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Old 01-22-2014, 08:48 PM   #1
rodteague OP
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Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Franklin,TN
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My Multi Purpose Sportster build(MPS)

I started a similar thread on XLforums a couple of weeks ago and was very hesitant to post it here. Not that it doesn't have merit; but there are so many really good sportster builds here already. Jim Carducci, John Wesley and others have set the bar really high when it comes to sportster mods. They are truly great machines.

I however, like so many, am not blessed with a large workshop; drill press; lathes and cnc machines. I have simple home repair tools and a modest mechanics tool chest/cart. I have a small forge, a large vise and access to a tig welder. That my friends, is what I will use to put together my Multi Purpose Sportster.

The best category my sporty fits in will probably be a scrambler. But that is not the intent. My intention is to assemble the parts and fabrications to build a sportster that can: 1. be a daily rider; 2. accomplish modest to slightly difficult adventure touring. 3. be able to ride 2 up comfortably for a weekend.
My wife and I plan to pull the sporty on a trailer behind our RV. We'll make base camp and use the Sportster to hopefully explore most of North America.

My build will be in two phases; Phase I will be the modification of the sportster. Phase II will be the fabrication of the rack and luggage system; a trailer to tow behind the MPS; and last, a trailer to carry the MPS and gear behind the RV.

To those who may be curious; this is my RV, "the Torq Monster", a 2004 Dodge dually, 4x4, Cummins turbo; piggybacked with a Coachman Ranger slide in camper.

Before we go on; keep in mind that the first several post's will be pretty much word for word the ones I used on XL. Some of you might find my discussions redundant and a bit parochial. Never the less, this thread is for those like me; newbies who would like to try something similar with limited resources. I strongly encourage any suggestions or advice along the way; just remember the target audience. Wrench monkey's like me who can barely turn a nut without stripping it








I started this build back in April with a 2002 sportster 883XLH I purchased with 6,005 miles on it. The price was very good which would allow me to begin making a few changes. I road my sportster as is for about a month because I wanted to get a feel for how it handled in it's current configuration. One thing I found very quickly was that I loved the fairing at higher speeds running the interstate; but abhorred it in windy conditions. I found in wind, it acted like a sail pushing me around a bit. So it came off, and I decided to ride awhile without the windshield. I also began to remove chrome.



The chrome crash bar was replaced with a powder coated version and my first big purchase for the bike was a Mustang seat and pillion. This made huge difference and now my wife could begin riding with me.





I also took a gander at the air cleaner and was pleasantly surprised to find this….



Not sure of the make, it resembles a Performance Machine, but I have been unable to locate any mfg markings. The air filter itself was a mixed bag. K&N no longer makes this filter. So, I cleaned the filter and put it back on until I could come up with a solution for a replacement air filter.

April and May rolled by and I realized it was time to replace tires. I had been doing my home work and was reading all the threads on dual sportsters. Most were replacing the rear 16" wheel with a 18" so there would be a better selection of dual sport tires. This proposition in my mind was too expensive. So my search began for tires that would fill the role on stock Sportster wheels. Trust me when I say, I looked at almost every tire mfg. for solutions. I didn't want big knobby off road tires, but something that would do the job in a credible way both on and off road. The second feature I wanted was a taller tire. This would be one way I could very inexpensively increase ground clearance with no modification to the bike itself(well almost). Many of the companies that I looked at I would actually loose ground clearance over the stock tire. I finally gave a serious look at Shinko and Firestone. Shinko has a a number of tires that would fit the bill but I was going to have mismatched tires. That in of itself it not bad, and some argue it works well for them. Ultimately it wasn't the way I wanted to go. I finally settled on The Firestone ANS military tires; 16-500 for the rear and 19-400 for the front.





I ordered them from Coker tire and was getting ready to purchase tire irons and rim protectors when my wife put the brakes on:roll eyes:. She made it clear that if she was going to be riding on the back of this thing, those tires were going on by somebody who new what they were doing.:surrender Guy's the secret to a happy marriage is "listen to your wife".

I took deep sigh and proceeded to try and finish what I had started. I was in the middle of putting a sissy bar on the bike. Now, this addition has nothing to do with a multipurpose/dual sport bike. It had everything to do with making my wife happy. She wanted a bar behind her seat because she had a fear of sliding off. I looked at hundreds of bars and none were to my liking. Either too tall, or all chromed and gaudy, or just cheesy modular crapola IMHO of course. I finally ran across a company selling bars on ebay, and theirs had a striking resemblance to the stock Dyna wide glide bar. I loved this bar, but could not find one to fit a Sportster.



I gave them a call and they were willing to make one for my sportster(MPS). It was a little pricey but fit the bill nicely.



It had arrived a couple of days before my tires and I was attempting to get it installed before the tires were delivered. But the strut covers and the and the studs to the taillights were giving me a fit. Out of frustration I stopped and reassembled the lights and decided I would have Cool Springs HD install the bar while they were putting new shoes on the MPS. Wise decision. Momma was happy!!





