“I figured if it was called a Sportster, I might as well make it a little more sporty.”
Such were the words of 34 year-old machine/fabricator Bryce Schmidt, who does all of his own work — including paint — out of his small two-car garage. Starting with a 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200R, Bryce decided to increase the machine’s sportiness through one of our favorite methods: forced induction.
First, however, he attended to the frame, stretching the swingarm 3.5 inches and fabricating a monoshock conversion, with the rear shock and wheel from a Ninja. He opted for a T15 turbo and Mikuni 45mm HSR carburetor coupled with his own custom header designed, pie-cut from 304 stainless. He didn’t neglect the brakes, either — with a dual disc setup and stainless steel lines.
The result is one of the baddest Sportsters we’ve ever seen — truly worthy of the “sport” in the name. Below, we get the full story from Bryce himself, as well as a deck of shots from photographer Cole Brightbill.
Turbocharged Sportster 1200: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I am 34 and have been a machinist/ fabricator since I was 19. I do all my work including paint at home in my small 2 car garage. I prefer older vintage bikes but have owned a little of everything totaling around 40 different bikes.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
2005 Harley Sportster 1200R
• Why was this bike built?
I just decided one day to build something a little different. I was bored of seeing the same Sportster builds and figured if it was called a Sportster I might as well make it a little more “sporty.”
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I’ve always liked the “cafe racer” look and you don’t see too many Harley’s as such, so that’s why I did it.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
First I took everything apart only leaving the engine cradle, then built the tubular sub frame, hand shaped the tail section and aluminum side covers then seat pan. I stretched the swingarm 3.5” and fabbed up a monoshock conversion utilizing a used rear shock from a Ninja. I was able to use the open space in the front of the swingarm to hold a one-off aluminum oil tank.
The rear wheel was also from a Ninja, in which I machined the hub, spacers, axle, and aluminum rear lowbrow sprocket/chain drive conversion to fit the Ninja hub and bolt to the new 6 hole pattern from the original 5 hole, and bore out the ID to fit.
The turbocharger header design is all my own idea and works using a Mikuni 45mm HSR off eBay as a draw through setup feeding a T15 turbo. All the tubing is pie cut 304 stainless. I had to also machine the cam cover to except oil feed and return for the turbocharger.
The front forks have Progressive Suspensions adjustable cartridge inserts with dual front brakes and stainless lines to aid in handling and braking. After all the fab work was done, I took the bike from the original orange and cream to all black paint.
• How would you classify this bike?
Cafe/ street tracker
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’m most proud of the turbocharger design.