View Full Version : sportster for the dirt

04-10-2013, 9:30 AM
I am rebuilding the old dual sportster and making some tweaks along the way. here it is before the crash. It worked out very well and has been to the end of the road in InuviK NWT Canada and in Deadhorse, AK. I love the motor, and ended up ADVing around the nation for about two years before I had a major crash on it which destroyed the frame among other parts and I spent a few days in the hospital. So what we begin with here is a destroyed ADVsporter and a 95 XLH with a blown motor. I do not believe the rebuild will be anything like the old bike, but we'll see how it turns out. This time around funds are very limited so the build will be on a tight budget. Just as a refresher here are a few pics of the last version

dual sport mode


adventure mode


I was glad to find a complete bike just in case I needed some parts. When swapping a sport motor over you have to change wiring harness as well so after several hours I had the harness swapped. It needed several connectors repined as I was working with the 95 lights and controls.

I had to pull the blown motor out and now I have a spare in case I need parts or want to build a stroker :cheersmate:


I have replaced the awful buck-horn handle bars and changed out the hideous seat, tossed the sissy bar and have done a little cut and weld on the exhaust. The thunder header I have been running is striaght and they do not offer one that is angled up at the muffler and I thought that they should, so I did it for them. Not much just enough to add some clearance and and style


just want to throw this pic in as she has made it in a few magazines not as an article just as a shot from a event I went to. Take what ya can get :D


I took the bike on a 400 mile test run to make sure the motor is still working well and my wiring holds up. All worked well and the engine is still in good shape last travel pic of it in a semi stock shape

. The rear of the bike has now been striped.


I cleaned up the extended swing arm and got it ready for mock up. I am looking at balancing this bike out from a suspension movement stand point and not focusing so much on maximum travel. So with that in mind I set out to get some swing arm angle numbers and playing with travel numbers from the shorter stroke.

here we are with the set up as I had it pre crash. We are at 18* angle at full extension. and 10.5" of travel

So the plan is to get the angle closer to 10* If I shorten the shock up 1" then I come up with a 12* angle at full extension. Not bad:deal

As you look deeper into the whole swing arm travel you will find a good balance of travel and I have it here. From full extension to full compression I end up with 12* of swing arm angle in both cases. That is as balanced as it gets. Now when I factor in the suspension sag I end up with 8* angle when riding and we have a great set up with no chain rub. with this I still have 8.75" of travel which is a respectable number and I have lowered the seat height 1.5" which is also good.

04-10-2013, 9:39 AM

04-10-2013, 1:34 PM
I've seen your dual sportster before and some pics of your riding some nasty stuff that you posted somewhere... can't wait to see what you do now! keep working and keep posting!

04-10-2013, 1:57 PM
what brand shocks are those?

04-10-2013, 2:32 PM
what brand shocks are those?

Ohlins At7730 triple adjustable shocks. At present I have them at 17.5" but will be reducing them to 16.5" to get the swing arm angles right

04-10-2013, 3:38 PM
So sick...

04-10-2013, 6:45 PM
so got a little work done today and mounted the skid plate. Its just a KLR650 skid plate that I chopped and beat into shape to fit. I like the coverage of the front head pipe with this set up. I have been known to beat it over some ruff trails.


Skid plate:




A little shot of full drop and make compression with the rear 17" rim



The issue I never resolved with the last build was the tail section. I was never happy with the look. So I am trying out some new looks. Part of the problem is the stretched swing arm it makes the stock fender too short and some of the awesome looking tail sections just dont work with the longer arm. If you have any ideas let me know. Here are a few pics of some mock ups. I kind of like the metal rear rack best but not sure what I'll go with. Nothing has stuck yet.

chopped fender just not the thing for this one even though it was killer on biltwell's ezxl

It would be possible to use a dirt bike front fender to build a mold and glass up a rear fender. It could work and look ok


here is a rack style rear ala BMW GS



04-10-2013, 7:32 PM
you could chop it a little and it still look good, maybe mix it with the grab bar idea.


