How I copied everyone else's Sportster ADV build

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by CopyCat, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    My very good friend has been planning a 20K mile tour of the US using the Trans America Trail and BDR routes. Almost 80% off road. I have NO interest in spending 6 months on a bike, but I would like to do some with him. I ride almost exclusively dirt, and own a DR650 currently. I consulted the DR and it had serious objections to hauling my 300 lb self around on highways much. Looked into Africa Twins, Triumph Scramblers, and BMW GS. Holy crap!!!! $13-$20K.

    I then stumbled across some HD Sportster ADV/Scrambler builds here and got to thinking (which is usually followed by "Hold my beer and watch this"). Sportsters are cheap, relatively reliable, a hella bunch of dealers, and some of the ADV builds looked pretty cool. Never been a Harley fanboy, and generally dislike the whole "lifestyle" thing, but I negotiated a deal with my brain and started looking at Sportsters. Based on the wealth of information on ADVrider I decided to stay with a newer rigid mount for lightness mostly. Lets see, 2000 XLC 1200 with 8K miles $2100? Check.
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    #1
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  2. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    First order of business for me is a theme. I have always liked the '91 Suzuki cowls. They have a nifty but completely useless little windscreen. In Europe they were called Djebels, which mean "mountain" or "mountain range" in Arabic so the Sportster Djebel (or maybe Djebelster) it is then. I figure why reinvent the wheel and others have done all the heavy lifting so CopyCat doesnt have to. Lets go!!!!
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    #2
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  3. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    Next order of business is ride height and suspension. From following @johnwesley and @JimmyTheHog discussions it appeared that the higher the ground clearance the more problems with the swingarm angle causing chain run problems. I decided to not go crazy and keep GC around 10-11".

    After reading a thread here called " An Unholy Union" about big BMW guys using 97-99 KTM 50mm Magnum forks I decided to go with them. They are allegedly the best conventional fork ever made, are very beefy, and JTH discovered they are a direct bolt-in for the Sportster neck. Prime!!!!! These have 11" of travel and when I got them installed with the KTM triple it seems they were about 3" too long for my ride height
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    Back to the "Unholy Union" thread to learn how to shorten these. From @Solo Lobo I learned how to make a spacer to shorten and so I reduced travel to 8". Off to Konflict Motorsports for valving and springs for my weight and riding style. Ran into a problem when Alex couldnt get a spring wound for the weight of me and the bike. Caused some head scratching until we extended travel to 8.6" and now we could get a spring wound in Denmark by the KTM spring gnomes. Something to do with metric wire. Some Hot Rod Flatz on the lower legs and bam....!
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  4. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    On to rear suspension and swingarm. Based on JTH, John Wesley, and @madrider5150 I copied the 4" stretch on the swingarm they did. I have a friend who builds drag race Harleys and he offered to stretch the arm for me. Done!!! I cant weld for crap. Got this back with 3 adjustment holes for different shock lengths.
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    Now for shocks. I wanted a set of top shelf shocks with rebound and compression damping. I researched the shock angles, travel possibilities and came up with a swing ratio of 1.48 to 1 and a shock length of 16.5". I talked to a BUNCH of shock builders and all were insistent that around 4" was the maximum stroke I would get at that length. It turns out that YSS shocks gave 4 5/8" stroke and were the least expensive. Wound up with 7" rear travel. Done, and thank you John Wesley for walking me back off the ledge over these shocks.
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    #4
  5. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    I went to an 18/21" wheel combo. Used a Dyna hub to get rid of that abomination of a back wheel, and KTM front hub... All shipped off to Buchanans for Sun rims and HD stainless spokes. Spooned on Kenda Big Blocks. Copied from the BMW conversion crew at "Unholy Union" was a 320mm disc (stock is 260mm) with an HEL adapter from Germany and KTM Brembo caliper. Stock HD caliper and master on rear.
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    #5
  6. c1skout

    c1skout Long timer

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    looking great so far.......
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  7. Fast Idle

    Fast Idle Since the Sixties Supporter

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    I'm in.
    :lurk
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  8. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    And I must digress. What is it with pirates and their skulls? This thing had flippin' skulls on every....damn....place. Bolt covers, foot pegs, covers, EVERYWHERE!!!!! It wasn't in my garage 10 minutes before the dang skulls started coming off and thrown at the neighbor's dog. The only skull I want anywhere near me is the one I drink the blood of my enemies from LOL!!!
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  9. AK650

    AK650 Long timer

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    Me too. Looks interesting!
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  10. ChroMo_ZA

    ChroMo_ZA n00b

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    In fo' sho'!!
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  11. Paulie M

