Fifteen years that French Thierry Nicolle rides stock Harleys, almost everything in the Milwaukee line up, from a Sportster to a V-Rod via a couple of Dynas. Until a friend went away to sail the high seas and let him use his Chop, a customized Sportster Ironhead, the model sold by Harley starting year 1972 with overhead-valve engine beefed up to 61′ or 1000 cc. Thierry fell in love with this friend’s XL and the only way he could return it to its owner was to get one for himself. Good pretext, his 40th birthday was coming. Mid life crisis?
So, Thierry looked for a XL, found a cheap and in very bad shape 75 model and brought the basket case to Jean Phi at Graffi Bike Concept for a full rebuild following his wish list. The new Sportster Ironhead use an L&L Choppers frame modified to accept right foot shift and right side drive chain like the original setup on all XL’s from 1957 to 1973 (in 1974, for reason of safety, DOT mandated left side shift for all new motorcycles)
Original HD 4-speed tranny and HD rear wheel with drum brake setup were kept, but for more added braking and safety a small PM 2-piston PM brake slows the 21″ front wheel. The interesting part being that the master cylinder is not positioned on the bars but tucked and hidden behind the motor mounts, with actioning via a cable running inside a copper line! Front end is 39mm telescopic mounted on modified 2000 Sportster triple trees. Graffi Bike Concept customized the Frisco mounted gas tank, the oil tank, the left side exhaust and the foot controls. Air filter (over S&S carburetor) is from Hidemo. The beautiful brass headlight comes from a 50’s British commercial trike. “Uprising” was recently the triple winner of the Freeway Magazine Bike Show held on the French Riviera.