04-10-2013, 7:42 PM

I ride mine off road all the time :) My secret spot in the woods, not accessible by cars.

04-10-2013, 8:47 PM
after looking at the tail section options it make work with a biltwell banana seat. after looking at the dimension on the seat it would come very close to nice fit in the rack channel


so the narrowing part of the banana seat would fit that void well


and the rack width wise works with the sporty as well


04-11-2013, 4:09 AM
the beemer rack is the way to go! looks great on it with the longer swingarm.

04-11-2013, 6:25 AM
thanks< i think I can make it work I'll do a little test fitting this afternoon and see what I come up with

04-11-2013, 10:19 AM
came across this article on the first version of this bike check out the album that goes with the story it has some more detail in the captions


04-11-2013, 6:03 PM
I got a little work done. Wife had a motorcycle trip to Kansas this weekend and left today so I spent most of the day getting her stuff ready and making sure all was well with the bike. Then i have kids to spend time with. I got a hoop made and cut the rear struts. well pics are best



no worries about the all tread I used it to keep every thing straight and level. In the last pic I have the wheel with the suspension bottomed out. Still have a lot of work to do but this is a start :)

04-14-2013, 9:22 AM
Got a little FedEx package when I got home from work Saturday 😃


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

04-14-2013, 4:14 PM
I was going until i put the yz forks on before I put the handlebars on. I just couldn't wait.



I'm going to go back with the HDB hand guards they are just to clean not to. It integrates guards blinker and mirrors all in one piece.


so all the H-D mirrors and blinkers are going bye bye

04-15-2013, 6:54 PM
here is my dirtster in it's element


the mean machine build thread (http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26352)

04-15-2013, 7:38 PM
got some work done today. Have the tail section made and bolted on. I like the look and the panniers will fit well.


I also made a couple of brackets to mount the gauges and the headlight.
I am digging the look of the sportster head light on the dirt bike forks


one day I will be blessed with a mill :p


dosen't look like much but it took a while to get it all done. the hack saw and file work takes the most time :D

05-06-2013, 7:39 PM
whats the word on this badass?

05-06-2013, 10:28 PM
holy shit this is so awesome.

11-13-2014, 12:08 PM
Got some riding in before I pulled e motor apart for some slight upgrades



11-13-2014, 2:40 PM
Nice! I bet the KTM guys are jealous.

11-15-2014, 7:22 PM
I went with Hammer performance for the upgrade. heads, 1250 kit, 30* pistions, and 570 Jack Hammer cams.








11-16-2014, 8:16 AM
very cool! just moved to colorado and was thinking about doing something like this. good work!!!!

11-16-2014, 8:26 AM
it works well on the mining roads of Colorado. I've really enjoyed the bike. the cams and lifters were starting to go so I decided its time for a little boost in performance.

11-16-2014, 9:15 AM
I like everything about this. my first bikes were all street/trail bike and I want to get back to having something like it again.

forgive a possibly dumb question, but could you have started with a buell Ulysses? I know anything is possible if you have the skill/cash/resourses, but I've always wondered if you could stick a regular Harley engine in it if the original blew.

11-16-2014, 10:05 AM
the issue with the buell is the ease of modifying it to work well off-road. It comes with 17" wheels and no lower frame. the swingarm is not easily modified, and the tank is not easily changed for capacity. With the XL I stretched the swing arm, mounted a skid plate, added the mx forks and adjusted the rear via shocks to get the bike to sit right. Put a dirt bike style rear hoop laced to a HD hub. This bike is more capable than the ULY. It was built to perform off-road and it does that well. The uly is better fitted as a supermoto than an ADV bike. I looked at buells before I started the project and was met with to many obstacles to build what I was looking for. If you plan to stick to dirt roads and the like the the ULY would probably fit the bill.

11-16-2014, 5:14 PM
she's all buttoned up. waiting on one small brass fitting and then it'll be time to start it up.


