The Harley Davidson Sportster is considered the entry level bike offered in the H-D lineup. It comes with an option of two different engine sizes, the 883cc and 1200cc V-Twin. It’s slightly smaller than the full-size bikes like the popular Fat Boy and Road King models. However, the Sportster is an excellent platform if you want to start getting wild with upgrades to separate your “Sporty” from all the others. A Slovakian H-D dealer did just that when they decided to turn a 1200cc Sportster into the meanest looking snow bike on the planet.
As good as the snow bike conversion kits are nowadays, they aren’t designed to be used on a big old Harley Davison. But that didn’t stop Banska Bystrica Harley Davidson in Slovakia from figuring out a way to make the kit work on a Sportster chassis. And as you can see the results are nothing short of spectacular. Apparently though, it wasn’t an easy build to pull off for many different reasons.
The biggest hurdle the guys at Banska H-D had to get over was how to get power to the track. The Sporty has a left-hand side drive belt, whereas the conversion kits are set up for a right-hand drive system normally found on a dirtbike. This meant that it was back to the drawing board and time to start thinking outside the box. They finally came up with a conversion kit that would handle the power coming from the incredibly torquey 1200cc V-Twin.
The 1200cc in the Sportster model puts out approximately 68hp and 73lb-ft of torque. As a comparison, the KTM 450SXF, the most powerful bike in its class, puts out 58hp and 37lb-ft of torque. That’s not to say the Sporty snow bike was built with intentions of it being compared to a regular snow bike because it wasn’t. But having that extra 20hp and almost double the torque will make a huge difference out on the snow. Especially considering the Sporty weighs quite a bit more, almost double actually.
The second major hurdle the Slovakian mad scientists had to overcome was bringing all that weight to a stop. The snow conversion kits have their own separate brake system because you’re obviously removing the wheels where the brakes normally are. But as with the drive system, the kit was designed to work with a dirtbike. That meant the original system had to be removed so they could fabricate something to go in its place. You didn’t think it was going to be a simple swap, did you? Very rarely will something go smooth and easy when the end result is this unique and badass. The old saying, “if it was easy then everyone would do it,” certainly applies here.
When you look at this thing from the side you’ll notice that it’s super long. The front of the track starts right about where the center point of the rear wheel used to be. I couldn’t find exactly what size track was used, but judging by how far it sticks out I’m assuming they used the 137″ instead of the standard 120″. That would make the most sense as you want as much traction as possible with how much the bike weighs and how much power the V-Twin puts out.
What I think the coolest part about this bike is the fact that it was built to actually be ridden. It might have the appearance and build quality of a show bike, but this isn’t a trailer queen. The guys at Banska Bystrica H-D wanted to make sure that everyone knew that too. Rather than shooting all the promotional material in a studio like most shops would, they took the Sporty out to the hills where they could get some killer action shots. They even took it off and jump and nothing broke, which is always a good sign.
So does this mean that we could one day see Harley Davidson’s out in the backcountry? I highly doubt it. As cool as it is, the practicality of throwing around that much weight all day would be brutal. However, with that being said, I would love to get my hands on this thing for an afternoon.