“Snow Drag” Sportster Roosts the Slopes of a Ski Resort

Banska Bystrica Harley-Davidson “XL1200CX Sportster Roadster Snow Drag” bike

Got the winter blues because it’s too snowy outside to ride? These guys have the solution.

Banska Bystrica Harley-Davidson, a dealership in Slovakia, has turned a Sportster Roadster into a Snow Drag bike by adding a ski on the front, extending the rear, and throwing a snowmobile track on the back. The result – instant fun.

Banska Bystrica built the “XL1200CX Sportster Roadster Snow Drag” bike for Harley-Davidson’s 2017 Battle of the Kings. To showcase their build, the company posted up this video on YouTube. We thought it’d be the perfect tonic for “Mundane Monday” so we figured we’d pass it around.

The idea of outfitting motorcycles for winter play is gaining steam as Snow Bikecross made its debut at the Winter X Games this weekend. Granted, they use converted motocross bikes for the event while the Banska Bystrica crew used a heavier Harley Sportster, which in our book deserves even more kudos for going against the grain.

Enjoy as they roost ski slopes on a Snow Drag Sportster.

Harley Challenges Dealers to Build the Baddest Sportster in 2017 Battle of the Kings

The Harley-Davidson “Battle of the Kings” has commenced, and in the end, to borrow a line from the Highlander, “There can be only one!”

The Battle of the Kings is an international competition between Harley-Davidson dealers to build the baddest Sportster around. Dealers have the option of customizing an Iron 883, Forty-Eight, or Roadster Sportster. It’s pretty much anything goes as far as customization goes, the major stipulation being budget. They must “craft a custom-built Iron 8883 for £12,995 ($16,379) or a Forty-Eight or Roadster for £14,995 ($18,899).” The public gets to vote for “The New King” from more than 200 custom Sportsters entered in the competition.

Granted, “The Battle of the Kings” is taking place overseas, but it’s fun to see what others are doing in the custom realm. It demonstrates the versatility of the Sportster and it’s run by America’s premiere motorcycle manufacturer, so we deemed it worthy of sharing.

Here’s a few examples to enjoy courtesy of Harley-Davidson Battle of the Kings. To see more super cool Sportsters, go to customkings.harley-davidson.com

Bavarian Lion Harley-Davidson Bayerwald

Bavarian Lion Harley-Davidson Bayerwald

Harley-Davidson Poznan

Harley-Davidson Poznan

Harley-Davidson Pfeiffer

Harley-Davidson Pfeiffer

Warr's Harley-Davidson SE London

Warr’s Harley-Davidson SE London

Maidstone Harley-Davidson Sportster

Maidstone Harley-Davidson Sportster

2016 Harley XL1200CX Roadster Review

2016 Harley Roadster first ride

Gingerelli took the test bike on his favorite 50-mile loop, an assortment of cambered and off-cambered turns mixed with contorting S’s and sweepers, and it’s roads like that where the Roadster shined.

CX in the city, a roadster for the road  –  by Dain Gingerelli 

According to Harley-Davidson’s promotional literature the new XL1200CX Roadster is aimed dead-square at young riders, often termed Millennials. But tell that to the older guy — think Baby Boomer—who cast an envious eye on the Roadster, with its Velocity Red Sunglo paint shining brilliantly, which I had just fired up in the parking lot. And for the record, I’m of the Baby Boomer generation, too, and I rather enjoy this Sportster.

The older guy said nothing, though. He just stared, transfixed by the bike, soaking up the sum total of its parts and color. A chromed, low-slung handlebar catches the eye first, and behind it sits the familiar 3.3-gallon peanut-style gas tank; folks on Juneau Avenue now deem it a “walnut” tank, although if we’re going to break from tradition, I’m for calling it a “pecan” tank, even if it might send the wrong message as to its exact function and use.

So, there we were, standing in the parking lot with the older guy still wistfully gazing at the bike while I nonchalantly let the Roadster’s rubber-mounted 1200cc engine (Millennials and Baby Boomers alike would never refer to a Sportster engine in terms of cubic inches, although for the record the 1200 qualifies as a 74″) warm up, chugging and singing out the proverbial potato-potato-potato cadence that all Harleys are known for. I especially enjoy the XL1200CX’s exhaust note, a result of the new free-flowing shorty mufflers that create an unmistakable baritone burble, so unlike the wimpy, semi-flatulent sounds that resonate from most stock bikes today.

2016 XL1200CX Review

In his 2016 Roadster review Gingerelli said the suspension’s spring and damping calibration are well-matched to soak up bumps in the road better than any other Sportster.

Satisfied with the engine having oil in all its internal nooks and crannies, I sought first gear — an easy task, as Harley engineers have used every conceivable trick in their toolbox to minimize clutch lever pull effort on Sportsters, so when you snick the five-speed tranny’s shift lever up or down, your foot is rewarded with a positive click — and rode away. As the engine’s rpm rose to a crescendo, the exhaust note only got better, no doubt prompting the older guy’s pulse to quicken even more. I have no idea whether or not that Baby Boomer eventually bought a Roadster on account of that little episode, but The Motor Company is hedging its bets that Millennials will use similar sidewalk experiences to decide that it’s time to step up and make a purchase. The betting, too, is that the deal includes a new Roadster. As one Harley spokesman, Michael Spaeth, who heads the marketing team that put Millennials in the Roadster’s crosshairs, recently stated on a public radio broadcast: “…the new Roadster that we just launched [is] really targeting that kind of urban demographic.”

