Monster 2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster | Hot bike

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Jeremy Cupp comes from a long line of builders and machinists. Years ago he founded LC Fabrications in Grottoes, Virginia to satisfy his love for DIY and old motorcycles, primarily Triumphs and Sportsters. LC Fab has great customs, but this superb Sportster ready for the trail was not born out of a desire for art but of a need to decompress.

The idea was simple: an original Sportster with studded tires and Stiletto shocks. In no time, the bike was pushed into a corner of the LC store in favor of paid concerts, as do personal projects. But the nearby Sporty kept getting Jeremy’s attention.

“I had seen a few Sportster off-road bikes floating on Instaface, but I hadn’t really seen a well-made one,” he says. “Being a guy who usually makes everything from scratch, I wanted to see a modified Harley that actually looked like a modified Harley.

“I decided to redo the whole subframe and make a billet swingarm so that I could convert it to a single shock rear suspension,” he says. “I hadn’t seen anyone do a true modern escalating rate link setup, so I volunteered to be the first. After a few tries, Jeremy sorted out the linkage configuration so that it both fits the frame and works properly. At that point, there was no turning back.

“My simple and fast mountain bike had become a real personalized project! He laughs. And the back was just the start. Note the front suspension, it’s a Showa fork from a Yamaha YZ250 motocross, cut into 3 inches.

With the suspension set, it was time to tackle the bodywork. After checking out Indian’s FTR750 at international motorcycle shows and noting its carbon fiber setup, Jeremy had an eye opener. “I never liked carbon fiber very much, but after seeing this Scout flat tracker, it occurred to me that I had a negative outlook on a process that I didn’t know anything about,” says -he. “So I decided to learn. Again, several attempts were made and failed, before he finally succeeded. “I have a new appreciation for well-made carbon fiber.”

Next is the power station. With limited resources for his favorite project, Jeremy did what independent builders do: he scoured the store. “The only motor that matched the frame was nothing more than an empty set of HD boxes,” he says. “But I was also able to find a good Keihin CV carburetor, a Buell flywheel and heads, and a pair of S&S 1250 cylinders.” Jeremy’s Sportster had suddenly turned into a monster.

“I had no intention of building a performance engine! He laughs. “It’s just what I had to work with.” Not wanting to do anything halfway at this point, Jeremy finished the conversion by cutting off the starter nose while the housings were split and plugging in a Led Sled kickstarter unit he had dragged in. He then machined a custom main drive from billets and incorporated a hydraulic slave clutch, using Rotax internals from a Buell 1125R. Jeremy also made the exhaust himself, which is 1 3/4 inch stainless steel, and even built a handmade muffler using the guts of a Harley exhaust.

While its intricacies are plentiful and detail spectacular – the manual controls are a goddamn Ducati – it’s the Aermacchi / AMF era paint scheme that really brings the Sportster together as a complete package. It took over three years, but the end result is an off-road bike that’s a stumbling block and, yes, looks like a Harley-Davidson. You can check it out this summer at Fuel Cleveland in July and at the Brooklyn Invitational in September.


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