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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I already had a couple of Triumphs projects in the works, and my running XS650 bobber, when I traded my last modern bike, an '02 Triumph TT600 for my first Harley (well not counting a non-running, untitled '81 Sportster I got for $300 off a NYC sidewalk, but that's another story). It was a '73 Ironhead that someone had done some horrible things to- seen here:







So slowly, I replaced pretty much everything except the frame, swingarm, and motor in an attempt to get it looking like a much older, cooler bike:



Then I found a cheap '59 XLCH on craigslist. It had been sitting at least 5 years, but fired right up. Pro's: it had an S&S Super E (I also put one on the '73), an it had a magneto (!!!). Cons: the lights don't work, and just look at it (sorry for the crappy cell phone pix, I dropped my camera on the Gypsy Run):







No front brake, Shovelhead rear disk wheel controlled my a master on the bars (that didn't work), Quickbob tank, etc. So I figured I would just swap everything from the '73 to the '59 since it was actually an old bike, instead of trying to make the '73 look older than it is. So here's what the '59 looks like for now:



Then my friend Kyle at Lead Fist Cycles, and I proceeded to chop the '73. We took the bolt on tail from the '59, and remade the top section to flow into the frame, get rid of the ugly bolt on section, and make the angle of the frame top tube and hardtail top tubes match better:







Dropped some forks Kyle had already shaved by 5 1/2" (and cut the springs 4 1/2"), made a custom axle and spacers for an old narrow 21" spool.



Mounted an NOS Aris style light, narrowed some bars on old risers, began to cut and narrow a tank, make an oil tank, and mount the fender. The oil tank is getting stainless sides, and the gas tank is probably getting a stainless bottom. They'll be polished and masked off before painting.







Since then we've started making pipes, made a small plate for the top hardtail/ seat area. Still got lots of work to do but we're hoping to have it done in a month of so. More pix to come!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the skull is epoxied on, what else. At least it wasn't sprayed flat black like everything else, but on a side note, luckily the PO didn't scuff up any of the chrome before painting over it so I could just strip it off and polish.

And Fatass, not sure what you're getting at- what should I name the other one? I'm sure you must be setting me up for some kind of twisted joke.
 

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Those Sportys are lookiin good. May try and find one to do a bobber. They come out clean and sleek. As I remember, a long lost friend has an early 60's in his shed beside an older BSA. Got to go visitin soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Go get it! It's easy to make the early one's look cool. For the '59 I'm thinking of something close to stock/ a mild 60's custom, or getting a KR replica hardtail for a dirt track bike ala Hatch and some others I've seen on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We got some work done yesterday- shaved down the casting where the hardtail attaches, an tacked a plate in there. We left an opening in the rear of the top tube so we can still run wired up the frame.



Got the pipes all mocked up, tacked together, and made mounts. We used an NOS set of trumpet tips and welded them on. We used mostly stainless for the pipes (whatever we had) but I think we're still going to mask off the tips and paint the rest of the pipes. I think we're going to adjust the top trumpet tip a little out and up to match the angle of the lower one. Kyle also lathed up a sleeve and extended the brake rod.



We finished up the oil tank using stainless for the ends. They'll be polished and masked off when the rest is painted.





 

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And Fatass, not sure what you're getting at- what should I name the other one? I'm sure you must be setting me up for some kind of twisted joke.
Haaaaa, no, no agenda, just being a smart-ass for a change. Frick, I wish I could get moving on mine as fast as you have on yours; must be this ADHD...I'm REALLY diggin your whole combination there.

what were we talking about?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've got to give Kyle a lot of credit, the bike has been at his shop so in his free time he has been getting a lot of stuff done on it. I just come up there once a week and try to work on the major/ creative stuff with him. Our to-do list is getting pretty short!

Thanks Ragbak. The '59 might take a while. I'll probably start by getting it pretty much back to stock with the '73 swingarm and such. I just need a rear wheel and brake to get it just about complete.

Ittlelindsey, I checked out the beginning of your build- we were going to do the exact same thing to the hardtail but decided to re-do the entire top section because it was pretty messed up and couldn't use the cross bar. We're probably going to cover up the bottom bracket that bolts to the frame with some tubing sections to make it look like a seamless frame. I think the only reason that people use those bolt on hardtails must be because they're easy and don't need to be welded. Your bike is looking great! I like the white/ sharpie. The gold will be cool, but I hope you do some more sharpie art over it.
 

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did they hand out free mustang tanks and drag bars with trailer homes back in the 90s? I swear if I see another ironhead from the land of misfit toys with a fat mustang tank on it I will believe it to be true. I say this cause mine came with the same dumb tank and drag bars, except those handle grips were my foot pegs, and mine also had bonus spike bolts all over it.

good job washing all the meth residues off er.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This one actually didn't come from a trailer (but i picked up some '72 sporty parts from a pretty terrible trailer a week later), but it is weird what so many people think a cool Sportser should look like, especially such an old one that doesn't need much help looking cool in stock get up. And thanks Fatbastard. I think the lobster claws are AEE front motor mounts (anyone?), that had highway pegs on them. Don't worry though, I have stock motor mounts that will go back on when we tear the bike apart for paint.

I went up to Kyle's today and we spent some time on the sissy bar. I had picked up some stainless 1/2" and 3/4" round stock. Kyle lathed up some bungs including the fender bungs in which he put some brass inserts. We slowly heated, bent and welded until this happened:







And a close-up of the bungs and their hidden welds:



Kyle welded up the tank. The tunnel is mild steel, and the two bottom sections are stainless. We have to grind the welds a little, and make mounting tabs. Then polish the stainless, mask and paint.



I made the beginnings of a seat pan, and some frame gussets to mount the seat. We're still trying to decide how far up the sissy bar the seat should go.





Then Bobby's bike and my bike had a sissy bar sword fight!



We are starting to hate the bars, and are thinking of making some new ones. Any suggestions?
 
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