Harley Davidson Sportster Off Road Conversions

Off Road Dual Sportster

Off Road Dual Sportster

When Doug wrote the other day about what Harley might develop to attract some younger riders, he thought a few Sportster based model variations would be a good place to start. In one of the comments, Todd pointed to some off road machines with Sportster power, sort of a "Dual-Sportster," probably not what most of us were thinking, but, do they look like fun? You betcha. Sometimes the best ideas are a little outside the box.

Off Road Dual Sportster - knobbies for fun

Off Road Dual Sportster - knobbies for fun

There's also this Baja Harley built a few years ago by Jim Stanton. Using a custom frame and YZ 400 forks, some pieces from an ATK and a Sportster V-Twin. It certainly looks the part and reports from Jim say it's a keeper.

Baja Harley Sportster

Baja Harley Sportster

A couple of years ago I wrote about the Sportrack LB12, a Supermotard with 1200 Sportster power and it looks interesting, too.

Sportrack LB12 Harley Sportster powered supermotard

Sportrack LB12 Harley Sportster powered supermotard

Harley Davidson hasn't been in the off road or dual sport market for quite a while and some guys might look at these Sportster derivatives and think how easy they could blow them away with the latest Honda or Kawasaki. Maybe so, but that's not what these are all about, these are a fun way to do something different, a creative way to exercise a little engineering skill and a sure way not to get lost in a sea of Japanese MX bikes. I like them, how about you?

Comments

  1. Grant says

    In my view, these are easily a thousand times better than the “More chrome, tribal paint, way fat back tire, rigid frame” customs. These, the cafe’ customs in a previous post, and the Sputhe “Aluminum Steamroller” (look for a Cycle World article from 1980), inspire me to customize my own bikes to suit me.

  2. Marvin says

    The Baja and flat track caught my attention and I’m 32 so this seems a better option than a cafe racer like my dads! The flat track also seems to have some legitimate heritage without looking like an antique. Here in the UK we almost always know the power or power to weight of our bikes but not the torque. In these guises the engine would be up against other things that are tuned for torque not power so the output wouldn’t seem so laughable. 45hp from a sportster puts it in line with bikes like the Yam xt660 so this seems like a more level playing field.

  3. Tin Man 2 says

    Marvin, Are Sportsters detuned in the UK? Here in the colonys a 1200 Sporty has 55HP and 79 LBs of Torque at 4,000 RPM stock, which most are not!!! Remember, people may buy on HP. but they ride on Torque. If you can get rid of 100LBs on a Sporster,it would be a good adventure bike. Replace the heavy Metal with Plastic, Install Alum rims and bars,bigger semi nobbie tyres,and your good to go.

  4. Joe says

    pretty cool offroaders, though i feel like even an 883 engine would suffer in a market where most of the bikes are 450cc or smaller, and only a few are as big as 650. They might have a much better go of it if they were to chop their sportster engines in half and set them up as 450 and 600cc singles. Some of the poser Harley enthusiasts might say that not having a v-twin would be denying their heritage and blah de blah, but just cuz they haven’t done it recently (with a REAL harley, not a buell) doesn’t mean they haven’t done it. Chop the engine in half, pare down the tranny, replace all the body work with plastic, throw it into an off-road chassis, give it a big round headlight for good measure, and you’re good to go.

  5. Al says

    Just what I want, a 500+ pound dirt bike. If it’s going to be that heavy, at least give me 100hp like a BMW R1200GS. It might be something interesting to make if you happen to already have a Sportster laying around, but as a new purchase for adventure or off-road riding? Nah.

  6. JustPete says

    I like the idea. Thats why I bought the Ulysses. Granted that it is not really the true off roader that we’re talking about here. It does what it’s supposed too. But if H-D was building a Scrambler 1200 ie… http://www.raptorsandrockets.com/images/Harley-Davidson/Harley_883_Scrambler_rr.jpg ….. I could have done with out the small fuel capacity and the hidden rear cylinder between the frame. Other than those little issues, I love my Buell. But a Scrambler with a Buell 1203 would be freakin sweet.

