A Harley XR750-inspired “XL1220R” Street Tracker from Japan…
Even as Harley-Davidson unveils their completely redesigned Sportster S, featuring a liquid-cooled engine for the first time in the model’s history, the Evolution-powered Sportster is experiencing a rebirth on streets and dirt ovals around the world. Inspired by Super Hooligan racing and the 50th anniversary of the legendary XR750, more and more riders are transforming their air-cooled cruisers into flat track-inspired weapons.
Recently, we caught up with a new friend, Masa (@anarchocamp), who bought this 2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200S 17 years ago from one of his friends…though it was a very different bike at the time, nearly 100% stock. It remained that way until Masa received a very special gift:
“Two years ago, I got the orange tank and rear fender from my company’s CEO, who rides an XR750, and that started my orange dirt racer project.”
One thing that we love about this build is that the changes are much more than cosmetic. Enlisting the help of BURN! H-D Sports, Masa outfitted the engine with Thunderstorm heads from a Buell S1W, Wiseco pistons, Andrews cams, digital ignition, a Mikuni HSR42 carb, and a one-off custom exhaust from Hot-Dock Custom Cycles, built to Masa’s design. The Buell S1 White Lightning was good for 100 horsepower — 40 more than a stock 1200 Sportster — and Masa’s “XL1220R” is sure to be on the high end of that range with these mods.
Masa also decked out the bike with an 18-inch Sundance rear wheel, Storz fork guards, Ohlins rear shocks, RaceTech goodies in the stock front forks, Kawasaki front brake, heated grips, and more.
Nicknamed “Helter Skelter,” the finished bike is one of the baddest Sportsters we’ve seen, and it’s only stage 1 for Masa, who plans on installing a one-off 18-inch cast front wheel, upgrading to a 6-speed transmission, painting the frame white, and more.
Below, we get the full story on “Helter Skelter,” with photos from @daigo_1200s and others.
Sportster “XL1220R” — Owner Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Masa and I live in Japan. I work in apparel production, specifically leather motorcycle pants. I’m wearing the pants in my photos. My history: I bought my XL 17 years ago from a friend. It was stock (black) style with Mikuni HSR42 and 2.25-gallon tank.
Two years ago, I got the orange tank and rear fender from my company’s CEO, who rides an XR750, and that started my orange dirt racer project. I customized a lot: rear 18-inch wheel, fork guards, cam cover, air cleaner filter, gauges, etc.
I designed my LEFTY muffler this past summer, and Hot-Dock Custom Cycles made it. Finally, my first plan was complete!
My second plan is as follows: 18-inch one-off cast front wheel, 6-speed manual transmission, and painting the frame white.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL1200S.
• Why was this bike built?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The Harley XR750.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Engine → Buell-S1W heads, aka Thunderstorm heads with Wiseco pistons, big valves, Andrews-N4 cams, Dyna-S ignition, HSR42 carb with K&N high-flow filter. Displacement up to 1220cc. All painted black.
Frame → Stock, but cut / customized.
R-Wheel → Sundance, made in Japan.
F-Wheel → H-D genuine.
Gauges → Autometer Pro-Cycle / Motogadget Motoscope Mini
Handlebars → 7/8-inch bars
F-Brake → Kawasaki W650 master w/ Brembo caliper, Yamaha lever, Honda heated grip.
R-Brake → Stock
F-Fork → Stock 1200S with RaceTech springs and Redline oil.
R-Suspension → Ohlins 36E
Cam Cover → Stock, cut and painted
F-Disc → Misumi, made in Japan
R-Disc → H-D genuine
F-Fork Guards → Storz
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Buell-XLR1220 a.k.a “HELTER SKELTER.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Like a Buell S1W.