Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hot Bike, August 2011 issue......

Strange how things work out sometimes. The August '11 issue of Hot Bike features a tech article I did on hardtailing the '99-back Softail frames. If you're not a regular reader of HB, and if you've contemplated doing this exact frame conversion on your Softie, the issue is well worth picking up to see exactly what a conversion like this involves, and how practical it is. Why not work with what you already have, right?

Originally, I did this article for Jeff Holt, and he was going to run the article in Street Chopper. But, Jeff told me at Kutty's Hippy Killer Hoedown that Eric Ellis, the editor for Hot Bike, was in Jeff's office, saw the article on Jeff's desk, and asked if he could have it for Hot Bike. Jeff said he thought I wouldn't mind, and gave it to Eric. I told Jeff I didn't mind, they could have run it in Guns and Ammo or Yachting, as long as Source Interlink sent me the check, haha.......

Seriously, it worked out great. Part-timer Steve shot the photos as we worked, and did a killer job on them. The crew at Hot Bike did a really nice job on the layout, and you can follow along on the conversion easily as you read it. They even gave me a nice blurb on the cover to boot, and I got a chance to share the issue with Tommy Foster's build he did for Marc Altieri, two guys I know well. Thanks to Eric and the HB staff, it was most appreciated!
Speaking of hardtailed Softail frames, Wade sent me this photo of his TC B-motored '06 that I did the conversion on, along with a rewiring, Altmann P-3 ignition, a custom set of hi/lo shotguns, and one of my sissy bars.

This photo was taken at a carwash in Taos, NM, on one of his trips from Oklahoma back to Flagstaff. Glad to see you're out and about and enjoying the finished product, that's what it's all about! Now, if I can just get back on Deb's bike project......

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pretty much finished......

The rear leg's sleeves were pretty tricky to do. I tried a bunch of different ways to make them, and finally decided to cut two sections of the leftover tops of the radius rods to form them from. Even then, I had to open up the seams to slide them into place, then I had to clamp them to the legs, and get the final shape by working them with body hammers to fit. I'll have to add a small filler to the backside of each sleeve, then silicon bronze that in, and final contour them with the vixen file. They look nice, though, and were worth the hassle to put on.

I've seen a lot of extended springers without the sleeves, and I dunno - the back legs just look "off" without them. Most of the stock sleeves are approx. 3/4" on the short side, and 3 1/8" on the long slde. The "XA" sleeves are around 3" on the SS, 5 1/2 on the LS. I made these sleeves 2" on the SS, and 4 1/2" on the LS. I still have to fab up a stock looking brake stay, but I'll wait on that until I get my caliper bracket from Fab Kevin (who else? haha!)

Front and back forks together. I've got to drop off from these for a while, Matt's Sporty frame that I hardtailed, and his other parts are back from powdercoating, so I've got to assemble his bike. Next photos of the springer will be when they're mounted to the bike.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's getting there.......

Before I could start welding the springer's forks together today, I had to do some preliminary get-ready work on the parts. First, I turned down some reinforcement slugs out of 3/4" thick wall tubing to go inside the crown and the rear legs. Then, I needed to make something to take up the gap inside the cups between their ID, and the front leg's OD.

The cups were 7/8", and the front legs were 3/4". I found a section of 7/8" DOM, and cut 1" "caps" out of it, then welded those to 2 1/2" long pieces of 5/8" OD thick wall tubing. I then turned the tubing down until they were a light press fit inside the front legs. I tapped those into place, and plug welded those into the front legs before I put them inside the crown caps.

This is how I started this afternoon's welding session, figuring out an improvised jigging to get everything to stay in place as I welded. I again used my mill vise to hold one of the spring rods, then I used the little tower that I use to hold axle plates in place for hardtails, a welding magnet, and a length of grade 8 allthread. Worked killer!

Here's the finished front fork. The photo makes the legs look like they're wider at the bottom, but they're plumb, and straight. Pretty good for an improvised jig, I'd say. All you really need is a way to hold everything in place as you weld, check and measure everything as you go, and take your time as you weld. As my Grandma always said "Haste makes waste....".

Crude jig, but very effective. This is as far as I got tonight on the rear fork - leveling, squaring and setting everything where it needed to go, and putting in the plug welds for the reinforcement slugs on the legs. I'll weld the legs themselves to the crown tomorrow, and hopefully get the upper angled sleeves for the rear legs shaped and welded in place. I'll use silicon bronze to put the sleeves on, so I can easily blend in the sleeves to the crown, and besides, there's a lot of trace brass in the area where they need to weld up.

If you look at the white arrows, they point to the old stick welds that held the original slugs in. I'm going to smooth those down, and come in with some pins in the other old plug welds, shown with the red arrows, to hold the reinforcement slug in that area from possibly moving. They were a light hammer fit, but why take a chance? I'll definitely be using some silicon bronze in that area. Hopefully, I can show you the completed springer tomorrow. It was a lot of work, but worth it.