RULER builds a dual-purpose Sportster…
A lot of motorcycles have come and gone since the first Sportster rolled off the factory floor way back in 1957. While riders and journalists have been decrying the bike’s antiquated push-rod V-twin technology for decades, the truth is that few bikes have stood the test of time like the XL series. Today, the Sportster continues to be one of the world’s most popular platforms for customization.
Enter Takeshi Mizuta and the crew from RULER, a Japanese workshop that specializes in customizing both Harley-Davidson and Japanese cruisers in a variety of styles. Says Takeshi:
“Our theme is ‘the wheeler’s life.’ Since we started, we’ve built many different bikes, including the SR400, XS650, W650/400, 250TR, Sportster, etc. Our next project is a Vespa!”
The owner of this 2002 Harley 883 Sportster came across some previous RULER builds on the internet and decided he wanted a Sportster scrambler of his own, a dual-purpose machine inspired by vintage Triumph scramblers and desert sleds.
Takeshi and team got hard to work, outfitting the bike with a modified Kawasaki W650 tank, looped frame, 18-inch wheels, 530 chain-drive conversion, two-inch longer forks, 335mm rear suspension, custom saddle/lighting/controls, and more. The right-side high pipes are one of the highlights of the build, and a point of pride for Takeshi:
“I got inspiration from an old Triumph left-side high exhaust. I tried to come close to the inside so the heated exhaust pipes won’t touch the rider’s leg.”
This dual-purpose Sportster has been affectionately dubbed “Knocky” after the owner’s name, “KogaNOKi.” As for the riding experience, Takeshi says it’s nice to feel like you can go wherever you want:
“It’s hard to go on a narrow woodland path on a cruiser-style Sportster. It’s hard to go very far on the highway on a 250cc off-road bike. Knocky is a ‘dual purpose’ machine — you can do both!”
Below, we get the full details on the build straight from Takeshi himself.
“Knocky” 883 Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We are RULER, a department of HBC motorcycle company customizing Harley-Davidson and Japanese cruisers like the Yamaha XVS400. We started the department to customize motorcycles, not only choppers or cruisers but scramblers, trackers, cafe racers, and so on — for having more fun and excitement with motorcycles.
Our theme is “the wheeler’s life.” Since we started, we’ve built many different bikes, including the SR400, XS650, W650/400, 250TR, Sportster, etc. Our next project is a Vespa!
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Harley-Davidson XLH883 (2002)
• Why was this bike built?
Customer project. He found us on the internet, saw some pictures of a Sportster scrambler we built before.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Design concept: Dual-purpose scrambler.
Influenced by vintage motocross and old Triumph scrambler style.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
- Stainless steel braced/drilled scrambler handlebar
- Fuel tank modified from a Kawasaki W650 tank
- Original design seat
- Steel right-side high exhaust pipes
- Looped frame
- Short rear fender
- Long side stand
- 18-inch 2.15 rims
- 530 chain drive converted from belt drive
- Round stainless steel air cleaner
- Paughco type fuel cock
- 5-3/4inch side-mount headlight
- Lucas 477 type tail and brake lamp
- Small blinkers
- Biltwell pegs and grips
- Polished master cylinder and clutch lever
- Side-mount ignition coil
- 48mm electric speedometer
- Small handlebar switches
- 335mm rear suspension
- 2-inch longer front fork
• Does the bike have a nickname?
“Knocky.” KNOCK yourself out with this machine! Actually the name of the owner is “KogaNOKi,” so it sounds like “knocky.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
You just feel free to go anywhere you want. It’s hard to go on a narrow woodland path on a cruiser-style Sportster. It’s hard to go very far on the highway on a 250cc off-road bike. Knocky is a “dual purpose” machine — you can do both!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The design of the exhaust pipes. I got inspiration from an old Triumph left side high exhaust. I tried to come close inside so the heated exhaust pipes won’t touch the rider’s leg.