  7. The Ogre says

    Interesting ideas!

    I especially like the Sportrack. I’ve no idea how competitive it would be, but it looks extremely aggressive and purposeful.

  8. Beale says

    I don’t get it. Harley keeps themselves corralled by their \heritage\ yet they ignore the countless desert racing, road racing cafe racer builds made by privateers from the late 60′s on. Heritage? What about the XR750? And, yes I understand they have the XR1200 but that is a 1975 Thunderbird compared to the 750′s 1955 T-bird. A 750cc v-twin platform for an off-road, enduro, supermoto or cafe bike would sell and keep them from becoming the Buick of motorcycles.

  9. says

    That Baja Sportster looks an awful lot like the Track800 diesel.

    Not saying “copy” (especially since the Sportster came first), just saying “similar”.

  10. frozen prairie says

    I think some of the criticisms of these bikes as being too heavy/underpowered are off the mark. Sure these bikes probabaly would not beat a modern YZ450F in an off-road race but the point of these bikes isn’t to raise the bar on dirtbike performance, it’s to 1. build the thing, which is fun, and 2. ride that unlikely machine in the dirt, which is even more fun.
    That orange bike is a beauty !
    One thing though, he’s got the forks pulled way up in the triple clamps to sharpen the steering, but I hope he’s also limited the travel so the tire doesn’t bottom out on the clamps/fender. A flying W just waiting to happen. Ouch !
    Those old fork internals were really simple: he could have dropped the front end by shortening the springs and adding a second top-out spring (or a spacer). Shortening the damper rods and the springs would be more sano, but would require new damper rods if he wanted to restore all the travel sometime. I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all but I’ve seen pictures of several bikes with questionable (and dangerous) fork mods.
    Sportsters, because of their simplicity are great for modding into just about anything: chopper, bobber dirtbike, cafe racer, street tracker, etc.
    Nice work from all these builders.

  11. Jack McGack says

    Isn’t it interesting that the original XLCH, the bike most know as the first “true” Sportster (with the peanut tank and small fenders and all) was actually intended to be just this; a sort of duel purpose bike? Seems to me like these Sportys are going back to their roots.

  12. fearnow says

    #2 would be the sh1t, IMO. I don’t even like Harley, but that would turn my head and make me consider it, strongly.

    Captcha: ‘doc resinous’!

  13. steve w says

    these efforts are great. I have owned over 60 motorcycles in my life and I remember the first time I rode a sportster on a heavily pea graveled road. What a treat compared to the BMW’s, Japanese, and British bikes I had owned. Later I took that Sportster off into the fire roads and it worked quite well although they weren’t very challenginig roads. Sure they are heavy but the point is you can have fun changing that. Heck my 124\ TC drag bike that is street legal is trimmed down to 502 full of fluids, So how light can a Sportster be if you build it. So many people forget the real fun in motorcyling is that they are the ultimate toy ready for you to play with (build).

  14. Slider McCrashin says

    I guess I just don’t get it. There are so many lightweight and powerfull engines that can be adapted to dirt use, so why would you use the equivalent of an American made anvil to power your dirt bike? why? Lets see a Kawasaki H1 powered dirt bike with low rpm tuned expansion chambers! RZ350? Honda NT650 Hawk with extended custom swingarm and front end off of a modern 450? Now that’s a dual sport.

  15. Tin Man 2 says

    Slider, Yep you just dont get it. An American Anvil is just what I want in an Adventure bike. A Kow triple was a bear to keep in tune on the street, can you picture 3 carbs in the dirt? An RZ 350 made great power but again WAY over complicated. A 650 Hawk, I dont know what that is, Maybe a Honda V-Twin? Or an inline 4? Pull up a Fire road on a Dual Sporty and let the games begin, Torque Rules!

