Phil Little Racing SXR - The 12 Bikes Of XXXMAS

DIY Dirt-Track Replica

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Wayne Davis

There might not be a cheaper or more plentiful used motorcycle than the Harley-Davidson Sportster. Purchased by the score and tossed aside like so many dirty sporks as soon as buyers can afford a Softail Convertible or Street Glide, a clean, used Sporty is easy to source. Craigslist is littered with late-model 883s and 1200s priced under $4K-well under, in fact, if you find one previously owned (and dropped) by a minty-fresh Rider's Edge graduate.

A cheap, low-mile, cosmetically challenged Sportster is the perfect candidate for Phil Little Racing's impressive SXR Street Tracker conversion. This kit fits any XL from 1986 to the present, and delivers a more authentic dirt-track look than even Harley's own XR1200 for a fraction of the price. And since the kit is 100 percent bolt-on, with no other mod's whatsoever, it couldn't be simpler. You don't even have to paint the bodywork, provided you like competition orange.

Minnetonka, Minnesota's, Phil Little has been manufacturing bodywork and other accessories for vintage flat-track racers since 1988, operating under the Omar's Dirt Track Racing brand. Little sold that business in 2008, but has continued to do one-off projects under the Phil Little Racing banner. One of his more successful sidelines was reproducing the Harley-Davidson XR750 dirt-track bodywork that forms the basis of the SXR kit.

That bodywork, manufactured from top-quality, color-impregnated fiberglass, faithfully replicates the iconic XR750 lines. The tank comes complete with dual petcocks and is coated inside to prevent ethanol-induced erosion, a major problem with other aftermarket tanks. Out back, the fender brace does double duty as a mount for the license plate and LED taillight, and the dual-density foam seat is covered with the correct basket-weave vinyl, just like the original XR. The front numberplate mounts with quick-release tie-wraps around the stock Sporty headlamp, and optional fork guards lend a race-ready look. A full graphics kit with SXR 883 or SXR 1200 motifs, depending on your donor bike, is also available.

The bodywork, however, is just half the SXR program: Little also manufactures multiple chassis parts to give your Sporty a proper race stance. Step one is a rear-wheel spacer kit that deletes the Sportster's stock, chopper-style, 16-inch rear wheel and replaces it with a 19-inch front wheel suitable for dirt-track rubber. A pair of 15-inch, five-position preload-adjustable Progressive shocks increase rear ride height accordingly, and a CNC-machined fork brace strengthens the front end. A set of 1-inch, dirt-track-bend handlebars defines a new riding position, and Swiss-cheesed brake rotors look race-spec.

A complete price list can be found online at, and it's cheaper than you might imagine. All the bodywork, including the fork guards and the left-side "numberplate" that conceals the battery and electronics, costs approximately $1300. The complete SXR conversion, including a SuperTrapp 2-into-2 high-rise exhaust, blacked-out air filter and every last detail right down to the Napoleon bar-end mirror, runs right around $3500. Even if you start at the high end of the Kelley Blue Book, that's still a few stacks cheaper than a new XR1200-and better-looking, too.

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