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Old 4th August 2013
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xyster220 xyster220 is offline
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Default 99 Led Sled Hardtail build

Hey all,

A bit of background before I get this build thread started, this is to me as much about getting there as the arrival. To get where I'm going, I'm gonna start with where I've been. If you don't care about that, please just feel free to skip to the next post where things get interesting.

So I've been planning to do a build for a while, I've always had a fascination with motorcycles but up until about a year ago life had always got in the way. It took me nearly 30 years to get myself to a point in life where everything else was taken care of and I could finally justify the purchase of my first bike, an 01 V-Star, I know this is a Sporster forum, but don't judge. It was my first bike and it has served me well, however it was fairly quick before I found it's limitations.

I'm not one who is very good at leaving well enough alone, I have to get in and mess with things, to make them my own. It seemed the only things I could do with the Star was to bolt things together, things that in the back of my mind every "dude" had already done, and I quickly got to a point where I decided it was useless to continue putting any more money into it.

I decided that what I really needed was a second bike, something I could put as much time and energy into as I needed without missing out on too much riding in the process. I wanted to make it as "mine" as was possible. I did a lot of soul searching trying to figure out exactly where I wanted to go with it, and finally decided that I couldn't deny the allure of a simple, clean, no-nonsense hardtail Sporty.

I started doing as much research as I could about them, learning the differences between the model-years, axing the idea of anything EFI, because how "old school" would it be to have a computer running things? I also decided that there was no point in doing a hardtail from a rubber mount, seemed counter-intuitive to me. By that time I had also decided that the easiest route to go would be to do a weld-on kit, even the workers at the title office had no idea how to title a custom-frame bike, and it just seemed more trouble than it was worth. By then I had also really kind of decided that Led Sled was who I wanted to go with, and their rigid kits just looked better to me than the rubber-mount ones, specifically the location of the oil tank.

So I set out to find a bike, looked at a few... some were really rough, others the owners were insane and I didn't want to buy from them (story for another day). Looked at one that was promising, but had been big-bored and while that was something I was considering doing eventually, I didn't trust some Joe Schmoe to have broken it in properly. Finally I found what I was looking for. It was a few hours away and after seeing a few I made the guy take a bunch of close-ups of the engine and stuff before I would go down to take a look at it, what he sent me seemed good so I went to take a look.

It was clean, hadn't been messed with (other than every piece of "Live to Ride" bling he could fit onto it) and started well enough, a little rough sounding, but just in need of a good tune. I didn't take a very long test ride, just about 5 miles, but I knew it was something I could work with.

As expected the guy wouldn't take a check, so I headed down to the bank and withdrew $3500 from the ATM, that was fun... the ATM was on the street, thank god for small towns. Loaded her up and off we went.



That's the bike as I got her, rode her around for a few months to get a feel for her, plus time to get my ducks in a row about how I was going to go about turning her into what she would become.



Also talked my wife into trying to learn how to ride, joked with her that it was a "girl's bike" anyway. It apparently wasn't in her mind, even though it was purple... plus she could barely squeeze the clutch, I guess she just prefers being a passenger.

Anyway, even though I've built this bike a hundred times in my head, this is all new to me in reality. I'm an aircraft mechanic by trade, but I work on avionics, not engines or frames or anything that will help me much here. I haven't been wrenching on bikes for my entire life, and I can't weld for , also I don't know how to paint (yet). In short, there's a good possibility I'm going to screw some of this up, I plan to be as honest as I can in this thread when I do, because as I've said, this is as much a story as anything else to me, and what's a good story without drama?

So there's the story of the why and how... now time for the fun part.

Thanks for being patient.
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Old 4th August 2013
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Default

Looks like it is going to be one heck of a journey, looking forward to following it.

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  #3  
Old 4th August 2013
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xyster220 xyster220 is offline
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Default Last Look Pics

Here's some "Last Look" pics of the bike in her natural state, tried to focus on things I plan on changing in addition to the whole frame thing. Ya she's a little dirty, only cause I ain't skeered to ride in the rain.









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Old 4th August 2013
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xyster220 xyster220 is offline
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Default Teardown

Just a couple random pics of the teardown, it went pretty smooth other than a few bolts on the upper triple tree that hold the fork tubes in check, rounded off a T-45 wrench, then a socket... prompted the purchase of an air hammer and a blowtorch. Came right off after that!







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Old 4th August 2013
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Default Gettin Serious

The engine is finally free!



and here's the naked frame, sitting next to the hardtail ready for implant, I was getting very nervous about this point!



I had originally planned to build a jig that ran from the motor mounts of the original frame to the hardtail, just a simple piece of metal to line everything up, then when I got down to it decided a level would be better, as I was afraid the weight of one or the other would flex the metal and throw things off, I made sure that everything was lined up and flush before I transferred the lines from the hardtail over to the frame.





Aaaand... then I re-measured a dozen times and stared at it for 30 minutes before i could work up the cajones to make my first cut



Too late to turn back now!

Here's the front end of the frame, all sitting by it's lonesome.



If you watch Led Sleds video where they chop a frame and throw on a hardtail, they make it look ridiculously easy, "oh hey, it might be a little hard to get the two bottom frame rails in, because they are no longer under torsion, just clamp it up and you'll be fine"

After fighting with it for an hour, using every clamp I had, building some blocks out of scrap wood with semi-circle cutouts to try to get them to hold straighter, trying to use loading straps, standing on it (yes, really) and even resorting to handing over my man-card and asking the wife to assist... I still couldn't get them to slide in, she didn't believe me that it was supposed to not be this hard, so I showed her the video they put up:

http://youtu.be/fJlyiIlMphw

Lo' and be--hold! They removed the frame cross-brace by the jiffy-stand before they shot that segment of the video! I didn't want to cut mine out entirely, but I cut through it to be welded back later.



And then, it fit like a glove into the neck-section! only requiring a little bit of easy clamping.



I intentionally made my cuts just a little long, so came time to throw the motor in the frame and see how things were going to come together.

I'm not a pansy, but that's a bit more than I want to subject my back to, used the "lay it down and throw the frame over it" technique I read about on here somewhere, worked well.



And as you can see... I'm just a little long in the frame, time to take it back apart and trim it to fit.



Ok, so I've been saving up content for a week or so before starting this thread, hence the deluge of posts today... but now we're in real-time from here on out, and I'll try to keep this updated as things happen, buckle up this should be fun
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Old 4th August 2013
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Default

I am also an Avionics Tech. I just got done doing a hammer 1250 conversion. If I can do that you already got this licked son. Looks good so far cant wait to see finished product. I am thinking about a hard tail as well.
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Old 4th August 2013
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This is very cool man
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Old 4th August 2013
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Looking great so far !!!!! Best of luck with it....
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Old 4th August 2013
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Very nice! I've been a little more into wrenching on things in my past but decided to just do a solid strut bobber from my 883... figured I'd take baby steps before going all out on a rigid frame full customization
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Old 4th August 2013
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I just subscribed, best of luck to ya. My bike is a99 and the same color :-) my plans are to get a touring bike for me and the misses to ride and strip mine down and do the exact same thing your doing.

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