  16. OMMAG says

    Personally …. I like an off the wall bike that is good for riding dirt roads.

    I’d love to take any of these 4 for a good thrashing around some hill country backroads.

  17. bR1an says

    That first picture finally answers the question of what ever happend to my stolen ’82 Can-Am 250 Qualifier that was stolen all those years ago. Frankenbiked into that abortion? God help me.

  18. Al says

    frozen prairie and others, the original question was about attracting younger buyers to HD — buying new stuff — not whether it’s fun to build a Sportster-derived custom yourself. If that were the point, then HD could just sell bare engines. If you’re out to attract buyers, then you have to have something that, off the shelf, appeals to enough buyers to make it profitable, not just a rather eccentric subset of gearhead DIYers.

  19. Al says

    Oh, and since HD products are never price leaders (though their inflated sense of self-worth seems to be coming around to something more aligned with reality) a target buyer who hasn’t drunk the HD cool-aid is very likely to think, \Yeah, but for that price I could get ______________.\ Choose all that apply: A) something more powerful; B) something lighter; C) something more reliable; D) something that doesn’t make me look like an old fart.

  20. Scotduke says

    The first one looks good, though as others have pointed out it’d suffer against modern dirt bikes off road because of the weight. As long as you didn’t expect too much, it’d be ok.

  21. nortley says

    My once stock sportster worked just fine on dirt roads, not surprising considering its ancestry, and I often wondered why the factory didn’t come out with a dual sport version. It’s good to see that idea taken even further.

  22. hipsabad says

    How is an RZ350 \WAY over complicated\? Not the one I had. Simpler motor than a four-stroke V-twin. Remember, extra weight complicates the picture when off road. And, RZs on the pipe, will pull.

    Otherwise, I agree with Al, I thought having fun in the dirt meant being able to fly in the dirt – not lumber along like Ewan and Charlie on the Bavarian buffaloes or with the bikes shown above. Dirt bikes are dirt bikes. Why do the Alaska Highway on a 1200GS when you could do it on a 690 enduro? So-called ‘adventure bikes’, with the debatable exception of KTM, are overkill. The very name is an advertising coup for the manufacturers. Riders never had adventures before? I’ve ridden cbr600s offroad – that was fun. The same goes for the terms ‘sportbike’ or ‘cruiser’. All bikes are sport bikes, any bike can cruise. In fact, that’s what they’re doing most of the time according to an article in BIKE magazine from Britain. They did a test where they placed throttle recorders on modern litrebikes and turns out that most of time experienced, sport-minded riders were using a fraction of the potential. Recent litrebikes, say a 2007 R1, will go 100 miles/hour in first gear. Alternately, I see government workers commuting through my city on what look like two-wheeled Humvees. Some people are just brand loyalists. Like the Beemer folks who ride with the erroneous assumption that they’ve got the best engineering known, but it’s just a badge thing, a conspicuous consumption thing. We live in an age of hubris, where gigantism is one of the norms. The Triumph Rocket 3, the new VMax or B-King, the Boss Hoss, VN2000, etc.

  23. todd says

    I wouldn’t call an RZ350 too complicated. One of those would probably be much better off road than my old XL350 ever was. Light and simple is good for offroad and, God, I’d love to have myself an RZ350 on OR off road. Actually Yamaha did a TDR250 on/off road bike that was never available here in the US. It was supposedly a great bike, based on the road racer TZR.

    I think Harley would do best to target the scrambler style more than the pure off-road. Consider that its only competition would be the Triumph version. Great bike and perfectly the type of bike the sportster could be. That said, I’ve seen (and heard) a number of Harley powered quads rip-roaring around the off-road parks. Maybe they should do ATVs and personal watercraft?

