Archive for the ‘883’ Tag

1989 Harley Sportster Cafe Racer

I recently posted an interesting Yamaha XS650 by this same shop (Loaded Gun Customs), and now they have this cafe’d 1989 HD Sportster up for sale. It’s definitely got some nice mechanical bits on it (the rear-sets and clip-ons), and it has a nice simple look to it. My own Sportster hasn’t been converted quite this far yet, but its getting there.

This bike is probably a 1200, but the seller doesn’t actually say. However, they did put new 10:1 pistons in it, and the cylinders look awfully new, so I would guess they plopped a 883 to 1200 upgrade kit on it and called it a day. It is missing the headlight adjustment nut cover, which is kind of odd given that the rider would have to look at the exposed bolthead and any pooling water every time they rode the bike.

Anyways, there are 2 days left in the auction, and the price is just over $3K. Reserve hasn’t been met, and the Buy-It-Now price is $5,200, so your guess is as good as mine as to what the reserve price has been set at. This is a pretty nice example of a Sportster cafe compared to most that we see…

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My Bike…

Clip-ons, 15″ Progressive shocks, modded forks, full Harley tax paid, and sticky Bridgestone BT45 tires.

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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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1978 Harley-Davidson XLCR

This is a really clean example of an H-D XLCR. Since you are at this site, I am pretty sure you have heard of it before, but if you haven’t, it was a factory (mostly) cafe racer from Harley-Davidson that was produced only in 1977 and 1978. Under-powered at 61hp compared to it’s contemporary brethren, but with a full helping of somewhat European styling, it was never a sales hit and disappeared from Harley’s bike roster after just over 3,100 machines were produced. It was something of an oxymoronic bike, as current owners of Harley-Davidsons didn’t care for the styling, and speed-freaks could go 20 miles an hour faster on the top-end with a stock CB750.

Be that as it may, the bike for sale here is very, very clean and has been restored to within an inch of its life. Good luck finding a nicer example, unless it is one that was hermetically sealed as it rolled off the factory floor. The auction hasn’t met reserve yet, but there are 6 days left. I’ll post a “How Much Was It Worth?” on the back end…


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2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster Cafe Racer

I am really torn by bikes like this. Converting a Sportster into a cafe racer is kind of a daunting process. There aren’t a lot of sources for true cafe-styled parts for these bike (especially 2004+ rubber-mount bikes), and when you tell the parts guy at your local shop what you are doing, most likely he or she will give you a blank stare.

So if you do manage to find the parts, then you have to do a good job with the conversion. With this particular bike, it is certainly beautiful, and has a number of really nice parts attached to it: Storz rear-sets, nice race-style seat, beautiful H-D themed paint, and a great intake/exhaust combo. But a well-built cafe racer is more than a simple sum of its parts.

In this case, I am concerned that the bike looks lowered front and rear. For my personal Sportster cafe racer, I actually raised the bike 1″ in the front and 2″ in the rear to try for more ground clearance. And I don’t really want to be careening through corners while trying to maintain a grip on the shiny bits at the end of these drag bars. Cafe racers typically have a form-follows-function aesthetic, while this bike is trying to go both ways. Like Storz rear-sets on a lowered bike.

Now, if I could bolt my 15″ shocks to this bike, add my clip-ons, and put some stiff Race-Tech springs in the front end, this would be a great bike…


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Back On The Bike (or The Return of the Death Rattle)

I commuted yesterday and today. On my bike. It’s been like two months since the last time I rode it any further than just across town. I had been worrying about the “death rattle” noise that has been emanating from the lower left side of the motor. I changed the oil on Monday night, then rode around town hoping that the noise had gone away with the fresh synthetic in the oil tank. The noise seemed less as I revved the hell out of it away from the stoplights.

Then I rode it to work. Oh boy. At steady states of cruise, the noise is back. With a vengeance, I might add. At around 65-70 mph, it sounds awful. At 75 mph, the noise lessens, and then at 80 mph it disappears, but then the bike sounds pained as it wheezes its way down the highway.

My next step is to change the transmission oil and check the primary drive chain. I hope it is something simple, as I really don’t have the time or money for a full tear-down and rebuild.

But even with the engine noise issue, I love being back on the bike. Regardless of the problem, I’m not going to stop riding it (unless it blows up). Way better than being trapped in a cage! 🙂