So, what sets this XL apart from all others in the Sportster stable? Plenty, really, even though the XL1200CX, rated at 549 pounds dry, shares the same basic platform in terms of frame and engine with the other 1200 models. Besides that drooping handlebar, you’ll see that the Roadster rides on all-new, blacked-out cast aluminum wheels wrapped with Dunlop/Harley-Davidson rubber, and this is the only Sportster rolling with an 18″ rear wheel and tire. The front 19″ wheel is supported by a 43mm inverted fork — the only one in the Sportster lineup — that has triple-rate springs calibrated to its Premium cartridge damping system. The rear shocks are based on this year’s new nitrogen gas-charged units for Sportsters, which have threaded collars to precisely adjust spring preload to suit your weight and riding style. Moreover, the fork and shocks offer a claimed 4.5″ and 3.2″ of travel, more than any of the suspenders found on the other Sporties.

The suspension’s spring and damping calibration are well-matched to soak up bumps in the road, too; clearly better than any other Sportster does. The Roadster’s suspenders are less prone to bottom out, too, and the ride transmits less road surface feedback through the custom-formed seat and rubber-wrapped folding footpegs.

Things aren’t quite as pleasant at the handlebar, though. Simply, the handlebar is too wide, measuring about 32″ from end to end, which forces you to assume a riding position that makes you feel as though you’re ready to do a pushup. Here’s my fix: by nature, any Harley’s purpose in life is to be modified, and by that right I’d change the bar to better suit my riding needs. There’s enough room to shorten the bar at both ends without disrupting space for the hand controls, so I’d clip about 1/2″-3/4″ from each end. That would slightly raise the angle of your torso in relation to the steering stem, improving the rider triangle in the process. Doing so would also relieve some pressure from your wrists and hands while pulling them in for a more definitive “feel” of the front end when cornering (think road racer ergonomics).

2016 Harley Roadster engine

The 2016 Harley Roadster features a rubber-mounted, air-cooled, 1200cc Evolution engine. Harley rates the Roadster’s engine torque at nearly 10% higher than the rest of the XL1200 lineup.

A by-product of clipping the handlebar also means a narrower bike, essential for splitting lanes or filtering forward through an urban jungle’s stop-and-go traffic. And from a cosmetic standpoint, shortening the handlebar would reduce its gull-wing effect in relation to the bike’s styling lines.

For the most part, though, there’s not much customization necessary to make the Roadster look cool. The fenders have been bobbed to the extreme, so they’re shorter than those on any other Sportster; the belt guard and muffler heat shields have racer-like slots for a sportier look; the taillights are integrated into the turn signals that are posted onto the bare-bones rear fender struts, and the license plate attaches to Harley’s signature Dark Customs left-side mounting system. Staring back at you is a 4″ electronic analog tachometer with built-in digital read-out speedo and gear indicator. All minimalist features that are popular with urban bikers.

And then there’s the seat. Positioned 30.9″ off the deck, it’s styled in the spirit of all café racers. The seat’s rear hump helps position you in the rider’s triangle, and you’ll notice a grab strap on the rear portion. That’s for a passenger (DOT law requires the strap), making this a two-up motorcycle. The upholstery is designed to mimic body armor that’s so popular among Millennials today, but, more to the point, the seat is so darn comfortable, yet slender enough for using body English when leaning left and right while cornering on your favorite back road.

For the full ride review, custom bike features, tech stories and more,
CLICK HERE American Iron Magazine issue 339

Also available in digital format CLICK HERE American Iron Digital

2016 Sportster Showdown at the Sturgis CrossRoads

Sportster Showdown Sturgis Buffalo Chip 2016

The first annual Sportster Showdown at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip demonstrated the diversity of the platform as a custom bike.

The humor expressed in emcee Dumptruck’s “It’s a Girls Bike” t-shirt was not lost on the crowd at the Sportster Showdown. Being a “Girl’s Bike” was once the Sportster’s stigma.

These days though, Sporty’s are gettting their due respect. It’s the weapon of choice for crews like Rusty Butcher and Suicide Machine Co., wheelie demons who love to rip up berms, launch off jumps, and sling ‘em sideways on dirt tracks. It’s the platform of choice for reputable builders like Pat Patterson of LedSledCustoms and Nash Motorcycle Co. Sportsters are a hot commodity now because there’s few limitations with what you can do with it.

This was evident at the first-ever Sportster Showdown held at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip. Forty motorcycles came out to compete for one of the cool trophies LedSled’s Patterson created out of bottles of PBR. Sportsters came choppered, scrambled, cafed, trackered, and choloed. Some had even been converted to tourers. And that’s the beauty of the platform. The only limit is imagination.

