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  #1  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
Jeff.W. Jeff.W. is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: Xlh
Sportster/Buell Year: 1979
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Default 1979 ironhead xlh project

I’ve had this thing for a year and a half now and finally started making some changes that i had been thinking of from the beginning, so i figured I’d share here to document it and post some questions I’ll have along the way. Here’s the bike as i got it…



Nice little machine but definitely needed some straightening out. Here’s the photochop concept i had whipped up for it shortly after picking it up…



So i rode it for the first season i had it before starting to tear into it a little. First order of business was making a new seat. Made new pan…



Two layers of kayak foam glued together and to the pan…



Then some sanding to shape and i ended up with this…



Then came the tank. Blasted off all the surface rust, shot it with some black, some new decals, and a nice 2k clear over it and it was looking pretty nice. Replaced the cap and petcock as well…



Cut a couple inches out of the middle of the apes that came on it to get a more narrow look. Too narrow for the stock clamps so had to make and weld some mounting posts to the bottom. I always thought that looked cleaner than clamps anyhow…



Between the bars, the tank, and a seat cover made by my momma, it was looking alright…



Next came the shocks. I knew i wanted covered shocks, but the upper mounts on a ‘79 are different than other ironhead models, so i wouldn’t be able to fit the top dome caps on. Didn’t really like how square the progressive style covered shocks looked without the domes, so i went the sacrilegious route and mounted these off a late 80’s Honda shadow vt1100, haha. A little more shape to them, which i thought added some subtle style. Never mind the low bars in this pic…for a hot minute i had some long shocks and low bars on this thing with thought of doing something of a tracker, but I’ve had that fun before. Decided to stick with my original plan, but the bars stayed on for a bit…





Starting to match my photochop! Not sure I’ll go with the fork shrouds or not. I actually fit some one the first riding season, but wasn’t convinced on them. Maybe because they were covered in surface rust just like the tank. I might polish them up or shoot them black and try them again sometime…



So that’s where I’m at currently! Sorry for the photo dump, but i don’t take time to post much. Now that i actually have, updated will trickle in slowly I’m sure haha. Next I’ll be doing a remote front master cylinder set up because my brake perch had a crack in it and broke entirely when tightening it down the other week. Better in the garage than on the road. But now that i need to do something with it, i thought I’d try for a cleaner look and something I’ve been very curious about for a long time. I’ll update with progress on that next time.
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  #2  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Looks great-concept and work!
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'81 Andrews "Y" cams, K. Black 9-1 pistons
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  #3  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
Jeff.W. Jeff.W. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve9 View Post
Looks great-concept and work!
Thanks man!
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  #4  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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rokytnji rokytnji is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: xls 1000
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Good luck finding pre made pipes.

I was lazy and lollipoped my drag pipes instead of cutting and welding a newer evo 2 into one exhaust onto a set of old drag pipes.

Looks good to me also.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago
Jeff.W. Jeff.W. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
Good luck finding pre made pipes.

I was lazy and lollipoped my drag pipes instead of cutting and welding a newer evo 2 into one exhaust onto a set of old drag pipes.

Looks good to me also.
Yeah, I quickly resigned to the fact that I’d have to make my own pipes if I wanted anything beyond what’s already on there. It wouldn’t be my first time, but it’s been a long time.

What do you mean by lollipopped, haha?
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  #6  
Old 3 Weeks Ago
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I fitted covered shocks to my 81, I also didn't like the look without the dome caps, so I just cut & filed the dome covers until they fitted around the frame, very happy with the outcome & they look like they where bought that way.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago
Jeff.W. Jeff.W. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hog View Post
I fitted covered shocks to my 81, I also didn't like the look without the dome caps, so I just cut & filed the dome covers until they fitted around the frame, very happy with the outcome & they look like they where bought that way.
That’s a great idea. I was thinking of trying that but it looks like I’d have to remove so much material from the cap, I wasn’t sure if there would be much left by the time they fit. And at $50 for a set of them, it was a risk I didn’t want to take. But if you had success, I may give it a shot down the road!

Here’s what I’m thinking for the remote front brake reservoir location…



Turns out I had all the parts laying around to do this. Unfortunately, the more modern sport bike caliper I had would not fit due to it hitting the spokes when I tried to slip it on the rotor, so I bought this off an ‘07 Vulcan 1700. A little more slim on the back side. Not bad for $12 on eBay. Another $12 for shipping, but still not bad…



I was also surfing fab kevin’s site and noticed someone else had the same idea running one of those calipers on their spoked wheel sporty, so it was nice to get an idea of what it would look like once done…



I don’t have the nice drilled rotors, but hopefully it will work as nicely as his looks. I’ll be removing the disc from the other side and running a single disc and caliper.
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