We love scramblers for their effortlessly cool vibe. But they don’t just look good: they’re invariably more usable and practical than most customs.
It’s the usability angle that inspired Alicia Mariah Elfving to build this Sportster scrambler, with help from her partner Jeff Wolf. Her previous build, a custom Ducati Monster, looked great but wasn’t that good at munching the miles.
“I wanted to make a bike very different from the Monster,” says Alicia, who runs the excellent Motolady website. “The Ducati is great for canyons and twisties, but it’s the worst for any kind of distance riding. It’s uncomfortable, and there’s nowhere to pack anything.”
Dave Zemla at Burly Brand helped nudge things along. “He brought up the idea of doing a Sportster build,” explains Alicia. “So I contacted my buddy Caroline, who had a lowered, super-cruiser Sportster, and asked if she wanted me to give it a makeover.”
Caroline said Yes. She promptly turned up with her 2001-model Sportster 883, and the duo tore into it.
At 5’11” Caroline (above) is not exactly short. So the first job on the agenda was to lift the ride height. Burly Brand supplied a set of 15” Stiletto shocks—plus a café-style tail unit, scrambler bars and MX pegs.
Alicia stripped the Sporty down to its chassis and motor, fitted the bars, perched the seat on the subframe and began swapping out fuel tanks.
“I ended up with a Honda CB350 tank—blasphemy for the HD brand, but that made me love the idea even more. The lines worked well, and it matched up with the tail piece… so it was final.”
Wolf helped Alicia modify the tank, to clear the Harley’s heads and line up with the seat better. The neat little luggage rack was a swap meet find; it’s been modified and mounted via a set of bungs from Lowbrow Customs.
Wolf then chopped the subframe, adding a hoop and gussets for additional strength. The small rear fender was made from a spare chunk that was lying around the shop, and it’s been combined with a custom-made splash guard to keep muck off the engine. The front fender has been trimmed to match.
The Sportster’s forward pegs were ditched in favour of Chainsikle’s ‘Low Sets’—placing the controls further back and lower down for improved ergonomics. The original controls were then re-purposed as highway pegs, since Caroline often tours with her bike.
The front forks were upgraded with preload adjusters from Speed Merchant, and the kickstand was lengthened to match the new ride height.
DNA Speciality supplied a new 18” x 3.5” chrome rear wheel, laced to a stock Sportster hub. Both wheels are now wrapped in Continental TKC80s, the dual sport rubber du jour. And the final drive has been converted from belt to chain, with a kit from Lowbrow Customs. It’s running on a tensioner made from a skateboard wheel.
Alicia also installed DP Customs‘ low-slung Box Exhaust, cleaned up the cockpit cabling, added a steel braided brake line, and fitted a hand-made license plate bracket.
Final tuning and wiring was handed over to Adam Gaspic of Gasser Customs, and the air filter and tail light are from Boyle Custom Moto.
Rounding off the parts list are Renegade grips and Slimline risers from Biltwell, with Dime City Cycles supplying an Acewell 2853 speedo and tacho combo. Ryan Hausmann of Open Road Design made up the “GAS IT!” points cover, based on a design Alicia penned.
The jewel in the crown, though, is the paint. “I knew it needed a bright sparkly paint job,” says Alicia. “So I choose green metalflake for its gender neutrality and loudness at the same time. The shade reminds me of the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz: It’s a horse of a different color!”
Justin Gajefski at JG Fabrication and Design whipped up the paint, while Wolf took care of pinstriping and silver leaf duties—including the “Blondezilla” livery on the tank.
So where did the name Blondezilla come from? “It’s Caroline’s nickname,” says Alicia, “and it represents her perfectly.” And now she’s got the bike to match—tough, stylish, and ready for anything.