Sporty Project



So my Sporty Project has been on somewhat of a “hold” lately, due to a lot of work being done on the Stepside. But out-of-site, does not mean out-of-mind. There are still some things I want to get done and I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week. Vintage white grips (like these) are coming soon… and I think I may have found the answer to my plain tank. Initially, I had just planned on having a buddy do a little pin-striping but I found the bike pictured below on the Harley-Davidson “Dark Custom” website.


The bike is owned by a cat in Wisconsin who IMHO has really good taste! I freakin’ love this tank graphic. Something similar may be in order. Maybe not gold-leaf per se, but something with this feel and vibe would be cool. What do you think? I already have a couple ideas for what it might say.





Well… tonight I decided I would create some faux white letters on my rear tire. I’ve heard this discussed on various forums and also have a buddy that has done this to his bike. It sounds simple enough. You get a Duplicolor paint pen in white, or whatever color you fancy, and go to town on the outline of the existing letters on your tire. No problem… uh, well, not really. It is incredibly tedious and takes forever. Then when you are finally done, it doesn’t look all that great. It’s nearly impossible to stay on target with your tiny brush… as you can see in these pictures! Seriously kiddies… my advice would be not to try this at home unless you are a lot more precise than I am. The good news is… the farther you get away from it, the better it looks!



Last night I painted the chrome air cleaner cover on my Sporty rattle-can-black. Too much chrome is a bad thing to me. The chrome oil filter went away with last weeks oil change as well. I think some other chrome parts might disappear soon also. Stay tuned.



Late night in the garage…tank’s back on.


As Garth used to say… “I Got Friends In Low Places!” …and thankfully my friend Scooter likes to help out his ‘ole buddy Swag. We were talking about rattle-can paint the other day and he mentioned that he had some Emerald Green flake lying around and some clear “poly” he needed to use up. Coincidentally, I had a tank that needed paint! So, I spent the evening at his place tonight while he delivered the goods. These pics are horrible quality, (bad camera phone) but hopefully you get the idea. He shot a metallic silver base coat and then the Emerald Green flake over it. It looks killer! Emerald Green Flake it is! (Better pix coming soon.) I’m going to have to name this bike “Scooter” since the real Scooter has done so much work on it!



This weekend was all about sanding. It’s not a lot of fun, but a necessary “evil” before paint… and I finally got it done. Since my stock tank was already painted, I didn’t take it down to the bare metal… and instead, just knocked the sheen off, roughing it up with 400 grit paper. I was careful to make sure the existing logos were sanded completely flat (they will later be primed) and followed with a round of 800 grit all over the tank. I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture below… but the result is a roughed up, dulled-out stock tank that I think (hope!) is ready for spray.

DISCLAIMER: So at this point I know that all the “real” painters out there are probably cringing but remember… my purpose is to do this on the “lo-budget” right now and also learn what the heck I am doing… so bear with me pros!

BTW… Here’s a picture for all the Harley-Davidson snobs out there who go out of their way to proclaim their bikes are 100% USA. Maybe not. This is on the bottom of my stock fuel petcock.



Crazy storms again here in Nashvegas tonight. But despite the winds, rain and pebble sized hail, I still got a bit done on the Sporty project. My license plate bracket is now mounted. I’m getting really close now to having something ride-able. Still a huge step awaits… PAINT! If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a major tightwad and paint is going to be a bit tricky. I’m not going for an “Easter Egg” look, by any means, but I also don’t want it to look like a kindergarten finger painting. I’m not sure how this is going to go. Wish me luck!



To the naked eye… it might not look like much is getting done on the Sporty Project but the little things are adding up. I got the new re-bar sissy-bar painted black and I also painted the new speedo mount my buddy Scooter made for me and got the speedo locked down in place. It’s getting there… but I still have some major things to accomplish. I had hoped to have the bike ride-able by March 24th (Spring Thaw Bike Show Day) but I’m not sure I’m going to make it by then.



One small step for me, one giant step for the the Sporty Project… Haha! The custom taillight is now wired and actually works!



Got a lot done on the Sporty Project today… but I can’t take credit for any of it. My brother-from-another-mother, Scooter, dropped by this afternoon and we loaded the bike up and hauled it to his shop where some “real stuff” was accomplished. The rear fender is now installed, courtesy of Scooter’s mad welding skills, and after a trip to the local Gil’s Hardware store for some reinforced bar, the Sporty now sports a cool little hand-made sissy-bar. It was a good day.



It was a gorgeous, sunshine-filled day in the mid 50s here in Nashvegas… so I took advantage of the great February weather to get a little more done on the Sporty Project. The major accomplishment was getting the tank pulled but before that I dropped the battery back in to check the wiring I did a couple of weeks ago. I even fired it up and rode down the road and back a few times. (Man… it was good to hear that potato-potato again!) Fatty Headlight lo and hi Beams, Speedo, Starter… everything seems to be working just fine. Now it’s on to the rear fender and paint!




Well… I didn’t get anything real exciting accomplished on the Sporty Project this weekend but I did make a little more progress. I got the Fatboy headlight spliced in and ready to light my way. I also got the speedo flipped in its housing. I had to grind off a metal clip and some of the plastic for the reset button to clear, but mission accomplished and it’s now ready to install… as soon as I get the mounting bracket back which is being fab’d by a buddy of mine.  The last picture shows the approximate position the speedo will be in. Again… not real exciting stuff but any progress is good!