    Paulie M Been here awhile

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    Liking this so far.
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  12. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    Next on the hit parade: the tail section. In researching I found I was gravitating to a more traditional subframe style bike than the modified Sportster fenders and such. To me it simply looks much more "dirty". I looked around the garage and lit on the DR. Why not? I do like the way they look, the useful grab handles, the inexpensive plastics, and the world of aftermarket tail tidy stuff. I mocked up a rough frame from conduit and bits from the bolt drawer to check for fitment.It was designed to use DR650 fender and inner fender. Then off to inmate @WIsixfitty for fabrication. I can't weld for crap. Dave worked his magic:
    adv tail3.jpg adv tail4.jpg

    ADV tail1.jpg adv tail2.jpg
    It is brutally strong. When I questioned it's strength Dave invited me to stand on the subframe, so I did. Held my 300 easily. And this is what we ended up with
    tail.jpg
    #12
  13. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    Tigertygiggerty, nice I've got a feeling this is gonna be good :-)
    #13
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  14. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    Ok. We have a custom bike now, but what about a seat? I saw some Youtube videos and became very interested in thermoforming plastic. Read everything I could find then...... I used an old file cabinet for an oven and wrapped it in fiberglass insulation. Some people use oven elements but I didn't want to fart around with 220V, so I needed 110V elements.I used two (2) 1500 watt heating elements with thermostats from a smoker https://www.ebay.com/itm/283284453620?ViewItem=&item=283284453620. They use 14 amps each and my electric was too small so i ran 2 new 10 ga lines with seperate receptacles, and used 20 amp breakers
    oven.jpg
    I built a platen from 1/2" MDF, 1/4 X 2 lathes, and a peg board top. All edges and joints were sealed with caulk. I drilled two (2) holes in the bottom and ran in my vacuum lines, sealed with Gorilla tape. Like I said, I used my shop vac and a Dirt Devil i found in the dumpster. I used 1X1/4" weatherstrip to outline the area of the plastic sheet. As seen in pic I built a frame using 1X3 pine. I doweled the ends and made two (2) mirror image frames. Between them I used 1X1/4 foam weatherstrip to create a seal, and a strip of self adhesive sandpaper on the top frame to keep the plastic from creeping out of the frame. Many bolts and wing nuts to firmly clam the sheet of plastic between them.
    platen.jpg
    I built a seat mold from 3/4" clear pine. I routed the edges for reasons. The Sportster uses a little "tab" that holds the front of the seat down, I cut out a section and later opened up a slot for the "tab" to enter it. Because it kicked up in the back I read that the plastic would suck in under the lift and stretch the plastic too thin at he edges, so I used scrap and bondo to fill out the area under the tail. I needed a section over a frame rail to support the center, so I just cut out a section there. There was a small area that I needed raised to clear the fender mounts, so AI used bondo to form it. I used popsickle sticks to slightly elevate the mold
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    I set the frame with the plastic sandwich onto the top of the oven. During the heating phase the paint began burning off the cabinet and the smell of burning plastic was powerful. After about 25 minutes the plastic had drooped to about half the mold height, was very pliable, and had gone satin instead of shiny. I also noted that when it was heating it had all kind of ripples and valleys in it, but when it was ready it had relaxed into a smooth "bowl". I turned on the vacuums and set the frame onto the platen and it immediately sucked the plastic down onto the mold. I left the vacuum on while it cooled, and used compressed air to cool it also. Still took a while to cool. I removed the formed plastic from the frame and cut away unneeded material. The mold broke while getting it out of the plastic but it was a one use thing anyway. If I was going to pull repeated parts I would have to beef it up. I used a belt grinder to detail the edges.
    seat pan 5.jpg
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    View attachment 1870372
    seat pan 3.jpg
    Used DR650 seat brackets, some bumpers to elevate the rear a bit, and some knobs from @villageidiot to secure it. Fair warning: If you ask Colby for two knobs you will get 46. They are worse than Legos to step on. Imma ready to throw them at the neighbors dog, or pay him $10 to take them back.:lol3
    seat pan 4.jpg
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    And with that we are heading to the Black Hills for a week of trail hijinks. To be continued the following week.
    #14
  15. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    That is very cool! Can you post some larger photos? Some of them are too small for my old eyes.
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  16. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    FTFY
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  17. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Nah, most of us are off dial up! :-)
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  18. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer Supporter

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    Beautiful work! :clap
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  19. madrider5150

    madrider5150 Riding somewhere

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    That seat and tail section turned out really nice! I'd be tempted to copy but its way beyond my bolt together abilities!
    #19
  20. CopyCat

    CopyCat I am NOT like the others Supporter

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    W'll, if you do I have 44 ,metric knobs. I'll pay you to take them:rofl
    #20
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