Sportster Cafe Racer Mashup: Is it a ‘Sporton’ or a ‘Norley’?

Sportster cafe racer
Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, is not where you’d expect to find a 1960s-style cafe racer. But this Sportster-powered machine would look right at home in the parking lot of London’s Ace Cafe.

It belongs to enthusiast Faizal Yusop, who’s crammed a modified 1969 Ironhead motor into a Norton Featherbed Wideline frame. Which makes it both a ‘Sporton’ and a ‘Norley’, I guess.

Sportster cafe racer
The specifications are truly impressive. The Sportster engine has been bored oversize, and treated to big valves, uprated conrods and high-compression pistons. It’s also running an Andrews street/drag cam—a ‘Y’ grind with .425 of lift. The engine is now fed by a classic Weber 40 DCOE racing carb and breathes out via a Dunstall two-into-one exhaust system. Spark is courtesy of a Joe Hunt Magneto with a manual retard/advance lever.

Sportster cafe racer
“It wasn’t a case of just ‘bolt it together and go’,” says Faizal. “We’ve shifted the whole Sportster motor and drive train about 19mm towards the centerline, to make it a well-balanced bike. We made a motor mount from 1½ inch steel plates, which took quite a bit of machining for the right geometric balance.”

Sportster cafe racer
Other top-shelf components include 18-inch alloy Borrani rims, a handcrafted alloy Norton Manx five-gallon fuel tank (and central oil tank), 4-leading shoe brakes and Tommaselli hand controls. As befits a true cafe racer, weight has been kept to a minimum—a mere 180 kg (just under 400 lbs).

Sportster cafe racer
I’m not sure what the roads are like around Kuala Lumpur, but I hope they’re good. This machine must be an absolute blast to ride.

Images by Sollehim Abdulrahim.

Sportster cafe racer


Make: Norton/Harley-Davidson (the Sporton)
Model: Cafe racer / grand prix roadracer
Year: 1957

Engine and drivetrain
1969 Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster rebored 900cc XLCH motor, .30 thou oversize bore
CCI conrods
Oversize inlet and outlet valves
Silicone bronze valve guides
Oversize AMF Harley-Davidson high compression pistons
Andrews ‘Y’ cam (57-70) with .425 lift
Joe Hunt magneto ignition system
Spitfire silicon HT cables
Weber 40 DCOE race carburetor with custom jets, tubes and linkages
Custom intake manifold and aluminum rampipes
Ramair air sock filters
Lockhart 9-row oil cooler
Facet 4psi electric fuel pump
Braided fuel and oil hoses all around
Barnett kevlar 9-plate clutch with heavy duty springs
Stock Harley-Davidson 4-speed transmission with Andrews close ratio gears
Electric start and kick start

Chassis, brakes and suspension
1957 Norton featherbed wideline frame
Ohlins steering damper
Four-leading brake shoes, 4LS front hub (Suzuki GT750 model J)
Suzuki twin pull brake lever system
Suzuki GS550 rear hub
Borrani rims and Dunlop TT100 tires
Shortened Roadholder forks
Marzocchi AG Strada shocks
Tommaselli hand controls and clipons
Paul Dunstall aluminum alloy rear sets

Norton Manx aluminum alloy petrol tank, oil tank and seat pan
Norton Manx steel rear fender
Triumph headlamp, Tommaselli head brackets and custom rear brake lights
Paul Dunstall Decibel Silencer exhaust system with custom exhaust manifold

Thanks to fellow members of the Mug Town Rockers, Ohio USA. A big pat at the back also to Pak Lah, Awe and Ramli Norton and also the original members of the Brit Iron Brothers Kuala Lumpur.