2007 XL1200C Sportster







XL1200C Sportster Custom

After the fender job on the Softail I wanted to do a more challenging project, and I wanted to start riding something a little smaller and more nimble. So, I got a 2007 Sportster 1200C and before too long I began to think about how this bike would evolve.

I rode the bike for a while and played around with some ideas and I eventually decided to build a cross between a classic Sportster and a chopper-inspired H-D 72 knock-off. First thing that needed to go was the icky stock paint scheme of Black Cherry Pearl and Pewter Pearl that looked way too ‘70’s, and I don’t mean in a cool, Easy Rider kinda way. My default color is black, so I decided on a stock Vivid Black paint scheme (more on that later).

So I stripped off the garbage that comes with this bike, like the stick-on tank console and some other decorative doo-dads. Not that I am averse to design touches, but I prefer they at least perform some function and not just be a chunk of chrome bolted on for no reason.

Then I started scrounging up some new parts. I hate handlebar clutter (and the stock bike has plenty of that), so I selected some 10” mini ape hangers, dimpled and drilled for internal wiring. I kept the stock riser and speedo housing and upgraded the grips, along with longer cables to suit the new chimps.

The pipes are good. Honestly, for stock exhaust the ones that come on late model Sportys are decent, giving good sound and respectable performance. But I hate stock intakes with a passion, so I got a performance and style two-fer by upgrading to a Screamin’ Eagle intake and round cover, then remapping the ECM. As far as performance upgrades this was all I really wanted to do to this bike.

The tins were where I really wanted to concentrate my efforts. I took a trip down to Bud’s Motorcycle Shop in Austin to see if I could scare up something interesting, and I was not disappointed. I found another rear fender, the same as my stock fender, and an old FX (or pre-1989 XL) front fender. The front fender’s mounting brackets are just a smidge wider than the current XL front fork clearance, but with some gentle persuasion (no, really - be gentle here) the fender fit snugly and bolted right up.

The rear fender and my original (still on the scoot) went to Full Custom Fabrication in Bastrop. I showed Zac my sketches of my extended fender concept and left the Sporty with him to start the fab. I can’t praise the work that comes out of this shop highly enough. The welds are flawless and every curve matched perfectly, and a few weeks later I had my bike back and ready for paint.

For paint I went to Austin Paintworks with a set of vintage decals and an idea. Matt and I talked about the job, and I already knew I wanted a simple one-color black bike with the decals on the tank. Now, all I wanted was black, but like an idiot I specified Vivid Black. No sweat, Matt said he’d make it happen and he did. What I didn’t know was that Harley Factory colors can be expensive, as these are really high-tech paints. The paint job is superb, but I overspecified the color. OK, lessons learned!

Paint was done just in time for me to get the bike back together in time for the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally. I got all the tins home and wired up the fender-mounted NOS Harley turn signals and made a lead for the shock-mounted license plate/taillight bracket. I added an old-style 1933 Ford taillight and made a bracket for the inspection sticker to go just in front of the license plate and I was on my way to having this scoot road-ready.

As I said, I am not averse to having some flashy stuff on the bike if it also has a purpose, and the one thing I always like to have is a frame-mounted toolbox. Too many times I have needed tools while out riding, especially on one memorable midnight run on a dark country road coming back to the hotel from the Cabbage Patch in Daytona. Ever since then I have made it a point to be able to make a quick fix or to lend a hand to another rider by having at least some tools handy. I kept the toolbox from the Heritage before I let it go and I made a bracket to mount it on the right side between the belt guard and the swing arm, and it turned out to be a pretty solid and effective mount.

Finally, I ditched the stock seat and replaced it with a Drag Specialties leather solo seat that looks pretty good and is fairly comfy for local riding. One last touch, a low-profile gas cap and the project was pretty much complete.

While still not a full-on build this project was a bit more complex than the last one, and I learned quite a few things that I applied to my next project, the Street Bob build.