    -todd

  24. Tin Man 2 says

    Dont get me wrong I have owned and enjoyed an RZ350, But it is a complicated little bugger. Water cooling, Twin carbs, and variable intake tuning that even now is a pain to keep working. If you want a simple Yami just go back to a RD 350, fab a single carb intake, single exhaust tuned for torque and your off to the races. Or just put a 2 into 1 light weight pipe on the Sportster like in the pictures, and you have a reliable Scrambler. There are a number of High Pipes available for the Sporty, also shocks and forks of every description, The biggest problem would be relacing the rear hub for a bigger rim to fit Daul Sport tires.

  25. kneeslider says

    It really was not my intention to suggest Harley should build something like this, although it might not be a bad idea, I wanted to highlight what these builders had done because I think it reflects some creative thinking resulting in bikes that look like a lot of fun. If someone demands top of the line off road performance, as I indicated above, you can choose any purpose built Japanese bike you like, but of course, you then have nothing special. So, in answer to Al and others, yes, that “eccentric subset of gearhead DIYers” is exactly who would build and enjoy something like these bikes.

    Instead of a factory model, maybe HD could offer an off road kit, even if it was something straightforward like the second Sportster, with high pipes, knobby tires and different bodywork. Not everyone needs the latest championship level bike, because we’re not all racing for trophies, some of us ride and wrench on our bikes for pure satisfaction.

  26. Randy says

    Could HD make a Sportster based adventure bike or scrambler? Yes. Would they? Who knows. If they did I think it would be along the lines of the XR1200, basically a somewhat functional overweight poser. I just don’t think HD would go to the trouble of developing a lightweight version of their rubber mounted frame, or lightweight components. Buell has shown what are probably the commercial limits of what can be done with the Sportster engine – is it worthwhile for HD to develop another variation of this?

    I have a 2003 XL883R with a stage 3 1200cc conversion. It’s quick enough – low 12′s at Inyokern drag strip (RIP), and handles well enough to easily stay with my Ducati riding buddies on mountian rides, It’s a fun old time Sunday two up ride. Does it “compete” in performance with modern bikes? Not really, especially if you look at narrow categories of performance. And it’s best to “ride the torque” as vibration is ugly above 4000rpm. Overall though it’s not bad. I’ve done 500 mile days and what amounts to light dualsport days. In 15,000 miles I’ve had to repair just one thing – a broken weld on the belt guard, and that took me all of 1 hour. This is in contrast to my Ducati Multistrada, a “high performace do it all machine” that drove me crazy in the 15,000 miles I owned it.

    For those (and a couple have posted here) where sheer performance is everything and they simply can’t understand why anyone would think differently, well, they have plently of new bikes to pick from – KTM 950SE, Ducati Street Fighter, Busa, ZX1400 and so on. Why even comment on such as this (especially without direct experience)? I sometimes wonder what this performance only type personality thinks about people who fiddle around with old english singles! Go find a find a historical RZ350/RZ500/H1/H2/ (good luck) and commence to alter and butcher.

    For those that like the look, sound, and torque of an old timey America V-twin, and don’t mind some rough edges there are scads of solid frame Sportsters around that can be picked up for a few K. It’s easy to find find or fab body and frame parts, the engnes are simple and cheap to improve. There’s lots of info and examples. In the end you might have more fun than you expected.

    And thanks Kneeslider for another interesting article.

  27. steve w says

    hey kneeslider, HD offered those pipes (2nd bikes w/ trapp exh), a tank and seat change all in kit form in the early ninties trying to get people to turn the street models into the 883/XR750 style that was the 883 dirt track class but the public didn’t buy them. Most people probably didn’t even know there was flat tracks (probably 80% of the riders still don’t) I saw several bikes that were setup by dealers that were left overs (i’m thinking like ’93) and even though people were waiting for bikes they wouldn’t buy them. Sometimes the companies don’t wait long enough for the public to catch up to them. Such was the case with the GB500 Honda. I hadn’t walked into a Honda shop in years and it was discontinued 2 years before I did. I would have bought a new one.

  28. Laurent says

    Haha, looks like tons of scary fun !

    The first one remind me of a Maico arm stretcher.

