Yasir Butt transforms his 1990 Harley Davidson Sportster in to the Old School Chopper of his dreams.
Having ridden motorcycles with the group Bahrain Desi Riders, established back in 2006 by Yasir’s cousin Abid Butt, Yasir is quite a regular on the motorcycle scene. He tells me the Bahrain Desi Riders is one of the oldest Riding Group in Bahrain with about 40 Riders in total, often riding at the weekends. With Yasir’s cousin also owning a garage and being a pro at modifying and customising bikes, Yasir seized the opportunity with open arms to customise his 1990 Harley Sportster and turn it into his dream old school chopper, unique, original and one of a kind.
1990 Harley Davidson Sportster/ Old School Chopper
Why bikes for you over cars?
Motorcycle riding gets you out in the fresh air. It develops your coordination and balance. With brake and clutch levers for your hands, brake and shift gears for your feet, you learn to balance at slow speeds. While on the road your constantly monitoring your situation, speed, angle, body posture, road condition, lane position, possible hazards. It also serves as a meditation that clears your mind of the unnecessary. Motorcycles use less fuel because they give you more mileage plus finding a parking space is easier than finding one for a car. There is good feeling of power and freedom while riding a motorcycle.
What bikes have you previously owned?
This is my first Bike; I have not owned any before this one.
Why this bike?
This Bike was an import from the USA. Because of its age (26 Years old) I had the idea of turning it into an old school chopper as I had not seen any in Bahrain. Consulting with my cousin also resulted in me deciding to go for the chopper look.
Did you buy this bike with the intention of modifying it?
Yes, I wanted to modify it in the later stage.
How long have you had the bike, and how long before you decided and started the modification process?
I have had this bike for a Year now, and I decided to start the modification process about eight months in.
Why did you decided to modify it?
Most bikes come with a conservative style from the manufacturer. I really enjoyed the concept of individualizing a motorcycle to give it a character of its own. That’s what I was looking for! As mentioned I decided to turn this bike into an old school chopper because of it being quite an old model -1990 - which I thought was a pretty cool and unique idea. A Sportster Chopper with an 18-inch Ape Handle Bar is a rare in Bahrain. I wanted my bike to be unique, to get noticed and leave a lasting impression on people that see it.
Where have you got the majority of the parts from?
Most of the Parts have been fabricated in Bahrain and rest were imported from USA.
Have you made the modifications yourself or at a garage?
The modifications were done by my cousin Abid Butt who happens to be an expert with fixing and modifying motorcycles and has been fixing bikes and riding bikes for over 20 years. All modifications were done at Abid’s Garage.
Did you encounter any problems while modifying this bike?
There was one major problem which we faced while replacing the stock handle bar with an 18-inch-long Ape Handle Bar. The brake and clutch cables were short as the handle bar was too long. I had to get the cables removed and replace them with custom made cables. The speedometer cable also had to be extended as the front forks were much longer than the stock placement.
What are the before and after affects?
The stock engine was 883cc which had less riding power and not as much of a rumbling sound. After the upgrade of the engine to a Big Block 1300cc and installation of an S&S carburettor along with a custom exhaust, the power and the rumble sound increased dramatically. The bike went from a normal stock look to a cool old school chopper.
What’s the max speed this bike is capable of?
This bike is capable of going at speeds of 240kph quite comfortably.
If you don’t mind saying roughly how much have you spent doing this bike up?
While creating a custom bike, one can be shocked as to how expensive it can get. You can go high depending on the fabrication of parts, and adding of accessories for the upgrade. I have spent BHD3,000. on this project so far.
How much time have you spent on this bike? And has it been an enjoyable project?
It took four months to finish this project and has been quite an enjoyable experience. Seeing my bike go from normal to an old school chopper was very satisfying.
How is the bike to ride now compared to how it was before?
My bike is a unique one in Bahrain as we don’t normally see a Harley Sportster Chopper locally. The ride compared to before is more challenging as the front forks are extended that has made the bike longer overall. It takes a much bigger radius to turn the bike as opposed to a regular Harley Sportster making a turn.
Do you plan to make future modifications to this bike, if so what?
Yes! I do have future plans to modify the rear of this Bike. I would like to chop the rear wheel swing arm off and get a custom swing arm made to install a 300mm tire which is twice the width of the current 150mm tire.
Do you ever race this bike? Or is it more of a show piece?
No, I do not race this Bike, although it can reach up to the speed of 240 kph, but for me this Bike to be more of a show piece and a fun ride.
Would you do this again... with another bike and modify it?
Yes, I would certainly do this again as it is fun and at the same time I get to learn the mechanics of a motorcycle and different ways to modify.
If money was no object what would be your dream modification project?
I would love to build a Bike from scratch, I think it would be a really fun project and something to be very proud of.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about modifying their bikes?
Just think of a theme and do your research before you dismantle the bike. It is more fun to fabricate parts than to buy all parts from a parts distributor. If money is no object, then possibilities are endless to have the bike customized to your taste.
Any thing else you would like to add?
I would like to commend my Cousin who helped me with this project from day one till the bike was done. This project would not be possible without Abid Butt.
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