Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight Bob Job

Shane Gatto Customs remakes a Sportster in RSD clothing

The old stereotype of a woman's Harley-Davidson is a Sportster emasculated to look like it belongs to Malibu Barbie. This Sportster, though, is more GI Joe than that. It's a 2010 H-D Sportster Forty-Eight that's been blacked out, stripped down, and given an aggressive look. The bike is also the property of Samantha (Sam) Jackson.

The story here started with Sam wanting a set of RSD mini-apes for her 2008 Sportster Custom. “It sounds wrong,” Shane Gatto, who did the work on this Forty-Eight for Samantha, told us, “but it really was all based around those bars.” In his opinion, her first bike just wouldn't look right with the bars she wanted. Builder and client volleyed back and forth over the best way to proceed. The 2010 Forty-Eight she bought from Performance Harley-Davidson in Syracuse, New York, was a perfect center point between her old Sporty and spending a cash mountain making it look “right” with those mini-apes. It was brand new, different enough, and had plenty of potential for turning it into a sweet little street rod with less effort.

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight Bob Job

Shane Gatto walked a fine line between stock and custom for this bike. Both he and owner Samantha Jackson wanted it lean and mean enough to look great with the apes without losing its Harley essence.

Dino Petrocelli

black rear fender

What Roland does not carry in his parts line are matching fenders. Lopping down the front and back sheet metal was a no-brainer. Drilling holes along the sides of the rear fender to match the new belt guard, though, was a great way to bring the back of the bike together in one united style.

Dino Petrocelli

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight Bob Job

Both wheels got Sands rotors, the motor received Roland’s Mission air cleaner and Tracker exhaust, and the gas tank got a new RSD cap.

Dino Petrocelli

Harley-Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight Bob Job

Shane loosened his creative leash a little more with the Roland Sands drive pulley. It’s a 70-tooth unit made for a 2006 Softail with a 20mm belt set for Buell gearing. He might have done that just ’cuz, or maybe the decision had something to do with Performance H-D punching Sam’s motor out to 1,200cc and her wanting the better response at the rear wheel to match.

Dino Petrocelli

Tracker pipe

Mama wants her baby to look good, but baby also has to be fun to ride. The Tracker pipe brings more pep to its step.

Dino Petrocelli

Custom Harley-Davidson Sportster

Of course, what really matters most is whether Sam liked the finished beauty, this being her bike and all. The short answer to that question is this—she was thrilled. Shane Gatto did a great job preserving its Harley feel while giving her just enough change to mark this Sportster as truly her own animal.

Dino Petrocelli

custom-made leather side bag

Between the new style and the higher displacement, Sam’s 48 is definitely a Sporty with some sack. Specifically, a custom-made leather side bag from Garage Leathers. Check out how its lines run in tandem with the shock, back of the primary, and battery cover.

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pseudo-psychedelic golden pattern

The only aspect of this Sporty that’s even remotely girlie is the pseudo-psychedelic golden pattern on the gas tank, and even saying that much is a stretch. Sam’s Kandy Rootbeer, Pagan Gold, and black fuel can is a drop of color floating on black, chrome, and nickel.

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ribbed RSD handlebars

Shane’s design strategy was simple yet the tactics he used to execute it showed some creativity. Since Sam’s bike centered around ribbed RSD handlebars, targeting locations throughout the motorcycle with other Roland Sands offerings to match made good sense.

Dino Petrocelli

minimal front fender

Shane left just the bare minimum of a front fender on this motorcycle.

Dino Petrocelli