Jockey Journal Forum banner

Late 70s Ironhead "33-66"

14133 Views 44 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  goaarongo
Hi all - Wanted to load up some pics of a project I have been working on and start the discussion. Its an ongoing, slow endeavor, but I'm hitting the point now where I would like some feedback, help, inspiration etc...

A few details:
1977 XL1000 motor with electric start
1979 Sportster Frame, minor modifications
Going with all disc brakes

This bike has never been a "bike" in the sense that I'm tearing one down and rebuilding/modifying it. It's being cobbled together as I go with random parts from random bikes. I started with a solid motor that had been in a running chopper. I'm looking to go for something somewhere in the neighborhood of a dirt tracker... influenced by the XR750, but with some bobber type elements mixed in. Hoping for a raw, industrial look, that is clearly garage made but not and embarrassment to ride around on. I'm learning a lot about machining as I go...

I'm excited to hear tips on fabrication as well as detailed info about the bike components I'm using. Think I mentioned I am learning as I go... I have built two other bikes before (one other in the "cobble it together as you go" style) but I'm new to American Iron. Hope you guys will humor me and throw some feedback or info my way.
21 - 40 of 45 Posts
Looking good!
Thanks for the comments. Like that white sportster - I'm guessing 1980 or 81? I'm still scratching my head today about the tail section on my bike. Working on some brackets for the light and the inner fender.

Wagoneer - the "33-66" name is for me and my cousin, who I'm actually doing this project for. When I started, I was 33 and he was 66. Good thing I wrote it down, 'cause at the rate I'm going I'm gonna have to change it to "43-76".
Aaron, what did you do with that hardtail frame that this bike used to ride on? A rigid Ironhead may be my next buid when my '79 KZ750 twin is complete.
Man a year has gone by and I barely have anything new to post. Getting back into building season though, and I have made some progress.

I got some powder coating done and laced up my wheels. Tires are on order now...

Really liking the way these came together. Good thing too cause the wheels alone are probably at least 1/4th of the overall budget. All new bearings and everything. I also bought a super cool rear sprocket only to find out that like almost everything else on this bike it didn't fit. I cut the aluminum spacer in the center on my lathe, which took some really fancy work cause the inside is shaped to fit the hub exactly. Its also locked into the sprocket with some small cap screws.

What else... Finished fitting up my sprocket cover - more lathe work there.

You can see some of the spacers on there. The biggest is in steel and connects to the motor mounts and is tapped on both ends. It's since been powdercoated so it wont rust. Sometimes I think I would have more luck if I just carved this thing directly out of stone.
See less See more
By the way - the old frame is long gone. Sorry man. Still got that same pile of spare parts from when you came by before... if this is who I think it is...
Here's an updated overall mock up. Decided pretty firmly against the airtech seat. I just couldn't get lines I was happy with, and I felt like the forward pitch of the seat was gonna be too uncomfortable. Gotta tighten up that front end (its just balanced in there poorly for the pic) and make a few more adjustments. But overall I'm feeling excited about it again.

Don't wanna give away too much too soon, but here is a somewhat closer shot of the big chunk o' chrome that's gonna be serving as the tail piece. Believe it or not, it came off a cast iron stove.

See less See more
Did some more fun lathe work.

And made some progress on my tail section.

See less See more
Still creeping along on this project... Got my second round of powder coating done which was the last major thing. Next step will be to put the motor in and build the suspension so I can put some wheels on this thing and coast it down a hill.

Any thoughts on the color scheme? I'm hoping it will look even cooler when the bike gets all dingy and oily again... which is how an ironhead is meant to be.

See less See more
Keep Up the good work Man!!!
Looks great and love the frame color. Ironheads are a trip great fun lotta hands on work, mine will vibrate to a state of poor tuning with some hard riding. If you ever do a top end job, get the rearing exhaust valve enlarged, the rear jug always heats up more. Compensating sprocket helps take some stress off the crankshaft. SS E carb? Awesome, avoid G too much fuel. I find the calipers wear out btw they go out of round in the piston hole, when available flyrite makes Kick Ass brakes for sporties. Oil cooler a must if riding in summer heat, 60 weight only. Anyhow that's off the old brain pan hope it helps.....keep at it the glory is coming.
Destralo - thanks for the encouragement.
tampamatt - thanks for the tips man. Lotta good info in that little paragraph. I'm in Texas, so an oil cooler really is a must. If you look close you can see it in this pic. I scored huge when I bought it off a guy for $40.

I cleaned and polished this guy up today too, in prep for putting it in the frame. There's a new S&S shorty behind that air cleaner and an oversize sprocket you can barely see peeking through that window in the cover.

Getting closer...
See less See more
Almost forgot - rebuilt the swingarm bearings too. Here it is fitted up all nice and clean.

Stearing bearings next.
See less See more
Banner day. Had my cousin come for a visit today and he helped me drop this motor in the frame for what is hopefully the last time. Hope your hand's not too bruised Fred!

After getting that thing in place, I couldn't help but start bolting things on like crazy. I started by rebuilding my front suspension, which I lowered by around 2 inches using the PVC technique. I suppose I coulda got fancy and fabbed these spacers out of aluminum, but the PVC was just so easy...

Talking about fancy aluminum spaces though, I did whip this guy up to accommodate for the fact that my front end is from another bike. Turns out the post was around a quarter inch too long... dont know how I didn't notice that...

You can see my spacer under the steering stem nut. And yes its fancy with some little accent lines. New bearings, fresh grease, etc... may as well throw some wheels on too I guess... and why not put the tin on...

See less See more
Really happy with how the front end is turning out. Glad I left the turned aluminum bare.

Overall, the stance is shaping up right and the colors are coming together pretty good. I really went overboard on replacing all the fasteners and putting in a lot of detail work that may only be noticed by me, but the fun is in the process I guess. I even like the look of the primer, so I'll probably ride it like that for a while. Might even just shoot a clearcoat on top of it and call it good.

One other detail - the footpeg on this side (and shifter) had to be pushed back about an inch to line up with the new location of the peg on the other side. Pretty happy with the welding I did, and after the powdercoat they really look like they were made that way.
See less See more
Nice Job!! Yeah that tripple tree was probley a post 82.. the stems are longer..

looks good i really. like what you did with the forks what did the rear shocks come off of? were they a direct bolt on?
mct496 - Man, I wish I knew what these were from. Found them in in a misc pile of "harley" parts marked XL Sportster. So yeah, they bolt on, but I have no idea where they came from. They are Showa - so I'm assuming aftermarket.

Roach - thanks for the info. I'm scratching my head right now about whether or not the these forks are supposed to the inner rebound springs on the damper tube. Looked at some books - some do, some don't. These didn't, but somehow I feel like they should.

Been doing some more fitting and fine tuning. Got the engine fully mounted and torqued, and have chain and rear axle all in place. About to run some oil line, and then start wiring some stuff.

See less See more
This sprocket cover is still not permanently in place (waiting on oil and electric) but looks like its gonna be awesome all fitted up. Way too much work went into that little piece of aluminum.

Need to go polish those pipes now. Cramming some baffles in them was a huge hassle. getting used to using hammers now.

The handlebars are slowly coming together. Not sure how I feel about this speedo... Wish my master cylinder was smaller too.

See less See more
21 - 40 of 45 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.