Before I get into the next modification I want to keep talking tires. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to use my stock wheels in order to keep cost down. Certainly there are more options for 17 and 18" rear wheels and 19 and 21" front wheels. However, off road/dual sport tires for 16" wheels isn't quite the desert it's made out to be. The four companies that in my opinion offer viable options are Avon( Speedmaster and MK II series); Firestone(Military ANS series); Shinko(multiple tires at great prices, have to mix tread patterns); and Golden Tyre. Golden Tyre I discovered a little late. They are a serious contender for my next set of tires. They are one of few companies I have found that makes a dual sport tire that will fit the 16 rear and 19 front. Don't get me wrong, I reeealy like the Firestones but Golden has my attention. I also want to qualify my list by saying that many other tire mfg.'s make one size here and one size there, which puts you in the position of mixing tires from different companies. Not really a bad thing or a deal breaker for keeping the stock wheels; just a bit tricky at times.

Here are the links(Firestone is found under Coker Tire, they seem to have an exclusive with FS for some reason).

http://www.avonmoto.com

http://www.cokertire.com/popular-tir...otorcycle.html

http://www.goldentyreusa.com/GT_201_DualSport.html

http://www.shinkotireusa.com

LATE ADDITION: I had forgotten about the Duro tires as well. They have received a mix bag of reviews, but are viable contenders. They offer classic tires and off road/dual sport for 16 and 19 wheels.

http://www.durotire.com/tires/tabid/...1/default.aspx

http://www.durotire.com/tires/tabid/...3/default.aspx

When I had the Firestone's mounted I knew the front fender wouldn't fit, but wasn't sure what the final clearance needed to be. A bracket was going to have to be fabricated so the front tire would clear the fender. So when they rolled the MPS out of the garage I thought "man, that looks kinda cool".





But as fate would have it; it started raining right before I left the Cool Springs HD. The ride home was very "uncool". While on the ride I considered all the mods I wanted to make to both the front and rear fenders. I really liked the look of the new Sportster rear fender and I was going to bob mine to give it the same profile. I was also going to bob a couple of inches off the front so it would "balance" out. As "Wanted dead or Alive" was ringing in my ears; the needle scratched across the vinyl on the ole' Victrola and plan A came to a screeching halt. Time to develop plan B. I decided then and there to keep every inch of real-estate on the fenders.

Plan B was most inconvenient since I already had my turn signals and cafe racer tail light sitting on my desk waiting for plan A to be completed. After getting home I began working on a set of brackets to raise the fender 1". Using my electric miter saw, 1/4" drill, and my Fein Multimaster(greatest power tool ever made)





I created these two brackets out of some steel stock I purchased at Home Depot a few years ago


.







A little rattle can primer and semi-gloss black and I now have 2 brackets ready for installation.









Took me a long afternoon from start to finish, brackets raise the fender 1" and installed without a hitch. Okay getting late. I'll talk more about plan B, my simple air cleaner fix and painting with rattle cans on my next post.

Rod
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My Multi Purpose Sportster (MPS)

rodteague screwed with this post 01-22-2014 at 10:07 PM
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:14 PM   #2
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In my earlier post I said that the air cleaner was a mixed bag. I was glad to see that it was a high performance; but, K&N had quit making the filter. So, having a spare available that was clean and oiled was going to be difficult.





After some research I found that my filter was "replaced" with this filter. part #H093A6. It is a little smaller than my old one which is not a big deal. However, it is mounted to the backing plate using 4 small bolts. Looking at the top 2 pics you'll notice that my air cleaner set up has no holes to mount the filter, and my filter is held in place by the 2 threaded studs that also mount the cover. The filter is sealed by being sandwiched between the cover and backing plate.



The good news was the larger holes lined up perfectly with the cover mounts. There was also a small gap between the top of the mounts and the backside of the metal plate on the the filter. This meant that the filter could also seal properly on the backing plate. On newer sportsters the filter acts as the mount for the cover. This creates a problem on my set up because the "cover bolts" bottom out on the filter plate and can't properly tighten to seal the filter gasket to the backing plate.(thats a mouthful)



The solution was very simple. I used a 5/16" drill bit and removed the threads. I also filled the four mounting holes with small stainless bolts and stainless nylon lock nuts. I have run the modified filters for over 2,000 miles with no issues.













The really nice thing I like about the newer K&N filter is that it can be run without the cover. It gets dirty a little quicker so I generally run it with the cover.


Moving on to some more low hanging fruit. Removed the strut covers and replaced the bolts with stainless hardware. Found these swing arm spools and installed them on the fender struts. They will make good bungee attachments and will be the foundation for my luggage rack in Phase II. More on that later.







Replaced the the clutch cover with a stock cover; used a little rattle can spray paint in black





Biltwell Moto bars arrived along with a Black chrome gas cap. Replaced the chrome "born to ride" cap. Trying to subdue the chrome on the MPS. Got these all installed and had planned to relocate my turn signals the next weekend when disaster struck second weekend in August.





I ride to work nearly every day and I have to pass a SEC University campus 4 blocks from the hospital where I work. A little coed pulled out and stopped almost half way into my lane. I didn't hit her SUV, but managed to swerve enough to miss the front end of her truck. However, it had been raining an hour earlier and the pavement was still a little slick. You know what happened next:frownthre My sporty slipped out from under me, and as I saw it skipping down the street, I hit the pavement.

