77 ironhead.
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77 ironhead.

This is a discussion on 77 ironhead. within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; i dont know anything about harleys, never ridden one (buell a couple of times) and none of my friends have one. So now i want ...

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Thread: 77 ironhead.

  1. #1
    Senior Member anup_vince's Avatar
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    77 ironhead.

    i dont know anything about harleys, never ridden one (buell a couple of times) and none of my friends have one.
    So now i want to buy a simple one for myself...but mostly for my father, who (just has major surgery) remarked that the only brand of motorcycle he never got to enjoy was a harley.

    can someone tell me if a 1977 ironhead sportster that supposedly runs is worth seeing for 2500? what should i look for? whats a deal breaker? what normally goes wrong with them?
    what questions should i ask the guy?
    also since ive put it out there:
    someone school me and point me to an introductory page to harley...that answers newbie questions like - whats an ironhead,panhead,flathead,knucklehead,fatboy,night train,lowrider etc etc...
    thanks.
    1977 Suzuki Gs550 + parts bike, 1981 Suzuki Gs 850, 1983 BMW R80,1984 BMW K75, BMW K1100, 1973 Honda CB360t, 1969 honda 305 Dream,1966 honda 305 Dream, 1963 Honda 305 dream, 2003 Suzuki SV650s (5k miles), 2003 SV650s (7k miles), 2003 Buell Firebolt XB9R, 1981 Honda CBX six, Royal Enfield Bullet 500, 1972 Yamaha DS7, 2003 Anniversary HD Sportster 1200C.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    if the engine sounds like a wheat thresher, the bottom end is wasted and will need bearings. make sure the frame isn't trashed or cut up. $2500 is about the low end for a running one (up to $4000 for the nicest one out there). Unless it is a project then it is the high end for a project.

    an Ironhead is the colloquial nickname for a sportster motor that has...drumroll....iron heads (or just the rocker boxes I can never remember). They are also called shovelhead sportsters because they look like shovelhead big twins with sportster bottom ends. They were made from 1957 till about 1985

    A sportster is different from a big twin in that the sportster engine and tranny are unitized like every other motorcycle you have ever ridden. A big twin has the trans seperate. drive belt to the rear wheel on a sporty is on the right, on a big twin on the left.

    there is so much info out there, just type history of HD engines into google and you will get a million hits. When in doubt start with wikipedia.

    also:
    http://mypage.iusb.edu/~bbryner/hrlypage.html
    http://www.sportster.org/


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  3. #3
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    if the engine sounds like a wheat thresher, the bottom end is wasted and will need bearings. make sure the frame isn't trashed or cut up. $2500 is about the low end for a running one (up to $4000 for the nicest one out there). Unless it is a project then it is the high end for a project.

    an Ironhead is the colloquial nickname for a sportster motor that has...drumroll....iron heads (or just the rocker boxes I can never remember). They are also called shovelhead sportsters because they look like shovelhead big twins with sportster bottom ends. They were made from 1957 till about 1985

    A sportster is different from a big twin in that the sportster engine and tranny are unitized like every other motorcycle you have ever ridden. A big twin has the trans seperate. drive belt to the rear wheel on a sporty is on the right, on a big twin on the left.

    there is so much info out there, just type history of HD engines into google and you will get a million hits. When in doubt start with wikipedia.

    also:
    http://mypage.iusb.edu/~bbryner/hrlypage.html
    http://www.sportster.org/


    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    this one is cheaper:
    http://newyork.craigslist.org/lgi/mcy/1726204841.html

    buy as close to stock as you can (going to be hard to find)
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  6. #5
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    this one is cheaper:
    http://newyork.craigslist.org/lgi/mcy/1726204841.html

    buy as close to stock as you can (going to be hard to find)
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  7. #6
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    this one is pretty clean for a 1984:

    http://longisland.craigslist.org/mcy/1705437638.html
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  8. #7
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    this one is pretty clean for a 1984:

    http://longisland.craigslist.org/mcy/1705437638.html
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  9. #8
    Senior Member HackAsaw's Avatar
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    So does he require an estart to enjoy one and what is the budget?
    Accidental inventor of the worlds fastest wearing rocker arms and other edible engine parts! Try my yummy blue cheese camshafts!

  10. #9
    Senior Member HackAsaw's Avatar
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    So does he require an estart to enjoy one and what is the budget?
    Accidental inventor of the worlds fastest wearing rocker arms and other edible engine parts! Try my yummy blue cheese camshafts!

  11. #10
    Senior Member JackC's Avatar
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    If you want a Sportster, Buy a newer 5 speed. The older, iron heads, will vibrate you to death. That would be 84 or newer, and you can get them for under $4000.

    Many people look at a sportster as a beginners or "girls" bike, and many asshole bikers don't even consider them a harly.

    Pan head, shovel head, knuckle head all refer to, of course, the style of heads or actually valve covers. If you have them all lined up they look very different. knuckes were in the 30's and 40's, pans in the 50's and I think early sities, and shovels mid 60's to very early 80's.

    Best bet is an evo motor

    My main street ride is a Stock 94 Sportster. It is a nice bike but I only bought it because my brother is a Harley mechanic. It could be in your garage for $4300. I think he has one in his shop for $3K or so--are you still in Cooperstown?

    Watch out for leaking rocker box gaskets- common problem easily fixed.

    Jack

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