11-20-2014, 9:48 AM
Bike looks like a lot of fun man! Great job! I have a biltwell bannana seat I'm not using anymore that I'd let go for cheap if you want it.

11-20-2014, 9:55 AM
I've got my Dualy tires on my Christmas wish list. Going to run those in the summer and regular in the winter. Or maybe just all the time.

11-20-2014, 11:54 AM
Bike looks like a lot of fun man! Great job! I have a biltwell bannana seat I'm not using anymore that I'd let go for cheap if you want it.

I sent ya a pm

11-20-2014, 6:07 PM
This thing is awesome! Who needs a bimmer when you can RIP on this thing! Totally cool man.

11-20-2014, 7:13 PM
all I can say is man ,you got some long legs! great job on the bike .

12-09-2014, 7:03 PM
Not really what you call long in the leg. 32" inseam, so maybe average

I would like some input on the rear of the bike. I took the rack off to paint it back and it looks better, but while I had it off I thought "man this looks a lot better". So I left it off and when the wife got home asked her what see thought about the bike, did she notice anything different. She said yea it looks better than before, looks clean. What did I you do? So it's not just me being weird. I normally like little changes, but for the wife to notice it must have been fairly obvious.

Not sur what to do, maybe a bobtail fender or the new lowbrow fender with the duck tail end. What your opinions?


12-10-2014, 6:58 PM
As a hardcore dirt / off-road biker I find this super cool. Nice!

12-10-2014, 7:03 PM
300 XCW! And yes I'm jealous.

12-10-2014, 7:16 PM
man this thread did it to54287 me,more mods to come, gotta work out the plan now,

12-10-2014, 8:50 PM
I think something that looks as close to a short modern dirt bike fender would look great. My .02$. Bikes cool as shit really interested on how all the motor work you did turns out power/pep wise.

12-11-2014, 4:45 PM
Thanks for all the kind words.

I decided to work with what I have and chop off a rear fender. I cut it just after the curve down, about 2" past the passenger seat mount. I haven't cut the fender struts yet but if I go this way I will. And I'll reinforce the rear fender with a hoop that goes around it. At present if I go this route I'll build a small sissy bar and put the light there and mount the indicators with tabs off the hoop.

What your thoughts?




12-11-2014, 9:36 PM
your idea for the fender is right on--looks good too!

12-11-2014, 9:48 PM
think you could use small grab rail, if you ever gotta wrestle the bike,out in the boonies

12-11-2014, 10:01 PM
I may look in to that. If I ever have to wrestle it very much I hope to have phone signal, cause I'm callin' 911 ;)

12-12-2014, 8:35 PM
Had a little time to do some bending. This should be strong enough to work as a grab handle for moving it around off road




12-13-2014, 1:43 PM
I plan on a tab to help strengthen the fender. The rear hoop is strong enough to pick up the rear of the bike with. I've got the rear hoop like I want.Need to fine tune the finder a bit. It's just tight in two place for about a 1/4".




12-13-2014, 2:12 PM
Loving this! The rear fender setup is the best one so far.

12-13-2014, 3:21 PM
damn this looks sick. lots of ideas spring from this one. For noobs like me, other than the undeniable cool factor, is there a riding advantage to this vs moding a KLR?

12-13-2014, 4:09 PM
There is and I should know have have a ultimate KLR. It's a 705 stg II. With dirt bike forks and reworked suspension knuckle, plus a custom rear shock nets me 11" front travel and 10.5" rear travel. It's a awesome Klr and I will not get rid of it. Now compared to this to the sportster. My sportster will walk off and leave the pumped up Klr. In the sand and loose gravel you can't keep the xl in sight. Technical terrain the Klr beats it, picking it up the Klr wins, big rocks they are a tie. Coolness factor of hearing a sporty rip through the woods priceless.

12-13-2014, 5:04 PM
It's amazing how long a little bracket takes when your a little short of tools. It took two times to get it right,but I like how it turned out.



