How to Convert a Harley Sportster 883 to a Bobber Chopper

Written by gabriel scofield
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How to Convert a Harley Sportster 883 to a Bobber Chopper
Bobbers became popular with soldiers after World War II. (chopper image by thierry planche from

Bobbers date back to the World War II era. They came along before choppers and were simply modified stock motorcycles. Some of the modifications were removing fenders, blinkers, the windshield and anything else that was not necessary for the motorcycle to perform correctly. Smaller gas tanks, smaller headlights and springer front ends were also installed. Solo seats with springs for comfort were all the rage, as well. Choppers are basically extended versions of bobbers.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Mechanic's tool set
  • Motorcycle lift
  • Solo seat with 3-inch springs (and mounting hardware for the Sportster 883)
  • Bolt-on rigid hardtail or solid struts
  • 2-inch under Springer front end (This is optional depending on the look you want)
  • Drag handlebars or Ape hangers (if you choose Ape hangers you will need to purchase longer brake and clutch cables)
  • Handlebar risers
  • Side mount for number plate and brake light.
  • 1 Smaller size mirror

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  1. 1

    Remove the indicators. Follow the wires to their respective plug-ins and disconnect. Check with your state laws about indicators on motorcycles.

  2. 2

    If you plan to use a Springer front end you will need to place the motorcycle on a lift. Remove the front tire and brake assembly. Remove the headlight, handlebars and handlebar components. Remove the handlebar risers and the steering neck nut and triple-tree. The front end should slide right out of the frame, and you can then replace it with your Springer front end. Install the brake assembly and front tire.

  3. 3

    Install your new risers, handlebars and smaller mirror, and assemble your components. (If you plan on using ape hangers you will have to purchase longer brake and clutch cables, as well as extend the wires for any electrical components attached to the handlebars.)

  4. 4

    Remove the seat and install the new solo seat with properly fitted hardware. (If you are installing a rigid hardtail, skip this step until the hardtail is installed.)

  5. 5

    Install hardtail struts in place of the stock suspension. If you are using a bolt-on hardtail instead of struts you must remove the rear tire, brake assembly, exhaust, fender, suspension, and swingarm. Bolt on the hardtail with provided hardware. Install rear tire, brake assembly and exhaust.

  6. 6

    Remove the brake light and number plate mount from the rear fender while it is off the motorcycle. Modify your fender as desired or go with no fender. Install the fender without the brake light or number plate mount.

  7. 7

    Install the side number plate mount with the tail light to the rear wheel axle. Use the existing wiring to connect the new brake light.

Tips and warnings

  • Some people change out the gas tank on bobbers to a smaller tank. Because the Sportster already has the smallest tank available, this step is not needed.
  • Check local and state laws before any modifications are made to your indicators and number plate placement.

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