If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, you can’t deny that owning a Harley Davidson crosses everyone’s mind at some point in time. There just isn’t anything more iconic than the Harley Davidson symbol. Owning one gives you a sense of being a bad ass, even if it’s only in your own mind.
Meet Thomas Pearl. He started his journey by building some Yamaha chops that paved the way for building this kick-ass 1999 XL Sportster. Thomas learned a lot by tearing into the Yamahas, which helped him increase his skills in fabrication and welding. Like most garage builders, he learned by trial and error. As you can see by the photos, he worked through the challenges and built one killer chop.
Thomas started his journey by hunting down the Sportster in the Texas Hill Country, near Brazos River. The bike belonged to an older woman who had the bike dressed with all the goodies a 50-year-old woman loves: studs, tassels, cheapo saddlebags, and a windshield twice the size of the whole bike. He got the bike home and stripped it, sold off the unwanted parts, and funded his Led Sled +2 hardtail kit. He chose a 16 for the rear and a 21 for the front of the bike and then added a 39mm narrow glide to get the bike into a roller. Satisfied with the stance, he then fabricated a sissy bar and other parts and brackets as the build progressed. He decided on a Bates-style solo seat and a p-pad from Haifley Brothers to complete the look. He chose to keep the motor stock, so after some cleaning and a rebuilt CV carb, it is as reliable as the day it left the assembly line. Thomas then moved to fabbing a killer set of upswept exhaust pipes and, lastly, had Steve Hennis, of Flame Thrower Customs in Doylestown, Ohio, paint the axed tank with one-off patterns. Thomas decided to powder and ceramic coat all the shiny parts for a different look. Eight months later, Thomas was finally able to see the bike he envisioned from the day he decided to build a Harley chop.
In the three years, Thomas has owned this bike; he has put thousands of miles on it. He is on his second sissy bar, the second set of handlebars, and repaired the exhaust pipes at least four times. After all that, he says, “I love how I can push the button and point the bars and never have to worry about this machine letting me down.”
Thomas would like to thank Chop Cult for the feature and everything they do for the biker community. Lastly, huge thanks to Joe Lohmann for lending a hand through the build.
Owner name, location: Thomas Pearl, Dallas, TX
ChopCult profile: Blackbetty
Bike name: Crispy Hexagons
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1999 Harley Davidson XL1200S – bone stock with fresh rings and top end, factory Screaming Eagle ignition
Frame: Stock numbers matching HD with Led Sled +2” hardtail
Fork: Shaved 39mm narrow glide lowered 2”, Speed Merchant preload adjusters
Tire/wheel size and style: 16/21 with Avon Speedmaster/MKII
Favorite thing about this bike: Takes a licking and keeps on ticking
Next modification will be: Figure out some new pipe mounts – I've had to repair the pipe tabs about four times
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc.: I'm particularly proud of the dual plug coil mount/switch/LED dashboard. I went for ceramic coating as a cool alternative to plating. Other cool parts include the Moon 3 qt. Oil tank, Haifley Bros. seat and p-pad, paint by Steve Hennis, 520 chain drive, Cycle Electric charging system, Bob's AZ spool hub, Whiskey Throttle, Front Street stainless bars, and a trick little engine breather/catch can.
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: I once got sucked into some road construction and came out alive after catching an Evil Knievel style jump. Cost me a bent front wheel and foot peg, but the ol’ sporty never missed a beat – must have been quite the show for the people in traffic behind me!
Thanks to Joe Lohmann for the help.
Your website, and social media links: Follow me on IG @pearlmoto