The Harley-Davidson Motorcycle company is one of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers. One of the company’s most successful models has got to be the Sportster, which has been produced continuously since 1957. There have been countless different Sportster models, however, all of them had a 45-degree air-cooled V-twin engine and a softail. The long production run makes the Sportster one of the most popular motorcycles out there that are being modified by owners. And why not? Aftermarket parts are sold in abundance and in a wide variety of prices. People that own a Harley Sportster really love their bike. For a very long time, it was also the most affordable Harley-Davidsons on the price list. It is the VW Beetle of motorcycles.
Daniel Nyland is an Arizona based engineer that loves to work on motorcycles in his spare time. He grew up riding dirt bikes and ATVs, and this particular Harley-Davidson was his first street motorcycle. The 1991 Sportster was sourced fairly cheap, which was great because that meant money could be spent on modifying it. Daniel feels that people often talk a lot of smack about Sportster, which is a load of nonsense because they are a blast to ride. We wholeheartedly agree with him on that point.
Inspiration for this build cannot be pinpointed to one specific moment or event, but rather a combination of various ideas. Daniel likes café racers and bobbers, so some influence was drawn from those. Many hours were spent on the internet looking at bikes and trying to figure out what would look badass. Going minimalistic was on the table, and it didn’t take long before all non-essential parts were removed, and the bike was stripped down to its bare bones. The engine had to be the centerpiece and everything else had to flow from there on.
Daniel believes that there are three major aspects to a well build motorcycle: the engine, the frame, and the bodywork. Each has to flow well with itself, but they all have to work with each other as well. The look of bare metal and seeing the grains and imperfections that are normally covered up by a traditional paint job, are what make Daniel’s heart pump faster. So, he wanted all the tins to be bare and add some hand drawn sketches to break it up as well as add some unique character to the bike. He knew he wanted the engine-case to be a semi-gloss black, with the covers and starter being raw metal grey, accompanied by a bitchin’ stainless steel 2-2 exhaust.
As with most builds, there were some challenges during the process. Assembling and disassembling the bike multiple times, making sure that everything was the way Daniel wanted it was one of those pains. All to make sure that in the end, he would realize that he should have done it differently. “When you look at the gorgeous creations from the pro builders you don’t understand the amount of foresight that goes into building a quality bike until you’re doing it yourself.”
Some of the work was done by a local shop called “Bloody Knuckle”. They helped out with some of the welding on the frame as well as creating the rear fender. Hammer Performance supplied the motor kit as well as reworking a set of 2007 heads. Everything else was done by Daniel himself.
What modifications are made and what parts were used?
- Bare Knuckle Choppers hardtail kit
- Black powder coat spoked wheels
- Custom speedo mount
- Vertical oil tank
- Blackbird fuel tank w/ integrated fuel sight
- Custom rear fender
- V-rod style headlight cowl
- Chainsikle rearsets
- 1275 kit from Hammer Perf w/ reworked 2007 heads
- HP560 cams
- CV40 performance upgrades
- RXC velocity stack
- EMD primary cover
- Custom SS exhaust w/ internal ceramic coat
- Dyna 2ki ignition w/ Dyna coils
- Trimmed cam cover
- Cognito Moto GPS Speedo
- Custom coil mount
- Antigravity battery
- Tokico front caliper conversion
- Progressive Suspension lowering springs
- Custom electrical box hidden underneath battery tray
It is incredible to see that everything flows perfectly together, especially the subtle brass accents that help tie everything together. The Sportster rides like a beast, with the Hammer Performance kit hitting hard and pulling long. It’s loud, low, and without a doubt terrorizes the quiet suburban street of Arizona. If there is one thing that Daniel learned from this experience, it is that anyone can do this. Building a motorcycle is an amazing experience and everyone’s motorcycle should be an extension of themselves. Hear, hear!