Electric Buffalo Co-owner/Operator Cody spent the winter and spring rebuilding his long-owned 2002 Evo Sportster. Here's a recap from Cody's perspective.
I bought myself a stock sportster in 2009. I knew very little about mechanics/customizing motorcycles but I knew I wanted my bike to look different than every other Sportster I saw on the road. Funds were more than limited back then so the first thing I did was strip off anything it didn't need to run. I pulled the upholstery on the stock seat and took an electric turkey carver to the foam and reupholstered it. I removed the blinkers, cut the rear fender, on and on I went.
Most importantly, I rode it. I couldn't get enough of it. If felt good to ride and even better to ride something I felt was more my own instead of a carbon copy. I took that bike all over the place. I lived in Northwest Arkansas at the time, and on any given Saturday you could find me a quarter of the way across the state on some back road. No iphones for maps, just heading any direction on any random county road and finding my way home. From there the trips got longer and farther. I rode to south AR, I rode to Dallas, I rode to Albuquerque, I rode to Phoenix. It's all I wanted to do with every spare moment I had.
Between then and moving to Nashville I dove head first into chopper culture, which was largely influenced by my time living in Phoenix. I kept customizing my bike as funds would allow (including installing a 1200 big bore kit, so now I knew my way around a top end) but I dreamt of building a chopper. I tossed around the idea of building a new bike (maybe an XS650) and keeping my sportster as-is, but I decided if I was gonna go big, I was going to chop my daily. I started slowly stockpiling the parts and knowledge I would need to try to hit the sportster in one season. One night in January me and a buddy decided it was time to start tearing down. A few hours later, the motor was sitting in a milk crate and we had nothing but an empty frame and a pile of parts.
One of the most sobering moments in this build was standing in my shop with a sawzall in my hand, realizing I was about to cut the frame of a perfectly functioning motorcycle in half. I took a deep breath and went for it. There was no turning back!
I fit the new tail (fabricated by Haifley Bros) and re-installed the motor to line it all up, and my buddy Brandon came by to lend me his welding skills. We tacked the frame, took the motor back out, and I let him go to town with his TIG. Once the frame was welded, we got to work with the grinder and cleaned everything up, and drilled and welded in frisco bungs for the tank. I hung the frame from the ceiling of the shop and hit it with a few coats of black VHT roll bar paint and left it to cure for a few days.
In the mean time, I had my oil tank and a new 2.2g wassel painted by Flake & Kandy Customs in Nashville. I gave Brad free reign to get weird, and my only request to incorporate black and a mint/seafoam green into the job. He killed it with tons of cool texture. I didn't know exactly what to expect but the final result blew me away.
It was time to rebuild! It took a few more weeks of mockups, more mockups, cutting and painting the fender, fitting new brake parts, belt-chain conversion, fitting and mounting the new Paughco exhaust, installing a Dyna 2000i programmable ignition module and single fire coil, planning the re-wire from scratch (thanks Steve!), actually getting the re-wire right (thanks Darren!), and more, but eventually we had a fully built and functioning motorcycle, completely different than the one we tore down. I was and still am really proud of what we did. Since the rebuild the bike carries a whole new attitude. I've dubbed it's new persona The Creep Show.
I could not have completed this build nearly as quickly or efficiently as I did without the help of my friends Darren, Adam, and Brandon, Brad at Flake & Kandy Customs, and the good folks at Haifley Bros, Lowbrow Customs, TC Bros, and Prism Supply for supplying me with all the parts I needed.
This past weekend I rode out of state for the first time since the rebuild. My little sportster performed better than I could have hoped for a long multi-day ride. As it turns out, chopper dreams do come true.