Rad Ride

A BMX built Softail Sporty

Whether it is the skateboard your always wanted but couldn’t afford, the car in the poster hanging in your bedroom or the BMX bicycle that the “cool kids” were riding while you were stuck on your banana seat hand-me-down, eventually we all get older and seek to recapture the toys of our youth. As the years go by, so does the amount of discretionary income. Once the bills are paid, and the kids college fund gets it’s monthly contribution, the rest is left for us to relive the days of when things were simpler.

Vin Federico was originally from Santa Clarita, California and grew up riding bikes and skateboards before moving to Long Island, New York. He bought this 2005 Sportster new off the showroom floor, and rode it that way for years before it looked like it does today. Vin explains, “I’m into Sportsters because the are the easiest things to make into anything you want. They have so much power right out of the box and the most universal. You can make them a long 12-foot chopper, you can make it a bagger if you want or you can make it a race bike. This bike was my go-to mileage bike. I bought this bike new and rode two-up across the country for my honeymoon. I kind of had my first BMX bike from when I was a teenager in mind when I built it. The colors were referenced back to that BMX bike. That’s why I added the white wheels, a blue frame and BMX style handle bars. Those are actually BMX pedals that I had cut down to make look like pegs. It has a little BMX style, a little motocross style and a lot of go. I wanted it handle good and go for a long time.”

One of the most notable modifications was the removal of the rear shocks and the addition of the Softail like setup. “I didn’t want to hardtail it. Everybody right now is doing hardtails and even I have a ’67 Sportsters that I hardtailed. That was how my original idea of the Softail suspension was set up underneath the motor. I was actually thinking of using Softail shocks until I found that single shock. The swing arm I modified for the shock and strengthen the sides.” With the rear in check, he moved forward to the front suspension with an equally impressive wheel/fork/tire set up. “They are Buell X1 fork tubes with Accutronix triple trees. The regular Buell trees are to close to the frame and I wouldn’t be able to turn it at all. Accutronix makes one that moves it forward one-inch so you can have some turning radius. I adapted the Sportster wheel to it with a Buell rotor so I could get a bigger caliper and rotor.”

Another childhood influence came into play with the gas tank. Steve McQueen used to ride dirt bikes under the slogan “For a Man’s Ride.” This stuck with Vin, and he used that as inspiration. “The Honda CR250 Elsinore is the one that Steve McQueen used to do the commercials for. The first two years it was made of aluminum. I had been shopping for a month to find a cool tank. I had found that one but the tunnel was so huge, that when I mounted it in position there was this big gap underneath. One my friends said, ‘Why do you hide all your electrics under there.’ I also put the oil tank underneath. You can see it from the front. It held about 2-1/2 quarts of oil and I wanted to add a little bit more so I added the oil cooler on the side. It’s originally for Hot Rods.”

It’s not like you can open a catalog and order a custom BMX style exhaust, bolt it on and go. The rubber-mounted motor also provided some challenges. So Vin did the next best thing. “I was looking for something small. It has a rubber-mounted motor so everything has to be attached to the motor. I hand built the exhaust myself out of stainless. The muffler is from a sportbike.”

The frame was a process of trial, error and whole bunch of bent wires as Vin details, “The tail section I built myself. I bought a pipe bender, which I modified to bend frame tubing. It was my first time bending a frame section. I designed everything using grounding wire so I could get a visual of how I wanted it and started bending away.”

Once complete, Vin did the shake down on one of the world’s gnarliest roads. The 11-mile stretch of Highway 129 in Tennessee/North Carolina state line has over 318 turns and earned the name Tail of the Dragon. “I finished the build in August, six days before the Bastards Bash in Deals Gap. I test ran it on U.S. 129. It worked great. I was able to drag pegs by the second day after I got confidence in it. It handles great.” If that doesn’t qualify as a Helltrack, I’m not sure what does. Cru would be proud.

for more on this bike visit hotbikeweb.com

“It has a little BMX style, a little motocross style and a lot of go. I wanted it to handle good and go for a long time.”



Owner Vin Federico

Year/Make/Model 2005/Harley-Davidson/Sportster

Fabrication Vin Federico

Build Time 6 Months


Year/Type/Size 2005/H-D/1200

Builder Vin Federico

Rocker Boxes H-D

Cams Quad Cam

Throttle Body CV

Ignition Ultima Single fire in a 2003 Cam cover

Air Cleaner RevTech

Exhaust Vin Federico

Muffler Delkevic


Year/Type 2005/H-D/5 Speed

Clutch H-D

Primary Drive H-D


Year/Type 2005/H-D

Rake/Stretch Modified by Vin Federico


Frontend Buell X1 Fork Tubes

Triple Trees Accutronix

Rear Shocks Custom single underside Buell Shock

Wheels, Tires, and Brakes


Builder/Size 13 Spoke Mag/19-inch

Tire/Size Shinko/19-inch

Calipers Nissin 6 piston

Rotors Buell 13-inch

Master Cylinder Nissin Radial


Builder/Size 19 Spoke Mag/16-inch

Tire/Size Shinko/16-inch

Caliper H-D

Rotor H-D

Master Cylinder MikesXs bellcrank


Colors Flat blue frame/gloss white tank

Paint/Graphics Vin Federico/OEM Graphics


Bars Biltwell Moto

Risers Four bolt BMX

Fuel Tank Aluminum 1973 Honda CR250

Rear Fender Vin Federico

Seat Vin Federico

Foot Pegs Modified Wellgo Bear Traps

Shift Peg Fusc’s Pegs ‘n stuff

Mirror Lowbrow

Oil Tank Custom under tank with hot rod style cooler

Headlight Hella

Taillight LED