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This is from a sportster forum I frequent, XLfourum.net. Ive gone through several planing stages to do something similar but just cant get past how big and heavy it would be for me. This does show how highly modifiable sportsters are. He didnt have to do a lot of custom fab work. For instance the forks are off a KTM, pretty much a bolt on. This is what he started with.



He says he 90% done, here is where hes at now.



 

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That dual tractor seat set-up is going to be a problem when off-road, and that big old air cleaner sitting out a foot to the right side is definitely going to cause an injury. Don't get me wrong, I love Sportsters. I've had two of them, but I never ever thought about taking them off-road.
The 750's had moderate success on the dirt tracks, but they were almost always going counterclockwise, and the rider never had to get that right leg out in front of the motor.
Doing all those mods just for looks, seems kinda silly to me. But then I am an old fart, who's set in his ways.
 

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I just drove a 1200 sportster home from the city for a friend today.My first time driving a Harley.
That is one heavy bike but it has a lot of torque and I can't imagine trying to drive it off road with such a big first gear.
 

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I just drove a 1200 sportster home from the city for a friend today.My first time driving a Harley.
That is one heavy bike but it has a lot of torque and I can't imagine trying to drive it off road with such a big first gear.
Other than that, what did you think?
 

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The Sportster is one of the few Harleys that I like but I was not impressed how it takes a corner or how crappy the suspension is but is was kind of fun to boot around on.My daughter enjoyed the ride too.
 

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The Sportster is what it is. Its shortcomings stem from the fact that the company that builds it (which other than the name is not the same company that originally designed it, btw) doesn't understand it at all. Harley Davidson thinks the Sportster is a junior Harley; a lighter, lower-priced stepping stone for those who aren't yet ready for a "real Harley." :puke:

Those of us who love the Sportster know that it is far more than that, and that most of its shortcomings can be mitigated or outright eliminated without too much effort. Harley folks refer to the things that need to be done immediately to any new Harley as the "Harley tax." The Sportster tax is different, but same basic concept.
 

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The Sportster is one of the few Harleys that I like but I was not impressed how it takes a corner or how crappy the suspension is but is was kind of fun to boot around on.My daughter enjoyed the ride too.
The best of the Sporty's that I had was a '78 75th Annie that was stolen, and never recovered. I thought that it handled very well, all things considered. I've drug the pegs, and never felt out of control. It had the gold mag wheels, and I had put Dunlop K70's on it. The K70's have been my all time favorite tire, no matter what I put them on. Air them down or up to suit the terrain. The mags where very stiff. Those two items alone were a significant advantage in the bikes handling. I loved that bike. Rode it year around.
 

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When I was in Florida in 1968 I had a 1966 XLCH that I road every where. The big problem there off road was deep sand and logs. Never found any mud. In the early 70's I ran it at an 8th mile drag strip. Sold it and bought a 1976 sportster. I now have a 1986 low ridder and take it down gravel roads if I get the urge
While I was in Florida I went to a scrambles race. The big off road bikes then were around 360CC. n the open class a guy showed up on a 750 triumph with the low pipes. He had a big cigar hanging out of his mouth. He looked like he was on a Sunday afternoon ride and the guys on the dirt bikes could not keep up with him.
 

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When I was young, I had a 125cc with "Harley Davidson" label. For the period, it was an okay dual sport. But I think HD was making true adventure
units back in the 1930s and 40s. The WLA (75CI. My Grandpa had one an rode it all over the Philapene Islands where he was a Missionary. Very little pavement in them days.
WLA had big fat tires, strong rack mounts n low gearing. Gramps wrote a lot about how great it was for "marginal roads", Grandma used to write home about how she would pray nightly for the "Death Dealer" to stop running. Finally Gramps lost it riding on a swaying rope suspension bridge. So it has been done successfully. I think weight is the biggest barrier.
At 400+lbs I find my BMW GS waaay to heavy to be enjoyable on anything but mild dirt roads. If your a stud rider, different story. Great vids on internet of army training on WLA off road, jumps at speed etc.
 

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I love customizing but I like the the original bike better myself. I've never been a fan of dirtbike aesthetics. With the price of HD compared to dirtbikes I'm not sure why anyone would do this. I've been making my TW look more street but keeping its function as dualsport.

So....no one thought it odd to bring your bike in the house? hehe
 

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How about this one. Not street legal but a little piece of Harley off road history. Check out those rear shocks! It also has the spring loaded chain slack doo-hickey. Had a friend who had two Harley MX bikes in his basement. They broke down so often that Harley said not to return them!! Wonder if they are still there?
TE]
 
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