Hipster Chic Forty-Eight Sportster

Continuously produced since 1957, the Sportster, with all its successive models under the product code XL, may be one of the truest representation of Harley’s DNA. Easy to handle light bikes, with attitude and able to race against the best brands with very few modifications. Far from the “beginner” bike image that some try to portray of motorcycles wearing the Harley Sportster badge.

Each of the family 6 current models share the same unmistakable Sportster styling for a quick responsive handling from a 45-degree Evolution V-Twin engine design in either 883cc or 1200 cc size. Perhaps more that any other Harley model, it’s for many the perfect canvas for mechanical and aesthetics improvements, and with a low acquisition price, one of the major reasons why there are so many Sportster owners around the world and consequently such an abundance of available spare and custom parts.

For this project, went for the low-slung urban brawler attitude of the Sportster Forty-Eight. but as a paradox, called it “Forester” because of its green color! So, let’s say that this one with its spoke wheels and wide wall tires is more hipster chic than made for an all-out urban assault… And if I feature it, it’s mainly because it’s another great example of what can be accomplished using mostly custom bolt-on catalog parts, without having you to ask for the building support of  a metal fabricator and welder.

Of course, most of the after-market parts shown here are the proprietary ones of (like the very cool  steel rear fender, solo seat, air filter, etc) but also from major vendors like Progressive Suspension (412 series black shocks), Rizoma (turn signals), etc. But the possibility of substitution are so numerous with other custom parts from a multitude of other reputable catalog vendors that I let you run your imagination using this Hipster Chic Sportster as a template.  Let your imagination run. All Harley XL models continue to sell solidly. Customs like “Forester” are the reason why. .

19 Responses to “Hipster Chic Forty-Eight Sportster”


  1. 1 Jeffrey May 22nd, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Great Sporty

  2. 2 Jonas May 22nd, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Yep, chic.

  3. 3 Greeko May 22nd, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Like everything except the exhaust.

  4. 4 Martin May 22nd, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Thanks 4 sharing, Cyril.
    I have linked most parts in the article here: (here with a google translation : )

    Cheers,
    Martin

  5. 5 highrpm May 22nd, 2017 at 8:50 am

    indian should be worrying like hell over establishing some kind of simple signature look for its branding. since enlisting arlen’s help on victory and the resulting california pointed swoopiness didn’t take hold to anchor the brand. just too busy.

    besides the 45 angle engine, the simple lines of the flat-bottomed tear drop tank is iconic.

  6. 6 Chief Waldo May 22nd, 2017 at 9:11 am

    “able to race against the best brands with very few modifications”
    That’s why Sportsters are dominating MotoAmerica and World Superbike, right? Ha ha! In their dreams…

  7. 7 splattttttt May 22nd, 2017 at 9:25 am

    If any of you ever spent any time of your life at tracks across north america during the eighties?, then you orobably remember the AMA’s sanctioned American Twin s Hcallenge hampionship.
    Yeah, those bikes were raced with only stage 1 and chassy mods.
    Some of the would end up racin agInst the supersport and superbike class and kept up very well

  8. 8 Jeremiah McKenna May 22nd, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I like the paint work on the tank and body parts so that it looks like the tank, and even the air cleaner is old and has seen some wear and tear.

    Beautiful bike. But why is it that on the Sportster 72 and 48, no one has covered the frame between the tank and seat? To me, that is one of the smallest things that could be done to improve the looks. It looks like it is unfinished in that section.

  9. 9 richards May 22nd, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Jeremiah, I completely agree with you regarding the space between the tank and the seat. EVERY time I see it. it annoys me!
    Otherwise, I really like Sportsters. There is “something” about them that grabs my eye and makes me want to have one. They are classic! They are iconic! Nothing sounds as good either. I think Harley has done a great job improving the mechanical, performance and optics over the last few years.

  10. 10 hacksaw May 22nd, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    nice! i like it!

  11. 11 JohnnySpeed May 22nd, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Jeremiah & richards – To each their own I guess. Seeing the frame has always been one of my favorite parts about sportys. But I like the look of frames in general and ascribe to the less is more rule.

  12. 12 NoH2oh May 22nd, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    HD Twin Sport Sportsters raced against AMA Superbikes. Really?

  13. 13 Sheridan May 22nd, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you for NOT putting springs under that solo saddle.

    Nice looking little Sporty overall, good job.

  14. 14 Bikerchick May 22nd, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    I love my ’13 883 Iron Sporty. I get more compliments in this one than my 113ci. It is the perfect bike to ride in gadawful NYC traffic.

  15. 15 fuji May 22nd, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Splattttttt. hope you recover soon. take care

  16. 16 Boomer May 22nd, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    A nice little people semi-custom.

  17. 17 calif phil May 23rd, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Great job . Long live the Sportster!

  18. 18 Clarke Ahlers May 23rd, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I love this bike! It reminds me a bit of a Swift Lucky Strike bobber that I used to own. I am over 60 and maybe this bike isn’t appealing to everyone, but to me this is a very cool bike for city riding. Great work.

  19. 19 Bikeagraman May 23rd, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Very nicely done. Wouldn’t mind having one in my garage.

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