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  #1  
Old 7th December 2018
khav's Avatar
khav khav is offline
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Default Lowering, Geometry, and Physics

Opportunities to ride and work on a fairly recently acquired '79 XLH bob have been few, but on the handful of runs I have made, I have noticed an odd balance that I am attributing to the lowered rear.

Just curious if my assumption is correct and if raising the rear a small bit will help. I like the look, but it is an unwieldy beast in slow speed maneuvering. I don't know if I want to bring it back to stock height, and if that is the only way to restore the handling I was used to with my last XLH, then I may have to live with it.

I further understand that the forward controls may play a part in my perception as well.

Thoughts?

20180708_113230 by kurthaver, on Flickr

Last edited by khav; 7th December 2018 at 20:12.. Reason: Photo resize
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  #2  
Old 8th December 2018
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Toejam503 Toejam503 is offline
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That's a Sweet looking ride! Does it have the stock frame? The picture makes it look like the neck has a slight stretch and different rake, putting the wheel out farther and lowering the bike. The chrome swingarm also looks like it may be 2" longer than stock. I've seen so many changes over the years that it's hard to tell what is original and what's a subtle change. I'm probably wrong on all counts, but that's the idea behind customizing, right?
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  #3  
Old 11th December 2018
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Default

Thank you.

The frame appears stock...no apparent neck molestation and correct serial number for the engine.

And now that you mention, yes...the swing arm does appear longer.

As far as raising the rear, I suspect that doing so will have minimal impact on handling and will just wreck the look of the bike. It really isn't the stuff of daily-riders and there's no use in buggering up a nice custom to try and make it into something it wasn't intended to be.

As I understand it, she was a ground-up custom with the intent to show. I liked the price and the similarity to the '78 I once had, so I snapped it up. I'll ride her, no doubt, but will keep her as-is with the exception of adding signals to stay legal when I do.
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  #4  
Old 11th December 2018
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In my experience (not with Ironheads) lower rear has never done anything but improve handling, especially on the freeway.

I have 2 05's, and they are both lower in the rear. The main difference in handling has always been the bars. My Roadster has stock bars and it handles the best. The Custom has Z bars now, and still has forwards. It actually handled better at slow speed with the 12" apes it had. The Z bars were at first terrible and at that time they were rotated way forward (that made the bike really "twitchy" at slow speed because your hands are in line with the pivot point). I found on the first ride that felt like crap in conjunction with the forwards. Put me in mind of Jesse James saying he hated the "C-Clamp riding position". I rotated them back in a few stages and the bike felt better every time. Now it seems good, but I am going to put mid controls on it next when I have time, because; the Roadster is the perfect bike and I want this to be close in style and handling when I am done with it.

So if you do anything, I would say, do little changes and see what the effect is.

That's a great looking bike by the way.

Oh, one more thing... Wrist angle seems to be a big deal too. I am noticing that when the bars are closer to straight across like a broomstick it kills my wrists. My Z's have 4" pullback and they could stand 5" maybe. Note that works in conjunction with bar length, so it's a rough number I am working with.
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  #5  
Old 12th December 2018
koolbreeze koolbreeze is offline
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Default

A couple of things to look at:

1. How old are the tires? Older tires and worn tires sometimes have a different fall-a-way than new tires because the rubber is hard and the sides do not flex much.

2. What tire pressure are you using? You may want to try a few pounds higher or lower as that will affect how the tires handle.

3. Is the rear tire wider than stock? Also the front looks wider than stock and these factors will affect handling.

4. How adjustable are the shocks, have you set the "sag" for your weight or are the shocks not adjustable.

5. As stated before the position that you ride in affect the handling and how you perceive the handling.

Nice looking bike, I am sure you will enjoy it
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