Customized Harley Sportster Still Serviceable By Harley Dealers

Many custom motorcycle lovers have this dilemma. How radical can they go with their new Harley-Davidson without voiding all factory warranties and keeping their bike serviceable at any official Harley dealership. Florida shop Lightning Rod Motorcycles brings an answer to this question when you intend to customize a Sportster. The “Trackster” featured here is still 100% Harley-Davidson regarding the frame, engine and transmission, all kept stock for reliability and serviceable by official HD dealers. A lot of money saved and a lot of troubles associated with some radical custom bikes are avoided. At the same time, with a few modifications and the choice of the right quality custom parts, the result looks and feels like an expensive radical custom when in fact the final price is quite reasonable.  

In one operation, stretching the swingarm by 4″, shop owner Steve Carr already “moved” the Sportster from the stock to the radical custom status. It’s now 8 feet long from tip of tire to tip of tire. The high quality custom parts list include: a Paughco Springer front end 2″ under, Paughco Speedster bars on which Harley hand controls and mirrors were re-installed with the addition of a pair of vintage grips, a pair of 23″ wheels (26″ is also possible), a Led Sled rear fender, a Bltwell bobber solo kit and seat, a new wrapped exhaust (model Nightmarez) from Pipe Dreamz, a High Flow breather kit (Big Sucker) from Alen ness, Toxico calipers with brake mounts from Fab Kevin, a speedo relocation kit from Joker Machine. The Trackster keeps all D.O.T. required Lights, signals and Speedo. And of course a custom paint job by David in Panama City (gas tank is original factory). As is $16,995 or you can buy only the conversion kit for current Sportster owners. Lightning Rod Motorcycles will have a Harley Dyna version coming in June. (photography courtesy Steve Kelly Photo)


36 Responses to “Customized Harley Sportster Still Serviceable By Harley Dealers”

  1. 1 Sportster Mike Apr 23rd, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Good idea – like it
    Who makes the wheels??
    Isn’t pipe wrap a little passé now? Even here in England (Happy St. Georges Day!!) its getting a little overdone
    I put exhaust wrap on my last bike – but thats because the pipes was rusty!!

  2. 2 Doc Robinson Apr 23rd, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Wow! Great bike Steve and as Cyril said, a lot of money saved and troubles avoided. And the parts used are all top shelf.

  3. 3 BobS Apr 23rd, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Nice to see the girl bikes getting some love too. I’m sure the ladies like to customize just as much as the guys.

  4. 4 Gas Man Apr 23rd, 2012 at 8:08 am

    This isn’t news. If you don’t go into your motor you can keep your warranty for the motor/trans/frame. That’s all you’ll have a warranty on, because that’s all you left alone. They aren’t re-inventing the wheel here!

    On a side note… super sweet looking scoot. Looks amazing!

  5. 5 hk Apr 23rd, 2012 at 9:04 am

    wheels are paul jr design by renegade ,not sure why anyone would say pipe wrap is passe’ .Thats like saying black isnt a cool color ,or hotrods arent cool anymore .

    I like it all except the back wheel size . Could have been a 21 or 18 ,something a little less obvious .

  6. 6 brian Apr 23rd, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Wow, 4000 bike add 3000 for paint and wheels and you get a 17000 bike. Impresive

  7. 7 JJ Apr 23rd, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Looks amazing!

    It may be time for me to buy a Sportster.

  8. 8 Jason Hallman (Steelchoppin) Apr 23rd, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Cool bike…but the title is not entirely true. In order to understand the warrant-ability of a custom or modified motorcycle, car or vacuum cleaner for that matter you need to understand the Magnusson-Moss act of 1975. Google that law. Basically, it sets up protections for owners of products from what is called a “tie-in” sales provision. A “tie-in” sales provision is something like: your warranty will be void if you don’t use __________ (said brand) oil, or your first 1,000 mile service must be completed at an authorized ___________ (said company) service department. In fact, the law clearly states that you can do all of your own service…you just need to prove it should an issue arise.

    Technically, not only is the warranty void on the motorcycle in the above photo on certain components and systems…that exhaust is illegal and subject to federal fines. Having owned an aftermarket shop since 2003 I have dealt with (and assisted customers) when the motor company (that shall remain unnamed in this post) chose to invalidate one of my customer’s factory warranty because I did their first service, not the dealer. The only thing that they can legally invalidate a warranty for is a failure that can be directly attributed to the installation of an aftermarket part, abuse or lack of scheduled maintenance. Just because you put cams in does not mean that your transmission is no longer under warranty. I sign all of my customers owners manuals and it then becomes a legal document. If you complete your own service you should do the same (make sure you date it) and save your receipt from the oil.

    Also, not having your bike serviced or modified exclusively at a dealer is not grounds for invalidation of your factory warranty but use of non-factory parts can be. By law, the only service that a manufacturer can require you to come to them for is a service which they are going to paying 100% of parts and 100% of labor for said repair.

