Being that the Sportster is considered by most in V-twin land the redheaded stepchild of air-cooled, 45-degree twin-cylinder motorcycles, I wanted to jump right into making it the coolest outcast I could. Over the course of a few issues, I’ve taken a stock 2000 XL883 Sportster Hugger and have been transforming it into a dirt track racing replica, a.k.a. a street tracker. In this installment, I’ll be walking you through part one of this two-part series about the route I chose to hop up my 883cc engine to a more robust 1,250cc engine thanks to Revolution Performance.
Already I’ve spruced up the chassis with necessary components for achieving a street tracker look, but I’ve really been itching to overhaul the stock 883cc engine to a more robust motor by way of a big-bore kit. Since the 883 isn’t the most powerful twin on the block, I wanted to try and remedy that situation by installing Revolution Performance’s 1,250cc Big Bore kit ($999.95), which includes two 3-9/16-inch bore nickel-silicon-carbide aluminum cylinders, 10:1 forged dished pistons, pins, clips, rings, head and base gaskets, all available in your choice of black, black with machined fins, or silver finishes.
Last month we featured the inner workings of Revolution Performance’s services and products available to horsepower junkies. Eric (El Jefe) took a trip to the RevPerf facilities in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Eric’s piece explained the science behind Revolution Performance’s signature nickel-silicon-carbide (NSC) cylinder bore plating treatment, where the nickel acts as the glue that holds the composite together while the silicon carbide provides the wear surface. Silicon carbide is a close second in hardness to diamonds, which improves wear resistance, less friction, and dissipates heat more efficiently. For a more in-depth explanation on RevPerf’s processes, visit hotbikeweb.com.
Revolution Performance also has the guns to handle more in-depth engine modifications from case machining for Timken bearing swaps, but more importantly for my application, headwork. Being that the Sweet Tracker was being treated to fatter jugs and larger pistons, new heads would allow the engine to flow air/fuel to said components more optimally. I sent my stock 883cc heads to RevPerf for larger valves, new valve springs, larger intake and exhaust guides, new valve guide seals, and full CNC machining of the combustion chamber and porting and polishing of both the exhaust and intake ports, all for around $850.
A set of performance, higher lift cams would definitely aid in boosting the ponies as well, and Revolution Performance recommended Harley-Davidson’s Screamin’ Eagle Pro High-Performance XL cams ($274.95) for ’00-later Sportster models. A camshaft’s key feature is its lobes. When the cams rotate, the lobes push up opening the valves via the pushrods and roller rocker arms to allow the air/fuel mixture to enter the engine. The valve springs then push the valves closed. Higher lift (.536 lift in this case), allow the valves to stay open longer, allowing more fuel into the engine. More air is also added via a combination of things: larger diameter cylinder bores, larger valves, and a larger diameter carburetor or throttle body. Whenever swapping to performance cams, or replacing any cams in general, you should always swap the lifters too, so I ordered a set of Screamin’ Eagle Tappets to boot ($269.95).
Cometic Gaskets are made from top-notch quality and the company has been in business for more than 17 years, making a name for itself amongst all of the powersport and automotive industries alike. Cometic uses only the finest quality materials to ensure that your fluids stay where they’re meant to. It seemed like a no-brainer to have the best gaskets on the Sweet Tracker so we ordered up a complete top-end gasket kit for Sportster models.
In this first installment, I’ll delve into installing the Revolution Performance Big Bore kit, the Screamin’ Eagle .536 cams and lifters, along with Cometic Gaskets’ top-end gaskets for the cylinders and heads. Tune in next month, where we finish off the engine with exhaust pipes from SuperTrapp, a 42mm Mikuni carburetor, and Daytona Twin-Tec ignition. Once everything is installed, and the necessary break-in miles for the new engine have been ridden, the Sweet Tracker will be put to test on the dyno. RevPerf claims it should make a substantial increase in horsepower. We’ll just have to wait and see.
We headed over to the performance guru in Signal Hill, California, Eric Bennett of Bennett’s Performance, for the task of hopping up the engine with the new components. Bennett’s Performance has been making stock Harleys go faster for more than 20 years. From ground-up engine builds for custom applications, complete engine overhaul and hop-up kit installations, to minor service and repair work and more, there’s no task that Bennett’s Performance can’t handle. I personally wanted to thank Eric for his expertise and time invested in helping me with this project. Next round(s) are on me! HB
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