    But, no offense but when the “sea” of enduro/adventure/supermotard bikes comes from Europe, not Japan.
    (KTM, BMW, Husqvarna, Husaberg, Aprilia, Gas Gas, CCM, Vermati, Vor, Beta, Scorpa etc etc etc)

    Best

  29. Hopper says

    Full circle. The Sportster was originally built as a desert racer, hence the small gas tank, in 1957. It came stock with block tread on-off road tires and a high exhaust pipe for the first few years. It was only when the Sportster proved too heavy to compete against the Brit 650cc twins in the desert races that Harley focussed on turning the Sportster into a street bike. It was the fastest stock production street bike available at that time.

    Somewhere along the way the Sportster got confused with Harleys big twins and got regarded as a cruiser. But the Sport in Sportster was originally off-road Sport and dual-Sport.

    Great to see it come back full circle. They are a hoot to ride on dirt roads, like the outback cattle truck roads here in Australia.

  30. Fireworks says

    I think the Dyna could use a ‘Sport’ model again ( so could the regular Sportster actually). The Dyna Sport / FXDX was pretty much the ideal all rounder when you include highways.

    What would be really cool would be an FXDX updated like the Sportster was through the XR1200. Not the same look, but a modern reinterpretation of the Dyna. I’d be very interested in that.

    @Hooper – HD isn’t even pretending anymore either. There isn’t a standard Sportster in the lineup. All of them are targeted at cruiser types or girls. All are meant to be a stepping stone onto a Big Twin. It’s an HD trainer now. The XR1200 is supposed to make up for this I guess. The odd thing is that HD doesn’t even provide a ‘Sport’ package from the factory. That wouldn’t be much of a concession would it?

  31. Al says

    Fireworks, there was a Sportster Sport a few years back. It’s gone because there was little interest, and because they introduced it at the wrong time.

  32. john blackburn says

    what happened to the motorcycle rider who loves motorcycles? it really is kinda sad and annoying when people can’t see the effort and joy spent creating something from an idea, desire and parts. we should applaud the accomplishment and follow our OWN dream. i mean it’s someone’s idea come to fruition, hey…they did it! that rocks in my book! it has become way to easy to bash our fellow human’s passions. cheers to the doers!

  33. James says

    @Fireworks err I really don’t think the Nightster or Iron 883 are set up to be mini big twins, I think good ol Harley has learned there lesson on that one, check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcbPZqCu06E&feature=player_embedded that sure looks sporty to me, and from what i understand aside from a new tailpipe (to stop him from burning his leg) and air cleaner that’s from a stock motor! (frame on the other hand) i could be wrong but… :) it’s still awesome.

  34. Parts-2-U says

    These are great! I especially like the first orange one. Does anybody else remember that TV series back inthe sixties…”Then Came Bronson?” Used to be my favorite show as a kid. He rode his sportster all over the country, rode it off road as well, and occassionlly entered hill climbs and desert races. And a lot of times he won. LoL That’s Hollywood for you. Engine trasplants are great! Some that I have done…Yamaha 90cc in a Kawasaki Coyote minibike, Yamaha 90cc in an Indian 50, Kawasaki 238 Greenstreak motor in an Indian 100, Honda XL125 engine in an XR75, Kawasaki H1 500 engine in an RZ350 (drag bike), and just recently a Lifan 200cc (Chinese XR clone) into a 1971 Honda SL-100. Now that is a fun bike!

  35. Nicolas says

    After seeing here the GSXR-based dirtbike and the Ducati Monster-based desert racer, I’m not surprised by anything, I guess, so why not a HD offroader …

    The HD powerplant is apparently f-ing heavy for an off-road bike, but it’s willingness to give away some torque at low rpm can probably be enojyed on difficult terrains …

  36. bobc says

    Does anyone have any details on the second picture? The orange Sportster? The shocks? Fork gators? I live n a rural area with a zillion dirt roads and that would be perfect. Don’t even ask me about a Buell Ulyssis. It looks like too much engine stuffed into too small a frame. Yes, I have a 1983 Honda XL250s but would like a little more power.

