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‘02 Harley Davidson Sportster – DP Customs


Posted on February 22, 2016 by Andrew in Tracker. 17 comments

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When long time upholsterer for DP Customs, Uniqueaz.com, dropped by the workshop for a cold beer and a chat with owners, Justin and Jarrod Del Prado he revealed he hadn’t come to discuss the latest needs of a shared customer but to place an order for a bike of his own. Having carefully studied the quality of the brothers workmanship having worked on many of their bikes, he wanted one of his own. With that some ribs were thrown on the smoker and the beer kept flowing as they began an impromptu design session. The brief from Unique Upholstery was simple, it had to feel comfortable to sit on; With only the barest of constraints they thought up a Street Tracker named “W” based on a 2002 Harley Davidson Sportster that’s big on power, low on weight and rips up the streets in as brilliant a fashion as it appears when standing still.

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Starting with the bare Sportster frame they smoothed it out, ground off the factory tabs and knuckles and cut off the subframe. The new hooped rear now supports a slim-lined, hand crafted tail-piece that is fabricated from aluminium, which was also the metal of choice for the stunning belly pan. The fit and finish a testament to the guys fabricating skills with any material and matches brilliantly with the Airtech fibreglass tank that saves more than a few pounds. It should come as no surprise that Unique took care of the seat, a mix of leather with diamond stitched Alcantara serving as the ultimate rolling advertisement. The paint was laid down by Walkers Way with silver metal flake, black, white, and neon red used in both solid and graphic forms to create a visual spectacle incorporating both the owners and builders logos.

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When it comes to suspension the stock HD gear provides a smooth comfortable ride for hours in the saddle, but that’s not at all what a Street Tracker is about. This is a bike capable of a hell of a lot more than a main street cruise and the high end components from Progressive Suspension fit the task perfectly. Out back the twin shock setup remains, now running Progressive’s 970 series piggyback reservoir units with an exposed dial providing easy adjustment of the compression dampening. Upfront things may appear stock but again Progressive has come to the party, there is no simple spring change but full monotube damper cartridges with custom tuned forks that brings to this Harley the sort of suspension performance you find on a high end roadbike. To give them a neat touch the tubes were stuck in the lathe and the fender mounts milled off for an ultra clean finish.

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Adding more high tech componentry to work with the new suspension is the fitment of a Trac Dynamics swingarm that is also considerably lighter than the stock steel item with the picture perfect welds a hint at its exceptional quality. Mounted under the swingarm in a custom made box is the Ballistic battery that offer exceptional performance at about 20% of a conventional batteries weight. The reduced mass means the standard brakes would be more than adequate for the build but again no corners are cut by DP Customs. Both front and rear now utilise drilled floating rotors for extended hard braking and the calipers are the best in the business from Brembo. But you’d not have known their origin unless the boys had taken the time to hand paint back the logos after they were first removed to achieve the calipers mirror shine, such is their commitment to detail.

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Having stripped away a great deal of weight from the Sportster you could have forgiven the guys for simply cleaning up the engine and bolting on a set of pipes, but W was being treated to all the goodies. Getting the party started is the big bore kit from Revolution Performance with new cylinders and forged pistons bringing capacity up to a solid 1250cc. To make the most of the extra cubes the cylinder heads have been ported by Duffee Motorsports with a cam to match their flow coming from Andrews. To expel the increased gases there is no catalogue kit here but a beautifully crafted set of pipes made in house that finish under the seat in true MotoGP style. To keep from burning the riders bum the pipes have their rear piece heat wrapped and the underside of the seat fitted with heat shield.

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If there’s no speedo, how can you be booked for speeding?

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The new exhaust means the stock oil tank location under the seat is now home to a pair of pipes so a new place had to be found. The solution comes in the form of a chin spoiler, that doubles as an oil tank, which the boys crafted from steel. It’s a work of art, not only functioning as an easily accessible oil supply but also providing a visual enhancement that is only improved by the stunning aircraft style fittings and braided lines running back to the engine. Setting alight the compressed gases is the excellent Dynatek single fire ignition and coil for an ultra reliable spark that has thousands of hours of racing R&D built into it. To dress up the engine in a way to match its performance the cam and sprocket covers have been trimmed before being covered in Cerakote coating along with the primary and rocker covers.

