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Ironhead Sportster Motorcycle Talk (1957-1985) For all those that wanna talk about Ironhead Sportster Motorcycles

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  #1  
Old 11th July 2021
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Default Extended fork tubes and low speed handling

I'd really like to do something to help with low speed handling on my 81. It came to me with longer than stock fork tubes, and it has a bit of a low speed flop to the steering (especially when pushing it around in the garage, etc.) What can I do to help improve the flop? Will raked cups help or hurt?
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Old 11th July 2021
Medyo Bastos Medyo Bastos is offline
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Has the neck been raked? Have you measured trail? The raked trees might help bring trail in line if the neck has already been raked. But, might give negative trail if the neck hasn’t been raked. Negative trail will give you uncontrollable high speed wobble…


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  #3  
Old 11th July 2021
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stock tubes
been there done that.
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Old 12th July 2021
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listen to bustert.absolutely the way to fix it
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Old 12th July 2021
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Yeah, stock tube length is the way to go, unless you're re-making an old biker flick with Peter Fonda and his pals!
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Old 12th July 2021
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You could keep the front end and throw the rest of the bike away.

Now, just build a frame with the neck area moved up far enough to bring the geometry of the rake/trail back into line.

Easy !
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Old 13th July 2021
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In the 70s the chopper was in style. Front forks would get extended past 6" usually with screw in spacers covered with chromed sleeves. The handlebars of choice were Z Bars sometimes less than 2' across. If you take that situation and add a 21" front spool with an Avon speed master and no brake, you were styling. The Sportster tank was sometimes raised a bit to look even more cool and that cut a 2.2 gal tank down to about 2 gal. 6" was OK and they didn't handle all that bad. The problems were that some dopes would extend them way out and the front wheel would just flop over at a certain point at low speeds. I had a person who was a fringe rider in our group (Fringe rider= A person who is not wanted or needed, generally just hangs on without permission and crashes a lot. Usually removed by stealing his bike while parked in front of the bar) this dope took a really nice 62 Sportster and put it in a custom frame that was so bad that it was unridable. A single mechanical disk in the back which didn't work at all and a front end that was so long that it flopped at high speed. One day he didn't show up and we all
just crossed our fingers.

Later in the 70s all of that stuff came off. Everyone went to K model triple clamps, stock tubes with rubber covers stock front brakes and 19" tires. A few people hung on but most didn't. They can still be seen, on a Pan or Knuckle, with no primary cover and a cork in the timing hole. We called him stubby because he was missing a few fingers on his left hand.
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Old 13th July 2021
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There is a point where a bike crosses over from being a bike into a sculpture. A piece of art.
Once you start modifying a bike in some way that effects performance, (not engine performance but frame/brakes/suspension) it's all to easy to start moving into the arts area.
And that's fine if that's what you want to do. I have admired some totally un-rideable bikes over the years.
But I'm old enough to appreciate what can happen when you start altering performance just for looks.
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That is gospel Gene, but an Arlen Ness creation is still a pretty good ride in a straight line. He didn't build anything that was just plain dangerous unless it was a pure showpiece.

In the 70s some of those frames were just flexy flyers and all wrong. Mechanical disk........I actually had one on the spool up front for a while and it just flat didn't work at all. Looked cool but wouldn't stop a bike for shit. The stock single leading shoe HD felt like an MV Agusta in comparison. The bike I talk about the 62 I actually took it for a spin and made it about a half block before I returned it the the pinhead laughing. He was stunned, he thought he had the world by the tail with a downhill pull. If I recall, he was arrested or hurt and we never saw it or him again.
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Old 24th July 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bustert View Post
stock tubes
been there done that.
Ordered up a set of stock tubes today. I'm looking forward to the improved handling.
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