2002 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Cafe Racer


As you may or may not know, I like Sportsters. I have 2005 883 myself, and have been converting it into a cafe racer for the last two years. Cafe conversions of the XL are fairly few and fair between relatively speaking, so when one comes up for sale on eBay, or I find one elsewhere, it tends to end up posted on the blog.

What we have here is a 2002 XL 1200. What does buying a 1200 and not an 883 get you? About 20 extra horsepower and dual front discs. While this bike has some nice mods done to it, it is far from complete. The clip-ons are there. The fender has been bobbed nicely. The bike has the black-out treatment on lots of the parts.

So what’s left?

It’s got to have a new exhaust. I don’t even want to think about how loud the stock head pipes run without mufflers must be. and it probably has moved the power band completely to the top end. I’m going to guess that the carb has been set up properly given that the bike has cams and head-work done to it. Oh yeah, did I mention how loud it probably is?

The wheels: stock Harley wheels are heavy! It needs something lighter. Sportsters can be made relatively light compared to their portly weight in stock form, but one of the most important weight-loss procedures is losing the factory boat-anchors. Plus, Sportsters with 18″ 40-spoke alloy rims built up on nice, stock alloy hubs look really sweet!

Three sets of foot pegs: it’s got three! Pick any two and get on with it. Rear-sets would be best, but lose the highway pegs if nothing else.

That’s it. I’m done complaining. This is a good build-up of a Sportster into an almost cafe racer. A couple of tweeks, and it would be done. And I bet it’s a lot faster than a lot of bikes out on the road…


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2 comments so far

  1. Karl on

    the 2002 HD sportster you’ve listed on your site from the e-bay add… It happens to be mine. I will be doing some additional modifications to it this upcoming winter. For now, it resides in storage and when I get back from afghanistan… I will ride it until it is too cold to ride. Then it will complete it’s transformation…

    your comment on the wheels and exhaust… pretty much the first 2 things that will change… your assessment is pretty much on point with my plan. Just thought I’d say hello since I saw my bike on your site while doing my homework for the next mod.

  2. Bryan on

    I really like what you did to your bike. If you don’t mind me asking, where did you buy the rear fender? That is an awesome looking ride. I currently have a 2002 HD Sportster but would like to also turn it into a cafe racer some day.


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