Go Sportsters

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Bloodweiser, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    :lol3:lol3
    This sums up most ironhead owners nowadays.

    To me it's like any old tech bike, whether it's an old Kawi, BMW airhead, or ironhead Sporty. Points ignition, carbs, crappy charging systems, and all the quirks that used to be part of riding a bike, now disappeared from maintenance issues (mostly), make the old irnoheads seem hellishly unreliable.
    If you're in for a wayback machine, and for the regular maintenance, then the ironhead could work.

    I would rather have the evo for the updated parts. And if I were going to run it hard, I'd rather have the Buell lump, just because nearly every part of it is upgraded for the increased loads of performance use, or to make more power. And the blacked out engines look neato. :lol3

    I salute your rough plan. Do it!

    ETA: There are chain conversions for the newer sportsters, so you're not stuck with belt.
  2. ian03xl

    ian03xl Been here awhile

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    You'll have a lot more money tied up in an iron head just making it a reliable runner than just picking up a early 90s EVO and making it a streettracker. However if your into ironheads and don't mind more maintenance then go for it to me nothing sounds cooler than an ironhead screaming at 7000 rpm.
  3. turnitonagain

    turnitonagain Been here awhile

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    soon to be my advbike
  4. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    I'm sure I could Google it, but does somebody want to give the Cliff's Notes on "Evo"? What year range are we talking about, and what makes them more reliable and desirable? I've been creeping SearchTempest for a while now and I'm seeing very, very little in that $2500 range that Berto's talking about.
  5. kraven

    kraven Hegelian Scum

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    Ironheads were succeeded by the Evolution engines in '86. You can look the Evolution up on wiki.
  6. ian03xl

    ian03xl Been here awhile

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    '86 was the first year of the EVO and were a 4 speed until '91 then they got a 5 speed. In '04 they rubber mounted the engine and some other minor engine improvements but done away with the trap door trany and in 07 fi was introduced . That's the short of it as far as why the EVO is more reliable is because of better manufacturing practices, tighter tolerances and better materials oh and electronics are better too especially since '91 on up.
  7. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    Thanks! Everything I'm finding from that era is $3500+. Maybe I roll the dice on an ironhead if the right deal crops up...this would be a totally unnecessary third bike so I can't justify spending any real money on it.
  8. ian03xl

    ian03xl Been here awhile

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    The EVO deals are out there my buddy just picked up an 03 with 10000 miles for $2500 and another friend got a '96 for $3000 both 1200's just be patient or shoot someone a lowball offer its tough selling a used Harley right now.
  9. AZbiker

    AZbiker Crunkin' with crackers

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    xlforum.net has a lot of info on XLs.

    The Ironheads carry their weight higher--tilting one off the stand takes more effort than with an Evo.

    I'm not sure whether or not Ironheads use hydraulic lifters or not. If not, adjusting pushrods is very simple, but very frequent.

    Older Ironheads (pre '77 I think) were rh shift. The early LH shift models had problematic linkages.

    Nothing fits a '79. There is (was?) a Yahoo group for just this bike called FAMES (Fits All Models Except Seventy-nine).

    The 86-90 Evos have the stator on the clutch basket. This is less reliable then the newer 91-up design that places the stator on the crankshaft output. 91-up also got 5 Speed transmissions. If your pockets are deep enough, 91-03s can be upgraded to a 6-speed transmission from Baker.

    2000-up models have sealed bearings. If you want to convert one of these to chain, buy a sprocket for a -99 model and have the hole enlarged (I don't remember by how much, but someone on xlf will know). I did not notice any increase in vibration in my XL when I converted to chain.

    Until 2004, all 883 & 1200 Sportsters had the same clutches, primary, etc. 883s had a smaller countershaft pulley, but that was the only difference. If you want to do a conversion, a converted 883 will either make slightly more power than a stock 1200 but run much smoother, or vibrate just as much and make a bunch more power than a stock 1200 (Sport models excluded). All depends on how much you want to spend and how hard you want to hit the rev limiter.
  10. Nadgett

    Nadgett Been here awhile

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  11. theKite

    theKite Ulyssean

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    Touring on an XR? How do you find that seat?
    Rob
  12. Nadgett

    Nadgett Been here awhile

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    Firm.

    I wore a pair of bicycle shorts, and had a bit of sheepskin on the seat. You can see it better here:

    [​IMG]

    They helped a lot. We did 5 450km days.

    I was thinking of picking up a fresh one here:

    [​IMG]

    :wink:
  13. skysailor

    skysailor Rat Rider

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    You look very short in the first pic. How do you touch the ground?
    Lyle
  14. 83XLX

    83XLX Been here awhile

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    A lot of the Storz stuff that is listed for '86 and newer will fit the '82-'85 Ironhead, too, as they had basically the same frame and front end. The Ironheads made in the last half of '84 and all the '85 models had the same alternator setup as the first Evo motors, which could be trouble-prone. Before that, Ironheads had a generator charging system.

    I own an '83 Ironhead (and have had it for 22 years), and they aren't the junk many people seem to think they are. Sure, if you buy an abused one, one that hasn't been maintained, and/or one that had been "customized", you can have a mess on your hands. Find a good one, though, and it will be no more troublesome than any older bike. They have solid lifters, so the pushrods do require periodic adjustments, and the drive and primary chains need adjustment, too, but that's about all the extra care they require. The later ones had a decent electronic ignition, too, so none of that points & condenser crap.

    If you want to build in some real performance, though, an Evo is probably the way to go. There's a lot more go-fast stuff available for them, and they can make better power than a similarly-modified Ironhead because of the better head design and better cooling. Ironheads are cool, though...:D

    [​IMG]
  15. AZbiker

    AZbiker Crunkin' with crackers

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    nice!!!
  16. theKite

    theKite Ulyssean

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    I know that I have been told before, but I'm old and I forget.
    So how do I attach an image from my own computer?
    Rob
  17. AZbiker

    AZbiker Crunkin' with crackers

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    You don't.

    You need to upload it to a photo hosting site like Smugmug, picasa, or photobucket.

    After uploading the image to the hosting site, you can link to it here, or on any other site for that matter.
  18. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    Great info and a beautiful bike. I missed out on a good looking '78 Ironhead in my neighborhood because I was dithering about spending the money. Kicking myself about that today. The performance thing is irrelevant to me. Yeah it would be cool to have some fire breathing monster, but the way I ride it would just be wasted. :deal
  19. gus

    gus Been here awhile

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    Just bought this '74 XLCH. Its as close to new as you can get without going back in time 38 years. Its so nice I almost hate to ride it. I am the third owner. It was bought new in Oakland CA. The original owner had the motor gone through and other parts redone in 1997 at Sonny Bargers Motorcycle Shop and some work done at Sportster Tony's A-1 Motorcycle Repair in Oakland (I have the reciepts). The guy sold it to his Brother and the bike was stripped down and restored (not 100% original). Less than 500 miles on it since all the work was done. It came with the original owners manual and shop manual and a box of extra parts and the original take offs including the original rims. The mags are OEM factory options. It's niiiice.


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  20. gus

    gus Been here awhile

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    Another Veiw


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