How much are you willing to pay for a Sportster? That’s an easy one, right? A 2022 Iron 883 retails for $11,249. If you’re not willing to fork over that much dough for a brand-new Sporty, older models go for as low as $3,000 on the used market. Now, here comes the real question: how much are you willing to pay to make that Sportster go fast?
Apparently, GMS Race Team motorcycle builder and tuner Gregg Dahl is willing to drop $100,000 on turning his Sportster into a seven-second-running drag bike. Of course, we use Sportster very loosely in Gregg’s case. He may have based his quarter-mile monster on Harley-Davidson’s legendary mid-size cruiser, but it’s more like a ship of Theseus at this point.
The base model Sporster packs a 54 cubic-inch V-twin that puts out 54 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than enough grunt for many beginners, brand converts, and city riders, but it sure doesn’t provide drag strip authority. Dahl changes all that with a 172 cubic-inch engine. That’s nearly 3.5-times the size of the stock Sporty mill.
To handle all that extra sauce, Dahl separated the transmission from the engine case and redesigned the fueling system and belt drive. Of course, that’s on top of the chassis work necessary to make the middleweight bobber a no-wheelie-bar beast. Dahl’s investments pay off, though, with his Sportster build running a 7.62-second quarter-mile in November, 2020.
Unfortunately, the pandemic and resulting supply chain issues and resource shortages haven’t helped Dahl improve on that record-setting time. At New Alexandria, Pennsylvania’s Keystone Raceway Park, GMS Race Team Mike Mott was only able to register an 8.16-second run at 169 mph. While the team couldn’t break its previous record, Dahl sticks with the Sportster platform for its affordability.
“We just approached it with the idea that we weren’t afraid of breaking anything. You know, if I blow it up, it’s fine. So, we did some sketchy stuff—and got away with it,” admitted Dahl (and every other Sportster customizer in the world).
No, many of us don’t have the means or dedication to build a seven-second quarter-mile Sportster, but it’s absolutely no surprise that one exists.