Sportster Showdown PBR Trophies 2016

How many trophies have you seen before that are actually filled with PBR? Only the one’s made by LedSled’s Pat for the Sportster Showdown.

Riding off with the 40 oz. “Best of Show” trophy was Chop-Machine Motorcycle’s Mike Schrickel for “White Chocolate,” an ultra-clean chopper that started out as a 1997 Sportster Custom.

“I’m a big fan of flow on a motorcycle,” said Schrickel.

“White Chocolate” features a custom frame he designed that was built by his buds at LedSled. Set at 6” up and 3” out, the fork with the ribbed lowers sports a 38-degree rake. The frame is made from 1” tubing because Schrickel likes that “old school look.” LedSled’s influence extends elsewhere as well, from the wheels to oil bag, which Schickel modified. With a rigid rear and drop seat, the chop does indeed have a sweet flow, from its raked-out front to its sissy bar.

Sportster Showdown Sturgis 2016

Forty Sportsters showed up at the Buffalo Chip for the first-ever Sportster Showdown hosted by LedSled and Biltwell.

Other winners include Andy Casey of Watertown, South Dakota, who won “Best Dirtster” for his 2002 883R he turned into a fire road ripper. Casey gave his Sporster some off-road chops because “there’s more enduros where he lives than street bikes.”

Mike Blank of Hysham, Montana, earned “Best Café” for his 1978 AMF Ironhead. Blank worked hard to get it “as close to showroom as you can possibly get,” his Sportster featuring matching numbers and case halves.

Top 5 Sporster Showdown Sturgis Buffalo Chip

The Top 5 Sportsters in the showdown.

Ryan Doll from Austin, Texas, rode away with the trophy for “Best Tracker.” With a Supertrapp exhaust, piggyback rear shocks, raised-up mid-controls and handguards, Doll’s 1996 Custom is primed for flat track action.

The fifth and final award for “Best Chopper,” well, remains anonymous. The owner couldn’t be found, leaving his tidy little T-barred Ironhead with the purple argyle peanut tank to fend for itself. Would have liked to have seen the owner’s face when they came back and found a trophy sitting next to it.

Sportsters. They’ve come a long ways. Nowadays it’s cool to ride a “Girl’s Bike.”

Harley Brings Roadster Back – 2016 Sportster Roadster XL1200CX First Look

2016 Harley Roadster

Highlights of the 2016 Sportster Roadster XL1200CX include a new 43mm inverted fork, emulsion shocks, dual discs on the front, lowered handlebars and chopped fenders.

The Harley-Davidson Dark Custom lineup has a new addition. With a minimalist, fastback design inspired by classic racing motorcycles, the nimble Harley-Davidson Roadster will inspire a new generation of riders to take to the streets.

“Since its introduction in 1957, the Harley-Davidson Sportster has proved capable of constant reinvention, and the Roadster writes a new chapter in that story,” said Harley-Davidson Director of Styling Brad Richards. “We’ve watched our customers take the Sportster in so many different directions. The Roadster is a mash-up of styling genres, but the intent was to build a rider’s motorcycle, a Sportster that’s lean and powerful and connects the rider to the road.”

Roadster stars in “Cut Loose,” the third commercial in Harley-Davidson’s ‘Live Your Legend’ global marketing campaign that shows how riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can enable riders to create deeper bonds and share richer experiences with friends and family. ‘Live Your Legend’ campaign ads include snapshots of life-enriching moments, as well as the unique and unforgettable bonds of friendship that riders develop by riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

As the newest member of the Dark Custom lineup, Roadster combines modern performance and retro-inspired styling with premium suspension components, an air-cooled 1200cc V-Twin engine that delivers a strong pulse of mid-range torque and a profile reminiscent of vintage racing motorcycles from the 1950s and 1960s.

“We wanted to give the Roadster some DNA from the high-performance KHR models of the mid-50s, and later Sportsters tuned for the drag strip,” said Richards. “Those bikes had fenders cut to the struts, the small fuel tank, and were stripped to their bare essentials to achieve a singular performance purpose.”

The 19-inch front and 18-inch rear Offset-Split 5-Spoke cast aluminum wheels were designed specifically for the Roadster and contribute to its balanced, athletic stance. The Roadster puts its rider in an aggressive posture with a new low-rise handlebar and mid-mount foot controls that center the rider’s weight over the classic profile of the 3.3-gallon Sportster fuel tank.

2016 Harley Roadster

The 2016 Sportster Roadster will be offered in four color choices: Vivid Black with a charcoal denim pinstripe; Black Denim with a red pinstripe; Velocity Red Sunglo with a red pinstripe; and two-tone Billet Silver/Vivid Black with a burgundy pinstripe.

“The wheels were inspired by classic laced wheels, and are the most intricate cast wheel we’ve ever created,” said Harley-Davidson Industrial Designer Ben McGinley. “The interlacing spokes shoot outward toward opposite sides of the wheel, creating a dramatic visual effect. These wheels are also very light for their size, which contributes to the Roadster’s handling performance.”

