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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well... I saw that my buddy ScooterMcRad posted the Knuckle thread a few days ago.. I've been walking around with the thought of building a Knuckle powered dragbike..
But.. After doing some math, and discovering that I'm actually spending way to much cash on my other hobbies like BMX, photography and going to California, I kinda found out that, if I wanna build a Harley, I'm gonna have to do it on a budget I think..
Overhere in the Netherlands I simply cannot afford what I would really like to build.. Which would be Knuck, Pan or early Shovel.. I don't want a late Shovel...

Only stuff left for me would be an Ironhead Sporty probably, which is a fucking cool motor for a dragstyle bike (or a Pre Unit, but then we're talking Trumps, my other choice)..
A very experienced man who is on this board occasionally, once told me that the early Sportys can be a real pain in the butt...

What are your experiences with 'em..? I see 'em around quite a lot.. In magazines and on the streets, overhere and in USA..

They aren't very hard to find overhere too, which makes it even more easy for me..

I have the neccesary parts to make it look good... Ceriani forks, wicked 19" spoolwheel, peanut tank which can be modified, M&H 18" slick, and a box of other cool parts...

Let's here some stuff about 'em...

Thanks guys!

Maurice
 

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Hey man,no experience on Ironhead Sporty's but that sure sounds like a cool idea.Basically you already answered your questions by yourself... prices are reasonable and engines are available and regarding any issues on this particlular engine, just make it work like any other engine too...
I really like those Ironheads and they sound good too.Check out the Ironhead bikes Ness built in the 80's.The Accel bike's mill for example is killer ! You really can make look such an engine bad ass.There are very nice cams for Ironheads available and they respond to cam changes very well.Bet you want to run a mag too and those are also cheaper than the average BT mag and if you don't have the guts to build that damn thing,gimme that fuckin' M & H !!!
 

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You want to know about Ironhead Sportsters?

Well, from about 1969-on, and especially the early to mid-'70's models, people bought them because they "had to have a Harley", and they were cheaper than a BT. Most were bought by first time Harley riders. Right there that should tell you something.

These bikes were, for the most part, beat on. Not only that, they are probably the most fucked with/fucked over Harley by it's former owners ever made, with the FX Superglide coming in a close second.

The matinence and service on most Ironheads was done as an afterthought, usually when something went KABOOM! When it did go KABOOM!, the owners of these bikes figured that all they needed was a Chilton manual, a Crescent wrench, and a bent butter knife to repair them.

Throw in Harley's quality control problems, the Union problems, and the engine/frame changes that the Ironhead went thru every couple years in the '70's , and that's an Ironhead today. People that say , "Yeah, but most of those problems by now are taken care of by the other owners that had them", should refer to the above paragraph. While most BT owners DID take care of the problems from that era, most ironhead owners didn't, or didn't do it very well.

Oh sure, every once and a while you will find a not so bad running Ironhead, but basketcases and Ironheads that "just smoked a little when I parked it - just needs new plugs and a generator to run" are more common.
 

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I prefer pre-'67s (no electric starter). These earlier bikes are brimming with really cool cast and stamped parts. The frames look great too. Best thing is, if you tune 'em right they are WAY too fast for their stock brakes! Old sportsters make clean, beautiful motorcycles if you NEVER try to make 'em look like a Fatboy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There's the reply already from "that very experienced man who is on this board occasionally"...

That doesn't sound very good.. You told me before in you e-mails a few months ago.
Especially since it'll be my first Harley.

The only confidence left is "that I managed to make the probably most 'fucked with' and 'fucked over' Unit Triumph ever" run very well again..

Actually.. I don't wanna go through THAT much trouble again.

Maybe I should go with a late Shovel (although everyone rides one overhere), the only affordable HD overhere.... Or a Pre Unit Trump after all.

You are probably the most experienced guy on this forum Rich... Lets see what other guys have to tell.





The shit thing is that we can't just buy a frame and a motor, build a bike around it, go to tech, have it inspected, and get a special construction title on it. Way to many rules overhere, which make every "newly build bike" look like a piece of shit.