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Accessories are kept to a bare minimum, a machine of this quality doesn’t need a host of stuck on gadgets to give it appeal but those that are used are of the highest standard. Custom fold-up rear sets are both functional and form-fitting to the overall design and nothing says quality like the incredible levers and master cylinder from ISR. To get the Harley rolling DP Customs designed their own set of 7 spoke wheels and sent the drawings off to Thomason Performance to machine this one of a kind pair. The raw finish tying in beautifully with the swingarm, engine and forks to create a uniform approach to the design before being wrapped in some serious Pirelli Scorpion rubber. It’s a bike inspired by the sort of desire that comes from constant exposure to DP Customs style, quality, and attention to detail. With the build done it sounds like everyone needs another beer to celebrate because as Jarrod explains “We’re super happy with how it came out, and our customer loves it. And yes, it’s a blast to ride!”

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Jarrod practices his 1000 yard stare








  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    Nice . Clean . Great craftsmanship but : the engineering is suspect at best what with an exhaust that’ll do its all to impede flow and performance and a blatantly exposed oil tank just waiting for an errant stone to penetrate it . So an 8 for the form but a 4.5 for the function/engineering

    • jlgace

      What is the issue with the exhaust, aside from unequal header length? Equal length headers are absent from most of the V-twin builds you’ll see. I had the same thought about the oil tank, but it’s made out of steel. I was kind of impressed. If you hit something that’s going to punch a hole in a steel tank, and I’m guessing we’re not talking 26 ga. here, you’re going to notice. And if you’re still upright, you should have ample opportunity to hit the kill switch. The more I read, the more impressed I was by this bike.

  • Eric

    The tank’s steel; you’d need to be shooting at it with a shotgun to penetrate it. While the paint isn’t my cuppa joe, I love everything else on this bike!

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      Methinks thou underestimates the potential trajectory and speed of said errant stone either flung up by the vehicle in front or by your own front tire and its potential ability to easily go right thru said ( no doubt ) thin gauge steel not to mention seriously overestimating the ability of said steel to stand up to such abuse . e,g, No matter how you cut it placing the oil tank there is an accident just waiting to happen . Assuming that is of course if the bike is ever ridden .

      • Racing Enthusiast

        TJ Martin, you are a pathetic excuse for, among a great many things, an engineer. Then again, most theology majors, are.

        HInt: When was the last time you saw a rock go through as steel front fender?

        • Matthew Lloyd

          Yep. There’s also this weird vehicle I have outside in my driveway that has an “oil tank” underneath the engine. It’s called my truck.

    • Astounded

      My concern wouldn’t be with the potential vulunerability, or lack there of, of the steel oil tank, but rather with the lower exposed alloy AN fitting.

      It looks as though it would be the first thing to go on a mild lowside…. On a bike like this, I would be sliding, drifting, and breaking the ass free every chance I got…

  • Dave Coetzee

    One of the best looking Harley’s I’ve ever seen and the photos are spectacular!

    • guvnor67

      Yes, really good photography, clean and crisp. Like this a lot, and particularly the clean look of the front end, and the exhaust through the tail.

  • revdub

    Be still, my (overly heavy) beating heart. So, I might be out of shape, that’s beside the point. The brothers DP have done it again! Perfection. This is one minimal and mean beast of prey. I challenge anyone to find a build with better workmanship, fit and finish. You won’t find one.

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      Seriously ? Lets see now . Max Hazan , Shinya Kimura , Cherry Company , any of the Ness’s bikes , Revival Cycles , Rloand Sands , Krugger , Falcon , Heiwa , good lord the ultimate Zen master of fit and finish Chicara Nagata etc etc etc . Don’t get me wrong the craftsmanship on this bike is just fine . But calling it the best workmanship , fit and finish is a serious overstatement if not the very the epitome of hyperbole any way you cut it

      • revdub

        I think you need to reread my comment. The level of craftsmanship is right on the same level of those you mention, meaning “you won’t find better.” On the same level, different styles, but the same level nonetheless. These dudes are at the top along with those that you mention, in my opinion. If you don’t agree, I really couldn’t possibly care any less.

      • Shut up.

  • Jim Roberts

    i sure wish these builders would include finished weight with these highly modified bikes

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      I’ll 2nd the motion . But honestly when it comes to practical matters such as weight [ before and after ] engineering , durability and more often than not rideability are seldom if ever even considered never mind documented by the overwhelming majority of custom builders

  • Another super nice DP build! Well engineered throughout! I really, really like the paint job looking down on the top of the tank. Love the swingarm too!

  • Jack Nielsen

    The only thing it’s missing, is a Scott’s Performance Steering Stabilizer!