Stage 4 Harley Roadster

Harley Stg 4 Roadster

Roadster Stage Fwhaor!

Dave has a look at a Sportster and learns ‘what is what’.

Morgan & Wacker Dealer Principal Paul Lewis gave me a call, as he does when his team have built something a bit special.

“Come in and check our latest Stage Four Roadster build for Heavy Duty, Dave. We think you’ll love it.”

I also think he knew that as a former Buell owner and enthusiast the idea of a Sportster with Cartridge Suspension front and rear, improved cornering and a more aggressive riding position would really appeal to me.

Not long after I was in his office recording the conversation.

“We feel this Roadster build in some ways draws on the pedigree of the Buell and the Harley XR1200 and this bike will be popular here.” Paul started.

“The styling is more in keeping with Asia-Pacific market tastes than the North American cruiser look, so what we have is a bike that has the performance credentials of the XR1200 or a Buell - with the styling of a Sportster.”

“Well that’s pushing the right buttons.” I mused.

“The standard Suspension and handling are just sensational, we haven’t touched it, we’ve just upgraded the motor, put a few K’s on it and it’s proven to be a fantastic motorcycle. There are some sports bikes that would struggle to keep up with it around a twisty circuit.” And this if from a former GP500 racer.

“We fitted an ‘out of the box’ stage four Screamin’ Eagle upgrade kit, we ran our own choice of Heavy Breather manifold and we fitted a Two Brothers racing pipe and the result really is sensational. At full noise it sounds a bit like a well-worked V-rod and it goes like … well, you’ll soon find out.

As your Heavy Duty readers will know, we take pride in the fact that our Dyno is tuned for accuracy, not for egos, and this bike produced a genuine 101.3 horsepower and a whopping 83.77 ft lbs of torque thanks to the expert tuning skills of our Dyno Specialists: Luke Spence and Glen Riley.”

The upgrade starts with the Stage 4 kit and includes: CNC-ported cylinder heads with performance valve springs, SE XL SE-585 cams, forged hi-compression 10.5:1 pistons and rings, 58mm throttle body and intake manifold, and top end gasket kit.

The capacity remains unchanged at 1200cc although Paul said, “we did fit a similar kit to an 883 Sportster and the results were pretty sensational too, with that lower gear ratio.”

“With a day’s Dyno work we were able to get the power where we think it should be and still have a bike that is very rideable. We also built is so that an average type of rider can jump on it, start it up and comfortably nip down the shop for a paper and if a sports bike happens to whizz by, well then he can …”. “Show him what is what.” I grinned and finished the sentence.

“It needs a super tuner and a set of Screamin’ Eagle Plugs and leads too. It’s also worth pointing out that when installed by an authorized Harley-Davidson Dealer these kits do not impact the vehicle’s warranty and that installation does not require removal of the powertrain from the chassis.”  Paul concluded.

“Sounds very cool – so let’s go for a skid” I suggested and followed Paul out to a section of closed road where he let the bike do the talking. I think he hooked third gear on the second monster wheelie he pulled and I’ve not seen a Harley stand up and dance like it since Matt Mingay’s stunt show.

We then headed back on to some open roads and did some ride-by shots, then back to base where I got to have a decent run on it.

A bloke my size on what is possibly the most compact Harley yet was quite comical, but the ergos worked well enough. It was a lot more comfortable than I thought it was going to be. The saddle is good, the mid mount foot controls make it easy to shift weight and get a knee out - and the low handlebars encourage getting plenty of weight over the front wheel when hooking in.

For the rest of the afternoon it was indeed sporting a Buell-on, or some XR1200 wood. When you think about what Eric did to coax 103hp out of the XB12 series it really is pretty much what the stage four does to the Roadster. Except the Roadster has better brakes (ABS is optional) and headlights that work after dark.

Opening the throttle on the on-ramp is an aural and accelerating pleasure, it not only sounds fantastic, the way it gets to operating speed is also very, very rewarding.  And it does wheel stand on demand.

I also agreed with Paul that the standard suspension set up is very well tuned - even with the higher output engine, it throws around and side-to-sides beautifully.

The front forks are 43 mm inverted with premium cartridge dampening and they offer 115mm of travel.  Variable rate spring over 36 mm piston nitrogen gas-charged emulsion style rear shocks with thread style preload adjustment are also fitted and they have 81mm of travel available.

The wheelbase is 1505mm, the rake is 28.9 degrees and the trail is 140mm. Combined with the good suspenders the geometry makes for a bike that feels very solid on the road, very reliable, and requires little effort to get through a tight apex. It’s all helped by an equally reliable 5 speed gearbox.

Morgan & Wacker are offering the package as a turn-key project. Start with a 2016 XL1200CX Roadster for $19,495 and add Stage 4 Screaming Eagle kit, Super Tuner, Heavy Breather Kit, Screaming Eagle Spark Plugs and Leads, Two Brothers Exhaust System, Flush Mount Fuel Cap, all tuned and race ready for $6,595 or $26,090 ride away.

For that you get a great looking, high performance Harley that will show a lot of sceptics and enthusiasts alike just ‘what is what’.

To find out more give Morgan & Wacker a call on (07) 3606 8888


Bike: XL1200CC Roadster        
Builder: Morgan & Wacker        

Type: Air-cooled, Evolution®        
Carburetion: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection        
Air Cleaner: Screamin’ Eagle Heavy Breather    
Exhaust: Two Brothers Racing        

Type: 5-speed transmission        
Clutch: Multi-plate, wet        
Primary Drive: Chain, 38/57 ratio        
Rear Drive: Belt, 29/68 ratio        

Type:  Mild steel, tubular frame; circular
sections; cast junctions        
Seat: Two-up        

F Rim: 19 in. x 3 in. (482.6 mm x 76 mm)        
R Rim: 18 in. x 4.25 in. (457.2 mm x 108 mm)    
F Brake:  Dual Floating 11.8 in. x .2 in. (300 mm x 5 mm)            
R Brake: 10.24 in. x .28 in. (260 mm x 7 mm)        

Front: 43 mm inverted        
Rear: Variable rate spring over 36 mm
piston nitrogen gas-charged emulsion
style shock with thread style preload

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