Speedster. A Drag Style Sportster.

000-beaschli0000-beaschli00-beaschliTo look like a full blown custom when you do a bolt-on job is not easy task and most fail at this customization exercise. The merit is even greater when your platform is a Sportster, Harley-Davidson longest continuously manufactured model whose signature styling has remain almost the same since its introduction in 1957. Close to 60 years during which the Sporty has been customized or rebuilt in all possible ways and under the pretext of so many themes.

4-beaschli2-beaschli1-beaschli1bis-beaschliWith its very appealing price and being for many the motorcycle to access the Harley lineup (now, with the addition of the Street), all official Harley dealers know that showing a custom version of the Sportster will sell more Sporties, but at only one condition. That the budget involved in creating your own doesn’t exceed 1/3rd of the paid stock version, or 1/2 for the most fortunate buyers.

8-beaschli10-beaschliAs the factory claims in its advertising the Iron 883 is for for those who want their first taste of that ride-hard-lifestyle, tearing up asphalt and backroads instead of polishing paint and chrome. For the project featured here, Baechli Harley-Davidson – the largest official dealer in Switzerland – wanted to reinforce the Sporty racing heritage and went for the full blown drag styling for an authentic, throwback riding experience that should please many youngsters and less young.

6bis-beaschli6-beaschliBecause this custom Sporty can be ordered as you see it here directly from a Harley dealer wishing to protect buyers with the factory warranty, on purpose the 883 cc engine and 5-speed tranny are untouched. The work performed is mostly aesthetics although one of the options is to boost power with a big bore 1200 cc kit. But let’s not forget that the Iron 883 Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection motor is as good as a hopped-up Ironhead of the 70’s, and without the risk of blowing a gasket…

0000000-beaschliFor most, as stock, the powertrain is good enough to blast down the street or race your friends on country roads. On this Baechli Sporty, the only add-ons are a deeper breathing MAX HP Air Cleaner from Performance Machine and BSL slip-ons on to end of the stock staggered exhaust.

Front suspension is now an adapted Paughco Springer front end. Rear suspension remains stock because everything being relative the Iron 883 comes stock with a generous travel for a rubber mounted engine “bruiser”. Gas tank was slightly modified and with new frame brackets raised on the backbone, pure Frisco style.

Sheet metal work also includes reshaping the rear fender to a strict minimum and welding a flush mount gas cap. Choice of wheels helps in defining the aggressive stance with a 19 x 3.5” replacing the front stock 18” i and a 16 x 5” replacing the factory 17 x 4.5”. So, how is it possible that the rear wheel & tire look so much wider on some pictures? An optic illusion created by the giant Speedster white lettering mimicking the fat Mickey Thompson pro drag tire.

11-beaschli12-beaschliOther bolt-on accessories include clip-on type Burly Clubman Bars reminiscent of the M Bars used on 70’s sport bikes and moped… For seating, a simple black Tuck n’ Roll Biltwell Thinline seat. Thanks to MotoGadget, risers top clamp integrates speedo and indicators lights. As simple as this project really is, just be prepared for at least one headache. Redoing the electrical wiring and re-routing. Hiding it on a 2015-up Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection Sportster is quite challenging for a non-professional, but it should not prevent you to venture in such a project. A black metallic paint job with gold scrolling and lettering is always a winner and largely contributes to the great visual appeal of this very desirable  customized Iron 883 Sportster. Baechli Harley-Davidson. (photography @ Horst Roesler for Cyril Huze)

11 Responses to “Speedster. A Drag Style Sportster.”

  1. 1 grouchy Aug 22nd, 2016 at 11:08 am

    “Drag style” is the key phrase here, any real drag strip runs would have your ass on the back tire, ha, ha.

  2. 2 P. Hamilton Aug 22nd, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Superb customization for a bolt-on.

  3. 3 JohnJohn Aug 22nd, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Looks to me like the Sportster is currently the most customized HD bike. Guess Harley must like this.

  4. 4 JohnJohn Aug 22nd, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Like much

  5. 5 seymour Aug 22nd, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Reminds me of how hard I fell in love with the XLX back in the early 80’s.

  6. 6 James just another crazy kiwi Aug 22nd, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    I bought a new XLX in 83 cool bike.
    I wonder if the Sportsters are going to get 4 valve heads like the big blocks

  7. 7 1550tc Aug 22nd, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    these sportys just give guys so many options and make for some great looking bikes ..too bad their so under powered

  8. 8 calif phil Aug 23rd, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I love it. Great example of the Sporsters timeless style.

  9. 9 Sukoshi Fahey Aug 23rd, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Rear tire is actually Avon’s Safety Mileage tire and front is the Speedmaster.

  10. 10 JohnnySpeed Aug 23rd, 2016 at 10:49 am

    1550tc – They’re not underpowered if you put a bit of work into the motor. It takes very little to make a sporty motor into a fire breather.

  11. 11 nicker Aug 23rd, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    “…went for the full blown drag styling for an authentic, throwback…”

    Tank mounting doesn’t look right…..
    Too high for a drag bike(?)


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Cyril Huze