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Try "http://www.storzperf.com" for starters - you can convert to a dirt tracker here and maybe get more info by contacting them. Back in the 50s we would convert a Harley to off-road by taking the front fender off and removing the rear half of the rear fender at the hinge.



First post or what?
 

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Triumph is coming out with a "Scrambler" which sounds exactly what you are looking for aesthetic wise but are down on power. I think it would be neat to do the same thing to a Sportster, it shouldn't be to hard with all the aftermarket goodies for them. I was debating on doing the same thing after reading the story on the Scrambler in one of the other moto-magazines.
 

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Excellent question. I've been trying to convert my Triumph TR6R Tiger into a TR6C. I'm also working on a Triumph Cub converting it back from trials to street use. Want to know why? The street, even the worst cracked and buggered concrete we have around here is way smoother than dirt. The problem with the old Triumphs and your Sportster fits in with them is the shocks. They are made for street cruising and compress all of about 3". Take a look at any offroad machine made today and you will find the minimum shock travel on dual-sport bikes is still over 5", with serious shocks springing closer to 8" and on up MX bikes of 10".



So, you get tall saddle heights and lots of springing. That level of shock movement sucks on the street at any sort of fun lean angles at speed. In other words you can't have both. If your off road riding is smooth fire lanes and soft grass with no hidden ripples or rocks you may get away with 4 to 5 inches of shock travel just fine. For that there are some cheap shocks available, which I would try first to see if you still want to do this. The Brit bikes use HJ or JP or something like that. Check the catalogs - there are several. Works Performance shocks aren't too expensive.



Next, don't expect a lot out of your swingarm - no MX jumps etc. without some major work there. The front shocks can be replaced too, but you may just need to swap stock for stiffer springs and let it go at that.



What about upswept pipes and spark arrester mufflers? Also a Sportster ways a half a ton - not the best platform for offroading. And tires. Trials are an OK compromise or Dunlop K70s or Bridgestone ??



Finally, learn to ride the bike on the pegs. That's the best improvement you can make.



You can't just get a Kawasaki KLR650 or Suzuki DRZ?
 

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I haven't read or seen anything on this bike that suggests it isn't anything more than a styling exersize on the Bonneville. I road a Bonneville and wouldn't consider ever taking one on anything but the smoothest dirt road for the shortest possible distence.
 

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Sorry, one more point. Gearing and the Sportsters belt drive. You'll want to convert to sprocket and chain to get the right combination and then you'll never be happy with the gearing on the street and the dirt.
 

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I used their parts to build a tracker look alike about 10 years ago. It was a great bike after the mods.



I don't understand why HD doesn't offer a Sportster based bike that's a bit more conventional, i.e. more rearward footpegs, taller seat height, less raked out. I don't mean a Buell, but something in between. Sort of like they did with the VRod roadster.
 

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I find my 620RXC handles great on the road and keeps up just fine with my buddies' road bikes. Maybe I just don't ride fast enough to find find the disadvantages you are talking about. Then again, we are not slow.



I do have to adjust the suspension for the expected terrain, however. A couple of twists on the compression damping knobs usually do the trick.



The biggest compromise I have found is gearing and tires. A second set of wheels does the trick.

 

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Yes, I saw Berquist testing that same bike at El Mirage back in the early 70's.



It sucked an exhaust valve 20 yards from the start at the Baja 500 that same year.



Would hate to hit the whoops at anything over 50 mph on a 450 lb sled like that...
 

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The Sportster 1200R has a pretty conventional riding position. A set of of RaceTec cartridge emulsifiers and dampner, some Progressive fork sprinks and the longest ravel Proggressive or Works Performance shock you can stick on there is a start. After that it just standard performance stuff like a K&N, Dynajet kit and a set of mufflers. It's still not going to be a duel sport, but it'd do logging roads all day. You'd have to see what kind of tires would fit like Sahara's or something...



If it was me I'd buy a Triumph Tiger, which I plan on doing, or a Buell Ullysyes (?) Both of which would be cool SUV types or a VStrom in either engine size.
 
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