As you pull into your garage, fresh off your first ride on your new (or new to you) Sportster, you feel something is missing. Is it power, sound, comfort, style, or a mixture of many factors? Starting the journey of personalizing your very own Sporty can be daunting in a sea of available options. Read on to discover the top three upgrades you should do first on your Harley Sportster!
1. Seats, Seats, Seats!
Harley-Davidson has over a 100-year reputation for quality craftsmanship and American-sourced materials, but that has also led to their motorcycles sporting a hefty price tag. To keep their bikes “affordable,” cost-cutting in areas that customers normally modify has become standard. One area, in particular, is Harley stock seats, especially on the Sportster line.
If you’re not comfortable, that new Sporty is just going to gather dust in your garage or under a motorcycle cover. Do yourself a favor; swap the stock seat with a high-quality aftermarket seat, allowing you to ride mile after mile in premium comfort. My personal favorite is the Saddlemen Step-Up seat, delivering a fusion of Gel Core technology and Ultra Foam that conforms to your body; meaning, ride longer and further in comfort!
2. Let’em Hear You Coming!
If you’ve been around the motorcycle community for at least 60-seconds, then you’ve probably heard the saying, “loud pipes save lives.” The jury is out on how useful an upgraded exhaust and mufflers are to protecting riders, but one thing is certain; when you ride a Harley, you want to hear your Harley!
After-market exhaust systems can get pricey quick; do a little research to prevent buying more performance and noise than you need. If you’re looking for an affordable option, choose a pair of slip-on mufflers to set free that classic Harley growl, and keep a couple more dollars in your pocket. On my 2020 Iron 1200, I’m running a set of Vance & Hines Twin-Slash slip-on mufflers; providing plenty of low-end snarls and pops, with a racing flare when you travel into the higher rev range!
3. Let There Be Light!
At this fork in the road, many Sporty owners and Harley purists would probably recommend upgrading your stock air cleaner; unleashing the torque and performance that will make your Sporty shoot off-the-line. But all that speed is wasted if you can’t see where you’re going. If you’re Sporty is still trying to get by with that primitive incandescent headlight, treat her to a proper upgrade.
If you want to stay “all-Harley,” the signature Harley-Davidson Daymaker delivers a powerful LED headlight, topping $400. Looking for an option that won’t break the bank? There is plenty of after-market LED headlight options on the market; I’m running a SUNPIE Halo LED Headlight, which was a plug-and-play install, fit my Sporty’s headlight bucket perfectly, and cuts through the darkness with a piercing LED beam!
Sportsters are arguably the most easily customizable motorcycles in Harley-Davidson’s lineup. Try these top three easy upgrades for your Sporty and get the journey started in the right direction! Click PACS for more Harley-Davidson and motorcycle content!
What top three upgrades would you recommend?