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Udder Scum Sportster

  • Motorcycles
  •  | 
New Life for an Old Sportster
Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio
As chill as ever, Mike Greer fits his bike perfectly—laid back and ready for a good time. As a mechanic by day, he started out like most chopper fans by picking up a bucket of parts and bringing it back to life. It wasn’t long before the wheels started turning in his head, driving him to create a chopper that was unique to his personality. I first saw this bike at Glory Daze in 2019 when he rolled up with the Udder Scum crew. It was completely different then, but with time and help from some friends, it’s had quite the transformation.
Let’s get straight to it! Go through the build for the readers.
Mike Greer: The bike is an ‘88 Sportster 883 with a 1200 conversion and four-speed transmission. The whole thing started with eight-over forks. Then after riding the bike, I found out it was raked a little too high and the front end wanted to flop all over the place. So, I got everything torn down, and the project snowballed from there. We stretched the frame, used a single down tube, and switched the forks to a fourteen-over Frank’s Forks front end. I’ve always been a big fan of dual headlights from the 1960s and 70s style choppers, so I went with that look. The handlebars are six-bend pullbacks from Zombie Performance. I’m a big fan of these bars, they’re super comfy.

It’s still technically a Sportster frame, but only about ten inches of it is still stock. We used a TC Bros hardtail kit on the rear with the TC Bros king and queen seat that was made to fit. It took almost a year for the seat to be back in stock, so when it was available, I jumped on it. The rear brake was fabricated from a 2000s era Sportster. I didn’t care for the look of having the brake hang below the frame, so we got it to fit in the wedge of the hardtail. The sissy bar is a Paughco Captain America style that wasn’t made for a Sportster, so I had to work out some spacing issues. I didn’t want it leaning too far back, and it fought me a good bit trying to get the rear tire centered and the fender to sit so it wasn’t digging into the tire.

As far as the paint, the whole bike is actually powder coated. I got inspiration from my old man’s shovelhead. It was a two-tone seafoam blue and black. I feel the thing that catches your eye the most is the tank—the contrast of the old AMF sunburst stripes against the seafoam blue. There’s a layer of clear over top of the tank decals to seal them in. While I’m not much of a fan of the AMF models, I have always liked the stripe designs.
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Who helped with the frame and fabrication?
MG: I don’t trust myself enough to do the frame, so Zack Conway from Diamonds N Rust Cycles brought it up to his place and helped me with that. We had to see how it was going to flow, and Zack figured out the geometry and pieced it all together. He also did the brake stay, the fabrication for the oil tank and fins, and more. Jesse McNeil welded almost everything on the frame. Things went together pretty smoothly, and within a couple of weeks we had the whole thing torn down and chopped apart. The only thing we really had to wait on was the powder coating, chrome, and miscellaneous parts. It was great working with them and just shooting the shit. I learned a lot and would love to do it again.
I dig the oil tank. Can you explain why you added the fins?
MG: There were a couple of reasons. If you see where the actual oil tank stops, it’s not a true horseshoe. We wanted to give it more of the old horseshoe look and hide the battery inside, which used to sit below. Now it fits sideways in there, and if I ever need to jump start it, I can access it without pulling everything off.
Any horror stories with the build?
MG: The gas tank—it’s been done twice. The first time was really tedious, making sure everything laid straight. When we were bleeding the front brakes, I took the tank off and set it on the other side of the garage to avoid getting brake fluid on it. We were reverse bleeding them because I used the front brake off of a Ducati, and when the syringe let loose, the fluid somehow shot ten feet across the garage and went all over the tank. I hurried up and wiped it off, but it didn’t stop the decals from starting to peel. I tried hitting it with a coat of clear, but it eventually started to fish eye anyway. I had too much pride to leave it, so I stripped everything off and redid the whole tank.
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
What inspired you to build the bike? Do you have a background in motorcycles?
MG: I grew up with it. My old man and all of his friends rode. There were always outlaw bikers and shit around. My brother Mark got into choppers, but I was more into cars at that point. I remember watching him ride his bike one day going up the highway and thought, “Man, that looks fun.” I didn’t get that same feeling in my car and envied it. Shortly after looking, I picked up a basketcase Sportster that wasn’t running and had no wiring. I’ve been a mechanic for a decade now, but I had never built a bike before. It was a new challenge. When it fired up for the first time and nothing caught on fire, it was the coolest feeling in the world.
Before we wrap this thing up, what’s the story with your lifestyle apparel line, Udder Scum?
MG: Along with my brother, Mark, and our friend Chooch, we started it as a brand built around vans, choppers, and rad people. People called us Udder Scum because we grew up outside of the city in the farming areas. We were the ones showing up to the party and wrecking shit. Our message is to just be yourself and not care what anyone thinks. Have fun with what you do.
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greers
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greers
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
Pittsburgh Moto Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper Mike Greer
  • Featured in Issue 10
  • 1988 HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER XL1200
  • Built by MIKE GREER
  • www.topgreerphoto.com
  • instagram
  • Words by KURT DISERIO
  • Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
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