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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I picked up my first bike. As the title says it's a 1960 Ironhead.
I picked it up with a few issues, namely a busted drive chain, rear rotor and sprocket cover. The PO thought revving the engine in between gears would be a fine idea, the chain thought otherwise and promptly snapped. This is the first bike I've ever worked on so I may have some questions ahead. I opened up the primary and started digging around, I found a busted clutch push rod, and noticed that the gear selector rod is bent, might be why the PO was out of gear in the first place. Unfortunately also found that the top bolt hole for the sprocket cover sheared off in the cast aluminum case. So now I need to find someone that can weld cast. Haven't tore into the trans yet, and I'm hoping all thats needed is a new selector shaft. I'm planning on hardtailing it and going for a 1940s WR racer model look. It basically looks like a flat track bobber. I found a cool factory paint scheme from 1928 I'm going with. It's stripped down to the frame now as I'm going through the top end on the engine. I threw some new pics in the flikr account if anyone cares to see. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6150426192/
 

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Do yerself a favor and buy a hardtail frame instead of chopping and welding on the factory frame. Down the road you may appreciate the rarity of a 1960 Sportster in it's original frame. Since the VIN is with the motor and not the frame you can have in a rigid frame and change back any time ya want with zero title issues. Enjoy yer Ironhead!
 

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Do yerself a favor and buy a hardtail frame instead of chopping and welding on the factory frame. Down the road you may appreciate the rarity of a 1960 Sportster in it's original frame. Since the VIN is with the motor and not the frame you can have in a rigid frame and change back any time ya want with zero title issues. Enjoy yer Ironhead!
I second that one! today it's like taking a sawzall to Grandpa!
Nice Bike, Enjoy
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I did think about a frame swap, but $800-$1200 dollars is out of my price range, and money that I would never recoup on a Sportster. All the stock items have already been stripped from this bike before I picked it up. I do understand where you guys are coming from, but really whats the differance between a 1960 sporty frame and a 1978 sporty frame, other than the date and a few different mounting tabs. Unless I'm mistaken, I'm new to this and all.
 

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I did think about a frame swap, but $800-$1200 dollars is out of my price range, and money that I would never recoup on a Sportster. All the stock items have already been stripped from this bike before I picked it up. I do understand where you guys are coming from, but really whats the differance between a 1960 sporty frame and a 1978 sporty frame, other than the date and a few different mounting tabs. Unless I'm mistaken, I'm new to this and all.
And that's the difference between a Sportster lover and a guy who just bought a bike. Seriously, that hurts my soul.
 

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+umpteen! There's only ONE frame that left the factory with that motor, and as long as they remain together, it's possible to build a rare 1960 XLCH. If you cut that frame, it's gone forever. There's a world of difference between that frame and a '70s frame. You should at least go buy a common mid '70s frame to butcher, they are really cheap and easy to find, unlike THE original for your 1960. As long as you have matching frame and cases, you have a 1960 XLCH, lose one or the other and you have just another hacked up sportster. The world really needs more choppers, but not at the expense of old stock parts.
 

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i just literally got a 1960 xlch last week also to start for a new build

I have never owned a sporty before ever I only got this one because the price is right
Im sorry if this is a stupid question but what is so rare about a 1960xlch ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Educate me. I'm being completly genuine, what is the differance and or signifigance. To me they look near identical, not much seemed to change untill the EVO. In my intro I fully admit I'm new to this and want to learn.
 

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i just literally got a 1960 xlch last week also to start for a new build

I have never owned a sporty before ever I only got this one because the price is right
Im sorry if this is a stupid question but what is so rare about a 1960xlch ?
All early XLs, XLCH, XLH are rare as most were chopped, blown up, stolen and / or taken apart, the later frames, say 75 and Higher had a steel section welded in under the seat area where as the early are cast,
actually you do not need a frame VIN number for XLs earlier than 1970, so you can grab and ebay / swap meet frame and stick that CH motor in, no issue, also if you cut the early up the value of the frame is history, big interest these days for restoration of OEM Parts-Bikes,
XLCH-the early ones ran from 1959 thru 1969 magneto only machines, basic, simple, street hot rod, clean ones getting rare

Chop On..
 

