Old Iron-Head Harley-Davidson Sportsters Never Die

This Iron-Head Sporty had a life that inspired each new owner and took them on a ride they would never forget…

THE Harley-Davidson Sportster was acquired in bits by Joel Johnson and he started a rebuild in 1992. The frame was moulded and smoothed, the welds removed, to give it a sleek look; the weld-on hard-tail was added at the same time. The Iron-Head motor was rebuilt as close as possible to standard but using the best parts and seals to give it plenty of reliability. Later a six-inch-over Jim Sonic Wide Glide front-end was fitted; handling was improved greatly.

Before long the Sporty was sold to an eager rider who just wanted to ride it in various poker runs and attend as many parties as possible, but he too had to part with his love after a couple of years.

Brad purchased the bike from Richard who worked at the same sawmill as his father. He used it on a regular basis for many years and it gave him a love that was hard to explain.

Finally, it gave a hiccup on the way home from a long ride and pumped oil out everywhere. The motor was pulled down and to find the flywheels had had a divorce and started to part company. Brad had made the right decision to get the bike home as taking it an extra 2 km down the road would have completely destroyed the motor.

The motor and box were given to Lewis Cooper to rebuild. Brad worked lots of overtime to get the money for the rebuild; it felt like ages but he got there.

Back on the road and a Four Runner 4WD went over the bike and Brad. He now has a permanent limp in his right leg; the Sporty had a new front-end fitted after the frame was straightened. This work was done by the guys at Speedway Road Motorcycles, Latrobe, under the supervision of Larry.

Having the bike fixed and his body back in shape, Brad wasn’t riding the Sporty to its full potential so he sold it to fund the purchase of a new project.

The Iron-Head Sporty was purchased by Chris who put it through a cosmetic rebuild with a new paint job and a new style tank. The high Burleigh handlebars give a comfortable ride for Chris who is six feet tall. The rear drum brake takes a little getting used to compared to a disc brake.

The forward controls are low, giving a lounge chair feel. The indicators are close to the frame to keep the sleek look of the bike while the switch-blocks are aftermarket Harley-Davidson.

The peep mirrors are just big enough to let Chris know where he’s been and don’t take away from the look of the Sporty.

The oil tank still has a few ripples as a reminder of the crash with the 4WD and are staying to remind Chris of its previous loves. Chris also added an oil pressure gauge to help prevent the mishaps of before.

The girls in the photographs? We have absolutely no idea. She was just passing when we did the photoshoot and offered to show us her boobs.

words & pics by Wayne Burrows

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