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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been riding my big bike alot more since I sold my CB360. I've noticed that my bike handles like a barge. I mean, this thing corners like a '70s land yacht. Even scraping the floorboards, it makes pretty wide turns.

Here's the details on the bike. It's a '77 Harley, stock FX1200 frame, FL sheetmetal and a 70's FL front end, stock height on both ends. 130 /90-16s on both ends on laced wheels, Conti-Tour on the front, Dunlop Elite II rear.

I think it's the wide tires and heavy front end that are killing it, but I like the way they look. Being perpetually on a budget, I don't want to do any "major" work on the bike. I'm looking for cheap ways to get the bike to handle better. Will adjusting my shocks and fork oil level/weight make any difference? Will new(er) tires help? Thanks for the info.
 

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Springs in front end, aftermarket performance shocks in rear end, get rid of all heavy stuff like big fenders and big tanks, and run performance rated tires.

Or maybe that's just the way I'd do it.
 

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I rode 250 miles around Clearlake with my step dad going through twisties and canyons. He was on a stripped down FL with 21" up front, 5 gallon tanks, 18" ape hangers and my mom on bike. I was on my Kawasaki W650. It took everything I had to keep up with him. I'd been riding for 4 years, he'd been riding for 30. Whatever handling advantages I had over him he more then made up for with experience. He couldn't keep up with me when I had my GSXR though. :)
 

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Good springs up front and heavy weight non-foaming fork oil will work wonders. Progressive makes good quality, cost efficient springs and shocks. There are more expensive brands, but I don't recommend spending the money.

Check your tire's air pressure and tread. Worn tires or tires with incorrect pressure will handle like shit.

A GOOD CHEAP ALTERNATIVE:

Cut matching lengths of PVC to preload your fork springs. Not sure what diameter will fit your tubes, but you can figure that out. Add two inches to anything that is already in there and see what that does for you. You can always add more or less to adjust the preload. The pieces for each side should be exactly the same length. Change the fork oil, too. But only do one thing at a time so you know what works and what doesn't.

Also, check the preload on your rear shocks. If they are soft, adjust them a notch or two tighter. If they are adjusted full tight, a cheap alternative to new rear shocks is to disassemble the old shocks, cut a loop or two out of the springs - they need to be cut exactly the same - and reassemble. This may sound counter intuitive, but it works to stiffen up the ride. Why? The more rounds of spring you have, the longer the spring is. The longer the spring is, the softer it will be. The shorter it is, the stiffer it will be. So cutting out a round or two really stiffens up the spring because it is shorter and does not bend or give as easily.

This should stabilze the bike a good bit and won't cost more than 20 or 30 bucks.
 

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All those suggestions are great, especially about GOOD tires.

But THE most important is the simplest: religously check your tire pressure. You will not believe what a just a little difference makes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info. So the PVC effectivly makes the springs stiffer?
 

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Bugman said:
Thanks for the info. So the PVC effectivly makes the springs stiffer?
If you had a few bucks:

1) Progressive suspension spring set (not much $ from Jireh cycles) and a complete fork tube reseal with correct amount of new 20wt fork oil.

2) Ebay search for some new Harley FXD "Dyna" take-off rear shocks.

3) Good tires, like Metzler good.

4) Good brake pads front and rear.

My $.02
 
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