Saws are buzzing… Chunks of metal frame are hitting the garage floor… It’s total mayhem! Well, not really… but my buddy Scooter did drop by with his beast of a saw to take care of those pesky fender struts for me. We got the new (and longer) clutch cable installed as well. All in all, a pretty good bit of progress on the Sporty Project. I’d really like to get this done in the next few weeks.



Despite the fact that I wasn’t feeling real great this morning, I made a little more progress on the Sporty Project today. You know… the deeper I get into this… the more respect I have for the guys out there who do this on a regular basis and make it look so easy. Guys like my buddy Scooter at Both Barrels, Josh over at Confederate Customs and my Northeastern buddy Jamie Dykeman at Black Frame Cycle Projects in Sandwich, Mass (and many others) shall receive a whole new level of respect from me now that I am attempting this minor customization on my own! It ain’t easy folks… but I’m learning a lot and with any luck will finish this puppy within the next century or so…haha! It seems like there is an unexpected challenge with every step and most of them I am at a loss on how to resolve! Still… I keep plugging along and finally figure it out. I got the belt guard and the old shocks off today and the Burly Slammers installed. I also managed to get the rear fender off and started thinking about placement of the new rear fender. And speaking of challenges… that rear fender is going to be a doozy. Not sure how that’s going to work yet. Here’s some pics of today’s mayhem.





Well… not really but I did go to a car show today which happened to have a huge swap meet… and while I was there I saw this center hub cover off of an American Racing wheel. Got it for 2 bucks and it will soon become the gas cap on the Sporty project. (Hmmm… the dog seems to like it too.) Here’s what I mean… of course the tank will be a different color but you get the idea.



More parts arrived today for the Sporty Project. I picked up a retainer ring for the Fatboy headlight. It was missing on the unit I acquired via my buddy Scooter and the local H-D dealer scored one for me. I can also thank Scooter for snagging this rear fender for me. And last but not least, my Burly Slammer (eBay find) rear shocks arrived in the brown truck. Wouldn’t it be cool if I actually had time to install all of these cool parts? One day… one day…


Sometimes it’s the little things that make life grande. Today I was super-excited to get the new clutch cable for the Sporty project. Whoooohoooo!!!! Can’t wait to get it installed.



I’ve always loved the look of big, huge headlights and the Sporty project would not be complete if one were not added. The new Fatboy illuminate adds about 2 inches in diameter and a much fatter shape to the stock vibe. I REALLY love this look. The front-end is getting closer. Another baby step completed. Below is a before and after look.

And here’s a side view of the new light… followed by a side by side comparison. (Sorry for the crummy photo. They are both actually chrome… flash photography with the point-and-shoot sucks!) Obviously the new light (left) is FATTTTTT!!!!!!!



Here’s another update on my Sporty project. I know I’m bombarding you with these lately but I’m trying to make some progress before I have to get back to the grind next week. Actually, I had hoped to get a couple things done today but Murphy set in and I had a few problems. I made some really dumb mistakes but I guess that’s part of the fun of doing it yourself… right??? The most costly one was when I inadvertently rounded off the head of the bleeder screw while I was bleeding the line. (The previous guy got it started!) No biggie I guess since I was able to pick up a replacement piece from the local H-D dealership for $5.52.

After I got the problem resolved I decided it was time to test out the Biltwell Frisco bars and see just how they felt. I shot a video, and though it is pretty poor quality, it does give a pretty good picture (if you look close) of the new riding position. This was the best part of the day and got my blood pumping to get this sucker done. I’m lovin’ the Friscos!

The worst part of the day kind of blind-sided me however. Some of the tools I’ve been using on this project were my dads. I’ve been doing pretty good dealing with his passing but for some reason at one point when I looked at those tools today I had a melt down. My friend Eric, who lost his dad last year, told me that I needed to cry and cry often as part of the grieving process. Well.. today I took your advice Eric. I miss you dad and I wish you were here to help me with this.

More updates to come…


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My Sporty Bobber project is officially in process. 1″ risers and Biltwell Frisco Bars now grace the front end. More complicated changes are on the way, so I’ve recruited my buddy Scooter to lend a hand and moral support. Stay tuned for coolness!


I made a little (and I mean little) progress this weekend on the Sporty project. First… it’s official that nobody will ever be a passenger on this bike. See that big hole below? That’s where the passenger peg used to be. Gone!

… and I had to get rid of that straight-up license plate bracket. I installed the lay-down bracket below and even though it might be rendered useless if I end up bobbing the fender… for now it improves the looks of the bike.


Baby Steps… that’s what I call it. I’m making progress on my Sportster project… one baby step at a time. Today I did a little more removing… as in the crash bar. My friend Chessie will be so happy! I can see where it’s going, it just may take a while to get there… one baby step at a time. Here’s some bad before and after pics on the crash bar.


Things seem like they are moving slowly with my Sportster project… but that’s OK. I’m in no hurry… and I took a major step forward today. The seat for this project is going to determine a lot of other things, like what size risers and bars will be used, if mid or forward controls will be better, if struts or low-profile shocks are the best option, etc. The seat kind of dictates how everything else will fit together. I did a lot of research and there really don’t seem to be a lot of options out there short of a custom seat… and given the fact that I hate the look of “spring” seats, the obvious choice was the LePera Bare Bones. I ordered one from Both Barrels and got it today! I didn’t have time to ride it but did get it installed. Here are a few pics… including a before and after.