Bike suffered minor damage; lost one mirror, left side foot peg, both front running/signal lights, scrapped up the clutch lever, and knocked the front forks out of alignment. I suffered a torn rotator cuff on my left shoulder and a little road rash. Thank God I was wearing my leather jacket. Thankfully I was also in the process of slowing down for the stop light a block ahead of me. This little gal was pulling out a half a block from the red light on a side street. Made some tactical errors in judgement that day right after the accident. Should have taken a picture of where her vehicle was stopped in my lane and a pic of my sporty where it came to rest. I let her move her truck and I got my bike of the road due to rush hour traffic. BIG MISTAKE!!!! Lets just say….. perky, tearful, coed always trumps angry white bearded biker type. She denied she even pulled out in front of me. WOW!!! How stupid could I have been. I'll save this rant for another post. Still pisses me off.











So I took the ole sporty to Cool Springs HD. I had them check the bike out and realign the forks. I wanted to be sure the fork tubes were still in good shape. All things checked out and it was time to start the mods that were going to turn my stock sportster into my Multi Purpose Sportster. I had feared the handle bars were bent from the crash;



after removing them they were still in perfect alignment. Since the MPS is my daily driver I had to get her up and operational asap. I had ordered a Dart fly screen and a speedo/headlight lowering bracket a couple of weeks before the crash and was going to do all these mods at the same time. As luck would have it, they hadn't arrived in time.





Got everything stripped down and removed all the broken parts. And prepped the headlamp bracket for refinish.





Used a little rattle can on the headlamp bracket and got the Biltwell moto bars installed. Fortunately the stock grips were unscathed from the crash and I was able to salvage one mirror. She was ready to roll minus the turn signals.



So, as fate would have it, the Dart fly screen arrived a couple of days later. Oh, well. It installed without any problems and I was very pleased with the performance.







It's amazing how well this little screen deflects wind, and there was a noticeable difference in the agility of the MPS. Much improved over the larger windshield and there was a noticeable difference over the naked bike as well. Made the decision that week; that I would never have a motorcycle without a fly screen.



After riding the MPS for about a week I got an email from Chainsickle that my bracket had shipped. I was actually excited that it had arrived after my initial fly screen installation because I would be able to compare the performance of the screen once it was lowered.



Went to work installing the bracket; fairly straight forward with good diagrams and instructions. The only hitch was I had to flip the fly screen brackets and adjust the mounting angle slightly. This was accomplished easily enough with some wooden blocks and a vise; bent the angles slightly and she went back on like she belonged there.






The performance did not change; at least that I could notice. The look, however was dramatic. At least in my eye. The lowering bracket really gives the sporty a lower streamlined look. I always thought that once small fairings and fly screens were installed on a sportster it made them look as if they were wearing a "bishops hat" :loll3 . And mine was no different; until I installed the bracket. Better curb appeal with all the performance benefits. A big win win.



Here are a few pics fly screen removed from the brackets. The chainsickle bracket lowers the instruments by mounting them on top of the triple tree. You use the stock instrument mount. it will lower the instruments 2.25"





A pic I posted earlier that demonstrates the difference in height and position



The headlight bracket(eyebrow) is lowered 2.25" by mounting it below the top triple tree. A spacer for each mount bolt is used below. The next pic I had to use a flash so the spacer could be seen more clearly. The lowering bracket comes with all hardware.



couple more post's and we'll be caught up.

Regards

Rod
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:21 PM   #3
rodteague OP
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After I got soaked with road grime while riding without a front fender, I went to plan B in an attempt to make my stock fenders useful and have better curb appeal. I posted the bracket I made for the front fender but had yet to post how I addressed the rear fender. I had planned to bob the rear to the same profile as the newer sportster fenders. I had a cafe taillight already purchased along with signal lights. I returned both, and set out to find a lower profile taillight and a bracket for my license plate. I never have liked the way the rear tail light looked on the sportster. Looks like a big hog snout.:



I finally settled on a low profile LED taillight with smoke lens and a lay down plate holder from Drag Specialties. Gives the whole bike a leaner profile.



Next on the list was to make the MPS a little more "chrome less";) I was having a hard time finding a used battery cover that I could paint or even one in black so I decided to make my own. I made a pattern out of a manila folder. The hole in the center was to compensate for the gold eagle riveted to the outside of the current one. Traced it on a piece of flat aluminum stock I bought at Lowes…….



……..cut it out with a pair of tin snips and made my bends in a large vise. I also used wood blocks to keep from marring the surface. Roughed the surface with steel wool and painted with rattle can primer then semi gloss black………..



Came out pretty good.ana

Notice also, that the fuse box cover is black now, and not chrome(refer to pics in first post). I replaced the fuse box shortly after acquiring the sporty. Seems one of the previous owners used a wood screw to replace a lost machine screw. Turned the brass threads to fubar. The new box and cover only cost me $10 from an auto salvage. Bonus, it came with a nearly new looking black cover.




