hand Tooled Motorcycle Seat
Tony at Hidecore is a wizard. Stoke-a-fied. Just wait son, you’ll see it all soon.

April 17th, 2009 by grail21 in '94 Sportster Project | Comments (2)

Sporster Project - Seat Preview


First pass on the tooling for the seat. Tony is killing it.

April 4th, 2009 by grail21 in Leatherwork, '94 Sportster Project | Comment (1)

Sportster Project: Days 6, 7 & 8 - Part 2

Weekendupdate 2 -101-2
When we last left off, had my wheels off and ready to powdercoat and my tank needed to get the Frisco treatment. First stop: the land of 40oz, midgets and jackassery - Choppahead (oh, they build some pretty sweet bikes too). The CH dudes got some new digs, so I took the camera out for a few shots. Lots of cool builds going on, I’ll post more of those pics another time - but hit the read more link below for a few shots.

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March 27th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (4)

Sportster Project: Days 6, 7 & 8 - Part 1

Sportster Day1-101-1
Between working on the Greasebag, my regular work schedule and family life I’m getting behind on reporting on the Sportster progress. A ton of progress has been made in the last week so this incomplete photo and brain dump will have to suffice to get things back on track. (Pic above is of the bike before this all began.)

(Hit read more for the full update)

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March 25th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (11)

Sportster Handlebar Preview

I went to go see Jay Roche aka Special ‘79 this weekend to get some handlebars made up for the Sporty. Expect a full write with tons of pics in a couple days, but suffice to say Jay is a wizard. Here’s a shot of the man in action.

March 18th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (2)

Sportster Project: Day 5

I’m waiting for a bunch of parts to arrive, so the weekend wrench session was a bit uneventful. Top of of the list was fixing my seatpan cutting mishap. I cut the seat pan too short, but had a piece big enough to make everything work again.

JB Welded the 2 pieces together. With the amount of JB Weld I used, it might have been fine just like this. It was pretty solid, but I didn’t trust it. I was only using the JB as “glue” to make the fiberglass repair easier…

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March 11th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (2)

Sportster Project - Day 4

Let’s get on with it shall we? This is where we last left off:

Click the read more for the full progress report

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March 5th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (7)

The 1994 Sportster Project

As I mentioned previously, one of the projects I was looking at getting into this year was a mid-to late 90s Sportster that I wanted to give the modern japanese / bratstyle treatment to. So a few weeks back I scored a ‘94 1200 for a reasonable number of greenbacks, and this past Sunday, I was finally able to tear into it….

I started with this - your typical bone stock Sportster 1200 with bolt on, catalog tomfoolery. Overall, not too bad - plenty of reusable / hack-worthy bits. Time to get to work.

1994 Sportster Chopper Bobber Bratstyle

Click read more to see the rest…

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February 18th, 2009 by grail21 in KB News, Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (16)