How to ''GS-ify'' a Sportster...

I want to hear my fellow MOrons’ ideas on how to “GS-ify” a Sportster.

I want to modify a Sportster as much as possible so it becomes “dual sport”, perhaps settling somewhere closer to “standard” rather than true “dual sport”. I’d like to combine the spirit & marketing image behind BMW’s GS or GS/ PD series with a Harley-Davidson Sportster.

In short, how can I “de-cruiser” a Sportster?

I like and generally ride “standard” motorcycles: CB750, Bandit, etc. All bikes must have the ability to go down rough country roads and the occasional grass field. But, of course, we spend most of our time on smooth asphalt and Interstates. So we need luggage, distance ability and backrests for girlfriends, with the occasional gravel road thrown in.

I highly respect MO’s choice, with the 599 and V-Strom at the top. But how about a standard with a bit more “style”, a bit more “classic” look?

I would buy a ~’90s R100, but is there anything newer available? How about the Bonneville, the W650 and the Sportster?

The first two are tempting. I may buy one of them instead of the Harley. But seeing as though I drive mostly in the US, Sportsters are a big plus: there’s a good support system of dealers, spare parts can be cheap and there’s a Sportster in every junk yard from here to Maine. Also, I like the belt drive. So Sportsters are good basic motorcycles… but they’re too “cruiser”.

Do any of my fellow MOrons have recommendations on how to make a Sportster more “standard”? For example, can I get a bigger gas tank? Rear-set (i.e., "standard") foot pegs? Stronger suspension? Raised ground clearance? Are there bash plates for Sportsters? (I already know how to get backrests, seats, gauges, crash bars, extra lights, saddles and such.)

Or should I just get the Bonneville or W650 instead?

Portland, OR
--currently bikeless---

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George Obradovich
George Obradovich

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