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Classic Harley-Davidson Sportster Becomes a Neat Display of Bespoke Metalwork

An untrained eye might even have some difficulty identifying the Sportster below that alloy costume.
Harley-Davidson Sportster 8 photos
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BareSteel Design’s Jay Donovan is one talented fellow when it comes to metalwork, no doubt about it. The Canadian craftsman appears to share our deep passion for two- and four-wheeled rides of all shapes and sizes, having applied his meticulous abilities to a plethora of fascinating projects in the past. Let’s dive in for a closer look at one such venture.

At its core, the bike you’re seeing here is a 1980 model from Harley-Davidson's Sportster 1000 lineup. In factory-spec, this bad boy is brought to life by an air-cooled Ironhead V-twin leviathan that prides itself with a humungous displacement of 997cc. At about 5,800 rpm, the engine is perfectly capable of summoning up to 55 ponies.

A four-speed transmission feeds this force to the rear wheel by means of a chain final drive. Although Milwaukee’s warrior wasn’t exactly the most agile two-wheeler of its time, we can probably all agree the 1980MY Sportster looks absolutely sensational. However, Donovan’s custom beast is a different animal, so let’s take a second to examine what’s at hand here.

For starters, Donovan went about crafting a loop-style subframe hosting an integrated LED lighting strip, as well as fresh shock mounts. The standard swingarm has been tweaked to accommodate a pair of longer shock absorbers, which level out the bike’s stance. On the other end, the forks were honored with progressive springs, while the cockpit received clip-on handlebars and an aftermarket speedometer.

Now, the most striking aspect of this build has to be that bespoke bodywork. The aluminum fuel tank consists of two separate chambers; one for gas storage, the other for oil. In between, an open space divides them to prevent unwanted heat from reaching the gas tank. At the rear, an alloy tail section houses the machine’s relocated battery.

The finishing touch comes in the form of a curvy exhaust system, topped with a reverse megaphone muffler that peeks out from below the Sportster’s tail. While this entity can’t be described as the most extensive undertaking we’ve seen as of late, it does come to show just how far a one-man exploit can go.


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