After my accident I decided to create a way to store my registration and insurance card on the bike. I didn't want to pay the ridiculous prices for the chrome tubes attached to the license plate. So I made my own from a beer bottle

The one I used is a sample aluminum bottle(left) I had lying around from another project. You could also use any type of aluminum bottle, soda would be good too. And, if you liked the graphics(like the energy drink) you wouldn't have to paint it.



So, I picked up a bracket and and hose clamp at the hardware store.



Shaped the bracket to fit the front down tube and bottle; rattle canned it semi gloss black.



Mounted it to the down tube on the left side.



Rattle canned the bottle semi gloss black; used 2 larger, thin hose clamps to hold in place. Now I have a cheap, but, kick ars "note in a bottle" for about a buck fifty.



Moving on…...


Since my front signal lights were damaged in the crash I opted to replace all four signals with mini's. I spent a lot of time looking at various options. From mini LED's to mini bullet halogens. The better quality signals were going to run on average, around $250-$500 for a set of 4. I finally settled on the micro 1000 mini halogens from Kellermann. A german company. I chose them because they had more mounting options for the Harley Davidson's; and, they were not charging as much for post's and adapters as they were for the lights. All total I spent about $250. It was all pretty straight forward and that's how I like it. Installing the lights was pretty simple; black was ground, white was hot. BTW These mini's can't be adapted as running lights and that was okay, all I needed was the turn signals.




Micro 1000's as they come in the box. Aluminum flat stock I used for the Front mounts on the triple tree"s; and smaller post's that would leave a leaner profile than the rubber based post's that came with the lights.



Top is the threaded(powder coated) post compared to the rubber based post; it's a little smaller.



Comparison of lights with the different post's attached





Front mounts completed and painted



Mount in place with signals attached



White to purple, black to black. Spliced using red crimp connectors.



Not good pics; I re-routed the lights under the cables to keep the plastic conduit from crimping. I purposefully left about 3/8" of post protruding so that the conduit could be attached using small zip ties.







Put the lights on flasher mode so I could get pics of both lights lit up.



The smaller bases fit perfectly over the holes that the stock wiring fed thru. They look like they were meant to be there.





Rear installation was easy; I used the stock wiring harness from the old lights. I have been very pleased with the look and performance of these lights. I would highly recommend them and they are considerably less expensive than comparable lights from Joker Machine; Dennis Kirk; RSD etc etc.


I mentioned earlier that I lost a mirror in the accident; the right mirror was untouched, so I flipped it and mounted it underside on the left. Rode with it like that for a couple of months and then painted it a few weeks ago. I really like this position for the mirrors. Here are a few before and after painting pics.







One of the last items I replaced were the foot pegs. I had looked at MX pegs from various makers and decided they were too expensive. So I decided to try making my own.



Many of you will recognize these pegs. They are axel pegs for bmx bikes. I have several sets of these lying around; so I decided to convert a pair for my MPS.





I first had to cut them down; can't remember the angle. I eyeballed them on my miter saw, locked it down and began cutting. Ground the rough edges….



Used the rattle can primer and semi-gloss black; and now I had the beginnings of a pair of custom foot begs.



I then enlarged the threaded holes so they would accept a pair of clevis' that I picked up from Biltwell for $20 and change.





The clevis was a little longer than the depth of the holes; so I cut a 1" spacer in half…...





….dropped it over the end of the threaded part of the clevis…….



…….added a stainless flat washer and lock washer……...



I now had 2 foot pegs ready for installation; cost me around $25 for the pair.



I've been riding them for about 2 months now without any issues.

That, for the most part, catches me up with all the mods I've done to date. Next post will be the rear suspension I installed yesterday. Thanks for looking.

Rod
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:28 PM   #4
rodteague OP
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The rear shocks arrived last week; seems the heavy duty front springs are on back order until the end of Feb. Installation was pretty straight forward; use the spacers provided for your year model sportster. The 413's were developed by Progressive for the sportster, to be used for dirt and flat track. They also have off road apps as well. 413's come in 15" and 15.75" lengths and are considerably larger in diameter than the stock HD shocks.



The 2 sets of bolts are upgrades I picked up at a wholesaler down the road from my house. I have made it a mission to replace all bolts and fasteners with stainless when available. They didn't have the stainless bolts I was looking for, so I replaced the upper stock, grade 5 bolts with grade 8 zinc plated ones. Lower bolts were zinc grade 8 and I replaced them as well due to corrosion.



I also kept the stock outer spacers on the top.





Not a great pic; but it shows the muffler is in the way and doesn't have enough clearance to get the bottom of the shock installed.



I removed the slip on; bolted the bottom of the shock up and then adjusted the muffler mount and slip on to clear.











The shocks took about 30 min's to install, and that gave me just enough daylight to take the MPS for a test run. Handling is a lot more responsive with no real noticeable improvement in ride softness. Good news is, the shocks are not bottoming out like the stock ones did. Ground clearance; with the shocks and tires installed; is 8 3/8" to the bottom of the channel steel cross members and 8" to the bottom of the muffler. That a is a 2" improvement over stock GC. I am pleased to say the least.

