Urban Brawler Sportster

0ClubmanThanks to its big 16” black wheels wrapped with balloon tires, under bar mounted mirrors, its slammed speedometer and low profile seat, the factory Harley Sportster XL 1200 Forty-Eight is already dripping a lot of attitude. So, customizing it can be done in only one direction. Making it the baddest looking urban brawler riding your city streets. Shaw Speed & Custom, the custom wing of UK Shaw Harley-Davidson is very familiar and quite successful at customizing all the Sportster pedigrees, several landing in my website as headliners. As a matter of fact, the custom Harley crew is already a World Champion in the modified Harley-Davidson Class.

1clubman2clubman3clubman4clubmanThe “Clubman” featured here was born from a competition between 29 UK Harley-Davidson dealers to demonstrate the Sportster chassis versatility. Each Dealer worked with a quite small budget of British £5000 (US $7600), including parts, labor and paint. Competitors had the flexibility to swap oem parts or to use unique parts that were already laying around their workshops. All completed creations were entered in a website for viewing and vote both by the public and a special panel of judges who are currently members of the motorcycle industry. By the way, I think that this type of internal contest is a good way to incite and push the creativity of Harley dealers regarding what they can offer to their clientele.

5clubman6clubmanIt took two builds to Shaw Speed And Custom to come out with the final bike. On the 1st tentative, they thought they had nailed it being quite pleased after installing on the Sportster Forty Eight a slightly larger peanut tank, a chain sprocket conversion kit, Coker tires, wrapped Vance and Hines pipes and giving the bike a new paint job with a ”No Problem” signature lettering. Pleased, yes. Excited, not really. So, the crew restarted almost from scratch looking for the new ingredients that could make the bike brawl louder.

8clubman9clubman7clubmanFirst, wheels were swapped with those of a XL1200CA also shod in Coker tires. Then the front & rear suspension were lowered. Several gas tanks were tried, each radically changing the bike stance. Final choice is a lower and wider aftermarket Sportster version. The rear fender rails were removed and a small fender with “squared” sides was fabricated in-house. A new solo seat replaced the earlier Cafe Racer type. Clip on bars were kept but now are housing a speedo from Roland Sands Design.

Air Cleaner, rocker covers and headlight grille were sourced at Rough Craft. Run/brake/turn indicator lights were relocated to each side of the swingarm. A one-off stainless exhaust system bent at the shop complete the list of main modifications. Then the crew wondered how the paint job could add the darker attitude they were shooting for without going the easy route, with another flat black paint job. Problem resolved with an old Nascar type bright color and the required racing number in contrast to all the gloss black anodized parts. Shaw Speed & Custom UK (photography @ Lee Brett for Cyril Huze)

Tech Sheet

Bike Model. Harley-Davidson XL1200X “48”
Year. 2015
Transmission. H-D 5 speed
Handlebars. clip ons
Handlebar grips. HD Nostalgic
Gas Tank. RSD
Rear fender. SS&C
Wheels. H-D
Tires. Coker
Exhausts. SS&C
Rocker covers. Rough Craft
Gas cap. Vity Design
Foot pegs. Vity Design
Headlight grille. Rough Craft
Chain and sprocket conversion
Screamin’ Eagle Race Tuner
Air Breather .Rough Craft
Custom Paint. Image Design Custom

17 Responses to “Urban Brawler Sportster”

  1. 1 Floyd Cantrell Feb 23rd, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Now you’re talking! All business as it should be.


  2. 2 Rodent Feb 23rd, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Mean machine, I like it!

  3. 3 JohnyLetGo Feb 23rd, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Headline is correct. A true street brawler. Cool.

  4. 4 pj98rider Feb 23rd, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Seriously bad ass.

  5. 5 mkviz Feb 23rd, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I wonder how that tire would hold up knowing the exhaust is right next to it

  6. 6 Joshua Feb 23rd, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t see anything to criticize.

  7. 7 Chris Feb 23rd, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Good work, but Shaw seems to repeat a little bit itself. Which I understand if clients want what was built in the past.

  8. 8 P. Hamilton Feb 23rd, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Would love this Sportster in my stable, but waiting that somebody “reinvents” the Sportster with a very different and unseen look.

  9. 9 SIGFREED Feb 23rd, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    The red really works and it looks good in the ‘slammed’ format. The “48”-sh aesthetics certainly suits the Sportster architecture.


    The ‘earthworm’ exhausts looks apealing, if not trendy; but functionally, all they will do is to make a lot of noise. Technically that is what ‘brawler’ means (viz noisy) – so cannot fault them on that account.

    I do however feel a well designed 2-into-1 pipe (eg LSR or D&D) would have done its intent far more justice than the convoluted “worm gear”.

    ~$7500 is by no measure a small budget. It is ~70% of the price of a new bike. This catapults the total budget, for mere mortals, into the league of a Wide Glide (even nigh on a new one).

    MSRP 2015 Sportster 48 (HD website) = ~$11,000k + $7,500 = $18,500

    2015 HD Wide Glide = $16,500

    2015 Triumph Rocket III – $15,500.

    Frankly, I for one would not care how cool and/or unique my Sporty is, compared to a Wide Glide or a Rocket III (even stone cold stock ones) – well, it just ain’t no comparison….

  10. 10 richards Feb 23rd, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    The exhaust pipes are VERY “unattractive”.

  11. 11 nicker Feb 23rd, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Like the concept.
    But the Doughnut tires are certainly not to my taste.
    And yes, the exhaust looks more of an afterthought.


  12. 12 Blackmax Feb 24th, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Don’t like the exhaust
    But what do I know, looks like a blast to ride
    (If you’re under 35) LOL !!!!

  13. 13 Dezguy Feb 24th, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Looks like a fun bike. Good, and Legal sort of.. Signals and all..

  14. 14 TONY DAVIDSON Feb 25th, 2015 at 8:24 am


  15. 15 BCinSoCal Feb 25th, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Don’t understand this rear tire on the front look, many European seem to do it, an awful look to me! Just my opinion

  16. 16 BCinSoCal Feb 25th, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Probably never going to get used to a rear tire on the front, don’t want to, for me it kills the look of the bike, looks like a piece of farm equipment, just my opinion. But to each his own, I’m just old fashioned.

  17. 17 BCinSoCal Feb 25th, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Typed a comment first, scratched it, it was posted anyway. Not trying to hog the blog!

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Cyril Huze