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  #1  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
npaisnel npaisnel is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XL883 now 1200
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Sportster/Buell Year #2: 1993
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Default Thunderstorm heads &1200 barrels

Just seen an advert locally for a set of 1200 barrels, and Thunderstorm heads.

Buell I think the advert said .

£400 British pound.

Unknown history but they look ok the advert says. Reputable bloke

For the Hammer 1275 kits and bigger, are these good heads to get / have in stock? Or better with a Hammer Sledge or similar job on original 883 heads.
Thinking of my 93 883...
Not planning on doing the job yet, but is it worth getting these heads ‘in stock ‘. ?
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  #2  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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aswracing aswracing is offline
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Default

They're the second generation of Evolution XL factory performance head.

The first generation was the "Lightning" head, first introduced on the 1996 Buell S1 Lightning, and then shortly thereafter offered as an over the counter performance part (pre-SE days) with the "Lightning" script emblazoned across the area above the pushrods. In 1998, all 1200S models got a dual plugged, black highlighted version of the Lightning head. It's sole "improvement" over the 1200 hemi head of the day was extra material in the chambers to reduce their volume from 67cc to 62cc and thereby raise the compression, from 9:1 to roughly 10:1 with flat tops.

Then the "Thunderstorm" was introduced in 1998 on the Buell S1W and S3 models. It was a massive improvement over the Lightning head, with much larger valves, much improved ports, and they enlarged the chambers and paired them with a small dome piston. By enlarging the chambers they were able to unshroud the valves, but then they needed to put a dome on the piston to get the CR back to 10:1. The Thunderstorm head was THE head to have through 2002.

Then with the introduction of the Buell XB9 in 2003, we saw the third generation of XL performance head introduced, the XB head (go figure). It improved on the Thunderstorm with a bathtub chamber design that got it back to the 62cc volume of the Lightning head, thus delivering near 10:1 without a dome. It also got ports that were improved over the Thunderstorms, lightweight 7mm stem valves with beehive springs (same valve diameters as the Thunderstorms), and big fins. XB heads made their way onto all XL1200 models in 2004 and although they saw some minor changes in 2007 with the introduction of EFI on the Sportster, the 1200 heads they're shipping today are still based heavily on the Buell XB head of 2003. Same chambers, same hardware, and very similar ports.

So bottom line, the Thunderstorm was a great head in it's day. But it's day passed a long time ago. They're still highly sought after and command a lot of money, largely because a lot of guys never got the memo, and the head's reputation is bigger than it's reality. But far be it from me to call it a bad head or anything like that. It's a good head. Not a great head, but a good head.

Keep in mind that it's a small fin head and not really suitable for big fin applications. You could fit one to a rubber mount bike, but you wouldn't want to.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Default

Oh, by the way, a stock Thunderstorm head doesn't even come close to a SLEDGE ported 883 head.

A SLEDGE 883 head has 1.980 intake and 1.610 exhaust valves, as compared to 1.810 & 1.575 stock in a Thunderstom. So the SLEDGE 883 head flows massively better. It also has a much higher performance spring pack, and the 883 castings give us the material we need to make a really great port shape.

We've pulled 120hp out of SLEDGE 883 heads, and they're the basis for our 110+ hp conversion package. A really good stock Thunderstorm is a 95hp head, most are more in the 90hp range.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago
npaisnel npaisnel is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by aswracing View Post
Oh, by the way, a stock Thunderstorm head doesn't even come close to a SLEDGE ported 883 head.

A SLEDGE 883 head has 1.980 intake and 1.610 exhaust valves, as compared to 1.810 & 1.575 stock in a Thunderstom. So the SLEDGE 883 head flows massively better. It also has a much higher performance spring pack, and the 883 castings give us the material we need to make a really great port shape.

We've pulled 120hp out of SLEDGE 883 heads, and they're the basis for our 110+ hp conversion package. A really good stock Thunderstorm is a 95hp head, most are more in the 90hp range.
Perfect answer
Thank-you
I’ll save my money and if I ever do the 883 I’ll send you my heads directly.

The bike I am thinking of is 1993 883 XL I bought last month. Barn find, 2504 genuine miles on it.
Bit rusty in places but otherwise a ‘new’ bike
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