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  #1  
Old 2nd February 2005
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HD1200R HD1200R is offline
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Sportster/Buell Model: XR1200x
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Default Stage 2 vs. Stage 3 Heads

I'm fed up with being limited by the cylinder heads that I have and currently debating over which cylinder head to go with.

The performance parts that I have for the bike are as follows:
1200cc SE High Compression or SE Flat Top Pistons
Andrews N4 cams
V&H SS2R Exhaust
S&S Shorty E Carb
V-Thunder HypreFyre Ignition w/Software
Crane Single Fire Coil
Jims Roller Rockers (stock)

How much more would I benefit using your Stage 3 heads over the Stage 2? Will I be able to use the high compression pistons with the Stage 2? Would I be able to change cams if the Stage 3 heads are made specifically for the N4 cams?

What I'm looking for out of the bike is mid to upper range performance. Where I live, the average speed is mostly 55mph or has curves and I don't mind downshifting if necessary.

Any other suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,

Dan
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  #2  
Old 3rd February 2005
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Are we talking about 91-03 XL1200 heads?

With N4's and those heads, I'd recommend Stage 2. You need to go to that level to get those ports to work well enough take good advantage of those cams.

If, however, you're talking about upgrading to an 04-05 XL1200 head, I'd actually say stay at Stage 1 with those cams, or any other bolt-in. It's not enough cam to take good advantage of Stage 2 or 3 in this casting. If you have more cam in mind, then yes, it makes sense to go to there.

Much of the advantage of bigger valves at Stage 2 or 3 comes in when you lift them more. You really see this on the flow bench. If you're not going to lift them more, it's hard to justify the expense.

Yes, you can use high compression pistons at Stage 2, no problem.

If you're doing a Stage 3, best to tell me the cams you have in mind in the end. There are things we do in the ports to optimize around a grind, and on some grinds valve to valve becomes an issue, we need to be able to check and adjust it. All that comes in at Stage 3, the heads are custom to the application.

Stage 2 is an off-the-shelf head that works well over a range of medium performance cams (bigger than bolt0in, but nothing real big). Stage 3 is custom configured for the cams, but most people only go there when they're looking at larger grinds.

Another issue is the springs. We like to spring the head appropriately for the cams. More spring pressure than necessary is a bad thing. But later if you want to put in more cam, it may not be the correct set of springs anymore.

In summary, how the heads are set up and the cams you intend to use go together. It's best if you match them.
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  #3  
Old 3rd February 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aswracing


Another issue is the springs. We like to spring the head appropriately for the cams. More spring pressure than necessary is a bad thing. But later if you want to put in more cam, it may not be the correct set of springs anymore.

In summary, how the heads are set up and the cams you intend to use go together. It's best if you match them.
Good to see someone else make this point.... I've never been a fan of over springing a valve.. as it takes HP to push the spring down and puts excessive load and wear on the valve train...

If ya can save 1/2 HP in 4 spots ya got yaself another 2 for free.

I try to aim for just enough plus a small safety margin..

unfortunately it sometimes takes a bit to convince customers to take the 3rd spring out of S&S heads, when they only have a smallish cam.....
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  #4  
Old 3rd February 2005
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Default

Wow! Awesome info there! The bike is a 93 and I do want to move up in cam size. My goal is to get the most hp out of a 1200cc bike as possible. What cams would you suggest going with if using the Stage 3 Heads?
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  #5  
Old 3rd February 2005
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Hey HD, glad to help. Most power possible? You sound just like me! I love twisting the grip and having the bike scare me.

Think big lift and Stage 3 in an XB or 04-05 XL1200 head. 30 degree chambers and 11:1. We've had tremendous success with this approach.

Choose the rpm range by the intake close event.

Some suggestions: Wood W9BS, Red Shift 585's or 643's.

But there are some caveats here. First and foremost, I highly recommend you lose those 91-03 XL1200 castings. The 04-05 head puts material in some critical places in the ports and chambers and we can make a much better head out of them. I hate to see anyone pour money into a casting that just limits us too much, which the 91-03 casting does.

The other thing you have to always keep in mind is that the power of the motor is not defined by the heads, or the cams, or the sum total of them or any other performance parts you have hanging on your bike. It's defined by the part that's holding it back. The theory of constraints very much applies to engines and power. I can send you a set of heads that'll support 130hp, but if you hang an 80hp pipe on it, it's gonna make 80hp, and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. Always work on the thing that's holding your motor back, putting money into anything else is a waste.
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  #6  
Old 3rd February 2005
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Would the XB or 04/05 XL heads fit a 91 - 03 Sportster? Sounds like I just need to finish the current bike up with what parts I have and look at getting a new Buell or Sportster to get what I am looking for.
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  #7  
Old 3rd February 2005
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Yes, they fit the older bikes, just a couple minor details to work out. We have a page of info on them here:

http://www.nrhsperformance.com/partsoemheads.shtml

I like all Sporties, but I gotta admit, this rubber mount one is the best one I've ever owned or ridden. Maybe I'm getting old and soft.
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  #8  
Old 4th February 2005
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Another silly question from yours truely.

When you bore an 883 out to 1200, don't you have to do work on the heads? Something about the squish band, I think. How much does that cost, along with installing the 1200 valves?
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  #9  
Old 4th February 2005
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Well, if you make a motor bigger, and leave the chambers the same size, the compression ratio goes too high on you. That's because compression ratio is the total volume above the piston at BDC divided by the total volume above the piston at TDC. When you increase the displacement, the volume above the piston at BDC goes up the same amount, but unless you do something with the chamber or piston doime, the volume above the piston at TDC doesn't change much. Hence the CR climbs.

So you've got to address this when you do a conversion. The simplest way is to use what we call a "conversion piston", which is a reverse dome design. Lemme see if I have a picture on my website ... yep, look at the dome on these pistons:



So that's one way to do it. Another way is what you mention, to make the chamber bigger, and couple this with a flat top piston. Few people go this route, though, because it's more costly than just using conversion pistons, and there are some other issues with it as well.

The third way is to get heads made for a 1200 and pair them with a flat top or domed piston, basically making it just like a factory 1200. The reason this way is popular is that the small valves in an 883 head limit their power capability. 883 heads all have 1.585" iintakes and 1.350" exhausts. 91-03 XL 1200 heads, and all the Lightning/Screaming Eagle heads, have 1.715" intakes and 1.480" exhausts. Thunderstorms, XB, and 04-05 XL1200 heads have 1.810" intakes and 1.575" exhausts. A set of heads for a 1200 doesn't really cost much different than having your 883 heads prepared, and these new 1200 heads on the 04-05 models are the best they've made so far, even better than the Thunderstorms.
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  #10  
Old 4th February 2005
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So how much HP/torque would a reverse dome piston w/883 heads on an '05 make?

I'm asking because after I took my sister for a ride on my 1200, she keeps trying to buy my bike. I'm thinking a new 883 for her to start on, then the 1200 conversion. Just trying to get a handle the cost/trouble/benefits.

Thanks.
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