Roadster’s suspension is enhanced by new 43mm inverted single-cartridge forks with tri-rate springs gripped in robust triple clamps and rear suspension featuring gas-charged emulsion coil-over shocks and tri-rate springs with adjustable pre-load that offers greater suspension travel than any other Sportster model – 4.5 inches in front and 3.2 inches in the rear. Outstanding stopping power is achieved with dual 11.8-inch floating rotors on the front wheel. The Roadster is available with optional ABS.

In keeping with its stripped-down styling, the Roadster’s rear fender has been clipped 1.5 inches shorter than previous bobbed Sportster fenders. The slotted belt guard and muffler shields mimic the lightening holes drilled in race-bike components, and a single four-inch diameter instrument tucked low in front of the triple clamp features a sweeping analog tachometer with an inset digital speedometer. Rear turn signals mounted directly to the fender struts, a side-mount license plate and fastback seat design give the rear of the bike a tight and uncluttered look.

“The seat’s profile flows into the very short rear fender,” said McGinley. “The cover features a series of pads inspired by an armored leather jacket, and the rear of the seat is designed as a passenger pillion, to give the Roadster added versatility.”

The Roadster model will be offered in four color choices: Vivid Black with a charcoal denim pinstripe; Black Denim with a red pinstripe; Velocity Red Sunglo with a red pinstripe; and two-tone Billet Silver/Vivid Black with a burgundy pinstripe.

To test ride a Roadster or any of the 2016 motorcycles, visit a Harley-Davidson authorized dealership or schedule a test ride online at H-D.com.

2016 XL1200C Roadster

The inverted fork and updated rear shocks should make the 2016 Sportster Roadster a blast to ride.

NEW IN 2016
• Premium emulsion technology rear shocks with screw style pre-load adjustment
• 43 mm inverted front forks with premium cartridge dampening technology and triple clamp design
• Optimized steering geometry for a responsive, confidence-inspiring ride
• Two-up seat with ribbed detail and minimalist styling
• Lightweight, Offset-Split 5-Spoke Cast Aluminum wheels; 19-inch front, 18-inch rear
• Lowered handlebar
• Extreme chopped rear fender
• Finned cast timer cover
• Custom tank graphics

2016 Roadster Unique Features 
• Blacked-out powertrain with gray oval air cleaner
• Shorty-dual exhaust with chrome tapered mufflers and laser cut black heat shields
• 43mm front fork with massive triple clamps
• Slammed drag-style handlebar and gauges
• Black headlamp bucket with chrome trim ring
• 3.3 gal “walnut” gas tank
• Black, top-mounted mirrors
• Side-mounted license plate (U.S. configuration)
• Two-up seat optimized for maximum comfort
• Lowered handlebar
• Forward riding position with mid-mounted controls
• Dual-disc front brakes
• 4-inch Dual speedometer/tachometer gauge, integrated into handlebar clamp
• Includes digital odometer, clock, dual trip meter, miles to empty, gear indicator (1-5), and analog RPM output
• Blade key ignition; fork lock common with ignition key
• Single, push button hazard warning
• 19-inch front, 18-inch rear cast aluminum wheels
• Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series radial blackwall tires designed specially for the XL1200XR to
achieve excellent ride, handling and maneuverability performance
• Closed loop exhaust system meets worldwide emission standards
• Rubber-mounted, Air-cooled, 1200 cc Evolution engine
• Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI) with heated O2 sensors
• 5-speed transmission
• Confidence-inspiring front-end geometry
• Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) (factory installed option)
• Smart Security System with hands-free, proximity based security fob and keyless ignition
(factory installed option)

2016 Sportster Roadster

Harley says the 19-inch front and 18-inch rear Offset-Split 5-Spoke cast aluminum wheels were designed specifically for the Roadster and contribute to its balanced, athletic stance.

2016 Harley Roadster XL1200CX Specs

Length – 86 in. (2186 mm)
Overall Width – 33.1 in. (841 mm)
Overall Height – 42.6 in. (1082 mm)
Seat Height:
• Laden – 29.5 in. (749 mm)
• Unladen – 30.9 in. (785 mm)
Ground Clearance – 6 in. (152 mm)
Rake – (steering head) 28.9°
Fork Angle – 27.4°
Trail – 5.5 in. (140 mm)
Wheelbase – 59.3 in. (1505 mm)
Tires (Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series, radial blackwall front and rear):
• Front – 12070R-19 M/C
• Rear – 15070R-18 M/C
Fuel Capacity – 3.3 gal. (12.5 L) (warning light at approximately 0.8 gal.)
Oil Capacity (w/filter) – 2.8 qts. (2.6 L)
Transmission Capacity – 1 qt. (.95 L)
• As Shipped – 549 lbs. (249 kg)
• In Running Order – 568 lbs. (258 kg)

Engine Air-cooled, Evolution
Valves – Pushrod-operated, overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters; two valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke – 3.5 in. x 3.811 in. (88.9 mm x 96.8 mm)
Displacement – 73.4 cu. in. (1202 cc)
Compression Ratio – 10:1
Fuel – System Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection (ESPFI)

