Sportster Rebuild Project – Final Verdict

Brothers, if spring isn’t here for most of us, it’s right around the corner and I know my friends in the Provinces are itching to get going.

Make it happen, captain!

All you folks that have been following my Sportster rebuild have probably noticed that I haven’t had the dyno numbers yet. I was planning on pulling 90 horses out of that regular “small” block Evo. Well, as promised, I did dyno it on March 5 and with a lot of tinkering…

The best pull was 87 horses at just shy of 6000 rpm. The Mikuni dumps a lot of fuel and the new heads just eat it up. Throttle response with the valve job and cams is extremely crisp, economy (whoever worries about that on a bike) seems to be a little better – which I chalk up to better flow through the SuperTrapp, and drivability … that most ethereal thing when it comes to a scoot … well, let’s just say I’m still getting used to how fast it reacts.

This thing is fast.

Really fast. Like sub-5 seconds 0-60 fast. I’ve tried to keep my hand out of the throttle until we get everything fully tuned and the old hotrodder in me wants to keep torqueing stuff on the engine, but once I get 1000 miles on it, I’m going to run it for a quarter time that I’m willing to bet will be a lot closer to 12 than 13.

So what is the final verdict? I was able to upgrade this bike to a newer and more efficient engine making more power and torque for a hair less than $3500 US. Given the fact that the current numbers from the dyno session give me comparable power to the big-engined newer Sportsters and keep older, more driveway-friendly electrical and fuel management systems in place that I can actually work on means that maintenance costs will be lower longer term.

And I still don’t have a payment on it.

Should you consider a project like this? If you have some mechanical ability and resources, Hell yeah! The Evo-engined Harleys can make great numbers, have tons of aftermarket goodies, and are reliable as a brick. What’s not to like? The best part is that the systems in them are, for the most part, easy to understand – tuning a carburetor is tuning a carburetor, no matter whether it’s a Holley Double-Pumper or a Mikuni.

Think about it like this – Joe Sixpack doesn’t know a new bike from a late model but even your six year old knows what a Harley sounds like and looks like. Old iron can make some great power and not cost a fortune to achieve, so why not think about tweaking your own? Just don’t do it right now – it’s Spring and it’s time to ride!

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