You can identify the late-model Ironhead Sportster cylinders by the flat cooling fins on the inside near the intake manifold clamps. I'm not exactly sure when they started doing this? Maybe around 1981?
This is my choice of paint for all black, iron H-D cylinders. Clean the spray tip and can after each use. Blow off with air. Lately, the cans have been real finicky - either clogging all together(PJ-1 sent me a new can) but now it leaks out the spray tip and drips. AND, It's expensive. But it looks the best, and stays on.
I found this huge H-D #1 Decal in the file cabinet. It's been in there sandwiched between old Eagle Iron magazines and flat track racing programs. I took it home to be cleaned up, straightened out - and I'll get a frame and hang it up. Only $1.25 back in the day !
This motor was blown to bits. The cases were broke, the rods were bent and metal garbage tried forcing it's way through the breather cavity. What . . . . a . . . . mess . . . ! It needed new tappet rollers (still had the solid-type pin rollers). After various "fitment issues" common with a damaged engine - it's ready for the cylinder heads.
If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance you've built a complete bike yourself or helped build one, or restored one? Right? You should appreciate this . . .
Check out Jeremiah's Instagram at Love Cycles and see where he rebuilt and restored Tom Fugle's 1936 Knucklehead Chopper in a few months flat. He did a great job - It's just an great story with a fine tribute as the end result.
Sometimes you don't really feel like saying anything, but feel like you wouldn't be doing service to their accomplishments, or to the person themselves. I'm just one of the thousands of fans of Nicky Hayden throughout his career. I saw him race with injuries, I saw him race when the chips were down. I saw him win almost impossible races to win. Then I'd root for him to win this one, and that one, and another one . . . and he'd win it. When he didn't always win, I got a little critical because I just wanted to see him win more. I must admit, a bit selfish for any "true" fan, but he was always one of my favorite riders, on the track - and off the track. Nicky Hayden was an excellent representative of motorcycle racing from the United States on the world stage. The spotlight didn't change him one bit. He was still "The Kentucky Kid" from Owensboro, Kentucky . . . to Peoria - to Daytona - to Laguna Seca - to Jerez - to Silverstone. This is a real hard one, but Hayden would want everyone to keep on chargin' . . . it was a great ride.
I like this "thinner" air cleaner better. More leg room, and I swear it runs better with more response and low-end torque. Could be my jetting/air mixture, or maybe just air where you want it ? It just runs better. Less spitting, everything. You need to add the old-style enrichener, but it 's the same as a Super B. It took some machining and drilling to make the backing plate fit, but it was worth the effort. I made a pattern of the holes, etc., and took it to my machinist. The polished looks goes better with the polished covers too . . .
After some case alignment adjustment, this beast is together for good. It runs the earlier "P-Grind" cams in this late model 1981. The oil pump was built (from the remnants of 3 different pumps) with all the best parts. I got the cylinders honed to fit a set of +.020 TRW Pistons.
Pat Lehmann did a really nice job on these cases. The welding and mill work looks great. After a little touch up here and there, and blasting by Gelner . . . this motor is so freaking cool ! Big Noot messed with the lower end for a couple days, just getting everything correct. Solid build. Top end is up next . . .
Colby's shovelhead (purchased new by his grandmother) is coming along good. The short block is completed. It runs standard compression with a H-Grind "Victory Cam" and hydraulic lifters.
Saturday, McFarland machined off +.005 from each gasket surface for a solid gasket seal. I checked the guide / stem clearance with precision check pins and they are all within spec. I suspect these heads were gone through not that long ago. The seats were checked, and after thoroughly lapping in the valves, they're ready for assembly (after a good cleaning).
It's America ! Show it off with these Sportbike and MX tested and tuned gloves from FTWCO. If you wear Large gloves(please order the XL size) - they fit my skinny hands perfect. They stretch. The inside palms should grip your grips - and I like the "sticky squares" to grab your levers while grabbin' gears, or hittin' the binders. They'll see me coming blazing my international orange through the work zones . . .
