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A while ago, while strolling through the town center, a seagull decided to precision drop it's load straight on the top of my head. Can't understand how such a small creature can carry such a a load. A week later, while working outside on the K2, another seagull could claim a partial hit on my back.

When I mentioned this, Nigel and another friend of mine pointed out that seagull droppings means good luck. Didn't feel very lucky those days but lo and behold, soon afterwords this 1976 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster landed in my lap for a very reasonable cost. I test rode a friends ironhead Sportster a while back and really liked it's character. I've got very little experience of Harley's but except for the very silent, and in my eyes pretty ugly, exhaust (only for passing MOT) and the seat it looks pretty stock to me.

IMG_1645-1024.jpg



The owner couldn't get it running OK but after carburettor adjustments it's now running really good.

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Better make room in your garage then Perry. :D
The exhaust is only for passing registration but I don't like my bikes beeing too loud. At the same time I want to hear that it's a bike I'm on so I'll experiment with the new exhaust system, that will be mounted after registration, to find a sound level I like. Strong enough to sound like a motorcycle but not so strong I disturbs other people or cause fatigue on longer rides.

I know this is a forum for Honda twins so that's why I ask you guys if there's there are any interest in following the work I'll be doing on the Harley?
 

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Wandered over here from your Brutus build, noticed the Sportster on the table, and then saw the link in your signature. I REALLY want one too...am afraid it would be just an around town bike, but I'd want to ride it long distances...how is it when you put some miles on it? Does your body hurt? Cool bike!
 

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Depending on how big of a guy you are,a Sportster is great for short jaunts.
I have had a couple of them.
They are a blast to ride.
They also make great candidates for cafe racer street bikes.:)
Nice find.
 

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They are really great looking bikes but keep your tool box handy. You have to remember they are what made the Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki so popular in the states. I parted ways with HD about 1972.
 

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This thread isn't at all what I expected from the title!:lol:

Thought it might be in reference to the claim that 80% of the Harleys ever built are still on the road.






The other 20% made it all the way home!:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So far I've only made one longer (100 mile) high speed motorway ride on my Sportster so I can't say much about it's reliability. Harley was owned by AMF (the bowling accessory company) between 1969 and 1981 and the bikes produced during this period is regarded to have really bad quality due to bad quality control (mine is a 1976 :p).

When I mentioned to people (this forum excluded) that I was going to tour Europe on a 1968 Honda 450 I was thought to be mad. I was predicted not even to be able to leave Sweden before it broke down. After a problem free 7000 km ride across Europe I've stopped to listen to what some people say. If you take good care of a bike and make some small but essential modifications you can get almost any old bike reliable.
I might be a bit unorthodox as I actually enjoy the uncertainty of not knowing if I will reach the end of my journey without the bike braking down. It's when the bike has let me down or I've got totally lost I've seen really stunning views and met the most interesting people.

With the Harley I'm happy as a bunny just to get it started (1000cc and kickstart only) and ecstatic if I get all the way without problems with the bike. It has some modifications as f.ex. a modern screw on oil filter kit, upgraded front brake, S&S Super E carburettor and iridium spark plugs. I'm planning to replace the points ignition with an electronic one to make it easier to start.

I just love this bike! It has way better handling than I expected and the engine pulls like a train so it's very fast and enjoyable to ride.


Heres a video from a ride by during this fall (never mind the running man). :D

 

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Great to see you're enjoying the Harley Ronny. In your hands that bike will no doubt be as reliable as it possibly can.

You still riding over there or has winter taken over? I put my bikes away around mid-December here across the big pond.
 

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Gotcha fixed-up Ronny.....:D

You edit the thread (in administrative) instead of just the name in the first post.......
 

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Thanks so much for elaborating, and I love the video! IF I go the route of another Harley in my life, I've had two, post AMF days of course, Wide Glide's - I'll probably get something more modern just for mental security. I do understand the feeling of leaving, and not knowing if you'll make that destination or not, AND the fun of meeting new folks, all adventures in old stuff.

Always a pleasure talking through a subject like this with folks on this forum. Thanks Ronny and crew! (If I do go older sportster, I'll do so when I have a good Harley mechanic in my life closer to home, for now, my buddies in the Harley world are all in South Carolina, a world away from Colorado... : ( )
 

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Nice find Ronny. Personally I'd take an AMF frame over anything earlier. AMF did know manufacturing process even if they never understood what a motorcycle was. Sportsters are the only HD I will consider, lighter, nimbler plus I only weigh in at 165 on my fat days.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Haven't updated this topic for a while. Didn't have the time I would have wanted to work on my bikes last winter but still managed to get some modifications done.


Front wheel had rusty spokes that was painted silver and the hub was corroded so I polished the hub and relaced the wheel.
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Ripped off the rear end...
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...and mounted a bolt on rear frame I found in the US. Made a mock up with a fender and a taillight I bought at a swap meet.
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Experimented with sissybar design using an iron rod and ended up with this shape.
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I had a really bad week after that and my friend Jorgen knew that so when I walked into the workshop on Friday he had spent a whole day on making a sissybar in polished stainless steel based on my model and mounted it on the bike. Really good friend who cheers you up like that and the sissybar is exhibition quality.
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That's the nice thing about those old Sportster frames - a hardtail is a bolt-on proposition.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The bolt on rear frame was actually possible to just bolt on without any modifications. Very rare. The upper mounts was a bit flimsy though so I welded a bracket across the frame that also would serve as a mount for the seat.
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Since I was going to have a pillion seat and also go on long rides with heavy packing on the rear fender I welded in a reinforcement inside the fender that was also used to house and protect the wiring to the taillight.
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I got a black painted exhaust when I bought the bike and it turned out to be stainless steel so using stainless pipes and bends in the the same dimension I managed, with Jorgens help, to modify it to the shape I wanted and mounted tulip scilencers.
IMG_3470-1024.jpg


And here is the finished result, well at least the first version, at the Danish meet The Castle Run in June.
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Discussion Starter #20
That's the nice thing about those old Sportster frames - a hardtail is a bolt-on proposition.
Exactly. I wasn't sure that I would be able to ride a bike with a rigid rear end with my arthritic back so it felt good to have the option to go back to the sprung rear end. Actually though the springs in the seat is not much worse than the stock shocks on my CB450 K2. :D
 
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