The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been in production since 1957, proving itself as one of the most versatile platforms for chopper, flat track, and cafe racer builds — especially if you like the throaty rumble of an air-cooled, 45-degree V-twin. More recently, we’ve been seeing the Sportster in off-road trim, serving as a base for scrambler, adventure, and dual-sport purposes. Leading examples include the Carducci Dual Sport SC3, Biltwell’s Frijole 883 desert sled, Bull Original’s MX1000 ironhead, and the various jump/motocross bikes from the Rusty Butcher — just to name a few.
Today, we’re thrilled to feature what might be our favorite off-road Sportster yet: this “883 Scrambler” by Chikara Ueyama, CEO of Japan’s K&H Co., Ltd — makers of various motorcycle accessories and seats since 1976. This is Ueyama’s personal bike, in which he combined his love of big adventure machines like the BMW GS series with that of the 90s Sportster, taking three years to complete the build. He made much of the carbon bodywork himself, and the bike boasts a custom swingarm, shifted pivot point, and new subframe to accommodate the Ohlins TTX rear suspension. Meanwhile, Ueyama chose to keep certain signature elements of the Sportster intact, such as the headlight visor and air cleaner cover.
We love how this “883 Scrambler” remains clearly identifiable as a 90s Sportster despite the burly suspension and off-road prowess. Says Ueyama:
“Commuting, road touring, dirt touring, rally events — Everything is FUN with this 883 scrambler.”
Below, we get the full story on the build.
XLH883 Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I became CEO of K&H Co., Ltd in 2013, taking over it from a founding owner. It was established in 1976, starting with production of exterior motorcycle equipment made of FRP — now our main products are seats.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Harley Davidson ’98 XLH883.
• Why was this bike built?
This is my private machine. I started making it because I wanted to enjoy off-road. It took me three years to reach completion.
I love XLH883 of that time and I also have another original XLH883, 1996 model — nothing custom other than installation of our seat and bubble bag for model ‘96.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I wanted a dual purpose machine — that’s why I made it. I enjoy riding adventure machines like the BMW R1250GS, Africa Twin, KTM Adventure, and so on.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
I made CFRP tank, rear fender, skid plate, seat base, and some other carbon parts by myself. I even made a mold to form sponge.
To install long Ohlins TTX rear suspension, we shifted position of the swing arm pivot and created a different swing arm.
The subframe, which lowers the position of the pegs and exhaust pipe, are also my creation.
I insisted on keeping genuine HD equipment in some areas, as they are the characteristics of Sportster of this era; for example, the head lamp visor, headlight, speedometer, air cleaner cover, oil tank, and rear fender support cover are original.
The 883 engine is also stock.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• How would you classify this bike?
Dual purpose, scrambler.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Commuting, road touring, dirt touring, rally events — Everything is FUN with this 883 scrambler.
Follow the Builder
Metal works by Fujitake Kinzoku Kogyosho:
Riding shot by Kenji Okubo.