If it would be that easy, I'd already have gotten me an S&S motor and a frame, and started building bit by bit.
We have to find a complete bike with a title (like my Triumph), and go from there, otherwise we can't make all those cool mods on it.
 

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I dig Ironheads. Mostly because of the cheap factor. I have less than $2K in this one now. Its pretty much a stock motor, runs great and usually fires on the first kick. Quick little thing too, probobly would be too much for stock brakes, deffinetly too much for just a rear drum!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nimrod said:
I dig Ironheads. Mostly because of the cheap factor. I have less than $2K in this one now. Its pretty much a stock motor, runs great and usually fires on the first kick. Quick little thing too, probobly would be too much for stock brakes, deffinetly too much for just a rear drum!
That's defenitely one of the coolest around..!

The cheap factor is what does it for me at this moment too...
 

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The words drag bike and cheap to not keep good company.

Ironheads are fine when given love. The trap door is succeptable to cracking, so look for that when checking stuff out. Because the trans./motor are integrated, things can be a little more complicated when you brake something...which you will if it's a true drag bike :)

All that said, there's rad stuff you can do w/ them and you can make monster power. A combo. of a big bore and stroker kit gets the little guys movin'. It's neat to TIG up the trap door and run them w/ a belt drive. Most people think it can't be done. It can.

I've notice you do things really well Maurice. If this is going to be solely a toy, set it up to run Nitro and dual carbs. That's what I intended to do w/ the bike I traded PatinaTurner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tony.. I wanna build a dragbike styled machine.. I will not race it. Although that doesn't take away that I like to hit the throttle pretty hard.

And yes, I like to build stuff well, and bombproof. (Last word will probably give comments in many guys eyes in combination with an ironhead :) )

What's the "trapdoor"..?
 

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Nimrod said:
I dig Ironheads. Mostly because of the cheap factor. I have less than $2K in this one now. Its pretty much a stock motor, runs great and usually fires on the first kick. Quick little thing too, probobly would be too much for stock brakes, deffinetly too much for just a rear drum!
damn that's awesome nimrod. where did you get the frame for that bike?
 

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Maurice,

We must be on the same wavelength or something because I have a basket '74 ironhead motor in my garage that I am going to build a kind-of race bike out of. I am planning on a mildly warm motor, drilled parts, short forks and disc brakes. I even have a paint scheme in my head for it.

On the motors themselves, I have heard all the same stuff that Rich talked about. My plan is to completely rebuild the motor, without cutting any corners. The problem is that doing that won't be cheap--and if it ain't cheap here, I have no doubt it will be 3 times worse over there. I figure I will sink another $800 into the motor over the $450 I paid to get it to where I want it to be.

I hear you on the late shovel motors--they are becoming a hot motor over here, everyone seems to want one nowadays. I got mine for pretty cheap, so I am going to use it eventually, but I would have preferred a generater shovel. . .

By the way, I picked up an ARD belt-driven mag for my triumph, I'll let you know how it runs when I get the triumph up and running again.
 

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I have owned ch's for over 35 years, worked on them for a living about half that time and still own my 68 xlch. Yes they break, and yes the trannys are prone to cracking the cases. But, they are the bike that responds well to a little work. The main reason they got a bad rap is everyone thought they could fix them and in the end just fucked them up. My bike is stroked with old style Truett and Osborne 4 5/8 flywheels and has been stone reliable for they last 15 years, and yes it does smoke a little they all did. It come from the valve guides, even new the owners manual states a quart of oil between 500 and 1000 miles is normal. nowdays it is possible to build one that runs extremly well starts easy (even with a mag) will run many miles. You have to remember the old sortys were thought of as a performance bike and most people did beat the shit out of them. With a good and proper rebuild and some care they will go forever. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Nothing is better then an iron head. I would rather ride my 70 ridgid then my flh or softtail.

biggest thing with one is the kicker sucks on them. any one that has had one will walk with some kind of limp from the kicker.
 
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