Next up: 1. front fork spring replacement; 2. install rubber fork boots; 3. paint lower forks; 4. fabricate a skid plate; 5. install or build a 2:1 exhaust; 6. install a tach and fabricate a bracket/mount; 7. fabricate a mount for my iPhone/gps; 8. fabricate a fork brace; 9. install a belt tensioner; 10. LONGER KICK STAND!!! Once these are completed then it's on to phase II.

Thanks for following


Rod

PS Forgot to mention; published travel on the 413"s is 5.20". HD's spec sheet on the 2002 883XLH shows rear travel to be 3.62". A 1.58" improvement. Current seat height sits so close to 32" that I'm calling it 32" : Thats a 3.8" increase from stock. Remember I also put a mustang seat on it which contributes over half the change in height.

a few more pics of the MPS







Rod
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Old 01-22-2014, 11:40 PM   #5
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I'm subscribed

I am thinking of doing something very similar with a 2008 Nightster. I appreciate all the homework you have put in on this project and then sharing it.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:29 AM   #6
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commendable improvements
and pleasing to the eye
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:12 AM   #7
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Excellant work log ! I had a 'Sporty' for four years and it was one of the best bikes i've ever had, wish i had it still...j.f.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:41 PM   #8
Ed_in_miami
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Sweet bike!!!
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:07 PM   #9
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Cool!

I'll be following this thread... Glad you posted here. I've posted some things about my Sporty over on xlforum too, since it is Sportster specific. But mine isn't so much a "build" as just some mods to suspension and brakes, and a few other little things, so I didn't feel it warranted a build thread here, although I have posted much of it in the "Go Sportster" thread along the way. I spend MUCH more time here than xlforum so I highly doubt I'd have ever seen your build there.

Man! That sucks about the crash, but glad you made it without too much damage to you or the bike.

I know you said you don't want to spend too much to change the wheels, but due to the popularity of the adventure touring segment, a 17"R/19F combo has a huge selection of tires that fit your scrambler definition. Been a while since I've priced things but all you need is a 17" rim and custom spokes for the rear. You're already set on the 19" front, right? I mean, you spent $250 on turn signals! Not that there's anything wrong with that! I mean they ARE cool as hell, but still, it isn't exactly a budget conscious choice now is it? But, if you're happy with your wheels and tires now... Just a thought.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you do the luggage since I'm at the starting point of doing a semi-custom luggage solution for my Sporty. I think I pretty much have my plan ironed out, but who knows? I may steal some of your ideas too...

It may be a little late for my recommendation to help you now, Rod, but I'll throw it out there for the possible benefit to others.

I've posted about it in other threads in the past, so if you've seen it before, just let your eyes glaze over and skip the following...

One of the best new tools I bought this past year when I started modifying my Sportster was the Harbor Freight powder coat machine. When fabricating smaller brackets and parts, or just getting rid of chrome, it is the ticket!

Powder coat is generally much more durable than rattle can paint (resistant to fuel and other solvents too), and it completely cures in mere minutes instead of days. No noxious fumes, and no concerns of overspray getting on things, so it can even be done in the garage. Doesn't attract dust or bugs like wet paint either. Powder is cheap too, so it ends up being cheaper than buying decent rattle can paint in the long run. It's super easy to apply without runs or drips too. I've only used matte black powder (also from HF) so far but I've been quite impressed with the finish quality.

One of the cool things is that you can fab a part, powder it, bake it, let it cool, and it's ready to mount. Less than an hour start to finish. Yeah, I like the immediate gratification part of being able to mount my parts soon after completion.

I picked the unit up for around 50 bucks with a 20% off coupon that always seems to be available from HF. The jar of powder was less than $10, and goes a long way.

I have a larger compressor but it's an oil type and I don't want to worry about contaminating the powder. The powder coat unit doesn't require high pressure or high volumes of air though so I use just one of those little cheap dry type compressors with the small 1 or 2 gallon tanks. Think I paid $50 for it a few years ago, before I got the larger one, just to air up tires and such. What I'm saying is that it doesn't require a big compressor like a spray gun or anything.

It's one of those things that once I used it the first time, I thought, "why the hell didn't I buy this sooner?" I could have used this thing SO many times in the past and can't imagine not having one now.

Keep the updates coming! And stay away from those coeds! They're fun, but are SO much trouble!
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:38 PM   #10
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Thanks guys for the compliments. Addressing a few things; one goal I have in this modification process is not to loose the "Sportster" look. I have always felt that the Sportster has one of the highest curb appeals of any bike in it's displacement. I still want my adventure bike to look and feel like good ole' American iron

Second, although there appears to be(on the surface) more tire options for 17"-18" wheels. My research really dose not bear it out. If one looks hard enough there are plenty of top shelf options for those of us who choose to keep stock wheels. Which free's up funds for better quality components elsewhere. I actually took a guess earlier on what I spent on my turn signals. The actual cost, including shipping and all components needed to install, was less than $220. I haven't short changed myself on tires or wheels and and have the option now to upgrade my lighting.

When putting together a project I always keep in mind "cost vs benefit". That in and of itself is subjective. But it demands that one remain as objective as possible in order to put the best possible bike on the road and still remain under budget. My value judgment is that good rubber and good lighting are of paramount importance; and I have not had to skimp on either. I purchased the cheaper lighting at first, thinking, "how big a difference is there really?". There is a huge difference and I do not want to run the risk of component failure and not be properly illuminated.

