On the spectrum of bad ideas, attempting to race a 500lb Harley-Davidson Sportster over 1000 miles of rugged terrain in a foreign country is right up there with moving in with the girl you just met or buying that sweet piece of swampland in Florida. But, geniuses that we are, we're gonna do it anyway. Our buddy Rob Rouser splits his year between working in the shop here in Temecula and surfing in Central America. He's built his share of Sportsters over the years and rode his last XR400 from Texas to Panama. It didn't take much to convince him that this was a fantastic concept.
We picked up a squeaky clean 2000 883 over the summer and tear down just began earlier this month. We've mocked up suspension at full droop and are working with Gigacycle for a new top tree and steering stem to make the CRF250 forks work on the HD frame and utilize a GPR stabilizer. Elka Suspension is building a custom set of rear shocks and we're working on new billet axle adjusters, gusseting the swingarm and welding on new lower shock mounts. Race Tech will be going through the internals of the forks as well as a back-up set of legs. Sun rims are being laced now in 18" and 21" sizes. We are keeping the stock fuel tank, fender (bobbed) and oil tank (reinforced and remounted) so it still resembles a Harley. We've got some kit coming from Hugo Moto to help relocate the foot pegs as well as a bitchin' skid plate. Duane Ballard doesn't know it yet, but hopefully he's gonna make us a big loaf of bread seat and Hot Dog will be painting the Frijole 883 graphic on the tank. We're gonna make a high two-into-one exhaust and loop the subframe. We'll have redundant coils mounted as well as a back up Anti-Gravity battery. There are a hundred more details, but these are the foundational things that we had to agree on so forward progress could be made.
Our goal isn't to win anything, we just want to see if we can do it. We're gonna take it easy and do our best to finish. We'll undoubtedly learn a lot and we'll put that new knowledge to work again if we decide to race again in 2019. We are shooting for a first test day Jan. 1 and should have enough time to make even dramatic adjustments before the race in April.
/ Drag Specialties
/ Parts Unlimited
/ Duane Ballard
/ Hot Dog Customs
/ Hugo Moto / Baja Designs
For more info on the race itself, you can get a history lesson here: https://www.norra.com/norra.php