The Sportster is the smallest motorcycle in Harley-Davidson’s line-up and is equipped with either an 883 or a 1,200 cc Evolution V-twin engine. Despite its smaller stature, the Sportster’s personality is pure Harley, and it can be customized to fit the palette of even the most discerning rider. The handlebar is just one of the many components that can be removed and replaced as deemed fit. Doing so requires the removal of the hand controls as well as the replacement of the left hand grip, which is glued into place and can be difficult to remove without damage.
1. Park the motorcycle on a smooth, level work area, either on its side stand or vertically mounted on a service stand. Place a thick towel over the fuel tank to protect its painted surface.
2. Pull the upper edge of the left side cover off the frame rails below the rider’s seat, then lift the cover off and away from the motorcycle. Remove the single fuse from the fuse holder located along the side of the battery box to disable the motorcycle’s electrical system.
3. Remove any cable ties attaching the switch pod wiring to the handlebars using a razor knife.
4. Loosen the lock nuts at the bases of both mirrors using an open-end wrench. Unscrew the mirrors from the handlebars.
5. Remove the clutch lever perch from the left side of the handlebar and the front brake master cylinder from the right side using a socket wrench. Place both parts on the towel-covered fuel tank.
6. Loosen the right switch assembly housing bolts located at the bottom of the switch housing, using either a Phillips-head or a Torx screwdriver. Pull the switch assembly off the end of the handlebar.
7. Remove the screws from the bottom of the left switch assembly housing using either a Phillips-head or a Torx screwdriver. Separate the switch housing halves, then pull it off the handlebar.
8. Slip the end of a narrow-bladed flat-head screwdriver between the left hand grip and the handlebar. Pry the grip upward to create a gap. Spray a small amount of parts cleaning solvent into the gap and allow the solvent to work for two to three minutes. Pry more of the grip upward with the screwdriver until the grip can be removed completely.
9. Remove the screws on both sides of the chromed inner handlebar riser cover, located directly below the speedometer, using a Torx screwdriver. This step applies only to XL883C and XL1200C models.
10. Remove the upper handlebar holder bolts located along the bridge-like structure on top of the handlebars using an Allen wrench. On XL883C and XL1200C models, the bolts are located just above the speedometer. Lift the handlebar holder and instrument cluster off the front fork and handlebar. Pull the handlebar out of the lower handlebar holders.
11. Set the new handlebar in the lower handlebar holder, centering the knurled sections of the bar within the handlebar holder’s recessed portion. Place the upper handlebar holder and instrument cluster over the handlebar and loosely screw the holder bolts into place using an Allen wrench.
12. Sit on the motorcycle and place both hands on the handlebar. Point the front wheel directly ahead. Pull the handlebar toward or away from you until it is in a comfortable position. Tighten the handlebar holder bolts to 15 foot-pounds, starting with the rearmost bolts, using a torque wrench.
13. Mount the chromed inner handlebar holder cover and tighten its screws using a Torx screwdriver. This step applies only to XL883C and XL1200C models.
14. Slide the right switch assembly housing over the right side of the handlebar until it cannot be moved farther. Screw the switch housing bolts into place using a Phillips-head or a Torx screwdriver. Tighten the screws to 45 inch-pounds.
15. Mount the front brake master cylinder onto the right side of the handlebar, behind the switch assembly, using a socket wrench. Tighten the master cylinder clamps to 132 inch-pounds.
16. Coat the inner surface of a new left hand grip with grip adhesive. Push the hand grip onto the left side of the handlebar using a twisting motion.
17.Lift the lower portion of the left switch assembly housing into place on the left handlebar. The flange on the end of the left hand grip should be seated snugly within the left switch assembly. Mount the upper portion of the switch assembly, then screw the housing screws into place using a Phillips-head or a Torx wrench. Tighten the screws to 45 inch-pounds.
18. Mount the clutch lever perch onto the left side of the handlebar behind the switch assembly using a socket wrench. Tighten the perch bolts to 132 inch-pounds.
19. Screw the mirrors into place on the clutch lever perch and the front brake master cylinder. Loosely tighten the mirror lock nuts. Sit on the motorcycle, with the front wheel pointed directly ahead, and adjust the mirrors until you can see clearly behind you through both mirrors. Tighten the mirror lock nuts using an open-end wrench.
20. Push the fuse into the fuse holder to reactivate the motorcycle’s electrical system. Slip the left side cover’s lower tab into the slot cut into the motorcycle’s frame, then push the cover’s upper mounting bosses into the frame’s grommets.