  37. mark says

    Saw something like the Baja years ago.
    But they used a Honda XRV 750 frame.
    The Baja would be great with a high hp 883.

  38. Dave d7b says

    i’ll stick with my huskies, byt the supermotard looks great and would love it as a city bike!

  39. Robin says

    Well I ride a 96 sportster everywhere. It’s my 20th bike and first harley. Now most of you must not remember back in the late 1980s when Cycle World reported on a Sportster built for the baja 1000. CJ frame early evo 1100 4 speed motor. I still have a picture somewhere. They got the bike well under 400 lb and it placed an overall 4th if I remember right. CW staffers road the bike and really loved it. Flash forward 30 years and BMW Gives us the off road only version of the GS. Would I buy a GS style Harley? As fast as I could get to my dealer!!

  40. nick taylor says

    I have campaigned a sportster in the pre 70 red marley hill climb recently in England

    The bike is based on the original Baha sportster raced in baha 72&73 by south california dealers association and ridden mainly by larry berquist–Jack Froelich was co-rider for the 1000

    the engine was basically a stock 1970 900 cc sportster with some iron xr oil cooling technology

    I have owned a 90s 883 and apart from brake and suspension technology I am not convinced that a better off -sporster can be built today

    Larrys son Eric has a web site at Ravit guitar with info dedicated to his fathers racing carreer including shots of the bike and if anyone is interested I can also supply pics of my replica.

    The chassis was modified XR with sportster wheels –it was still heavy but lighter at 400lbs than most I have seen….and it was fast 130mph–in road race trim still holds tihuana-la paz record-with Murray Bornhurst as pilot in 74

  41. RevEastTN says

    I can see by the comments that most of you guys are stuck back in the 80′s or even the 70′s. A 2009 stock twin cylinder alloy air cooled Sportster engine produces about 96 HP with even more torque, and the engine weighs less than some large single cyl jap engines. A sportster in mild tune can easily make 125- 135 hp with a displacement increase and the engine can be bumped to 100 cubic inches reliability to 110 cubic and medium reliability up to 120 cubic inchers with poor reliability but over 200 hp for drag racing or dirt drags etc.

    So my dream dual purpose bike would be built using s bottom half of a sportster frame and graft the top part of a large jap bike complete with mono shock and forks swingarm etc to the fire breathing sporty. Use good light weight parts, a heavy duty clutch put the 100 cubic engine in with a mild state of tune good Hella pie plate headlights (sportsters put out enough amps to run a home) and then you guys could eat my mud bananas’…..(just kidding but it would be fun eh?)

  42. Bill H. says

    RevEastTN, the new XR1200 has 89 HP stock and has a top speed of 122mph. It’s the fastest mass produced air-cooled Harley ever made. Since these engines are in brand-new bikes, why would anyone turn it into a dirt bike any time soon?

    The vast majority of Sportster engines have 58 HP or less.

    I’m glad to see that Harley is finally listening to the fact if they want anyone to buy a Sportster it had better be able to outrun a CB 450.

  43. says

    I would like to know the person who made that nice orange enduro sportster?, is it possible to get a hold of his e-mail. Also, how can I get a hold of Mr. Jim Stanton?,
    his e-mail isn’t functional?. I have been studying many types of minimal, to specially
    done off road sportsters from the web site, and would like to get extra info when I
    begin my project. THANKYOU for your input to this matter. JJV

  44. Philthy says

    Exactly what I’m attempting to build. The orange sporty has given me fuel to build my basketcase,blown up 86 1100 Sporty into a MX/enduro type bike to tackle Australia’s Cape York. It has to be a Harley to,just for the challenge and I luv em. Thanks for the adrenaline rush.

  45. archie says

    anyone old enough to remember the 70s tv show \then came Bronson\? a sportster with nobby tires for turring the country on and off the road.

