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Old 02-20-2014, 04:34 PM   #1
Carl Childers OP
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Question Front End Results and Maybe a Test Ride

After a few false starts with wrong parts shipped the new front end is on the Harley and now the bikes down off the work table. I'm pleased with the results, the reproduction adjustable trees from J&P Cycle have provided 5 degrees of additional rake going from 28 to 33 degrees and decreasing trail from 4.5 to 1.5 inches. 3 inch over stock fork tubes from Forking by Frank restored the bike back to level and now it's ready to start the sidecar install once my chassis and body get here.

Thing is I want to take the bike for a test ride to see how the suspension works with the pre load and oil level I have chosen but the short trail number has me concerned. It seems to me that more than a few of you out there have taken your bikes with LL or raked tree front ends and have ridden them to the repair shop or the like solo with the car taken off. Just how squirrelly was it. It seems that at relatively slow speeds, 50 mph and under shouldn't be a problem. I'm looking for input here before I take it out this Saturday morning for a shake down cruise.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:39 PM   #2
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The bike will handle very quick, think a turn and you'll be there. With only 1.5 inches of lead you almost assuredly will need a steering damper.Please tell me you have reasonably wide handlebars,,,,?
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:49 PM   #3
Carl Childers OP
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Yes I have soft tail style bars on the bike already not only for the retro look but for the wide width, I tend to run broad through the shoulders so wide bars suit me better which sounds like another plus in this case .
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:42 PM   #4
Carl Childers OP
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So here's the update in case anyone did have interest in this thread. Seeing as I've always been the kid who runs with scissors I headed out this afternoon to see just what I had. What actually made me decide to test it out beyond the need to see if all was well with an untried front suspension and adjustments was the nagging feeling of not having a baseline for the handling of the motorcycle prior to the side car attachment. any weird handling problems later on would have me second guessing the prior work on the bike so off I went. As Bob predicted steering was "RIGHT NOW" quick but staying under 30mph and making the mental adjustments I picked up speed gradually and racked up 30 miles on back roads but kept it to 50 mph and no sign of a tank slapper at those sedate speeds. Would I want to ride the bike a lot solo with this set up? Not really but I do feel it was worth it when it comes time to set up for the side car and feel confident that I didn't have too much preload on the springs, not enough oil for the extended forks or my steering head bearings had too much play.

I can't recommend this to others but for me it was do-able.
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Old 02-22-2014, 06:24 PM   #5
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Glad your test ride was both productive and you felt comfortably in control. A bit of pre load on the neck bearings is desirable for hack mule duty. It will lessen the chance of head shake and because you'll be steering it a lot ( compared to solo) you won't bugger the races.

The more ridgid you can make the rigging also has a huge effect on head shake or no head shake. An awful lot of hack outfits have steering dampers purely because the rigging and or alignment suck. Some outfits do need them; old 1200 Wings love to shake their bars.

In your case the seriously diminished trail will likely make the front end feel loose enough you you may very well need a damper.The smaller, adjustable units the cafe racers use do a fine job. Or you could use a giant, heavy,ugly VW Super Beetle damper like most do.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:28 PM   #6
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You are more courageous than me! I did all the front work on my Softail but chickened out of riding it solo!! I'll ride once I install the car!!
BTW: no pics: it never happened!! ;-)
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:09 AM   #7
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:16 AM   #8
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Dan, How did you get all tose selfies into one frame?!
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:22 AM   #9
Dan Alexander
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magic!!
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Old 02-23-2014, 07:33 AM   #10
Melrone
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I've ridden my 1150GSA without the Ural on it..I will say this it was kind of fun..My tug has the trailreduction & car rear wheel...It didn't steer real good,but it can be done....
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:14 AM   #11
Carl Childers OP
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Yeah, yeah, yeah, no pictures! Well you're just going to have to believe me......at least this time.


Gotta admit threads without photos have the excitement level of watching paint dry so I'll work on the picture thing more next time around.
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Old 02-24-2014, 12:35 PM   #12
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If I can do pics anybody can!!!! Even though it costs a few bucks I really like smug mug,,,,,and they help support the site,,,,,seemed like a good idea to me to give them some business,,,,,,,of course I am one of those horrible, mercinary sidecar business people,,,,,and it seems a smartass,,,,hahaha
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Childers View Post
.., As Bob predicted steering was "RIGHT NOW" quick but staying under 30mph and making the mental adjustments I picked up speed gradually and racked up 30 miles on back roads but kept it to 50 mph and no sign of a tank slapper at those sedate speeds....
I rode my '02 883R Sportster with 5* trees solo ~10 miles from the shop after some repairs with the same experience. Steering was "RIGHT NOW" quick, and I suspect a bumpy road could easily induce a tank slapper. I recall having to "help" the bars return to straight after steering inputs. Interestingly, the 5* trees on my rig not only greatly eased the steering effort, but also essentially eliminated the wobble - no steering damper needed.
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