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Old 03-22-2017, 04:40 PM   #1
CookieMonster
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Default First Harley, first ride...

Bought this about 6 months ago, life has been too hectic to do anything with it (as well as getting pneumonia, which wrote me off for a few months), and it's just been sitting there in the garage taunting me.

It's a '68 XLCH:





Took the day off today, freshened it up, gave it a once over and took it for a short ride (not legal yet, so can't go too far).

Wow! What a thrill, something that will be permanently etched into my memory. I've wanted a bike like this since I was a kid, so a happy day for me.

I've ridden some big-ish, modern bikes, Buells, Jap bikes etc., I didn't get out of second gear today but this is FAST, as well as light and agile - way more fun than anything I've ever ridden. (The brakes are useless, but oh well.)

I'm hooked.
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

You appear to need a new chain.
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Old 03-22-2017, 04:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

For sure


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Old 03-22-2017, 05:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Quote:
Originally Posted by govmule84 View Post
You appear to need a new chain.


Haha, those pics were taken a while back, for a dating certificate I need to get it registered. It got adjusted today but also needs a new sprocket so I'll be doing both at once, doing either without the other seems a false economy.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

It's perfect.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Can't believe you're only now testing her out!! good news though man!!
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratso View Post
It's perfect.

I know, I'm totally smitten. It's lovely and simple at the moment but sadly I need to clutter up the bars a little with a horn and headlight dip switch. Plan to go back to the original internal throttle & advance when I can get the parts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rhysmort View Post
Can't believe you're only now testing her out!! good news though man!!

Thanks, there's a fair bit to do before I can rely on it for anything more than short trips, will chip away at it over the coming months. It's never been restored, and I love how it looks but I'm kind of a perfectionist so it's going to be an in exercise in restraint. It's a one owner bike. Well, two now.
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

It is perfect!
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Welcome to the club. Loooong bike next?
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

I love Sportster's, this one is beautiful .
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Old 03-23-2017, 12:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAWS View Post
Welcome to the club. Loooong bike next?

Maybe. Or long trike? Don't tell my wife I thought that.


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Originally Posted by shovithead View Post
Not one to cut up there. May not be 100% OEM, but it sure is close. On the brakes, you can make the rear lockup, with some work. The front, on the other hand, is almost useless, but can be made to work decent, with some due diligence. Look at my signature, and then you will not have to ask me how I know.........

It's definitely not changing too much.

The brake could be an issue with our annual MOT test (they put the bike on rollers and try to lock it up), but I don't really want to swap it out for a disc front end...I think I'll see how good it is once skimmed off with modern linings on the shoe, ground in properly (probably using Jason's abrasive stuck inside the drum trick). Failing that, I could swap it for a Triumph or BSA drum. I do instinctively grab the front brake, just due to the modern bikes I learned to ride on.
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Old 03-23-2017, 12:32 PM   #12
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

This looks like a real interesting possibility for improving the existing brake:

http://victorylibrary.com/tech/harley-2LS-c.htm
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Old 03-23-2017, 04:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratso View Post
This looks like a real interesting possibility for improving the existing brake:

http://victorylibrary.com/tech/harley-2LS-c.htm


Thanks Ratso, that does look interesting. Would like to hear from anyone who's tried this.
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Old 03-23-2017, 09:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

That bike is a beauty. Congratulations.

Jason
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Congatulations! ..... and welcome to the club
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Old 03-24-2017, 05:54 PM   #16
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Thanks Lester :-)

Another idea.

https://www.jockeyjournal.com/forum/s.../102296?page=1
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

What a nice bike. Congrats! I'm interested to see what you do with the front brake, same front brake is on my bike.
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:10 AM   #18
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

I've seen a couple Sportsters over here with the 68-69 Trump TLS drum up front and it was said to be a big improvment as far as stoppong goes even though the weight differance. Could get some modern brake shoes as well. Its a quitck cheap mod. and looks pretty good too.I've seen a couple Sportsters over here with the 68-69 Trump TLS drum up front and it was said to be a big improvment as far as stoppong goes even though the weight differance. Could get some modern brake shoes as well. Its a quitck cheap mod. and looks pretty good too.
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:52 PM   #19
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Could you repeat that, please? I'm a little deaf in this right ear.

A Norton (early Commando) back plate would look boss too, but my understanding -- possibly based on utter horseshit -- is that they weren't as good as the '68-'70 Tri/BSA brake. Anybody (such as Goldy) know about that, if it isn't too far OT?
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:54 PM   #20
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Default Re: First Harley, first ride...

Thanks for the input Lester, Ratso. I don't think it's OT, in fact it's weighing on my mind trying to figure out what to do.

Any and all advice welcome.

So far options are:

1) Skim existing drum and spice up shoes with modern lining material. Possibly still fail roadworthy test.

2) Swap out front end for another with better drum, for prettiness. Probably scrape through roadworthy test.

3) Swap out front end for later model Sportster with disc (or discs). Remote cable operated master cylinder to keep bars clean. Sail through roadworthy test. Then spend as long as I like tinkering with other possibilities on the bench, and get riding. Spend time shaking down other problems (like leaks, of which there are many). Avoid death / wrecking this antique.

There is an argument that in upgrading the existing brake beyond its intended stopping capabilities, I should be upgrading the 33.4mm fork. Also, heat in the drum/fade?
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