12-13-2014, 5:32 PM
Final coat of paint doesn't look bad, you can see my reflection. Once buffed out will be spot on for a driver.


12-14-2014, 1:41 PM
pulled it out to get some profile shots. I think its a little short with the stretched swingarm.




12-14-2014, 2:12 PM
Subscribed... I know What I'm doing with the frame I ripped off my Sporty. Slap a buell motor in it and steal all of your ideas. Thanks!

12-15-2014, 12:42 PM
I finally remebered to send you pics of that biltwell seat I have, sorry it took me so long. Let me know if you want it.

12-15-2014, 7:07 PM
It's amazing how long a little bracket takes when your a little short of tools. It took two times to get it right,but I like how it turned out.


http://johnwesley.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Adv-sportster-build/i-LHNKFfW/0/L/smugshot_8168745-L.jpgfender/rail turned out nice, in my dirt bike days I would always have to pick em up, if "i got over my head ,which happened a lot.haha

12-15-2014, 9:36 PM
I finally remebered to send you pics of that biltwell seat I have, sorry it took me so long. Let me know if you want it.

Sent you a pm. Txt didn't go through

12-15-2014, 9:42 PM
Just playing with parts, this would give me a little rise in the bars. Any thoughts, even simple one like, "that sucks" or "cool"


12-15-2014, 11:56 PM
I don't likey. I would stick to lower risers or no risers like the MX style you had going.

12-16-2014, 1:50 AM
Agreed, moto bars fit great as they were.

12-17-2014, 5:52 PM
1 vote, for low risers moto bars.

12-23-2014, 12:19 PM
Just got out of ICU for blood clots in my lung. So I can't or shouldn't do a lot, but I did make a tail light mount. :p




12-23-2014, 11:55 PM
This build out is sick

12-27-2014, 5:11 PM
got the skid plate mounted with a fresh coat of paint. its a cut down klr skid.






12-31-2014, 11:07 PM
playing with a fairing i got in on a trade. i think it will work for longer rides. looks ok in the shop, what say yee?



it does have a windshield that goes on it

thats it not touching this thing till next year

Happy New Year everyone !!!! :cheersmate:

01-01-2015, 4:40 PM
First part building of the new year.




01-01-2015, 5:43 PM
First part building of the new year.




you need to make blue prints of this front shield/cover ,,bet they would sell good, I would get one ,,,

01-01-2015, 7:01 PM
thanks, just spent an hr sanding it smooth and putting a brushed finish on it.

01-03-2015, 4:40 PM
got a start on a coil relocation brakcet. you cant buy one for a sport so a made in arkansas part :)


have to stop, go into town for supper and some 1/4" rod.

01-04-2015, 1:08 PM
coil mount done.


01-04-2015, 4:23 PM
here's the brushed finish



01-05-2015, 3:29 PM
its comeing along good ,,,yeah can dig the h/d sound ringing thru the woods, bike is ,looking like a" paris to Dakar "bike ,,,now where are the gas cans going???(x fuel)

01-07-2015, 9:12 PM
i had a cell that fit between the fender struts and acted as my fender for my dead horse thru inuvik trip. total i had 7 gallons and averaged 50mpg. it worked well.

got an old style 2 gal tank. i like the look of the smaller tank with the frame showing. i have a seat to match on the way.



01-08-2015, 10:45 AM
see you got that ex fuel covered ,,my bike is no where going to be as mx as yours ,,it is got a few changes headed that way,thanks , you are giving me a lot of ideas ,,rock on

01-08-2015, 10:54 AM
here's the brushed finish


This is really nice, looking forward to the pics where it's mounted on the bike.

01-08-2015, 1:19 PM
Me too, the forks are off getting worked over by motocd.com

Hope they can get them finished next week.

01-08-2015, 5:17 PM
:cheersmate: looks rad.