    Don’t just take my word for it…look it up. An informed consumer and an informed motorcycle shop owner can take on a warranty claim and win…I have done it more than once.

  9. 9 43knuckle Apr 23rd, 2012 at 10:18 am

    What causes some people to call the Sportster a girls bike?

    Is it because the average Sportster is faster than the average Big Twin?

    Or that it handles more nimbly and stops better?

    That must be it……

    Sonny Barger rode a Sportster. I would love to see someone tell him he chose and rode a girls bike.

  10. 10 Jason Hallman (Steelchoppin) Apr 23rd, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Amen 43Knuckle! I was going to say something but it was too venomous for the positive vibes I am trying to send out into the world these days! It is most likely “bagger disease” which (apparently) infects 4 out of every 5 Harley owners these days. It is when you are infected with jealousy which requires that you then ride the exact same bike as all of your friends and instead of actually putting miles on your all black Street Glides you and all of your friends dress up in matching HD clothing and ride to each others homes hanging in the garage drinking light beer and installing new chrome covers over your factory chrome covers making fun of people that have the ability to be free thinkers.

  11. 11 Mike Apr 23rd, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Well said 43Knuckle…….Sportsters Rule! Blowing away big twins since 1957

  12. 12 Johnny Wolf Apr 23rd, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Contrast cut wheels (are everywhere), spring seat (w/shocks?), pipe wrap (see contrast cut wheels).

    Girls Bike? Welcome to the late 80’s where that stupid SH$T started. Must have li’l pecker syndrome.

  13. 13 BadMonkeyMW Apr 23rd, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Jason, I’m glad you brought up Magnusson-Moss, also sometimes referred to as the ‘Right to Repair’ act. I’ve spent a lot of time over my years as a professional mechanic and a shop owner explaining it to people who have been victims of the dealership’s scare tactics, telling them that if they have any work done outside of an H-D dealership it will void their warranty.

    I wholeheartedly agree that an informed consumer is a good thing.

  14. 14 BobS Apr 23rd, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Sorry to offend you guys with the girls bike comment, but I really do think the ladies would like more customization options for their bikes. Sure guys ride Sportsters and sure girls ride other bikes, but c’mon sometimes a duck is just a duck. I’m sure there are some guys that buy and like VW Beetles and women buy other cars than Beetles…but it’s a girls car. Sometimes there’s a reason for the stereo type. The important point was the aftermarket manufacturers have customer pools that go beyond guys with black street glides.

  15. 15 nitrometalpolishing Apr 23rd, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    here in jolly old england you can have your car serviced any where you like and not invalidate the warranty .this was changed a few years back) no idea how many of ordinary punters know this, bet the dealers who sell em dont tell em ! i assume its the same for new bikes? i wouldnt know i only buy old shite!! any way would say happy st georges day but i believe he was greek(crete or somewhere like it)

  16. 16 Captain John T. Awesome Apr 23rd, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    BobS – I could explain to you that Sporty’s routinely ruled the track for more years than almost any other bike and that they are very popular drag bikes, road racing bikes, dirt track racing bikes and just about any other type of racing bike you can think of to this day.
    But the bottom line is, you’re probably not going to change your mind. You’ve decided that you’re a man because you ride a certain bike. Which is fine I guess. I choose to actually look at the facts rather than just accept stereotypes that are fed to me by the peer group I just bought my way into.
    I guess the other reason I ride a sportster is to avoid people like you. My old ’42 wla (the grandfather of the sportster by the way) was like a poser magnet. Every goofball in a Harley shirt wanted to be my best friend. So I deliberately chose a bike that posers turn their nose up at.
    Funny thing is, 40 years ago the 45″ wl/wla’s were considered girl’s bikes. But the poser elite treated me like royalty (once I assured them it wasn’t a Norton or Triumph or something anyway) because I rode a “hardcore Harley chopper”. It was enough to make me sick.

  17. 17 CafeSportyTC Apr 23rd, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    BobS… It make be a girls bike to you but id take a Sportster over a Geezer Glide anyday…..

  18. 18 Knucklehead Apr 23rd, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    BobS you can’t talk your way out of that. When I was young we thought it was a way cool bike to have. They just came out and do as written here.” Nimble” they are. To custom or chop one can do so much and they are sleek. “Naw” you need to put some years behind you.

