Metalsmithing A Harley-Davidson Sportster

You can tell a lot about a motorcycle builder forte just by looking at his work. When I saw this bike in Sturgis, I knew right away that Joe Cooper, that I never met before, was a pure metalsmith  mastering the art of metal annealing and soldering. This modified 19999 Sportster 1200 is not born from sheet metal bought out of a catalog or even from modifying any existing sheet metal pieces. All body work is done from scratch and is a great example of the beauty and purity that can be attained when you master the art of metal heat treatment and forming.

Original stock frame was converted to a hardtail with the neck modified to a 40-degree rake to make high-speed riding more stable with the springer front suspension. After being hand formed, both gas tank, rear fender and exhaust were highly polished then nickel plated. Other hand formed parts include the handlebars, oil tank, chain guard, springer front end and plug wire guides, all finished in copper.

Joe Cooper did a great job at hiding all electrical components below the frame rails in a custom battery box. From there, the small lithium battery supplies power via vintage cloth-wrapped wiring routed externally throughout the bike. 2 fat 16 x 3″ wheels dressed in Firestone rubber contribute to giving this Sportster its classic motorcycle flair. Although factory 74″ engine and 5-speed transmission were kept, this Sportster looked 2 times more expensive to build than some other bikes very sophisticated machines competing with it the 2010 AMD World Championship Of Bike Building. And of course you know the reason, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. By the way, it is for sale. Make an offer to Joe at Cooper Smithing Co. (pictures H. Roesler, F. Sander)

12 Responses to “Metalsmithing A Harley-Davidson Sportster”

  1. 1 Darin Maltsberger- Instructor@MTI Aug 18th, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Awesome ride…………The details are amazing. great job and a lot of talent.

  2. 2 Jason Aug 18th, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Beautiful metal work on the gas tank. Steel or aluminum?

  3. 3 Brian Jester Aug 18th, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Love the simple and very cool exhaust

  4. 4 J Aug 18th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Sweet- looks very fun to ride, with that short wheelbase and nice rake

  5. 5 Steve Trujillo Aug 18th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Joe is a buddy of mine. If you are looking for a custom bike with a classic touch, he’s the one to get ahold of. This bike’s name is the Jefferson. Beautiful ride. Cooper Smithing will be a name for a long time

  6. 6 Larry R Aug 18th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Great job, Joe. Hope you do well with your business and great talent.

  7. 7 ROCKSTAR Aug 20th, 2010 at 5:00 am


  8. 8 maroco Aug 23rd, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Great bike, simple and beutiful.

  9. 9 Mr. Knuckles Aug 23rd, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Very nice, but the oil tank placement is both cool and sketchy.

  10. 10 Bank Robber Aug 26th, 2010 at 12:17 am

    It’s on its way to Brooklyn…


  11. 11 Jesse Welch Sep 25th, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Looks very awkward and not proportionate. Perhaps that’s what he was looking to do. A bit amateur and garage built but I know that is what is the trend right now. Anyways just my two cents or sense. Nice work.

    J. Welch

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Metalsmithing A Harley-Davidson Sportster at Cyril Huze Blog – Custom Motorcycle News -- Pingback on Aug 18th, 2010 at 11:39 am
Comments are currently closed.
Cyril Huze