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Old 03-23-2015, 04:44 AM   #1
Sidecar Jockey OP
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Sportster Scrambler / Dual sport build

I like building bikes. I like dual sport bikes, but I like Harleys too. I also like a good callenge. I have seen a few scrambler Sportster builds and they looked really cool, but I wanted to build one that might actually be rideable off road. Here's how it went:

Bike selection:
I wanted the solid mount Evo motor and 5 speed tranny.

The mostly stock bike:

Its a 1995 883 deluxe. This bike was selected for several reasons:
1) In my state, I can get a historic tag and registration (no inspections ever) on bikes that are 20+ years old. 1995 just makes the cut!
2) It has spoke wheels. This is only really important because I'll need the rear hub to lace up an 18'' aluminium rim to. The front wheel will be completely replaced, but more on that later...
3) It has an electronic speedo. I'm swapping out the front end, but want to keep the stock dash/speedo so an electronic speedo keeps me from having to rig up a hybrid cable drive.

The bike had a high output H4 headlight with pugraded reflector, high flow "Scremin' Eagle" intake and carb jet kit, and corbin seat. The first two upgrades I really liked, but I'm not going to use that big seat for the build.

Sidecar Jockey screwed with this post 03-23-2015 at 07:52 AM
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Old 03-23-2015, 04:46 AM   #2
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Here is my plan for the build:

1) Replace the front forks, wheel, and brake with ones from a Honda XL600r. The XL600r has 39mm tubes and the spacing is just about the same as the Sportster. I plan to use the stock triple trees, risers, dash, headlight, etc. (thanks Gingerbeard for the fork swap info!)

2) Lace an 18x3 aluminium rim to the stock rear hub.

3) Chain conversion. I'll probably drop a tooth on the front sprocket to lower the gearing.

4) Rear shocks. I'll get some 15'' Progressive shocks wo raise it up and improve the ride.

5) Remove as much weight as possible. I'll get one of those <2lb lithium batteries, plastic dual sport front and rear fenders, and remove everything I can. Ideally, I would like it to be ~400 lbs.... but I'm not sure that that's possible (I have seen a lot of people claim to have a 400 lb Sportster, but I have never seen a scale ticket to prove it, so I'm skeptical). It just needs to be light enough that I can ride it through the rough stuff.

6) Fabricate a high exhaust.

7) Better handlebars, pegs, and grips. I have a set of 883R handlebars that I'll use. I'll use the OEM Harley rubber foot pegs because they are squishy and super comfortable.
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Old 03-23-2015, 04:46 AM   #3
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Here is a my donor bike for the front end and wheel:

This is a 1988 honda xl600r. I bought it cheap as a 'parts bike' (no title). I'll use the front end components on this Sportster build and keep a few other parts as spares for my other xl600r. I already sold off all the stuff I don't want. The Honda rear rim has the wrong spoke pattern to use with the Harley hub, so I'm going to use a Harley 18'' aluminium rim from the 1970's that I have in my parts stash.
Notice the gold rims and fork sliders? I'm liking that look, so I'm going to powder coat my rear rim gold to match. The Honda front end wheel are significantly lighter than the Sportster units. I'll weigh the parts on a bathroom scale to get an idea of weight savings, stay tuned for the data.
I also got a Honda skid plate with the parts bike (not shown in photo), and it fits the Sportster frame very nicely. I'll fabricate some brackets to mount up the Honda skid plate too!

I moved the bike into the basement and started to tear it down:

I'll basically be removing the whole front end, the whole rear end, and the exhaust.
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Old 03-23-2015, 04:48 AM   #4
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Here are the fenders for the build. The front is a UFO plastics 'universal fit' dirt bike front fender. The rear is a plastic 'bobber' fender that I found on Amazon... but I think it will make a great dual sport fender. Both fenders together don't even register on my bathroom scale, so they will save significant weight over the stock steel ones.


This is the Honda xl600r front end and wheel removed from my parts bike and ready to go onto the Sportster!
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Old 03-23-2015, 04:53 AM   #5
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I installed the Honda XL600R front forks, wheel, axle, and brakes onto the Sportster. It went together so easily, its basically a bolt on mod.

The tubes slid into the Sportster trees without a problem! I installed the UFO universal front fender. It might be to short in the front to offer good mud and water protection though...
I also swapped out the buckhorn style bars for a set off of an 883R. They will be much more comfortable and look the part too.



I need to get a new brake line for the front, and grind out the 7/8'' clamp on the Honda master cylinder to 1'' to fit the Harley bars
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Old 03-23-2015, 04:56 AM   #6
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I used PBI sprockets and a Renthal O-rin chain for the belt-to-chain conversion. I don't want to risk snapping a belt when some gravel gets cought in it.

With a 21 tooth front and 53 tooth rear sprockets:
At 1,500 RPM in 1st gear, you would be going ~6 mph. At 3,500 in 5th gear you would be going ~67 mph. (this is with the 18'' rear wheel I'll be using, with ~26'' O.D. tire). This combo with a little clutch slipping should let me crawl along as slow as I need to go to et through the rough sections.

Just for reference, stock chain sprocket gearing is 21 front and 48 rear.

I stripped the rest of the bike and mocked up the rear fender. I needed to cut the fender struts off shorter, to line up with where the back of the new plastic fender mounts.

I was also test-fitting my skid plate (which is sitting on the lift in the photo) and I'll be able to mount it with a few simple brackets.