  19. 19 BobS Apr 23rd, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Not trying to talk my way out of anything Knuckle. If you are offended, I apologize. That doesn’t mean it’s not a girls bike, which doesn’t mean it’s a bad bike. I know it’s a fun bike to ride because I have ridden one. I’ve also baja’d a Beetle. That doesn’t change the fact that if you see a Beetle, I bet you think a gal drives it. And if you park a Glide and a Sporty in front of an Applebees here’s what will happen. The overwhelming majority of non-riders that come out of the restaurant won’t be able to tell the difference, in their minds there are Harleys, Goldwings, and crotch rockets. Of the patrons who ride the overwhelming majority of women will think another lady rider is in the restaurant and the overwhelming majority of male riders will be wondering if she’s hot. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad bike or unworthy of customization. But it does make the label “girls bike” worthy. The real question should be why is that offensive?

  20. 20 Patrick Apr 23rd, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Chick Bike? Nope. Ride one every chance I get. Saw this one in Daytona. Cool!!! Nice job Steve.

  21. 21 hk Apr 23rd, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    43knuckle hit the nail on the head .

    whats wrong with nimble reliable lighter weight options?

    I guess its because most “bad ass bikers” want to match their slow fat overpriced chromesicles .

  22. 22 BobS Apr 23rd, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Captain Awesome – you can try and explain the history of the Sporty to me but you are right that it would be a waste of time. Because I already know the history of the Sportster. I don’t need to ride a certain bike to be a man, but apparently you do, “I ride one to avoid people like you”…if your riding a certain type of bike to avoid a certain type of person, then it is you who is defining himself by the bike he rides. I have and will ride pretty much anything on two wheels, including a friends hot pink 650 GS, which is lighter and more nimble than a Sportster, and it too is very much a girls bike. Again, the real question is why some are so sensitive to that label. If you like your bike as much as you say, and are as comfortable with your manhood as much as you claim why does it matter that in this day and age the Sportster has become what most consider, including me, to be a girls bike? Why is that offensive?

  23. 23 Zipper Apr 23rd, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    So Bob, tell us what you ride or did I miss that? Doesn’t offend me if you call Sportsters girly bikes and I have been riding them since 1963. Do you think I’m to old to change my image even though I’m a geezer? I would appreciate any input that you have but selling my Sportster is not one. I just want to be a cool dude. ..Z

  24. 24 Seymour Apr 23rd, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I traced Bob’s info and he is 14 years old, just FYI

  25. 25 BobS Apr 23rd, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Lol Z. I ride a Victory Kingpin. And yes I have been accused of riding a wannabe Harley or not being able to afford a real Harley a time or two since I bought it. Doesn’t bother me any, I bought it cause I like it better than anything else I’ve ridden. I guess in retrospect yeah if I try and look at it from another’s perspective I can see my first post coming across like a put down. That’s why my second and third post included an apology. You can call my bike a girls bike all you want, won’t offend me. And of the women that ride Victory, the Kingpin is pretty popular. So if you did call it a girls bike, I probably wouldn’t even disagree. I still like it better than anything else I’ve ridden.
    And the only time I think somebody is cool is when they don’t care.

  26. 26 Zipper Apr 23rd, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Bob,my Sportster is usually covered with mud and I don’t care. ..Z

  27. 27 Sportster Mike Apr 24th, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Wow!! Sportsters being a girls bike!!….. Don’t get that in England – cos we like to go round corners..
    although queueing for petrol the other week (in the petrol panic) with a 12.5 litre tank wasn’t much fun

  28. 28 RUB Apr 24th, 2012 at 4:20 am

    please ………… all you people that love this bike , are you gonna shell out 17 K for one ?

  29. 29 Colemanfu Apr 24th, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Other than the tall wheels and fly swater mirrors it looks sharp. Never did get that girls bike stuff?

  30. 30 burnout Apr 24th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    What is funny is I have more male customers riding xl’s and female customers riding Heritage,Fat boy and Street Glide models. Most of these gals are “height challenged”. Not to mention the girls riding customs/long bikes. This bike is sick……in a good way. peace

  31. 31 43knuckle Apr 24th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I wonder what percentage of Sportsters are owned by girls? Maybe even better to know how it breaks down between rubbermount, evo, and ironhead.

  32. 32 viz Apr 24th, 2012 at 3:00 pm


    You mean DONK style motorcycles

  33. 33 JROD Apr 24th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    those wheels cost more than what you could get a rubber mounted sportster for.

  34. 34 viz Apr 25th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I forgot to mention, I know nothing about motorcycles, I just pretend to. But I know a thing or two about DONK’s. My man owns one too!

  35. 35 Steve Carr Apr 30th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I would like to thank everyone for ALL the coments, its always interesting to see the responses generated by Cyril’s blog.

    Steve Carr

  36. 36 master_crane Sep 4th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    women riding sportsters are really men cross-dressing because they love the ride but dont want to destroy the stereotype. the sportster has the highest seat height of any current harley-davidson so it’s really not for the short guys or girls at all. it’s a harley for people who want to put a steal frame bike to its limits usually in a racer fashion not for coasters. mine is lowered a good inch and the seat is still half a foot higher than a soft-tail.

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Cyril Huze