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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a line on a pals old Ironhead chopper. from what he described it is a 70s build, 14 over springer fork, crazy paint etc.......

It is an Ironhead, I am HD dumb on the mechanical end. the only Ironhead I have been around is Dans chop.

It seems they arent as popular? What are parts sources like? Any quirks? Share your wisdom!

BTW, CrazyD, I totally forgot about this until I left the shop tonight. Big Mark owns the thing and it is in pieces. I am going to see if I can go look at it and talk to him some night next week, I will call ya to go with.
 

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Ironhead = Sportster, which the unloved girly-man bike of big greasy David Mann painting biker types. I have no problem with it since I'm not cool and won't ever be, but many people do. They have a tendency to wind up higher, beat the shit out of you on long rides, pre-75s have the shifter on the right hand side (boy, my dad REALLY hated that), integrated trans/primary as opposed to a modular setup, completely different engine mounts that the big twins.....

I like mine, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
fatass said:
Ironhead = Sportster, which the unloved girly-man bike of big greasy David Mann painting biker types. I have no problem with it since I'm not cool and won't ever be, but many people do. They have a tendency to wind up higher, beat the shit out of you on long rides, pre-75s have the shifter on the right hand side (boy, my dad REALLY hated that), integrated trans/primary as opposed to a modular setup, completely different engine mounts that the big twins.....

I like mine, though.
I knew they were sportys, 900s right?

Right side shifter? Hmmmmmm, I like that.

How many years did they make them?
 

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the first ones were 900cc, then went up to 1000cc & i believe 1100cc. the were made from '57 to mid eighties--'85 i think. i have owned three ironheads--a '64 back in the late sixties, a '81 in the early '90's & my recently finished '68 rigid. loved them all!!! just last thursday rode the '68 to daytona & back from tampa---about 330 miles on back roads --to the horse show at tropical willie's---it did great--cruised 65-75 with no problem. no problem finding parts, new or used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
frank (aka cueball) said:
the first ones were 900cc, then went up to 1000cc & i believe 1100cc. the were made from '57 to mid eighties--'85 i think. i have owned three ironheads--a '64 back in the late sixties, a '81 in the early '90's & my recently finished '68 rigid. loved them all!!! just last thursday rode the '68 to daytona & back from tampa---about 330 miles on back roads --to the horse show at tropical willie's---it did great--cruised 65-75 with no problem. no problem finding parts, new or used.
WOW! THanks I thought it was a late 60s thing, I had no clue. I like being a beginner at something again!
 

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fatass said:
Ironhead = Sportster, which the unloved girly-man bike of big greasy David Mann painting biker types.
yeah the tampon dispenser on my '79 shook loose on the way home from sparky's tonight
 

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i love the stereotype of sporties being girls bikes.kick only magneto sporties are no joke.if i saw a chick kicking one,i would be in love.but there is a reason you dont see that much
 

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Tman said:
I got a line on a pals old Ironhead chopper. from what he described it is a 70s build, 14 over springer fork, crazy paint etc.......

It is an Ironhead, I am HD dumb on the mechanical end. the only Ironhead I have been around is Dans chop.

It seems they arent as popular? What are parts sources like? Any quirks? Share your wisdom!

BTW, CrazyD, I totally forgot about this until I left the shop tonight. Big Mark owns the thing and it is in pieces. I am going to see if I can go look at it and talk to him some night next week, I will call ya to go with.
Killed to many brain cells last night?

Ya let me know we can check it out sounds cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CrazyD said:
Killed to many brain cells last night?

Ya let me know we can check it out sounds cool.
Not the brain cells that knew those chicks behind us were way hot. The drunk dude was right, the brunette had nice eyes!

I actually have known about this bike for years, it just popped into my head.
 

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Sportsters have always been treated like the ugly step child of the family. Harley owners have always had this Elitism thing going on (More now that ever before). Sportsters got a really bad rap back in the 70's when AMF owned Harley. Under AMF quality went downhill fast and happened with the Sporties first. About the worst thing about early Sportsters was the rear brakes. Too small, hard to adjust correctly and harder to keep in adjustment. Any seasoned Sportster owner soon became an expert in care and feeding of the rear brakes. They are good bikes and to this day still dominate dirt flat track racing, expecialy on the 1 mile tracks.
 

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PONY said:
Sportsters have always been treated like the ugly step child of the family. Harley owners have always had this Elitism thing going on (More now that ever before). Sportsters got a really bad rap back in the 70's when AMF owned Harley. Under AMF quality went downhill fast and happened with the Sporties first. About the worst thing about early Sportsters was the rear brakes. Too small, hard to adjust correctly and harder to keep in adjustment. Any seasoned Sportster owner soon became an expert in care and feeding of the rear brakes. They are good bikes and to this day still dominate dirt flat track racing, expecialy on the 1 mile tracks.
I'm basing my future project on an XL. That Elitism thing is usually what helps me catch a big twin off guard at the stop lights. Its damn fun when I hit it at the green light and hear them finally roll on the throttle or miss a shift because they weren't paying attention. I like sportys, Ironheads and Evos even though they still get a bad rap. My MSF instructor called my sporty a bitch bike, I held off until I got my little card then I reminded him about his comment and told him to fuck off. I think they're a decent platform with a lot of potential that can be made better especially with all the hot rod engine upgrades available nowadays. I'd like to eventually build a mean XL big inch motor, lighten the bike by choppin out the shocks and swing arm components and going to a hardtail and put some 883 decals on the gas tank. That would really be fun!
 