I cut the rear struts off short and mounted the plastic rear fender. It fit really well with a LePara solo seat:


I also reinforced the foot peg mount on the sprocket cover, since it is a known weak point and I'll probably be standing on the pegs a lot. I don't want the peg snapping off while I'm standig on it...
[/

Sidecar Jockey screwed with this post 03-23-2015 at 06:39 AM
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Old 03-23-2015, 04:59 AM   #7
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Building the exhaust:

I welded up a set of srambler style pipes out of some pieces of old pipes I had sitting around
Mock up:

I relocated the coil to the left side motor mount and installed the gas tank:

Here are the pipes after all the welding is done and I fabricated some mounting brackets. I still need to make a bracket to connect the two pipes together near the ends (this bracket will cover the rear weld line on the bottom/rear pipe).


I also installed a skid plate off of a Honda XL600R. It fits the Sportster frame really well with only a few modifications. Its wider than the Sportster frame, but this should provide better protection.


Here is a shot showing the 15'' Burly scrambler shocks and the bracket I made to mount the exhaust pipes:

Sidecar Jockey screwed with this post 03-23-2015 at 06:32 AM
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:33 AM   #8
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Here is the 18'' back wheel with the Shinko 244 tire and a PBI 53 tooth rear sprocket mounted:

Here are some shots of the completed bike:


The stance with the 18'' and 21'' wheels, 15'' rear shocks, and Honda forks is pretty good. I slid the forks up into the triple trees ~2'' to get the bike to sit level. I wish that I could have ordered the rear shocks in 16'', since the seat height really isn't that tall.


I decided not to use my custom painted 'WWII bomber' gas tank that you sw a few photos ago. I'll probably be dropping this bike a lot and don't want to mess up my nice paint job. I put a stock black tank on it instead, since I won't really be upset of this tank gets messed up.

I want to figure out a way to weigh the bike, I bet its much lighter than stock. The Honda front end is much lighter than the Harley one, the wheels are lighter, the plastic front and rear fenders are lighter, the exhaust is lighter, the PBI sprockets are much lighter than the stock pulleys, etc.

With the weight loss and low gearing, I bet this bike wold be really fun with a 1250 kit... That might be an upcoming project.

I haven't ridden it yet, but when I do I'll post a report.

Sidecar Jockey screwed with this post 03-23-2015 at 06:42 AM
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:55 AM   #9
never2old4fun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecar Jockey View Post
Here is the 18'' back wheel with the Shinko 244 tire and a PBI 53 tooth rear sprocket mounted:

Here are some shots of the completed bike:


The stance with the 18'' and 21'' wheels, 15'' rear shocks, and Honda forks is pretty good. I slid the forks up into the triple trees ~2'' to get the bike to sit level. I wish that I could have ordered the rear shocks in 16'', since the seat height really isn't that tall.


I decided not to use my custom painted 'WWII bomber' gas tank that you sw a few photos ago. I'll probably be dropping this bike a lot and don't want to mess up my nice paint job. I put a stock black tank on it instead, since I won't really be upset of this tank gets messed up.

I want to figure out a way to weigh the bike, I bet its much lighter than stock. The Honda front end is much lighter than the Harley one, the wheels are lighter, the plastic front and rear fenders are lighter, the exhaust is lighter, the PBI sprockets are much lighter than the stock pulleys, etc.

With the weight loss and low gearing, I bet this bike wold be really fun with a 1250 kit... That might be an upcoming project.

I haven't ridden it yet, but when I do I'll post a report.
Very nice build. As for the shocks. I used Progressive model shock #413 that are 15 3/4" for my sportster build. I also put a chain conversion on, but with the those shocks I needed to put a tensioner on it to keep the chain from contacting the swing arm. Just a little info for you.
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Old 03-23-2015, 12:32 PM   #10
Te Hopo
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Damn that looks like fun, nice job
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Old 03-23-2015, 12:59 PM   #11
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Congratulations! Super, very finished look!

Any measurements on the ground clearance, seat & peg height? How's the heft at the bars feel? (the engine seems up a ways above the axle line).

I even like it with the stock tank, as nice as the other custom one is.

Now we need the first ride report.
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:19 PM   #12
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Good mix of mods; very nice!

Regards

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Old 03-23-2015, 01:52 PM   #13
Sidecar Jockey OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HapHazard View Post
Congratulations! Super, very finished look!

Any measurements on the ground clearance, seat & peg height? How's the heft at the bars feel? (the engine seems up a ways above the axle line).

I even like it with the stock tank, as nice as the other custom one is.

Now we need the first ride report.
The seat height is ~31 inches, so its not very tall. I don't have the ground clearance or peg height measurements, but I'll take some for you.

The bike doesn't feel too 'hefty' when you're sitting on it. It actually feels lighter and less top heavy than I thought it would, but its no light weight. The engine is high up though, and there isn't really anything I can do about that other than major frame surgery. For its total weight, it is pretty top heavy, but I think it will be manageable on easy trails.

Surprisingly, it feels less 'hefty' than it did when stock, even with the added height.

I like the look of the stock tank too, but it only holds 2.2 gallons. I would like more gas, but a bigger tank is going to make the bike even more top heavy.

I'll post a ride report once I take it out. It will be a few weekends until I have time to take it out though.

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Old 03-23-2015, 01:56 PM   #14
Sidecar Jockey OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by never2old4fun View Post
Very nice build. As for the shocks. I used Progressive model shock #413 that are 15 3/4" for my sportster build. I also put a chain conversion on, but with the those shocks I needed to put a tensioner on it to keep the chain from contacting the swing arm. Just a little info for you.
Thanks for the info. Do you have a build thread for you Sportster? I'd like to check it out.
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:58 PM   #15
never2old4fun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecar Jockey View Post
Thanks for the info. Do you have a build thread for you Sportster? I'd like to check it out.
Never really did a build thread on the project, but there is a little info about what I used on the bike. Also a picture in the "Road Warriors" forum under a thread named " Sportster to a post Apocalyptic Scrambler". Its on page #2, post #19.
Keep in mind the projects not done yet as I've got much more to do with it before it's done.
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