  46. larry says

    The orange Dual-Sportster; totally outrageous! I dreamed of this concept/style of a creation some time ago; I’d like to build one for myself, using readily available parts. I believe I could. Now, to first find that tree money grows on… LOL! I may be down, but I ain’t out yet!!

  47. Dennis says

    I built one and raced it in the Baja 500 , the Baja 1000, a couple of desert races and a few motocross races in the late 70′s. It felt alot like racing a Honda 650R today.

  48. BABE NESNAY says

    I REALLY COULD DIG A A XR 1200 FOR DIRT AND ROAD I WOULD BUY 1 TODAY IF HARLEY MADE THEM.BACK IN 2004 WILLIE G. MADE A XR 1750CC IT WAS IN IRON HORSE MAGAZINE IN 2004 JANUARY,IF ANY BODY CAN FIND THAT MAGAZINE CHECK IT OUT.I WOULD LOVE TO BUY A XR 1750 HARLEY SHOULD START TO PUMP THEM OUT.I AM SURE THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE THAT WOULD BUY A XR 1750.:)

  49. larry says

    Well, Summer’s here, no? How about a judged competition featuring purpose-designed machines that were created during winter’s brain-storming and building sessions? I’ll bet there are some awesome one-off rides out there!

  50. doug s. says

    h-d had its chance to attract younger riders w/buell; they completely blew it w/poor funding and poor marketing. h-d needs to start marketing more golf-karts and wheel chairs to nurse its present market a bit longer. then, bye-bye…

  51. matangi says

    hi all, i ride a dirt converted cruiser gn 400 on all the dirt rides. get out run on tight single track and gain it back on fire roads. my riding bud ben runs a indian royal enfield 500 as well. it is fun to be comfy w/ a low seat. for crazyness there is the hopped up bandit 1200 dual-sport… why be limited to where one can go????

  52. nicktaylor says

    I like the sound of the bike that Dennis competed on –do you have any pics to share?

    I have also relicated the XLR that Lawwill competed on in the 60s–he has always maintained this was one of his best handling bikes– geometry was pretty radical for his day –he certainly was ahead of his time ,by all accounts handled far better than the stock XR chassis

  53. Jack Ellison says

    Yeah; like junk the Harlet motor & slip in a nice jap single and you might be onto something

  54. bajaharley says

    I own the the black dualsport harley (third picture down from top) and I must say, its the best heavy weight “offroad” bike I have ever owned. Better than my R100 GSpd, R1100GS, R1150 GS and dl650. The motor is simply a tractor and chugs up terrain at idle that would stall the other bikes.

    The bike was not intended nor can it compete with light weight thumpers on single track but on fire roads and two track, it works very well. It weighs in at 445 lbs which is about 60 to 75 lbs lighter than my 1150 GS and has the old school simplicity and reliability that I was looking for.

    Here are a few more pics

    http://www.map-engineering.com/images/harley%20dual%20sport.jpg

    http://www.jimmyjib.com/motorcyc/bajaharley10.jpg

    http://www.jimmyjib.com/motorcyc/har2.jpg

    • Johnny McDaniel says

      What kind of frame did you use? Is the tank a YZ 490 tank? Any info on this would be helpful. It looks like a great trail bike and looks fun to ride. Thanks

  55. joe says

    Technically HD did make a sportster based adventure bike although it was under another name BUELL. too bad they stopped making those. they were almost comparable to the BMW adventure bikes with the boxer motors.

  56. Remeber flat track says

    Harley continuously outsells the competition.
    Having worked as a motorcycle mechanic for years (Benelli then latter Honda…etc), I remember the Suzuki intruder, :| , funny that the “Jap bikes” have always and still do copy the style and performance designs of others, i.e. Harley Davidson, Ducati, Husqvarna etc… .
    Don’t take it wrong the Japanese build some great bikes!
    For all the manufactures it is a matter of targeted marketing, and economics, not superior technology.