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The first bike I ever sat on was my 73 Iron Head. It was a fun bike and I loved riding it. Top end looks like a shovelhead. I weighed about 125lbs. when I first got my bike (I was 16). It was plenty of bike for me. It did have some qwerks. One was the TRANNY, It was a bitch. Broke a lot and was hard to get right!

Honestly I probabally would not build one again. I would do a shovel before another sporty.


FONZI
 

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PONY said:
Sportsters have always been treated like the ugly step child of the family. Harley owners have always had this Elitism thing going on (More now that ever before). Sportsters got a really bad rap back in the 70's when AMF owned Harley. Under AMF quality went downhill fast and happened with the Sporties first. About the worst thing about early Sportsters was the rear brakes. Too small, hard to adjust correctly and harder to keep in adjustment. Any seasoned Sportster owner soon became an expert in care and feeding of the rear brakes. They are good bikes and to this day still dominate dirt flat track racing, expecialy on the 1 mile tracks.
i always hear that shit too about the quality going down after AMF.but i have also been told by alot of people that the quality was down before that.harley had like 50 year old machinery to make the stuff and yadda yadda..and that AMF saved them from going under with the rest of the companies
 

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PONY said:
Sportsters have always been treated like the ugly step child of the family. Harley owners have always had this Elitism thing going on (More now that ever before). Sportsters got a really bad rap back in the 70's when AMF owned Harley. Under AMF quality went downhill fast and happened with the Sporties first. About the worst thing about early Sportsters was the rear brakes. Too small, hard to adjust correctly and harder to keep in adjustment. Any seasoned Sportster owner soon became an expert in care and feeding of the rear brakes. They are good bikes and to this day still dominate dirt flat track racing, expecialy on the 1 mile tracks.
Rear brakes and TRANNYS! If ya don't keep a good eye on them, they try to get out of the cases. Fixed a bunch for guys. I got an ole Axtel barreled sport that spit up its trans more than once before I got it.
 

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LUKESTER said:
I was told by a bunch of dudes on '05 glides, that my '84 sportster was a girls bike.....LUKESTER
when i started riding in the mid-sixties, my first bike was a '49 hydroglide that i bought for $300---everybody kept asking wher the parade was!!! called it an "old man's bike". everybody wanted an xlch---which had the reputation of being mean as a junk yard dog--- or a triumph cause they were the performance kings back then. i couldn't wait until i saved enough to buy my '64 xlch!!! btw, the kick starting horror stories are true if you don't have it timed right or if the starter gear slips. my '68 that i just got together starts so easy that i can do it with my slippers on!!
 

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PROS:

- superior valvetrain geometry: four cams instead of one, pushrods have less misalignment than BTs. That's one of the reason you can rev them higher

- higher compression stock: iron sporties at least (don't know about evos) came with higher compression by a whole point or two than comparable period BTs. Don't know if this is because the combustion chamber is better?

- Ports and valves are smaller giving better velocity and potential for better VE.

- I think they look cool as hell being so narrow and compact

CONS:

- transmission: trap door allows shaft flex which leads to all kinds of fun

- transmission: countershaft boss in right case almost always cracks leaving you with a potential timebomb. Probably a result of the above problem although there isn't much meat on that boss anyway.

- clutch: you know the deal. good luck getting it to both fully release and not slip.

In general, I think they got a bad rap because they were more complicated and required more special tools and skills to work on properly than BTs of the era. More bushings requiring line-honing, more pulllers (tappet blocks for instance), trans shift mechanism not as isolated as those in BTs (more like a Triumph), etc.

I like mine just fine. ('71)

Fast as hell too. Just wish I could get it to stop ;-0

jason
 

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When Sportsters came out in the 50's/60's they were Harley's hotrod. The engines were built with hotter cams and more compression than the big bikes, the scooters were lighter so they naturally ran faster and handled better than big bikes. Ask folks like Carl Morrow if they're girly bikes.

I think their reputation for being a "second class" Harley came because they were a little cheaper to buy than the big bikes. Folks that couldn't or wouldn't pay for a big Harley, bought the Sportsters cuzz they were cheaper. Then they couldn't or wouldn't spend the money on the Sportsters to keep them in shape (and being higher performance, they required more maintanance than any other Harley) so they got the reputation of being tempermental.

As far as being a girls bike, I always had to grin at the folks that came in and said they were gonna buy their wives/girlfriends a Sportster because they couldn't hold a big bike up or couldn't touch the ground when they stopped. The seat on a Sportster is a lot taller than on a Glide and they actually feel heavier at a stop because they are top heavy. I guess Harley has fixed that now with the Huggers and I think they do have a special Sportster now that is designed with women in mind, but it hasn't always been that way.

I have a few friends that have been riding Sportsters since the 60's and wouldn't ride a Glide if you gave them one. They are hardcore hotrodders(and pretty well dinasaurs) and think the big bikes rode and ran like pigs.

Off to work.
 

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parts availability seems good...oil pumps are wicked expensive! I like the heck outta mine, would definately recommend one to you.
 
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