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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Bought Another Sportster

If you've been following this blog for even a short amount of time, you know I love Sportsters.  Well, I bought another one.  This is my (new to me) 2003 XL883R (Roadster).

I am REALLY excited about the Moto Mania event happening August 1st at a dirt track in Owatonna and I really didn't want to risk taking my 2004 XL1200C on the track so I got it in my head that I wanted some sort of dirt bike / scrambler / dirt tracker.  Before you start thinking I bought the bike for only one day of craziness, I didn't.  I really do plan to use it long after the Moto Mania event is over.

I have been trolling Craigslist for a few weeks and came to the realization that I could get an older 883 Sportster for a little more than a nice dirt bike.  Maybe I've watched one too many Rusty Butcher videos, but this seemed like a GREAT idea to me.  After checking out one [sketchy] 2004 XL883 about a week ago and not making an offer, I went to see this one on Monday and really liked it.  Amazingly, it had just under 10,000 miles on it (that's less than 1,000 miles a year!).  The price was right for both me and the seller so I pulled the trigger.

You might be wondering, why another Sportster?  How is it any different than the one I have?  I know my wife was thinking such things (among others).   There are a few significant differences from my 2004 including the fact this one has:
  • A rigid mounted engine (maybe not exactly a selling feature)
  • Dual front disc brakes
  • 2-into-1 exhaust
  • Mid controls
  • Solid wheels instead of spokes
  • Blacked out engine
  • A smaller engine (again, maybe not a selling feature)
  • Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary badging (who cares?)

The mid-controls took only seconds for me to adjust to and were kinda fun to use.  Even though I'm 6 feet tall, the mids were still very comfortable.  I can't say whether I'd say the same thing after a few hundred miles but we'll see.  The 883 motor will get you to 70 or 75mph just fine (um... allegedly) but I think it will really struggle after that.  Being used to a 1200, the 883 performed better than I expected it to.  I think the air cleaner might be stock (strange, given the pipes) so opening up the air flow could help significantly.  Between the mid-controls and the vibration from the rigid-mounted engine, the bike had a distinctly retro or vintage feel.

The bike also features a factory limited edition custom paint job with bobtail fender.  Sadly the tank has a small dent and the front fender is chipped and was repaired rather poorly.  I bought the bike with full intentions of running aftermarket tins but the flame job is kinda cool.  However, I will likely remove them and sell them as a set.  The damage will likely hurt the resale value.

I have a lot of plans for this bike but these pictures turned out so nice, I'm sort of falling in love with it as-is.  I won't spoil the surprise, but I have a lot of things I'm planning to change.  While long term, this bike could become a 1200 or 1250, that's too expensive and complicated of an upgrade right now so it will remain eight hundred and eighty-three cubic inches of fury for the foreseeable future.  I hope to reveal the bike down in Owatonna but maybe sooner depending on how efficient I can be over the next 2 months.  We'll see.  I have a blog and an active Instagram account that must be fed regularly so it will be difficult to keep any secrets.

I really enjoy modifying my bikes but, since my 2004 is pretty much exactly the way I want it and I want to leave my Road King pretty close to stock for reliability reasons, my garage has been relatively quiet lately.  I'm glad that's about to change.

I am definitely looking forward to having some fun with this bike this year.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rockers Spring Social This Saturday

Ton-Up Minneapolis is holding their Rockers Spring Social Motorcycle Show this Saturday, May 30th.  Like the last 2 years, it will be held at Club Jager in Minneapolis.  I still haven't posted my photos from last year, but you can see my blogposts including photos from 2 years ago here.  The show is mostly cafe racers (both modern and vintage) but you'll tend to see a little bit of everything so check it out!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 Oil & Ink Vintage Motorbike Print Exposition - Part 2

The 2015 Oil & Ink Vintage Motorbike Print Exposition drew primarily a cafe racer sort of crowd and Billy was busy promoting Ton-Up Minneapolis' Spring Social on May 30th.  I've attended the last few years and it's fun so check it out!

He seemed to find it amusing to introduce me to everyone he could.  That is... when he wasn't busy giving this guy some sort of bizarre hug / back massage.

A few crowds shots:

You might notice Jordan from Union Speed & Style in that last one.  The shot's pretty blurry, but here he is having fun 2-up on 2 wheels.

As for actual motorcycles, there were some cool ones.  I liked this Moto Guzzi owned by the guy Billy was awkwardly hugging earlier.

This Triumph looked nice and clean:

Another Moto Guzzi:

And yet another Italian, this time a Ducati:

Road rash:

Very cool Yamaha:

Out of everyone, these two seemed to having the most fun.

I ended up leaving just as thunderstorms rolled through Minneapolis. I got soaked for the first half of ride home until I got ahead (or maybe just to the side) of it.  Lots of lightning was flashing in the distance, which was pretty cool.  While I try to avoid riding in the rain, it actually feels nice every once in a while.

If you live in Paris, San Francisco, Ventura, Brooklyn, or Nashville, be sure to catch the Oil & Ink expo as it comes through!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

2015 Oil & Ink Vintage Motorbike Print Exposition - Part 1

The 2015 Oil & Ink Vintage Motorbike Print Exposition was this past Saturday at Konawerks in N.E. Minneapolis.  This was the second year and it's an international traveling art exhibition.  I went last year but it was at a different location (click here for the blog post).

In spite of rain and thunderstorms all around the Twin Cities, I rode my Sportster to the show.

Konawerks is a barber shop and it was my first time inside.  They had prints hung all around the shop.  Each one was available unframed for $100 each.  They were really cool.  There was complimentary wine and a keg of beer.  Surly was on tap.  Don't let my opportunistic, crowd-avoiding photos fool you - the place was packed inside and out.

Just like last year, I really liked the pieces by Makoto Endo.  Last year the was a print of his Vincent painting and this year there was a Triton and the bikes from Easy Rider.

Photos of some of the bikes outside are next!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dirty Rotten Bikerfest 2015 - Part 6

The Daisy Duke contest at Dirty Rotten Bikerfest consisted of a lot of dancing on top of tables in short shorts while shaking various body parts.  I had a front row seat.

While I took video of the whole thing, I'm not actually going to post it.  1080p 60fps clarity is nice for most things, but it translates the event almost too vividly.  My camera on the other hand, due to the fast motion and low light, ended up with a bunch of very weird, blurry, surreal shots.  While the effect was unintentional, these photos do a MUCH better job of showing what it was really like to be there after a day of drinking.

After a winner was crowned, Crankshaft continued to play and there was a big bonfire too.

After a bar fight near closing time, the party started to die down.  It was a beautiful night to sleep outside.

After a night spent spooning my Sportster, I woke up early with the sunrise, packed up, and headed home.

Overall, I had a really good time.  Check it out next year!
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