Suspension was another component that I worked thru "cost vs benefit". I began by looking at Progressive; Burly; Works; Ohlins; and some cheaper shocks by Dime city. With out changing the geometry of the swing arm, I needed a rear shock that would give me the best combination of ground clearance and travel at the best price.

Works and Ohlins gave me about an +/-inch more travel than Progressive or Burly but at a cost of $500-$700 more for that inch. I couldn't get the ground clearance from Ohlins with out getting into a more custom shock, which would cost me 1/3 of what I paid for the Sportster. Works gave me the ground clearance but still at $500 more than either of the other two. Not to diminish the more expensive shocks; but the question begs "Why?". Do I really need either of the two for the type of riding I plan on doing? The answer was a resounding NO!

The Progressive 413's and the Burly Stilleto's would do the job admirably. When comparing the two; their specs are virtually identical. If I had to guess, the Burly's are probably made by Progressive, at the least they are close copies. The Progressive 413's became the clear front runner because of not only cost($50 less), but history. From what I can tell both by review, and race history, the 413's rate highly in cost vs benefit.

I meticulously went through this process on mirrors, handle bars, grips, foot pegs, rattle can vs powder coat, and even my fly screen, the list goes on. My choices may or not be for everyone. Occasionally the decision distilled to, "What do I want?", and boom! I had my mustang seat and sissy bar

I guess the point here is, I'm trying to put this bike together on what I currently have available. Let's face it, money doesn't grow on trees and most of us would like to see a build that won't require adding more "things" to the garage( that's one of the reason's I enjoyed the Burly Cafe build so much). I can rationalize it all I want and think, "yeah, I can use that later on something else"(I did that on my boat restoration and spent more money on tools than parts, and still haven't finished the boat) But will I really? Maybe, maybe not. Only time will tell.

In phase II for example, I may be adding more "things" to my tool box, depending on how the project goes. If I see a commercial benefit(there is that ole "cost vs benefit" thing again) you may see me adding powder coating; and a tube bender

Thanks again for all the compliments and input. Keep it coming. Whether I have considered it or not I'll be gracious and let you know. Next post I'll step through how to get the most out of the old rattle can spray paint. I have to put together another "Note in a Bottle" for my brothers Heritage soft tail. It will keep me busy until the front springs arrive. I might also put together a real list of "adventure" tire options for the stock sporty. I have it some where just need to find it.

Regards

Rod
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rodteague screwed with this post 01-23-2014 at 08:54 PM
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy View Post
Cool!

I'll be following this thread... Glad you posted here. I've posted some things about my Sporty over on xlforum too, since it is Sportster specific. But mine isn't so much a "build" as just some mods to suspension and brakes, and a few other little things, so I didn't feel it warranted a build thread here, although I have posted much of it in the "Go Sportster" thread along the way. I spend MUCH more time here than xlforum so I highly doubt I'd have ever seen your build there.

Man! That sucks about the crash, but glad you made it without too much damage to you or the bike.

I know you said you don't want to spend too much to change the wheels, but due to the popularity of the adventure touring segment, a 17"R/19F combo has a huge selection of tires that fit your scrambler definition. Been a while since I've priced things but all you need is a 17" rim and custom spokes for the rear. You're already set on the 19" front, right? I mean, you spent $250 on turn signals! Not that there's anything wrong with that! I mean they ARE cool as hell, but still, it isn't exactly a budget conscious choice now is it? But, if you're happy with your wheels and tires now... Just a thought.

I'm looking forward to seeing how you do the luggage since I'm at the starting point of doing a semi-custom luggage solution for my Sporty. I think I pretty much have my plan ironed out, but who knows? I may steal some of your ideas too...

It may be a little late for my recommendation to help you now, Rod, but I'll throw it out there for the possible benefit to others.

I've posted about it in other threads in the past, so if you've seen it before, just let your eyes glaze over and skip the following...

One of the best new tools I bought this past year when I started modifying my Sportster was the Harbor Freight powder coat machine. When fabricating smaller brackets and parts, or just getting rid of chrome, it is the ticket!

Powder coat is generally much more durable than rattle can paint (resistant to fuel and other solvents too), and it completely cures in mere minutes instead of days. No noxious fumes, and no concerns of overspray getting on things, so it can even be done in the garage. Doesn't attract dust or bugs like wet paint either. Powder is cheap too, so it ends up being cheaper than buying decent rattle can paint in the long run. It's super easy to apply without runs or drips too. I've only used matte black powder (also from HF) so far but I've been quite impressed with the finish quality.

One of the cool things is that you can fab a part, powder it, bake it, let it cool, and it's ready to mount. Less than an hour start to finish. Yeah, I like the immediate gratification part of being able to mount my parts soon after completion.

I picked the unit up for around 50 bucks with a 20% off coupon that always seems to be available from HF. The jar of powder was less than $10, and goes a long way.

