Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance HandbookHarley-Davidson Sportster Performance Handbook Review

Buzz Buzzelli not only has long experience as a top motojournalist, he has loads of experience spinning wrenches, racing and amping up the performance of Harley-Davidson’s Sportster. All those qualities come together in his Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Handbook.

A lot of experienced riders have long recognized the versatility of the Sportster, but in the age of super-sportbikes that churn huge horsepower out of relatively small displacement, the Sportster’s cred as a high performance machine has gradually been diminished — at least in comparison to those super-sportbikes.

Buzzelli’s book covers some ground on how to go about boosting not only engine performance, but on improving braking, handling, transmission, suspension and other aspects of performance, as well.

Buzzelli suggests that the process of modifying a Sportster always begin with the end in mind. That means considering how each proposed modification will affect everything else, including those things that may be modified in the future.

The book is arranged in 12 chapters that include almost 300 images and illustrations, which are arranged in a progression to introduce the practical aspects and theory of performance enhancement and then advances the reader through each target system.

Working from the heart of the Harley out, the book explores engine building, turbocharging, nitrous oxide, methanol, transmission, chassis, suspension and brakes. Since the book came out in 1997, some things have changed, but most of the technical content remains relevant and for owners of bikes in the subject vintage — which includes ironheads and Evolution generations — the book is a trove of great information.

Specialty chapters on engine data, dyno tuning, Sportster-powered Buells, and histories of the early Sportsters and modern Sportsters round out the content. Three Appendices provide information on locating performance parts and services, racing associations and specialized tools.

Book Data:

  • Title: Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Handbook
  • Author: Buzz Buzzelli
  • Published: 1997
  • Publisher: Motorbooks, an imprint of MBI Publishing Co., Galtier Plaza, Suite 200, 380 Jackson St., St. Paul, MN, 55101 USA.
  • ISBN: 0-7603-0307-X