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Study the frames from 57-81 and you'll see the differences immediately. The 57-71 frames are fucking masterpieces of beauty with organic castings that flow. Nothing on this Earth that compares to the sight of a 57-71 frame. Nothing. The 72-78 frame lost the gorgeous seat post casting and replaced it with a stamped piece of flat bar and squared off the neck casting. The 79-81 frames are just a fucking mess.

There are other differences than the ones I mentioned like the change to electric start and the lengthening of the swingarm and repostioning of the seat post tubes to fit a large battery, etc., etc.

If you must hardtail it, grab a late model frame with the stamped bar seat post and hack away.
 

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looking at the pics, it has regulator mounts and extra tab on the seatpost tubes, and mounting holes for a lunchbox oil bag which would indicate that it has been modified slightly or is a late 60's or very early 70's frame.
 

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Looks like it has the later, longer electric start swingarm. I cant really make out whether the seat post tubes are straight into the engine mount casting or not. You might have a later 900 electric frame there.

Take a look at your seat post casting, right side, front. Find the seat post pivot bolt hole, go straight down to the hole on the bottom of the casting. Just above that bottom hole, scrape the paint off there and you'll find a number and a letter stamped to give you the year and month your frame was made.
 

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Check those stamped numbers as stated by kickstarts but I think you have a XLCH engine in an XLH frame which is no big deal if you don't plan on a period factory orig resto becasue so much has been changed or missing.
 

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The first thing you want to check for is set-back in the rear uprights. If they run straight up from the motor mount casting, it's an early 'ch frame, or a pre '67 h frame. If they kick back about an inch and a half or so then it's '67-up h or '70-up ch. Of course you need to check the date code just under the seat mount also, but the year will be just one number, so if it's "0" it's going to be the correct frame (b/c 1970 would have a vin, and 1950 would be,well... premature). Any sportster frame from 1970 and back should be spared the knife, in my opinion. Seventies frames are so common and cheap they are the only ones to consider cutting. Somebody, somewhere wishes he could find an uncut pre-vin frame for his bike, and if we keep cutting them, there will be no more left. Anyway, I've yet to see a weld-on that really looks as good as a true hardtail, so you're taking a hard to find original and converting it to a mediocre sorta chopper, not good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the help, I'll check those things tonight. I really don't want to fuck up a nice frame if it is historically special. But if I did switch out frames I would have to go with one with no VIN, ie a custom. IL laws can be tricky when titleing a custom, let alone a frame and engine not matching up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Redrabbit, I would have to classify the bike as a custom and have the state come out and inspect it, and from what I here insurance rates double when classified as a custom, not to mention the state is a stickler when it comes to titles in general.

My other issue with the custom route is cost. It will cost at least $800-$1200 for a new hardtailed frame. I'm already into this bike for $2000, still have to deal with engine issues and buy all the other shit to make it my own, seat gas tank, etc. I'm getting close to dumping in more money than this bike will be worth. It is after all just a lowly sportster, as a lot of bikers think. This bike sat on Chicago CL for 5 months, I was told to run away and not even look at this bike from many people on this very site. So if this is such a desireable and sought after frame, where was everybody? Even with the headache of running a custom in IL I'll consider swapping my frame for a aftermarket hardtail from anyone here. Even trade. I have a huge amount of respect for vintage iron and design and would not want to hack up something unique or rare, but I also have to consider my checking account. Thank you very much for all the info guys, you gave me something to consider and think about.
 

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Alright lets back up. All 69 and older sporty titles go with the engine so you can put the engine in any frame without ASVE title worries like the newer bikes. Give your insurance guy the 1960XLCH#### vin that matches the title and tell him its a 1960 XLCH and you are in the clear. As for the frame I think it is a 66 or older XLH frame. The picture below is a spare frame I have of a 65 XLH frame dated J5 or July 1965. The 1960 XLCH frame should not have any tabs under the seat casting which makes room for the 1965 and earlier horseshoe oil tank it would of came with. With that said don't worry about the frame because with your stated lack of cash focus on getting the engine fixed. Rebuild it and set it aside because if you run out of effort or money you can cash out by selling the engine and title together.

If you want the the hard tail look and you are still worried about the frame just buy the KR style bolt on without having to hack up the frame, again see below.

My XLH frame


My old 65XLCH with KR bolt on hardtail


Sweet WR
 
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