The Panster Is a Custom Hardtail Chopper With Harley Sportster Power and Classic Looks

The Panster 9 photos
Photo: Mark Luciani
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Many chopper-style machines tend to be over the top, but The Panster manages to be a true attention-grabber without looking ridiculous.
The Harley-Davidson Sportster platform is a darling of custom motorcycle builders all over the world, and there’s absolutely no shortage of models or generations for these craftsmen to choose from. Despite it being disregarded by some Harley purists, we’ve seen Milwaukee’s long-running nameplate lending itself to just about anything from cafe racer to hardtail bobber conversions over the years.

Sportsters hold more than enough versatility to be considered ripe for customization, so they are to bike-modding aficionados what a blank canvas might’ve been to Salvador Dali. With that being said, we’ll go right ahead and introduce you to The Panster – a bobbed 1993 MY XL883 forged by two Canadians from Ontario.

Operating as Augment Motorworks, Nick Acosta isn’t what you’d refer to as a full-time builder, but he does take client orders for maintenance, repairs, or even complete projects. The guy’s first major customization venture was actually the result of an unfortunate crash, which left his dear Honda CB750K in dire need of a makeover. He ended up turning it into a stylish cafe racer, and things just went from there.

The Panster
Photo: Mark Luciani
For the Sportster-based exploit we’re about to look at, Nick enrolled the help of a friend named Victor, whose know-how he deemed indispensable on this occasion. The lads first got together to discuss some design ideas, eventually settling on a hardtail bob-job that leans heavily towards the chopper extreme. Once they’d decided in which direction this build ought to be taken, it was game on.

The stand-out feature here is obviously the conversion to a rigid frame from TC Bros, but let’s start by looking at the extensive powertrain upgrades performed before this new skeleton was installed. To beef things up performance-wise, Nick and his buddy had the V-twin motor’s capacity increased to 1,200cc with a Screamin’ Eagle kit.

Moreover, they fitted top-shelf Accel ignition hardware and Andrews cams, along with a set of Panhead-style billet aluminum rocker covers supplied by Led Sled Customs. The carburetor was overhauled using a mixture of S&S Cycle and CV Performance goodies, subsequently receiving a bespoke intake setup clad in a meshed air filter. At the opposite end of the combustion cycle, we find custom exhaust pipework sporting chromed heat shields.

For an extra touch of vintage flair, the Sportster now carries a retrofitted kick start module, which is mated to a 1996 model’s five-speed transmission. Accompanied by a Barnett heavy-duty clutch, the gearbox sends power to the rear wheel via a 530 chain, as opposed to the belt drive originally employed by the Harley.

The Panster
Photo: Mark Luciani
With the engine and drivetrain mods out of the way, Nick and Victor busied themselves with powder-coating the hardtail frame for which these parts were destined. The XL883’s telescopic forks have been retained, but they were rebuilt with higher-spec internals from Progressive Suspension. Down in the unsprung sector, you’ll see a pair of Avon AV72 Cobra tires embracing the stock hoops.

The brakes got treated to sintered pads and stainless-steel lines at both ends, while the stock handlebar received aftermarket control levers, Drag Specialties risers, and aluminum grips. Lighting comes from a triangular headlamp up front and a tombstone-style taillight down south, but there’s not a single blinker in sight. The last bit of Augment Motorworks’ makeover addressed the cosmetic side of things.

Glance center-stage, and you will spot a Wassell peanut fuel tank whose colorway was executed by Black Widow Custom Paint. There’s a sprung leather saddle taking pride of place further back, along with a horseshoe oil tank that’s been manufactured in-house. In typical chopper fashion, The Panster’s southernmost portion features a bespoke sissy bar and one burly rear fender.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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