2004 Sportster in Disguise
by Bobby C.
(Rancho Cucamonga, California, U.S.)
I got this bike new in Oct. of '03 and immediately wanted to change it up. Getting custom parts was nearly impossible, since Harley made such a drastic change in the Sportster models for 2004.
The first thing I wanted to do, of course, was get rid of the stock mufflers. I had a pair of slip on drag style pipes made at Chopper Design Company in Upland, Ca. (I've changed those since then).
Then I decided to try my hand at fabricating a custom sissy bar. I made this one out of some round bar I found in a corner of my garage, got a torch and a vice, and just started bending it until I got what I wanted. Next, I cut six and a half inches off the rear fender and mounted the Sparto taillight and Arlen Ness license plate frame.
Then I added the 14" apes with internal wiring for the switches. Putting the apes on meant that I had to use aftermarket risers. The stock riser would have just been ugly, in my opinion, so it had to go.
I decided to use an aftermarket mini speedo from Drag Specialties. Along the way I changed the usual stuff, grips, footpegs, mirrors, and mounted a Dragtron air cleaner.
I wanted to lower the bike next, so I fabricated a pair of struts and went rigid, lowering the bike 2 inches. At the same time I mounted the solo seat with springs using a kit I got from Lick's Cycles.
After that I decided the bike needed a custom paint job to help make it stand out in a crowd. I bought the traditional Sportster tank on eBay. I never liked the big one it came with. Then I set up a temporary paint booth in my backyard, got a cheap spray gun, and went for it. It was a lot more work than I expected! But, I'm happy with the results. It's all paint too, no tape or stickers.
Oh, and since I was going for a bobber look, I ditched the front fender. Shortly after I finished painting it I decided to have another set of pipes made. These are also slip-ons, made to bolt on where the mufflers originally connected. I designed them, then had them made at Chopper Design Company.
The next, and possibly final thing I want to do will be to change to a mid-wide glide front end using a bolt on conversion kit. Since I've made all the modifications to my bike I get lots of people wondering what year it is.
Most will guess it's an early 70's model, until they take a closer look and notice the belt drive and rubber mounted engine. It makes me happy when it's mistaken for an older bike. That was my goal.