Building an old-style chopper these days can cost a pretty penny. Either you're good at clicking the bid button on eBay, or have a fat wallet. Or maybe FXR fever has gotten a grip on your senses and you're chasing that unicorn of a perfect stock specimen to turn into your SAMCRO dreams. There's something else that's been a little behind the scenes for several years now, on the lower end of the "cool bike" spectrum as most people would see it.
Used, 5-speed, '91 to '03 Sportsters can be had and immediately ridden for not very much money at all. I've seen several decent Sportsters in the $3,000 range, which is a steal. And if you can't come up with that, you're either reading this from prison or reading the wrong mag.
I don't mean to come off harsh, but let's face it: There are always nice alternatives to the latest trends. Something fast and fun to ride around on while you're finishing up your chopper project. A bike you don't have to worry about so much...you know? Like having a gas tank almost fall over on the freeway, or maybe your rear fender mounts giving out, shooting your prized ribbed Triumph fender 20 feet into the air.
So here we go, a look into a solid commuter that can step up when challenged to a street race and split lanes like a hot knife through butter. This is what I'm here to report to you readers, and it's what Dustin Hiniker had to put together with help from some good friends. I'll take up your time no longer, so dig in:
So what's the scoop, Dustin?
It started life as a '93 Sportster 1200. I had another bike like it that was set up like a flat tracker, and I sold it to a good friend of mine. I used the money to buy another one, this one, which came from Brawny at Brawny Built. At that time it was closer to a stock bike with tall shocks on it, stripped down, no nothing, with a cut-down fender on the back an.d a tiny seat
I had a tail section lying around for flat track racing, and about five years ago I put that tail on and basically just rode the dog shit out of that bike as it was. Every day to work from Long Beach to the Valley; it never left me stranded. But one day I noticed a top-end knock. I was working some crazy hours at the time, so I called Brawny to see if he could do a top end job. That's when this whole thing started as the bike you see now.
So Brawny got ahold of the bike?
He took off the top end and found the back of the rear piston was just scored and ground down. I figured it would be a good time to get some Branch heads and J.E. pistons...then also decided on getting some brakes off of a sportbike, too. So while I was wranglin' up all those parts, trying to find Tokico calipers and the brackets from Fab Kevin, I decided to change the rear wheel from a 16-inch to an 18.
I didn't think it was going to be easy finding one, but XLCRs had them, so I got Chopper Dave to look for one by posting it on his website. In just one day he got a response. It was a rear 18-inch off of a '78 XLCR which a guy in South Orange County had. I tore both wheels apart and had them powdercoated along with my triple trees and frontend. While the frontend was apart, I also got 2- or 3-inch-over fork tubes and took a set of ProTaper motocross handlebars and shortened it up in the center. Also got a set of Grimeca controls.
So it went from a top end job to the whole bike being just torn apart now; no wheels, no frontend, wiring ripped out, top end was taken off, bodywork was off of it, too. The tank and tail section went to John Edwards and Pac Man for paint and pinstriping. The whole time this was going on, which was a few months, I rode my friend Noah's FXR to work every day. Basically, I would just slowly bring Brawny more new parts, and he would put them on.
So how was it when the bike came together?
Frickin' solid. With the Andrews V4 cams and Dyna ignition, this bike really scoots. On the street, I always got people coming up to me, trying to give me the business because it looks like a race bike. It might look pretty and nice, but this bike really gets ridden.
Anyone you wanna thank? Any last words?
I really want to thank Noah for letting me ride his FXR to work for two months. I really appreciate that. And Brawny Built is the shit; hands down, number one in my book. It's really good to have such good friends.
For more in-depth photos and a complete build list of parts used on this bike go to: streetchopperweb.com.