Primary Drive – Chain, 38/57 ratio
Final Drive – Belt, 29/68 ratio
Clutch – Multi-plate, wet
Transmission 5-speed
Gear Ratios (overall):
• 1st 9.315
• 2nd 6.653
• 3rd 4.948
• 4th 4.102
• 5th 3.517

Frame – Mild steel, tubular frame; circular sections; cast junctions
Swingarm – Mild steel, rectangular tube section, stamped junctions; MIG welded
Front Fork – 43 mm inverted
Rear Shocks – Variable rate spring over 36 mm piston nitrogen gas-charged emulsion
style shock with thread style preload adjustment
Wheels: Offset-Split 5-Spoke
• Front – 19 in. x 3 in. (482.6 mm x 76 mm)
• Rear – 18 in. x 4.25 in. (457.2 mm x 108 mm)
• Caliper Type – Dual-piston front, dual-piston rear
• Rotor Type – Front floating, Rear uniform expansion rotor
• Front (dual floating) – 11.8 in. x .2 in. (300 mm x 5 mm)
• Rear – 10.24 in. x .28 in. (260 mm x 7 mm)
• Anti-lock Braking System Optional
Suspension Travel:
• Front Wheel – 4.5 in. (115 mm)
• Rear Wheel – 3.2 in. (81 mm)

Engine Torque:
• 76 ft. lbs. @ 3750 rpm (103 Nm @ 3750 RPM)
Lean Angle:
• Right – 30.8°
• Left – 31.1°
Fuel Economy – 48 mpg (4.9 L/100 km)


Hal’s Harley-Davidson Wins Custom Kings Crown with Dual-Sport Sportster

PRNewswire/ — After weeks of heated competition and thousands of votes, America has finally crowned the next “Custom King.” Through six rounds of bike-to-bike battles, fans determined Hal’s Harley-Davidson ranks No. 1. A true rolling work of art, “General Mayhem,” created by the Hal’s H-D team out of New Berlin, Wis., is a modern day dual-sport bike that can conquer city streets and rural roads alike.

“Our vision was a modern day dual-sport bike with an edgy, minimalist look that would appeal to millennials, hooligan riders or the young at heart,” said Bud Curtis, team lead at Hal’s Harley-Davidson. “We are proud to have built the General Mayhem, our take on a Sportster that we hope can be enjoyed by the masses.”

In the second year of the Custom Kings competition, all U.S. dealerships were invited to turn a Sportster motorcycle into a custom-of-one work of art. Initial entries were scored by the H-D styling team based on quality of customization and build, fit and finish, use of paint, design, technique and how teams utilized Harley-Davidson Genuine P&A. From there, fans took control, selecting the winner in a bracket-style online vote.

The General Mayhem features a dual headlight to provide protection in a rugged environment, a 1200cc engine conversion with tuned exhaust to optimize performance and a fabricated tank with padded inserts that allows the rider to connect with the road.

Hal’s H-D Sportster Superlow XL883L “General Mayhem”

Hal’s Harley-Davidson took a Sportster Superlow XL883L and turned into a cool fire road ripper called “General Mayhem.” Hal’s H-D earned top honors in the 2016 Custom Kings contest for its efforts. 

“Customization is an expression of our riders’ individuality, so it only made sense for our fans to select the Custom Kings winner,” said Dino Bernacchi, Harley-Davidson U.S. Marketing Director. “We were thrilled by the response from dealers across the country, and Hal’s Harley-Davidson served up a striking design that challenged the status quo and took the artistry and quality of the Sportster SuperLow to new heights.”

Hal’s had a unique partner in building its one-of-a-kind ride – the local New Berlin high school BUILD Team. Working together as part of a national BUILD Challenge, the team and their mentors turned the Custom Kings build into an educational experience for the students, opening the road to learning more about the world of motorcycling and sparking their passion for the Sportster’s unique style and unrivaled performance.

The other seven finalists vying for the title with Hal’s Harley-Davidson were:
• Four Rivers Harley-Davidson, Paducah, Ky.
• Independence Harley-Davidson, College Station, Texas
• Schaeffer’s Harley-Davidson, Orwigsburg, Pa.
• Southside Harley-Davidson, Virginia Beach, Va.
• Toledo Harley-Davidson, Toledo, Ohio
• Yellowstone Harley-Davidson, Belgrade, Mont.
• Zylstra Harley-Davidson Ames, Iowa

In addition to a shiny trophy and bragging rights, Hal’s Harley-Davidson will receive an all-expense paid trip with a VIP tour of Harley-Davidson’s Corporate Headquarters, dinner at MOTOR Bar & Restaurant and a VIP tour of the Harley-Davidson Museum to see their winning motorcycle on display during the Custom Bike Show/Milwaukee Rally this September. The General Mayhem will remain on display in the Harley-Davidson Museum through November 1, 2016.

Visit www.H-D.com/CustomKings for more information on the Custom Kings Sportster Motorcycle Customization Contest and to view the winning, one-of-a-kind bike.

