Giving Harley’s iconic streetbike off-road chops is a thing, and a good one in our book. The movement even reached the world stage at the AMD World Championships this year when Francisco Manen of Lord Drake Kustoms (LDK) entered this dirt-minded Sportster, called “Urban Tracker,” in the Modified Harley class.
Lord Drake Kustoms started with a 2010 Sportster XL883R and made it off-road capable by ditching the stock suspension for a WP inverted fork and sturdy set of Öhlins piggybacks on the rear. The longer Öhlins shocks not only provide more travel, they also free up space between the tidy steel tailsection and back tire. While we generally consider rippin’ around back roads on a Sportster a solitary experience, Urban Tracker’s tailsection includes a small pillion pad if you want to share the insanity with a friend. The bike’s fold-out passenger pegs are even still in place!
While the motorcycle started out with 883cc of displacement, it now delivers an even bigger 1,200cc punch. Custom pipes are routed nice and high and bellow with SuperTrapp’s bass-filled exhaust note. That cutout tank will come in handy for leg placement when it’s time to stand up on the mid-controls during adventures in the dirt. An ever-so-brief steel fender, fabbed in-house, should deflect some of the debris kicked up by the front 19-inch Metzeler Karoo 3 tire. The slick front number plate that serves as a housing for the twin offset headlights was also made in-house. The bike even has an LED strip doing turn signal duty and brake lights beneath the tailsection. And, yes, that’s a license plate mount back there too. Slap on a set of mirrors and you could ride to your favorite fire road without fear of getting pulled over by the local constabulary. Then it’d be time to test the tackiness of the Karoo 3s.
Several clues on the bike hint at Manen’s personality. The popular saying, “Four wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul,” is painted on the sides of the gas tank. On the bottom panel of the tailsection is another popular quote, with a twist—“Although I walk through the valley of death, I will never fear evil. Because you are with me and I also have a good horse.” Then there’s his race number, 69, which needs no further elucidation. Seems like Manen is quite the character.
While scramblin’ Sportsters have been a thing for a while here in the States, it seems like the international scene is getting word how much fun it is to rip off road on a properly dialed V-twin.