Cafe Build: 1200 Sportster Sport

Hello everyone,

My name is Anthony, and I’ve been working at Harley-Davidson of Baltimore too long to not own one. So welcome to my sportster story…

I’ve had a fascination with motor vehicles ever since I was little. My first word was bus, my second word was car, and I’ve been addicted ever since. I have a lot of memories from when I was little regarding cars, but motorcycles have mainly been in my blindspot. I’ve been fiddling with old German cars and Japanese pickups since getting my license, rarely straying from that theme.

2000 Sportster Sport 1200 trade-in, 8k miles, only dropped a few times!

I’ve been waiting for a Sportster like this to come through our dealership for almost two years now: older, solid mechanics, rough aesthetics, and most importantly cheap. I’m not trying to ride to Sturgis or win any bike shows. I’m doing this to enjoy the process of working on a project. And because of peer pressure. I can’t count how many times coworkers and customers have asked me when I’m finally gonna buy a bike…

The test-ride went OK. There was a lot about the bike that I didn’t like to be honest with you, but it was all stuff that i’d want to improve or replace anyway. I only had to make fun of its couchseating, color, and Sportster Sport name for a few weeks before I decided to buy it. I didn’t let any time waste either. I immediately took it into the wash bays for a more detailed analysis of my future headache.

I wasn’t gonna go one more minute with that ridiculous seat on it. Luckily enough, our new technician TJ needed a 2up seat, so I quickly traded him for a future favor. His loss.

I quickly became addicted to the before/after satisfaction that comes with tearing off ugly parts. I couldn’t help it. I found a quiet corner of our storage loft and tucked it away with some basic tools. Over the following couple months, I’d pick away at it. Piece by piece, I was gonna handle as much as I could before turning it over to the techs.

This is where I may loose some of you. I’ve decided to turn this into a cafe racer in an irreversible way. I jumped head-first into this and chopped the frame. I did a quick and sloppy cut at first just to get the rough idea and mount my Burley Brand Cafe seat. Plus I popped on my new drag bar. These two simple changes, plus about 20lbs of removed parts, totally changed the vibe of the bike.

I dunno about you, but I love it. Sure it’s uncomfortable. Sure i’ll never be able to ride with a cute girl on the back. But damn is it good lookin’!

The Arlen Ness Big Sucker was chosen to replace the huge chrome soup-bowl attached to the motor. Simple, clean, and with the stainless filter instead of the usual pink colored ones.

One of our longtime techs, JP, stepped up in handling the motor. I may know a little bit of this and that, but I have no business diagnosing or refreshing the sluggish engine. There was nothing terribly wrong with it, but it definitely didn’t feel 100%. I handed it over to JP with full faith that he’d set things right. This opinion: replace plugs, wires, some vacuum hoses, and an oil change. Easy. For him.

Next came the Vance & Hines Short Shots. Definitely my favorite looking and sounding pipes across the Harley lineup.


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