A Fresh Take on the Harley 500 

We recently got a Harley Street 500 into the shop, and we gave it a bit of a makeover. Our goal? To reimagine how it could look, straight out of the factory. 

Our customer has been cursed with the licensing laws here in Australia, being a LAMS rider, the only Harley she could actually legally ride was this little street 500, so we could only oblige when she asked for the Purpose Built Moto treatment. Her Idea in essence was to build a sportster ontop of the Street 500 base.  

Taking influence from the modern Harley Sportster, the Street 500 was going to get a full build to transform it into a “500 Sportster”. 

Before we get into the knitty gritty, in this build we used a number of our own Purpose Built Moto Parts listed below:  

  • Headlight: We went with a Flashpoint LED 7” for a modern front-end facelift. 
  • Indicators: Hollow Tip 3 in 1s on both ends for a sleek touch. 
  • Tail Tidy: A stainless steel piece to clean up the back. 
  • Fender Kit: A universal front fender for that custom feel. 
  • Indicators/Brake Light: Hollow Tip  3 in 1 indicators / brake lights front and rear to create a sleek look. 
  • Rear View Mirrors: Scrambler Mirrors which give a much more minimalist look. 

The little 500 was dismantled with everything that wasn't needed for the final build finding its place where it belonged. In the bin. There were quite a few bits to come off including the headlight, sissy bar, brake light, original pipes, cat, and much more that all effectively helped reduce the weight of the 500. 

After tear down, wheels were first on the list of tasks. We sourced some timken 9 spoke rims off of a Sportster. These needed machining out so they would work with the Street 500’s oem bearings allowing the abs sensors to work properly both front and rear. We also had source a specific ducati front sprocket which allowed everything to line up properly without having to modify the swingarm. The XG500 is now running a 19” front and 17” rear which makes the bike actually look like a motorcycle rather than the 15” that comes standard on the rear

The front and rear fender  were both some of those parts that found their forever home in the bin. The oversized oem front was replaced with one of our universal front fenders using our fabrication kit that gives the whole front end a much more minimalist look that isn't distracting when looking at the bike as a whole. The rear fender was fitted from a late 80’s sportster and smoothed to allow a stainless steel tail tidy to be welded on. The rear of the frame needed a few modifications to allow for some steel struts to mount the fender. Both the front and rear overall had a great reduction in the bulky plastic fenders that now lets the bike sit lower to the ground and started to bring out the Sportster vibe we were chasing for Lyn.  

Next up was the tank. Being a centerpiece of the modifications we were going to be making, it had to sit right. We sourced a sporty tank and had to cut the bottom out. From there a custom tank floor was shaped out of sheet metal and welded back in. This allowed the tank to sit low over the swuare tube frame and lower the overall line of the bike.  

For the electrical and lighting side we wanted to give the 500 a tougher appearance. We opted for the Flashpoint 7” LED headlight which has a blasted black finish with silver rivets for detail. The Hollow tip indicators at the front were used to mount the headlight to some custom mounts Dylan had fabricated. At the rear, the brake light and indicator assembly had been replaced with some Hollow tip 3-in-1 Lights that double as indicators and the brake/tail light, which declutters the back end. 

Lastly we tossed the oem mirrors and replaced them with our Scrambler mirrors before the paint prep was finished off and everything was taken down to Justin from Popbang Classics. He gave everything the Harley Matte Black treatment and opted for a slightly less traditional Harley logo for the peanut tank. 

With the mirrors on and the final checks done, our Harley Street 500 was no longer just another lams Harley. It's now a unique blend of classic Harley and modern custom style ready to put a smile on the face of its rider.

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1 comment

I found this article very informative! Refreshing to see Harley-Davidson adapting to modern demands with the 500 model. Innovation meets tradition in this exciting evolution of a legendary brand.

James Thomas

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