2002 Harley-Davidson Sportster Cafe Racer


When I saw this bike, I had a bit of déja vu. I have a 2005 Sporty, and in the process of getting it to where it is now, I had it looking very similar to this (a pic exists somewhere in the archives of the blog). The wrapped pipes, the drag bar, the suspension upgrade, the lack of upgrades. Although my bike is a rubber-mount versus this being a solid-mount engine, I can speak to what this seller is talking about.

The suspension upgrade makes the absolute biggest difference in making a Sportster fun to ride. With the nearly two inch longer shocks on this bike, and with the stiffer springs in front, the front pipe and foot pegs don’t grind nearly as early. Stock Sportsters have a bank angle of something like 32 degrees. With the suspension modified and with no heat shield on the front pipe, bank angle is a more appropriate ~40 degrees (estimate only, but it leans more like a sport bike than a cruiser).

Ergonomically, drag bars are okay, but clip-ons are even better. And Sportsters really need rear-sets to make it comfortable. Otherwise the rider ends up crouched over the tank with their feet tucked in front of them on the stock mid-mounts. I end up using my rear footpegs for everything except when I’m shifting or trailing the rear brake into a corner.

Because this is an earlier model Sportster (solid-mount motor), a cafe tank and seat are relatively easy to find versus the later model rubber-mount bikes. With that addition, this bike would really shine (although not with flat black paint).

My biggest dislike with this bike is the cobbled together exhaust. I know Harley riders tend to like their bikes loud, but this thing has got to be particularly ear-splitting. And the downward tilt of the rear pipe to avoid the rear axle and swingarm? I get it, but there are other solutions. I’ve got a set of V&H Shortshots on my bike that solved that problem for less than $300.

Overall, a good first step for a Sporty cafe conversion (especially the suspension). But to be complete, more is needed. Hopefully, the new owner after this eBay auction will finish the conversion and send some pics my way.

Harley Davidson Sportster 2002 Cafe Racer 01.jpg
Harley Davidson Sportster 2002 Cafe Racer 02.jpg
Harley Davidson Sportster 2002 Cafe Racer 03
Harley Davidson Sportster 2002 Cafe Racer 04

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5 comments so far

  1. Mike YK Paahana on

    i like make my moped look like 1 harley coz my gf no let me by 1 reel bike

    • caferacers on

      That’s right. You go, my special friend!

  2. Alby on

    That thing is screaming for a proper combination cafe tail section-seat. It just looks all wrong the way it sits.

  3. Mario on

    Hi, how long are the Progressive Suspension Shocks? (Whole to whole distance?) Have you a Partnuber from your Shocks?

    Thank you
    best regards

  4. Mario on

    SORRY !!!! (HOLE to HOLE distance)??


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