Custom Motorcycle: Jon’s Custom 883 Harley Sportster

Jon Davies caught the bug decades ago, developing an appetite for Harley Sportsters in the early ’80s when he bought a 1976 Ironhead.

After milling about on the ’76 for a while, Jon has since ran the gamut of Sportys, riding and owning models from plain, old stockers to full-blown Ness customs. While searching for the next entry into his personal Sportster history, he knew he wanted to do something different when he acquired this ’98 XLH 883. “I wanted to build something different, with the accents on details and modern tech with an old-school design,” he writes. “I wanted to do all the design, fabrication, and wrenching by myself.”

Custom 883 Harley Sportster

Bike builds are no exception to the Five Ws: who, what, where, when, and why. Often, these are the questions asked of our featured builders. Jon more than eagerly answered each. He already addressed the who—himself. We also know the what, a 1998 Evo 883 powerplant. But why? “The motivation came from having chronic back problems, which limit my riding and fishing time,” he writes. “A project build allowed me to do as much or as little as I was able, with no time constraints.” As such, the build took Jon about 18 months to complete. But patience is a virtus, and Jon’s canonization candidacy is officially submitted for the Garage Build HOF thanks to this clean build, a project seemingly simple but truly meticulous. Oh, did we leave out where he conducted this build? C’mon, guys.

Jon started the build in earnest, first picking up the Sportster for £2,500 (about $3,200)—England has a great appreciation for the American V-twin, too—and subsequently beginning the designing, the fabricating, and the wrenching. Let’s start with that Evo. He tore it down and rebuilt it using James gaskets and seals along with Gardner Westcott Chrome fasteners. He also vapor-blasted the heads and cylinders (aka barrels. There’s that England thing again!). Conducting all this work proves Jon’s prowess in the garage, and given this kind of skill, expect the rest of the build to reflect that talent.

Custom 883 Harley Sportster

With the work on the heart complete, Jon turned his attention to the respiratory system. The carb, which he rebuilt and rejetted, is some of his finest work. Jon says, “I made the CV carb support bracket and intake backplate from scratch to allow the use of a S&S Super B air cleaner, complemented by a stainless remote enricher bracket mounted to the rear rocker box cover.” Well he certainly has his own fabricating down!

From there, the exhaust needed an update. Off with the stockers! He fabbed two 2″ drag pipes for a wholly custom, ridiculously loud 2-into-2 system. These were then ceramic coated in Volcanic Black and fitted with torque cones and machined end caps, quaking into a full-on eruption every time Jon twists the throttle.

So the engine and breathing system were sorted, and that meant Jon needed to get the chassis prepared for the newly captured beast. He set to work on chopping and bobbing, shaving any unwanted brackets and removing the rear struts and sculpting the rear fender. That fender is rubber-mounted to the upper-shock bolts, which are Progressive Suspension’s 11-1/2″ 412 series shocks. He obviously told the front fender to kick rocks and shaved and grooved the fork lowers. The front suspension handles bumps with aplomb, thanks to 2″-lowered Progressive springs.

The latest iteration in Jon’s Sportster lineage rolls on a stock 19″ front wheel that’s been powdercoated and laced with stainless steel spokes. The rear, however, is off a Sportster 48, a 16″ rim that’s also laced with stainless spokes. Rubber meets the road thanks to Firestone ANS tires.
Jon clearly didn’t overlook a thing with this build, nor did he scrimp on spending up for both performance and design. That said, he takes great pride in the amount of fabricating he did himself, including the one-piece handlebar that both provides an aggressive riding posture and runs internal wiring to keep the front end as tidy as possible. “The clean bars are complemented by micro-switches that I positioned in the clutch and brake perches along with the concealed
wiring,” he says.

Custom 883 Harley Sportster

He also notes that attention to detail is of the utmost importance. “Everything from the perfectly aligned pipes to the angle of the raised coil, set to match the angle of the front cylinder.”