I have a larger compressor but it's an oil type and I don't want to worry about contaminating the powder. The powder coat unit doesn't require high pressure or high volumes of air though so I use just one of those little cheap dry type compressors with the small 1 or 2 gallon tanks. Think I paid $50 for it a few years ago, before I got the larger one, just to air up tires and such. What I'm saying is that it doesn't require a big compressor like a spray gun or anything.

It's one of those things that once I used it the first time, I thought, "why the hell didn't I buy this sooner?" I could have used this thing SO many times in the past and can't imagine not having one now.

Keep the updates coming! And stay away from those coeds! They're fun, but are SO much trouble!
Randy

My last post wasn't really aimed at you; because I generally find your observations to be spot on! Your comments opened the door for me to give some insight on how I decided to pursue this build. After I finish the MPS I hope to start on a bobber. At that point, I'll probably be immersed in all kinds of new toys Keep posting, I know everyone will gain as much from your insight as I do. Thanks again!

Regards

Rod
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodteague View Post
Randy

My last post wasn't really aimed at you; because I generally find your observations to be spot on! Your comments opened the door for me to give some insight on how I decided to pursue this build. After I finish the MPS I hope to start on a bobber. At that point, I'll probably be immersed in all kinds of new toys Keep posting, I know everyone will gain as much from your insight as I do. Thanks again!

Regards

Rod
No problem, Rod. Everyone has their own priorities, tastes, likes and dislikes. That's one reason I enjoy reading various build threads... because it gives me the opportunity to see so many different ways of approaching things, and allows me to "steal" what I like.

I definitely understand budget too. Hell, I'm the consummate cheap-ass. Budget and an individual's priorities, tastes, etc, go hand in hand too, so we all have to compromise somewhere along the way if we are to keep within a set budget. You're probably better at that than me as I have a tendency to start out with good intentions and then end up bumping myself here and there on individual items until the total exceeds my original expenditure plan. That's why I NEVER add up my receipts at the end of a project!

As far as tires go... Honestly, I haven't researched 16" tires too much, so you know far more than I do on the subject. One of my other bikes (my primary one actually) is an R1150GS. I guess owning that bike for a number of years has put me in the position to read more threads and posts about things pertaining to it and other similar bikes. And of course that puts me in the position to be more familiar with tires commonly recommended by the ADV set. When I started mentally building my version of a Sportster based scrambler I looked around a bit at tire selection of those most common tires at the forefront of my mind. While this research did show other viable options, it also showed (me at least) that the 17/19 combo offered the widest selection. In the specific tires I was interested in at least. LOTS of current machines use a 17" rear. In years past 18" was more common but that's not true today. I also consider not just what may be available from a manufacturer, but also what may be more readily available at dealerships should I ever need a tire while on the road. With 17" rears being so common, pretty much any dealer will have something in a 17" tire, even if not specifically what I'm running at the time. !6"? Not so much since HD is the only one I know of that commonly uses that rear rim size. And since most HD riders aren't interested in dualsport type tires.... Then again, I guess in a pinch, since HD dealerships and HDs in general are so common, you could always find a 16" rear of some sort on the road too, so maybe that'll be a wash on the whole "while on the road" thing... In the end I'd say it probably has more to do with my own personal tire choices than anything else.

Another aspect of changing rims is reducing unsprung weight. You can get aluminum rims and spoke kits from Buchanan for about 5 bills. Might be able to save a few bucks elsewhere, but I haven't gotten that far yet. The aluminum rim is lighter than the stocker, and generally speaking a larger rim allows the use of a tire with a lower aspect ratio. Less sidewall makes for a lighter tire. While we're not talking high performance machines here, lowering unsprung weight does help suspension action and other things. Lighter tires also are easier to accelerate and stop due to lower inertia, and generally handle better due to lower gyroscopic forces.

Of course, again, for me, it can also be a cosmetic thing. I just like the way an 18" rear looks on a couple of scrambler builds I've seen. That's what led me to researching tire choice actually. I wanted an 18" rear, but in the end my research pushed me to 17" due to tire availability in the tires I want.

And by tire availability, in some cases I mean available in a wider range of widths and aspect ratios too. Mixing and matching aspect ratios gives you another tuning variable that can allow fine tuning chassis pitch and handling characteristics.

And then we're back at the whole budget thing...

As I said before, I tend to bump myself... A few dollars here and a few dollars there, and my mental build plan adds up. So in the end, I'm still dreaming about my Sportster build, and you're RIDING yours!

It's all about choices. Not many people make stupid choices, really. A lot of people seem to think that way since I see that attitude all the time on forums. And hell, I'll admit, I've thought that way myself at times (not about you!). But in truth, while certain things may be a "stupid choice" for me and my wants, the person that made that choice made the best choice for them and their individual needs and desires.

Enough about tires...

I know what you mean about buying tools. There are a lot of tools that I'd love to have but can't justify for just a one-off project. That's the only reason I shop at HF actually. While I do appreciate quality tools, most of my cheap HF items have worked just fine for the limited use I put them to. Like you, I'm not well equipped like some other guys. I'm just a guy, in his garage with a few basic hand tools. I have a MIG welder, but only use flux core wire so far. And I'm doing good to glob two pieces of metal together. I have a drill press, a bench vise, angle grinder, files, and of course the all important assortment of hammers.