Hal’s Harley-Davidson shared their victory with fans on Facebook.
“We are excited to announce that ‪#‎GeneralMayhem‬ has won the‪#‎HDCustomKings‬ final battle! We are national champions! Thank you to everyone who voted; shared and got the word out! We could not have done it without YOU! We’ve seen the posts travel coast to coast all over the world, including our friends in Lebanon. Thank you to Harley-Davidsonfor hosting such a great event and allowing our dealership to grow as a team throughout the competition. Congratulations to Four Rivers Harley-Davidson for making it to the finals. “Go Dammit” is a beautifully constructed motorcycle and it was an honor to be up against such great competitors. A special thanks to all of the HD Custom Kings teams…Job well done! And thank you to our staff! Way to go team! A party is in the works to celebrate the “King”, Saturday May 21st. Stay tuned for more details!
Thank you all again!”

Harley Downtube Bag for Sportsters/Dynas Review

While our 2004 Sportster XL1200C project bike has served us well, it’s always good to have a few basic tools with you when you ride for those unpredictable roadside emergencies. And while we wished we could bring a few along, we’ve spent a lot of time hot roddin’ the Sporty up and didn’t want anything big and bulky detracting from its racy disposition. We found a solution in Harley’s Downtube Bag (Item #93300044 – $149.95) for Sportsters and Dynas.

Harley Downtube Bag for Sporsters

The Harley Downtube Bag is small and indiscreet but will hold enough tools to help get you through a jam.

The bag itself is 10-inches long and 4-inches deep. The back plate is hard plastic while the rest of it is leather. It has two exterior buckles that are more for show as the main storage compartment has a zipper, too, to ensure your tools don’t go tumbling down the road when you hit the bumpy stuff. Overall the storage compartment is fairly small, so make sure you grab the sockets you use most frequently because there’s only enough room for the essentials. The maximum recommended load is five pounds.

While the kit came with an assortment of hardware so it can be mounted on Dynas and XLs, all we needed for installation on the 2004 Sportster XL1200C were four bolts, two nuts, and two mounting brackets. A drill is required though to punch holes in the back of the bag to run the bolts through. At first we wondered why it didn’t come pre-drilled from the factory but then realized it mounts up differently depending on whether it’s a Dyna or Sportster and whether or not the motorcycle has engine guards.

Harley Downtube Bag for Sportsters and Dynas

The backplate of the Downtube bag has to be drilled out to run the bolts through the mounting bracket because it fits both Dynas and XLs. Luckily, the hole locations are already marked.

Of course, the drill bits Harley suggested using are off-sizes, 13/32 and 9/32. Those bits cost $10 a-piece at our local hardware store, so we used the 3/8 and 5/16 bits we already had in our toolbox instead and manually made the hole’s circumference a little bigger so the bolts would fit. With the holes drilled, we lined up the first mounting bracket on the exterior of the back of the bag and inserted two button head bolts. Then we opened up the bag and inserted the second mounting bracket, lining it up with the two button head bolts that were already in place. Those two bolts were secured into place from the inside with two locking nuts tightened down to 60 in-lb. Next we pushed two hex head bolts through the upper holes of the inner mounting bracket so the ends were sticking out the back. One of the holes didn’t line up perfectly even though we drilled exactly on the pre-designated spot, so we had to widen it just a touch. We added a couple drops of Loctite to the bolts then screwed them in to holes in the lower frame crossmember, tightening them down to the recommended 25 – 35 lb-ft. Done in less than 15 minutes.

Harley Downtube-Bag-Max-Load-5-Lbs

The maximum recommended load for the Harley Downtube Bag is five pounds.

We like that the downtube bag sits low and is indiscreet. Sitting right behind the front tire, it’s going to get filthy. Luckily, Harley included a little leather conditioner in the kit. Having a handful of tools and a roll of duct tape at our disposal when we ride definitely adds a little peace of mind.

Harley-Davidson Downtube Bag for XL/Dynas $149.95

Harley-Davidson Downtube Bag for XL/Dynas $149.95

And Then There Were Four – Harley Custom Kings Contest Final 4

And then there were four. The NCAA Men’s basketball tournament isn’t the only one creating a little “March Madness.” Harley-Davidson Custom Kings contest is generating its own buzz as the field of 64 customized Sportsters that kicked off the contest have been narrowed down to four.

The premise was simple. Harley challenged dealerships across the country to build a kick-ass custom based on the versatile Sportster to showcase their in-house skills. These Sportsters were then pitted against each other in a bracket-style competition based on region. While Harley dealers could let their imaginations run wild for the Custom Kings contest, they were also critiqued for their use of parts from the Harley-Davidson Genuine Parts & Accessories catalog. With pride, prestige, and bragging rights on the line, there definitely was no shortage of creativity as the final four includes a Sportster bagger, trail-capable hybrids, and vintage flair. Fans have voted for their favorites on-line and now have a say in the winner.

Harley says: “Pick your favorite from the 4 head-to-head match-ups, and keep voting each day. The #HDCustomKings winner will be crowned April 12.

“Only one vote per person allowed per day. You must vote for one bike in each of the match-ups in every Region in order to submit your vote. Round 5 voting will close April 3 at 11:00 p.m. EST.”

