For most young guys, scoring a clean, mostly-stock 2006 Sportster for $3000 would be enough. Not so for Kase Van Rees. He wanted to make it something completely his own. We can’t help but respect that.
Van Rees bought the Sportster with money he saved from delivering pizzas. One of the reasons he opted for the 2006 rather than something newer is because it was the last year the Sportster was carbureted. He prefers to modify his own bikes and do his own wrenching, but admits he doesn’t know much about ECU tuning. He wanted a mechanical fuel system that he could tune himself, even if it does cause him some troubles when riding at altitude.
When he bought it, the bike was mostly stock with the exception of a set of aftermarket Vance & Hines pipes. While he loves the rumble of the American-made V-Twin, he does admit that the free-flowing pipes are a little loud for his taste. The 1200 was in great shape when he got it with the exception of some leaking fork seals. While he was rebuilding them, he painted the lowers black.
One of the first major modifications Van Rees made to the bike was ditching the original tank in favor of a tank from an old Honda CB750 which he spray-painted blue in his driveway. It fits surprisingly well with the café racer style seat he bought for $150. To install the seat, he had to weld some brackets to the frame. While he was at it, he added a hoop to the back of the frame. Without the rear fender to attach the taillights and license plate to, he mounted an LED strip to the hoop and a side-mount license plate holder.
Van Rees admits the Sportster is a bit heavy for a scrambler, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. He blacked out the pipes, then wrapped them with heat tape. Next, he added a 19-inch front wheel, turned the front fender around, and skinned both tires with Pirelli MT60s. Lastly, he added a Biltwell Moto Bar to complete the look.
The Gnarly-Davidson—Van Rees’ name for the project—has a long way to go before it’s where he wants it. That’s just fine for Van Rees. He’s looking forward to many more days in the garage perfecting his masterpiece.