01-09-2015, 8:06 PM
took her out for a short spin today. New battery and plugs. I'm going to really enjoy this motor. Very anxious to get my forks back and see what the front will look like and how they preform


01-11-2015, 10:09 PM
Dude i did not want this thread to end. Super stoked on the progress

01-12-2015, 9:41 AM
It's not over yet, still have a seat and a cam cover i cut down. I also have the forks to come in, and looking at the stock swingarm. Lots of other things i want as well as clean handle bars too. Looking at Zombie performance dirt track bars that are meant to be rolled forward for an aggressive look. It may not be ever finished :)

01-13-2015, 4:23 PM
got a good deal on a used biltwell seat. fits in good with the peanut tank, i think.




01-21-2015, 9:23 PM
waiting on parts always gets me in trouble. This thing will never start, what bird brain would do this :rolleyes:


just a 1/4 of the wires that use to be there, maybe more to go away. Who knows :banghead:

I sure don't ;)

hurry up with the parts while I still have a bike :kill:

01-26-2015, 7:56 PM
its good to have spare parts to play with, i bought a sporty with a blown engine a few years back and it has proved its worth.

i put the 130 rear back one and really like the look better than the wider 140 rear that was on it.

Ive been playing with the wiring, but still not done. There are some items I'm keeping that other tend to toss. I like the bank angle sensor, love the map sensor, and feel more comfortable with a oil light. It is getting closer though.

did some shaping on a old set of controls i have. giving it a more rounded look.


I was very excited to get some new parts in, but as normal none are going to go on with out mods. Rumor has it that the tuber buell front brake will bolt on for better brakes on the older rigid mount forks. They will but hit the spokes on mags and spokes :banghead:
once i figure how I'm going to make it work it should be great brakes

I bought a used 2 5/8" mini speedo with ODO and trip. Problem is the inside of my mount is too small for the gauge. :(
just a little filing work.

I really need my suspension back so i quit changing stuff :cool:

01-28-2015, 5:54 PM
got a little work done to day. Finished carving my number plate for the headlight, got some more wiring done and carved out the mount so the speedo will fit. getting a little closer.



01-30-2015, 11:38 AM
This is a super sick build man, nice fabricating work. looking forward to more posts.

01-30-2015, 3:45 PM
This is a super sick build man, nice fabricating work. looking forward to more posts.

Thanks man. Got some new bars on order from zombie. i think they will match the new style better

02-24-2015, 9:06 AM
got some new bars in from zombie performance. love the forward lean he put in them, helps to open up the cockpit. Feels good just sitting on the bike. when i get my forks back i'll know for sure.


01-21-2016, 6:39 PM
Here is a little update

01-22-2016, 11:10 AM
cool build man!

keep us posted,


01-22-2016, 12:02 PM
That exhaust is fucking sweet, it sounds real nice. I like the number plate on the front end too.

01-23-2016, 10:17 PM
Thanks, waiting for the weather to clear up so I can go get it dailed in

01-24-2016, 5:48 PM
How did you mount the headlight number plate/ shield, if I missed it srry. This build is great. I would love to hear this bike in the woods.

01-24-2016, 8:55 PM
It's just on with body molding tap. I've moved up from duct tape. ;)

02-10-2016, 1:56 AM
Damn, just came across this build! That thing is rad. I remember seeing pics of your bike before. If you end up in Hot Springs this summer, maybe we can meet up for a ride!

02-16-2016, 9:24 PM
Damn, just came across this build! That thing is rad. I remember seeing pics of your bike before. If you end up in Hot Springs this summer, maybe we can meet up for a ride!

ill be up that way in a few weeks, if the weather is right i maybe on this bike. if not ill be on the indian. the monster truck show is coming up

02-19-2016, 12:08 PM
really cool build, bike looks great

03-13-2016, 12:28 AM
Nice bike......you should fit some BMW GS bags to it......how far you getting on that tank of gasoline?

04-07-2016, 9:24 PM
Been out riding some, still have details to deal with on the bike. Having to much fun riding it to work on it right now.