Here’s the four Sportsters who have risen above the rest in the Custom Kings competition along with a short description provided by the dealerships that built them. (Courtesy of Harley-Davidson)

Yellowstone H-D Belgrade, MT H-D Sportster Forty-Eight XL1200X "The Maestro"

Yellowstone H-D Sportster Forty-Eight XL1200X “The Maestro”

The reigning National Champions, at Yellowstone Harley-Davidson are back in action with another Custom Kings build. Taking it back to the root consumer of the Motor Company, our goal is to build an awe-inspiring machine that is unique but obtainable; one that could be built by the working man, the vet, or the woman that puts in a 12 hour work day, then heads straight to her own garage. Simply put, this bike will be just plain badass. Six months ago we put Belgrade, Montana on the map. We plan to keep it there.

Hal's H-D New Berlin, WI H-D Sportster Superlow XL883L "General Mayhem"

Hal’s H-D Sportster Superlow XL883L “General Mayhem”

Custom built for the millennial or young-at-heart to cruise around town and then head straight out to the hinterland. For a rider that likes an aggressive vehicle for the urban environment and the occasional fire road on the weekend.

Four Rivers H-D Paducah, KY H-D Sportser Iron 883 XL883N "Go Dammit"

Four Rivers H-D Sportser Iron 883 XL883N “Go Dammit”

H-D SPORTSTER IRON 883 (XL 883N) 2016
When Brady first brought up the idea of entering the “The Custom Kings” we asked ourselves can we do this and we thought of the H-D promo “Roll Your Own” and what would be our theme. Somehow the phase of “Go-Dammit” evolved out of our discussions.

Immediately we started talking about which Sportster would be our choice and the bad ass XL883N Iron 883 was the obvious choice. We had a Black Denim unit in stock and it was the perfect one.

We wanted to have a highly customized Iron 883 that would be different than any we had ever seen, yet maintain the Harley-Davidson blood line and define our build to be 100% HD Genuine P&A and Four Rivers fabrication and modifications. We were able to do this and utilized only HD components from other models such as FXSB, XL883L, XL1200X, FLTRX, FLHX, and many Genuine HD P&A items. By adding many customization efforts from creating a FRHD”Go-Dammit” custom exhaust from the stock system to the special Ostrich orange/white stitched XL seat to the custom paint job with silver leaf accents, we believe we have hit it out of the park!!!!!!!. Not only was our Build Team excited, the entire dealership staff became excited to see each day’s progress.

We proudly present our XL883N Iron 883 “Go-Dammit Bagger” and its Four Rivers Harley-Davidson Custom Kings package for your consideration and thank you for the opportunity to participate.

Southside H-D Virginia Beach, VA H-D Sportster Forty-Eight XL1200X "Trail Bob"

Southside H-D Sportster Forty-Eight XL1200X “Trail Bob”

Built on the foundation of simple yet functional, this “48”-based custom stays true to its roots. With the attitude of a post-war bobber and the functionality of a trail machine, it’s equally at home cruising the city streets or carving up the gravel back roads. To accentuate the styling, special attention was focused on trimming down and streamlining all of the unsightly necessities that are generally associated with ABS, fuel injection, hands-free security, and key-less ignition systems. From its stout riding position and high-riding exhaust to its aggressive dual-sport tires, this go-anywhere Sportster means business in any environment. From all of us at Southside Harley-Davidson, we proudly present the 2016 Harley-Davidson Trail Bob.

Hot Rod Harley Sportster By Shaw Speed & Custom

Every day the folks at Bike EXIF post another interesting motorcycle. Most are not Harley, but all are worth checking out. Here is one custom Harley Sportster they shared recently that we though our viewers might find interesting.

EXCLUSIVE Recenty was the finale of the London International Custom Bike Show. So here’s a first look at the most interesting bike, the ‘XLST3’ from Shaw Speed & Custom. SS&C is the custom workshop of an East Sussex Harley dealer, and the south coast boys were the big winner on the night—with XLST3 and a second entry (‘Nascafe Racer’) coming first and third in the Modified Harley-Davidson class.

Harley-Davidson Sportster custom
XLST3 is based on a 2011-model XL1200N, with several key mods. The bike sports a custom exhaust system—built in-house—and has also been converted to chain drive. The stock front end has been fettled with titanium nitrided forks, progressive springs and XL883 fork lowers. A braced swingarm and Öhlins shocks keep the back wheel [Read more…]

Sam’s Led Sled Custom Harley Sportster

If you think this little golden beast is absolutely stunning, you should have seen it before. Way before. “Yeah,” notes Pat Patterson, the guru behind Dayton, Ohio’s Led Sled Customs. “Most people bring us new or almost new bikes. In terms of how they usually look when they’re brought to us, yours was kind of an exception.”

And with those words, Pat exposes himself as a generous master of understatement. This Sportster was a wreck when it first darkened Led Sled’s door, the battered victim of a fairly spectacular end-over-end, game-crushing incident that involved, among other things, a frozen front brake and me barrel-rolling 50 yards down the road. I’m not exactly proud of that little stunt. I am, however, proud (extremely proud) of this bike. At least as it stands today. It’s mine, and I’m one lucky dude. Now, with that out of the way we can get down to business.