Paint...

For MANY years I've used rattle can paint for various things. My usual go-to rattle can is Rustoleum Professional, and I've had good results with it on a lot of things. And I'm sure I'll continue to use it for many things. But for most bike stuff, now that I've used it, I much prefer powder coat. Even aside from the durability thing, it's just faster and easier. I have 7 bikes in my garage right now so there's no way I want to even OPEN a can of paint in there, let alone paint anything. So, I have to go out in my back yard and hang things from a tree limb to paint. Works fine, when the weather's nice, temp, rain, wind, etc. I don't have room for a dedicated paint booth, but I have a large cardboard box that serves as my powdercoating "booth". I don't have to worry about overspray getting on any of my bikes so I'm free to coat in the garage anytime I like. That alone is a big benefit for me. Then there's the time required for paint to cure... And then,the paint I usually use is over $6 a can. Add in the primer and it begins to add up. Powder is cheap and goes a long way. In fact, although I haven't done it yet, if you want, you can collect and recycle powder from the "booth" so that you only really use the powder that actually ends up on the part you're coating. Can't do that with spray paint. To me, all things considered, PC is just a better option, and with the cost, it pays for itself in short order so the benefits actually have no "cost" How's that for a favorable cost/benefit ratio? If the equipment costs 2 or 3 hundred dollars I'd never have done it, but 50 bucks? I've already got my money's worth. If it crapped out tomorrow, I'd buy another.

Just a few thoughts... Take what you find useful and discard the rest. It's all bullshit anyway...

It's your bike. I think you're like me in that you aren't building it for anyone else. I ride what I like, not to try to fit in or gain the approval of others.

Waiting on your luggage solution....
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:33 AM   #13
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Damn! See what I mean? I'm already considering "stealing" from you!

Just checked out your signals on Kellerman's website (I was just ribbin' you on the lights, BTW), and found the Micro 1000 DF Dark. My bike has the integrated Tail/Brake/Signal on the rear. I like the integrated lights, and they don't look bad as they are, but smaller versions might look better. The Micro 1000 DF Dark version of the Kellerman indicators are of the integrated 3-in-1 type for the rear... Hmmm....

Of course, like you, lighting isn't something I want to take lightly. I want to make damn sure my tail lights are visible, my brake light is easily distinguishable, and my turn signals are noticeable. The stock setup suits me fine so I'm reluctant to change them out strictly for appearance sake. But, if these Kellerman's meet my needs for functionality.... Guess I need to do more research....

How would you rate the visibility of yours? I know that sometimes LEDs can appear very bright when viewed straight on, but not so much when viewed from oblique angles. What's your opinion on them? Also, did you use resistors or change out your flasher relay? I don't know how my lights are wired, or what would be needed to get the combo type LED units running correctly.

I know you researched these before buying, so can you point me to a good source of info?

Thanks


EDIT TO ADD:

Nevermind, I just reread your post and found that you opted for the halogen units. I also noticed that they have one version for the front that offer a running light/turn signal feature, the MICRO 1000 PL. But, they're also in LED. Still interested in the LED version just because I've read many times that they are less sensitive to vibration than halogen bulbs. Don't know if that's true, but I've seen it mentioned many times over the years.

DAMN DUDE!! What happened to all your pictures? All I'm seeing now is the little Photobucket box. Ruh Ro, looks like you've exceeded your bandwidth. Bummer!
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"some might call it a 'midlife crisis', I prefer to call it a renaissance of thought and action"... "Life is too short to do anything other than that about which you are absolutely passionate."..."Adventure is a frame of mind, set upon by action, not defined by equipment."..."It all boils down to your ability to say "SCREW IT" and really mean it"....Randy

Randy screwed with this post 01-24-2014 at 09:37 AM
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:46 AM   #14
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yeah, got a warning from photo bucket that I was getting ready to exceed. Time to upgrade

I chose the halogens because I didn't want to mess with the resistors. Installation is simple and straight forward, and they just work. Cheaper lights, unless properly sealed will eventually stop working or be inconsistent, including the LED's. Mini or Micro halogens have stood the test of time, far longer than LED's, so my confidence in them is very high. If you go the LED route, I would suggest calling Joker Machine, Dime City Cycles or Spiegler Performance(where I bought mine, they are the US distributor and will sell direct). These three companies were very helpful and were willing to spend the time discussing their products and installation process. Let me know if I can be of additional help! FYI LED's that run continuously i.e.; tail lights, running lights, head lamps, do not need resistors. I do not mind LED's in this application because there is less that can go wrong.

Well, time to upgrade my PB. Back in a few.

Regards

Rod
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rodteague screwed with this post 01-24-2014 at 12:37 PM
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:29 PM   #15
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Pics are BACK!! Upgraded my photo bucket so I have unlimited band width.

It was a good free run while it lasted. I have posted nearly 1000 pics over the last 10 years. I have web published "how to's" on most of my hobbies and interest's it would be a shame to loose all that.

If anyone is still having trouble with the pics; clear the cache on your browser; quit and then reopen the browser.

Regards

Rod
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