Giving A New Life To A Harley Ironhead Sportster.

Fifteen years that French Thierry Nicolle rides stock Harleys, almost everything in the Milwaukee line up, from a Sportster to a V-Rod via a couple of Dynas. Until a friend went away to sail the high seas and let him use his Chop, a customized Sportster Ironhead, the model sold by Harley starting year 1972 with overhead-valve engine beefed up to 61′ or 1000 cc. Thierry fell in love with this friend’s XL and the only way he could return it to its owner was to get one for himself. Good pretext, his 40th birthday was coming. Mid life crisis?  

So, Thierry looked for a XL, found a cheap and in very bad shape 75 model and brought the basket case to Jean Phi at Graffi Bike Concept for a full rebuild following his wish list. The new Sportster Ironhead use an L&L Choppers frame modified to accept right foot shift and right side drive chain like the original setup on all XL’s from 1957 to 1973 (in 1974, for reason of safety, DOT mandated left side shift for all new motorcycles)

Original HD 4-speed tranny and HD rear wheel with drum brake setup were kept, but for more added braking and safety a small PM 2-piston PM brake slows the 21″ front wheel. The interesting part being that the master cylinder is not positioned on the bars but tucked and hidden behind the motor mounts, with actioning via a cable running inside a copper line! Front end is 39mm telescopic mounted on modified 2000 Sportster triple trees. Graffi Bike Concept customized the Frisco mounted gas tank, the oil tank, the left side exhaust and the foot controls. Air filter (over S&S carburetor) is from Hidemo. The beautiful brass headlight comes from a 50’s British commercial trike. “Uprising” was recently the triple winner of the Freeway Magazine Bike Show held on the French Riviera.

23 Responses to “Giving A New Life To A Harley Ironhead Sportster.”

  1. 1 Jun 28th, 2010 at 7:33 am

    nice bike, nice work …
    vive le custom francais 😉

  2. 2 Jun 28th, 2010 at 7:38 am

    very cool

  3. 3 Charlie Lecach Jun 28th, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Very cool bike, very cool guys !

  4. 4 Jun 28th, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Good looking bike indeed!

  5. 5 Jun 28th, 2010 at 8:24 am

    sport bike style pipes don’t work on it IMO

  6. 6 Jun 28th, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Great exhaust system.

  7. 7 Jun 28th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Just stunning. Long live Sportsters!

  8. 8 Jun 28th, 2010 at 12:15 pm


  9. 9 Scot Jun 28th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Just waiting on Bert Baker to release a 6 speed trans for the Ironhead Sportster and these will take off. Come on Bert, do it!

  10. 10 Jun 28th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Congrats french guys , very nice bike! A lot of taste on the paint’s work too!

    To Scot; pretty nice idea about the 6 speed trans for Ironhead, so we wait Bert….;-)

  11. 11 Scot Jun 28th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Great looking bike. Love the generous use of what appears to be hard anodize on the rocker boxes, primary cover, and cam cover.

  12. 12 Jun 28th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    I love the Gold script on the right side. Kind of have to agree with adam about the pipes, the ends just dont look right.

  13. 13 baddad Jun 29th, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Very nice bike. Great exhaust system.

  14. 14 Jun 29th, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Very cool ride…………..I like it alot!

  15. 15 Angry Inch Jun 29th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Love this ride, and I’m with the majority on the pipes- somehow, they just fit.

  16. 16 Jun 29th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    What a beauty, I am liking the Brass and green combination, exhaust, and the what looks like gun metal anodizing on the motor, wow. outstanding! Very nice

  17. 17 willie Jun 29th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    can you dig it brother ,WAY COOL

  18. 18 martin Twofeather Jun 29th, 2010 at 4:23 pm


  19. 19 Debby Racer 45y Jun 29th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Absolutely Stunning! Very Well Done…..Nice stainless pipe.

  20. 20 ROCKSTAR Jun 30th, 2010 at 4:32 am


  21. 21 Johnny G. Jul 1st, 2010 at 3:16 am

    very cool

  22. 22 Jul 1st, 2010 at 6:14 am

    If you want see more pics come:

    or to :

    Ride free


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