After my header, I was left with a totaled 1996 XL 1200, a sorry state of affairs by any measure. Always quick with a solution (not to mention a snarky comment), AIM Editor Chris Maida suggested we turn my balled-up bike into a magazine project. I believe Chris’ words were something to the effect of “We haven’t done a Sportster in awhile and so, being the $#@?&% idiot that you are, you just helped us out.” He’s such a kind man.
Anyway, we didn’t have to wrack our brains for long to agree on who would be ideal to tackle such a potentially heinous project. Pat and his Led Sled crew were the obvious choice, as they specialize in Sportsters, and their builds tend to involve chucking everything stock, except for the motor, about the only part of my bike that had managed to avoid the carnage. Okay, maybe my gas cap survived. Regardless, one call to Pat and the party was on.

For those unaware, Led Sled has fast become renowned for its thoroughly unique treatment of Sportys. However, not too long ago, Pat was making his cake as an overland trucker, a job he held for 10 years, starting at age 21 with his own rig. He eventually ended up with six semis and a team he posted on various Midwestern routes. All the while, though, he was toying first with his 1993 XL and later with other people’s rides. When he wasn’t hauling freight, he was in his garage trying to make Sportsters look cool with little more than a bench, grinder, and MIG welder. Pat also discovered he could lay down some killer paint. That led to him going to vocational school and learning how to work a lathe. Then, of course, he needed more room in a real shop.

Although he didn’t realize it, the seeds for Led Sled were quickly being sown. “$#!% just happened, until I was so busy working on bikes one day that it dawned on me: I couldn’t drive trucks anymore because if I’m not here at the shop all the time, this place ain’t gonna grow.” That was around 2003, when Led Sled officially opened its doors. Pat was 31 and destined to become “The Man” in XL land.
“We’ve been really blessed,” admits Pat, considering the state of the custom world today. “I never started this company thinking we’d have a niche or that I was going to roll the Sportster market. I’ll do a big bike for somebody, no problem. But Sportsters are what I want to build. That’s where my heart is. Hell, I still have a million parts in my head that would make a Sportster look cool.”
At this point does anyone doubt Pat’s enthusiasm for Sportsters? Let’s hope not.

And so, with my wadded Sporty in hand, Pat and the boys went to work putting Led Sled’s hardtail kit to the test. The kit comes with a rear fender, battery tray, and oil tank already mounted. First of all, they ripped my bike apart and threw everything away, save for the motor and the front half of the frame — all the easier to register and insure it, given the stamped VIN numbers. “We cut the frame right behind the top motor mount on the backbone and then 3″ underneath the rear motor mount,” explains Pat. “Those welds and cuts are right at motor mounts. So even though you’ve just welded it, the rigidity of the mill, which adds a lot of the structure to the frame, basically holds the entire bike together anyway. You could probably run these kits without even welding because of where we strategically place the slugs to slide into the tubes. From there, we just started throwing our parts on it.” Like their new floorboards and that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it covert license tag. “We call it our fleeing and eluding bracket because … ” Just take a guess, please.

Things came together pretty quickly, and Pat claims the build was just plain fun and simple. “After all, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for a dude in his garage to install our parts,” Pat says. “Your bike mainly consists of our hardtail kit. We wanted to show how good your bike can look with just that. When it came time to give it flash, Paughco gave us that bitchin’ front end. Then I narrowed the tank to bring that skinny feel into play.”

And does anyone notice those bars? “With those, we went for an edgy, out-there, hardcore feel. Nothing traditional. You can change the whole attitude of a bike with just handlebars.” Mission most definitely accomplished. “It’s funny. The bike is really so simple, but you still just have to stare at it.” And stare at it people do, often in a trance. After a prolonged meditation, one transfixed friend (an Irishman) mumbled, “It’s amazing, like, Steve McQueen meets Liberace.” Priceless.

On that note, perhaps it’s time to address the way this golden knockout rides. Being a suicide-foot-clutch, jockey-shift, no-front-brake conundrum, it takes some getting used to. For most people, it’s probably not the most ideal machine to tackle the mean streets of, say, New York City. Then again, most people wouldn’t even think of riding this bike — even if they could figure it out, that is. In that respect, it’s got a form of natural theft protection. The truth is, once you get in the groove, it’s an incredibly fun, fast, and nimble animal to bang around on. Just try to avoid the many yahoos who almost crash into you trying to catch a glimpse of a machine they may have never seen the likes of before. It’s not easy being gold. And a Led Sled.

As much as I’d like to beat my chest and say that I’ve logged many miles on this beauty, the honor belongs to Chris Maida who cranked it all the way up the East Coast from Daytona to New York, except for a 200-mile trip to Charlotte to fix a blown head gasket, in three days! I had to fly home. Does that make me soft? Maybe. But my time will come. For the moment, though, Chris, bastard that he is, reigns as the true warrior. You don’t know how it pains me to write that.

Now I’m going to stare at my gorgeous golden girl. AIM