Ruby Springer Harley-Davidson Sportster

Phil is no fool. To keep his wife happy during his first chopper build he used the oldest trick in the book—naming the bike ‘Ruby’ after her…

I GRABBED it off eBay. It was a running bike but the thing that really struck me about it was getting a Harley-Davidson Sportster engine in a hardtail. It originally had a big Fat Bob tank and guard, but I guess I got it because of its potential to be chopped.

It’s a 1974 bike with a 1980 engine in it; a four-speed. It’s also running a Roadmax Springer. It was interesting fitting that front-end to an older-looking bike. It’s a good mix of old and new.

It’s a heap of fun to ride and it handles really quite nicely. It’s actually stock rake but it looks a bit raked because of the longer springer and the way it sits up. It turned out pretty close to what the vision was.

I like the scalloped Sporty tank and all the detailed touches, and I really like it because it’s got a hotrod look to it.

Also getting that seat made up especially for it, and the idea of putting that script-type writing on it was great.

I didn’t have the time or too much know-how but it was a great experience stripping the bike down in the garage; that was actually a great feeling.

I used to ride years ago. I grew up in Tassie riding scramble bikes. I always had a motorbike in Tassie but when I moved to Sydney I had to really start again. I’ve had Valiants. I’ve always liked them but in Sydney I couldn’t really find the space to own too much. Then one day I thought I’d love to get back into bikes, and I saw a very strange little Sportster at an auction and that kinda got my head ticking. The thing I like about the Sporties is that they haven’t had the best reputation, and they’re at the lower end of the price range, but they’re actually very good to ride.

I suppose everyone’s bike is unique, but this bike truly is a one-off, and it’s such a cool garage-style bike. The motor clicks along brilliantly. It’s been on the road for about six months now. It’s great for getting around the city and just cruising around on.

I’d like to thank my wife, Ruby, for her patience with me on this thing because it does occupy the very small amount of spare time that I have. I asked her if she wanted me to build something where she could get on the back and she said no. Then when I came home with this and she wanted a ride on it!

Harley-Davidson Sportster bobber

words by Phil, pics by Wasko

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