Messin' with these new +.025 brake shoes (for worn drums). I've never used them before, and since the shoes actually run towards the inside about 1/4", they don't fit past the original diameter, which hopefully I can turn off on a lathe. My sprocket is bolted on, a fix performed by David Theilen years ago when I shucked the sprocket rivets on a Springfield run.
They sure look thick, with a semi-metallic blend of brake shoe. It should stop like a sportbike now?
The old, worn shoes were glued on (no rivets). They never worked very good. After I rode in the rain, they would squeak for the next 250 miles. The good news is . . . you couldn't lock up the rear wheel if you tried.
I was doing all this work in the garage after a strong storm came through about 6:15pm last night. I just got home, parked my cherry pickup under my trusty, solid elm tree (full of leaves to deflect hail).
The neighbor's hanging baskets looked like open parachutes in the wind - Holy Shit ! They said it got to 100mph right through my neighborhood. My 1880s house, with original cedar siding and square-head nails held up. The elm bopped a 4" branch, putting a silver dollar dent in my top - Rats.
I had a few sticks here and there - My neighbors (photos below) weren't as lucky . . .
Chad got me some stock front fender brackets. I aligned the holes with a drift, centered and tack-welded in place. Gelner blasted the fender. I taped a guide - and followed my line with a cut off wheel. Filed smooth and I'm ready for the solid rivets (if I can get my air chisel in there?). I have a pic of a Korean War veteran from about 1957 with his hacked up pan for inspiration.
I saw one of these run again recently . . . and this will be the next thing I want to get. I remember watching a field of 15+ H-D Sprints at full speed on the Davenport 1/2 Mile years ago, and this brought it all back.
Dad's "Harley Tool Drawer" has lots of weird tools, pullers and pushers that we know work on only one type of engine - The H-D Aermacchi Sprint ! Bonus ! That big bulge on this side of the engine case houses the magneto . . .
To the untrained eye, this bike is not reliable. But if you know what you're doing, and don't cut corners during repairs or service - this motorcycle is as solid and maintenance free as a newer bike. It's ready for many carefree miles of riding enjoyment. I see a lot of built "custom" bikes with parts binding, cables twisting, shit not lined up, wires rubbing, space between washers, wrong bolts, shit on backwards, tires on backwards . . . all with cheesy Chinese crap and weird graphics and unfinished paint jobs (they thought were finished). I don't mind rust and crud if the bike is solid and well put together. The best is when I'm burning down the road and I get passed by a couple dudes on sweet running pans or knuckles - bolts tight, no trailer . . . ever.
PS. I think the above side valve was built by Billy Lane? I like how Billy has changed his life, but he's still into building bikes. Now he's doing Harley, Indian "teens and 20s" racers and thin, board style race bikes. Stuff that smokes and leaks. Billy Lane always had great skills welding and fabricating, and he's been workin' on improving his skills with carbs, valves, flywheels, etc . . . pushing himself to learn the rest. I like the new Billy Lane even better. Keep up the good work Billy - maybe see you again at Davenport this year ?
Can you tell what's different about this fender brace? I took the "hinged" strut off, but there's something else . . . and "Do you think anyone will notice?" The fender fit much better after I did this.
Most old farmsteads through this region of Iowa have been taken over by Mennonites (sorta like Amish) immigrants. All the farms have horses and buggies parked out front, and they ride bicycles on the blacktop. My '61 XLCH whizzes by in a heavy crosswind.
The Mennonites are in their gardens, pulling weeds and planting fresh vegetables - and I'm stopping at The Town Pump for an order of greasy fries, ketchup, ranch and a couple icy cold Miller High Life beers. My gas tank is coming loose.
I take the "river road" . . . an 8 mile stretch along the Cedar River. This road gets flooded easily during high water, so it has a few cracks and damage - perfect for Sportsters !
These small hick towns can't afford standard street signs, and most homes have wells (no water towers) It's America.
I stopped at Darrel Klunder's and borrowed some tools to tighten my tank. This ol' girl has been my motorcycle for about 25 years . . . and it just runs so good. I cranked it up to about 68mph for the run home. I didn't see a soul on the road, just me and my bike, leathers down on the tank, gauntlets flappin' in the wind, over bridges, around high-speed curves. The sunset sky a burnt orange.