The Hope: Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster

Harley Sportster Custom

Mayerl Motorcycles builds a Sportster for the Styrian mountains… 

The Erzberg (“ore mountain”) is a massive open-pit siderite mine located in Eisenerz, Styria, in the central-western part of Austria. Once a year, the mine plays host to the Erzberg Rodeo, a single-day Dante’s Inferno of hard enduro where riders compete not only with one another, but with some of the world’s most treacherous terrain, including vast boulder gardens, wheel-sucking mud, dense forest, and epic hill climbs. Each year, only a handful of riders finish in the allotted time…or at all:

“Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is the toughest one-day race in the world, with 500 riders taking on a 40km course around a mountain with only four hours to finish.” —RedBull.com

Harley Sportster Custom

Enter our new friend Wolfgang Mayerl of Mayerl Motorcycles, a 46-year-old master toolmaker and bike builder who hails from the Styrian mountains near Erzberg. He’s been obsessed with motorcycles since childhood:

“Since I was 10 years old I have been dealing with the 2-wheel virus. I’ve always converted my vehicles; I never wanted anything off the shelf.”

Harley Sportster Custom

For years, Wolfgang raced enduro himself. When a broken spine took him out of the sport, he got into motorcycle drag racing. For more than a decade, he raced a self-built, nitrous-injected Suzuki GS1100 in Austria, Germany, and Hungary. Then, five years ago, he decided to go full-time with his two-wheeled passion:

“In 2017 I turned my hobby into my job and founded Mayerl Motorcycles, it is a one-man workshop. The plan is to continue to develop and build really cool bikes.”

Harley Sportster Custom

The 2001 Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster you see here is his third custom build since opening shop, and it’s a stunner. Little of the bike remains stock; Wolfgang modified, changed, or fabricated most everything on the bike, including the frame itself, the swingarm, tank, oil bag, triple clamps, wheels, logos, and more.

Harley Sportster Custom

He didn’t leave the engine untouched, either. Though it was already a 1200cc model, it’s now running high-compression pistons and larger valves. Though the bike looks show quality, Wolfgang assures us it’s a solid rider, too — after all, it has to be:

“I live in the middle of the mountains of Austria (Styria) near the Erzberg (Red Bull Erzbergrodeo), so my bikes always have good brakes, suspension, and are not too low to the ground, so that you can ride them sensibly in the mountains.”

Harley Sportster Custom

Below, we talk to Wolfgang for a few more details on the build. All photos courtesy of Da Guru Photography.

1200 Sportster Custom: Builder Interview

Harley Sportster Custom

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

I worked 12 years in jig construction and the last 4 years in the training workshop as a trainer.
Profession: toolmaker, master craftsman.
Age: 46 years.

Sportster Custom

Since I was 10 years old I have been dealing with the 2-wheel virus. I’ve always converted my vehicles; I never wanted anything off the shelf. I’ve been riding motorcycles on the road since I was 18. I raced enduro races for a few years until I broke my spine. After that I rode dragster races in Austria, Germany, and Hungary for 10 years with a self-built bike, a GS1100 with nitrous. In 2017 I turned my hobby into my job and founded Mayerl Motorcycles, it is a one-man workshop. The plan is to continue to develop and build really cool bikes.

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

Harley-Davidson XL1200, year of manufacture: 2001.

• Why was this bike built? What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

When time permits, I build bikes. The Sporty is the 3rd bike I’ve done since I’ve been self-employed. Of course I used to build bikes before, but with less effort. When designing, I just let myself drift a bit and build what I like.

• What custom work was done to the bike?

Almost everything on the bike has been changed by me: tank, frame, oil tank, Taschport, triple clamps, swingarm, bracket, etc.
The engine has got more compression and larger valves.

• Does the bike have a nickname?

The name of the bike is THE Hope, because of corona and the difficult time in the world, and the hope that everything will get better again.

Sportster Custom

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?

I live in the middle of the mountains of Austria (Styria) near the Erzberg (Red Bull Erzbergrodeo), so my bikes always have good brakes, chassis and are not on the ground so that you can ride them sensibly in the mountains.

Sportster Custom Sportster Custom Sportster Custom

More Photos

Follow the Builder

Web: www.Mayerl-Motorcycles.at
Instagram: @mayerl_motorcycles
Photography: www.da-guru.de | @daguruphotography

3 Comments

  1. A real beauty! Harmonious lines, balanced, great details. Remarkable, considering it is only his third bike done “commercially”. I am sure that we will see more of his bikes in future.

  2. My only reservations are the short seat and the space left open under it, but these are a matter of personal taste.

  3. Fantastic workmanship, love the green. Glad you went with the banana seat too. Lots of cool elements. Wish I could see it in person.

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