Assisting in that symmetry is the NOS gas tank from The Harley Shop, plus a plethora of accessories. The pegs, riser, and mirrors are from Biltwell, the grips, heat shields, master cylinder tops, and fuel and oil caps are from Lowbrow Customs, and the seat is from notable custom shop LC Fabrications. Look closely at the petcock, which Jon acquired from Prism Supply. He went to work around the petcock, fabricating a one-off mount for the ignition switch. It’s the small things in life. Take, for example, this side-mounted speedo, for which he also fabricated a mounting plate.

Custom 883 Harley Sportster

This is as impressive a build as we’ve found on the Garage Build website (, and there’s a reason that it was the very first to be featured here on Jon has accomplished a seriously dazzling feat with all the custom work he put into the once-stock Sportster. He affectionately calls the build “McQueen,” thanks in no small part to the reaction it gets from other riders and non-riders alike. “A close friend once said, ‘That looks like something Steve McQueen would ride.’ Hence the name!”

McQueen does indeed look like a bike that the King of Cool would take for a rip around town or even on a dirt track. And for that, Jon deserves hearty congratulations from the staff of Garage Build and its readers. He came, he fabricated, he wrenched, he finished, and he won. RC

Motorcycle News: Harley-Davidson Releases Limited Edition T-Shirt to Benefit Humanitarian Relief Efforts for Ukraine

MILWAUKEE, WI (APRIL 4, 2022) – Harley-Davidson releases H-D for Ukraine, a limited-edition tee in collaboration with United Way Worldwide to benefit humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine. For each tee sold through June 15, 2022, $26 will benefit United Way Worldwide’s United for Ukraine Fund, which is providing assistance in the form of transportation, shelter, food, medicine, and critical childcare supplies to support those in crisis. In addition, the Harley-Davidson Foundation has donated $50,000 to the United for Ukraine Fund.

H-D for Ukraine, a limited-edition tee in collaboration with United Way Worldwide to benefit humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine.
Photo Courtesy Harley-Davidson

This program was conceived by Harley-Davidson employees who wanted to find a way to give back and show support for relief efforts for Ukraine. The tee was designed by employees and features the colors of the Ukrainian flag across the iconic Harley-Davidson logo on the chest. On the back of the tee, UNITED WE RIDE is featured and epitomizes the spirit of Harley-Davidson, rallying together to help when needed.

The H-D for Ukraine Tee will be available on beginning today.

Motorcycle Parts: Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

riding harley in the hills

Just in time for riding season, RevZilla has slashed prices on a bunch of lust-worthy parts and accessories.

Now that Daytona Bike Week 2022 is in the books, it’s official: riding season is here! Whether you’ve wheeled your Harley out of the garage yet or not, RevZilla has a ton of parts, accessories, and upgrades designed for you to get the most out of your bike.

If you’re tired of the same-old, same-old and ready to transform your baby into something new, RevZilla is the place to go. From performance bumps to style mods and even tools and garage gear, RZ just cut prices on a ton of products you need to make the most of your ride this year.

Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

Save $46! Vance & Hines Fuelpak FP3 Autotuner For Harley 2011-2022

If you ride a fuel-injected Harley and are looking to boost horsepower and performance, start with a Fuelpak FP-3. This handy device is an essential tool for anyone with a modified Harley. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, making it simple to recalibrate a host of engine parameters, so if you change your pipes, get a new air cleaner, or perform any other performance upgrades, your fuel mapping is adjusted automatically. And it’s a fantastic diagnostic tool: through the Vance & Hines app you can see engine speed, RPM, fuel economy, power, torque, cylinder head temp, voltage, gear, speedo calibration, and other vital information. The FP-3 even reads and clears Diagnostic Trouble Codes and features three decel-pop reduction levels, to control backfires. Fits most Harleys with fuel injection—but choose carefully; Fuelpaks are non-returnable once opened and once connected, they become “married” to the VIN of the first bike they’re paired with, rendering them unusable on other motorcycles.

Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

Save up to $77! Arlen Ness Smooth Stage 1 Big Sucker Air Cleaner Kit

The best-selling and most powerful air cleaner kit on the market, the Big Sucker is designed to give your v-twin maximum airflow for maximum performance. It features hidden breather backing plate technology, so the breathers are incorporated into the air cleaner housing itself, giving your bike a super-clean look. Each hidden breather has a sealing O-ring at the heads and exits at the carburetor or throttle body inlet to provide efficient internal engine pressure relief. It’s available in chrome billet aluminum or black steel, with Standard or synthetic jacketed filters. Made in the USA, there’s one to fit most Harleys, no matter the year or model.

Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

Save up to $120! Progressive 970 Piggyback Shocks

Inspired by racers, riders, and those who demand more of their bikes than weekend coffee runs, the made-in-the-USA 970 Series shocks combine a high-pressure gas monotube design with deflective disc damping routed through two unique circuits. Designed for twin-shock Harleys like Dynas, Sportsters, and V-Rods, they’re adjustable for compression damping via an easily accessible knob and feature progressive-rate springs.

Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

Save up to $28! Burly 1 1/4″ Jail Bars Handlebars

Get your fists up and your back straight with high-rising Burly Jail Bars. Tall and narrow, they’re constructed of 1.25-inch diameter steel and tapered to 1” at the ends, so OEM controls fit nicely. Jail Bars are dimpled and drilled for internal wiring, and the 3 1/2″ on-center uprights mount directly to your triple tree. Made with a strategically placed indent to accommodate your bike’s master cylinder. They’re available in a variety of heights, with 29″ width x 4″ pullback x 3 1/2″ on center risers. Made in the USA./

Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

Save $24! Joker Machine Viewtech 5 Bullet Mirror

These aggressive mirrors look killer—they come in either black or chrome—and make on-the-road adjustments easy with a simple bolt-action adjuster. Once the Viewtech 5 is positioned, just a twist of a wrench keeps it at your desired setting. Convex mirror glass opens up the lanes behind you. The swivel post assembly is machined from stainless-steel alloy to ensure years of corrosion-free operation, and the mirror stems and heads are completely CNC machined from billet aluminum, lightweight, strong, and fully adjustable in every direction to fit just about everyone. Each one of these bullet mirrors can be used on either the left or right side.

Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

Save 10%! Roland Sands Traction Hand Grips

If your Harley has a dual cable throttle—and all but the most modern ride-by-wire Harleys do; we’re talking Dynas, Softails, Sportsters, and touring bikes—now you can get a sweet grip while looking great. These knurled hand grips from RSD are CNC-machined from billet aluminum. Made in the USA with Contrast Cut, Black Ops, Brass, or Chrome finishes, they come in pairs in either RSD branded or unbranded badges. Matching Footpegs and Shift Pegs are also available.

Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

Save 10%! RAM Mounts X-Grip Fork Stem Kit

The X-Grips kit consists of a fork stem base, short double socket arm, and universal X-Grip holder. The X-Grip expands and contracts, allowing for a perfect custom fit of your cell phone no matter its style or brand. It has a clean and clever four-leg design that riders swear by, offering great holding power without hiding your phone behind foam pads and plastic. The rubber device tether is recommended but if you’re looking for a phone-mounting solution on your Harley, you’ve found it.

Fantastic Deals on Performance & Style Upgrades for Your Harley

Save 20%! Trackside USB Outlet

It’s time to get with the times. With this easily installed USB jack, now you can stay connected—and charged—whether you’re rocking the twisties or cruising the boulevard. The single 2.1 amp output connects to any SAE lead, and mounts easily to any surface with tape, zip ties, or screws. A quick-disconnect harness is included and it even has a weatherproof cover for when it’s not in use.