1980 Ironhead Sportster
Close

1980 Ironhead Sportster

This is a discussion on 1980 Ironhead Sportster within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Here Is what I picked up almost 3 months ago. It kind of just came my way, as many bikes do. I am into it ...

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 70
Like Tree14Likes

Thread: 1980 Ironhead Sportster

  1. #1
    Member mortar-forker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Detroit
    Posts
    36

    1980 Ironhead Sportster

    Here Is what I picked up almost 3 months ago. It kind of just came my way, as many bikes do. I am into it about $900 is what I figure. All the junk in the background is most of a '66 xl in boxes.

    Name:  IMG_0598.jpg
Views: 1252
Size:  284.6 KB

    Name:  IMG_0597.jpg
Views: 1368
Size:  279.6 KB

    Most of the bike is put together poorly and is just cobbled together. It is amazing really. The carb was missing hard parts, the ignition was just held by one bolt on a flopping bracket to fit the twin tanks. One tank is a 3.5 gallon, the other is a 5.5 and they leak. Starter relay is broken. It is a huge shit show. Of course it did not run. The valves were not opening on the front cylinder. I opened the cam chest to find the cam gears stripped on the front cylinder. It appears the valves were never adjusted and the cam bushing in the cover started to give away. I replaced the cam bushings, installed a set of older P cams, and flushed the crankcase and oil system. I also went through the carb and ignition. I was not hopeful, but it started right up and ran really good.

    After taking care of the basics I have since went on to the rest of the bike and started fiddling with the fork oil, changing shocks, rubber mounting a tank, building clip-ons and rear-sets, and the like. I have to finish the rear-sets and figure out the exhaust. It is registered and drives down the road pretty dawn good. It turns in well for what it is. It has 28 degrees of rake, 3.75" trail, and is at 58" of wheelbase. It weighs 260 rear and 225 front.

    This is what it looks like now:
    Name:  IMG_0905.jpg
Views: 1119
Size:  401.6 KB

    Name:  IMG_0900.jpg
Views: 1138
Size:  423.1 KB

    Name:  IMG_0903.jpg
Views: 646
Size:  351.6 KB

    Name:  IMG_0904.jpg
Views: 935
Size:  409.5 KB

    It needs all kinds of stuff still, but is coming together. I need to change the cables, they are long. The wiring was extended and needs to be put back. I still have not opened the primary and i know the previous owner was in there.

  2. #2
    Senior Member 83XLX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Heart of Dixie
    Posts
    210
    The '79-'81 frames are the best ones for a cafe or street tracker conversion. Looks like you're on the right track. Old Ironhead Sportsters are some of the most abused and neglected motorcycles on the planet. It can be quite a job to sort out all the "modifications" various owners did over the years.

  3. #3
    Member mortar-forker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Detroit
    Posts
    36
    Here is the bike with the tank before painting. The tank was really badly pitted and rusting from the outside as the bike it was off was laying on its side behind a barn for twenty years. I filled it with jb weld, then fiberglass filler, then sealed, and finally painted with engine paint. You can also see the old pipes and controls here.

    Name:  IMG_0853.jpg
Views: 534
Size:  366.1 KB

    Here is my rear-set project. It is being tacked up. I am using the passenger peg bracket after heating and pushing the pegs forward and down. The rear master is flipped around and reinstalled backwards. That is why it is a bit grungy looking. I have to install new bolts in that cover too, one went missing on the last ride and that is my temp solution.

    Name:  IMG_0887.jpg
Views: 717
Size:  279.2 KB

    Name:  IMG_0892.jpg
Views: 619
Size:  384.9 KB

    My changing of the oil and setting air gap. I think I started at 10w because that is the default shock oil around here, and it felt like there was nothing happening, so I went to 20w, and then finally 30w. I think the spec is for 15-20w, so I am not that far off, but damn that is a heavy oil. There is also a pic of my clip-ons. I think the air gap wound up at 5.5"

    Name:  IMG_0782.jpg
Views: 650
Size:  232.8 KB

    Us ironhead owners are a cheap bunch so in that light I will present you my shock bracket:
    Name:  IMG_0809.jpg
Views: 590
Size:  239.6 KB
    I am on the prowl for some 14.5" shocks, but...

    There is a bunch of other little stuff like new chain and front sprocket, but you get the idea.

  4. Remove Advertisements
    CafeRacer.net
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Senior Member Ichiban Moto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    560
    Quote Originally Posted by 83XLX View Post
    Old Ironhead Sportsters are some of the most abused and neglected motorcycles on the planet
    I had a XLCH Ironhead in the early 70's... between the kick start only and the reliability, I was one of the most abused and neglected riders on the planet

  6. #5
    Senior Member 83XLX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Heart of Dixie
    Posts
    210
    Looks like an untapped market for Ichiban mods...

    As for oil, I run 20w50 in mine in the winter and straight 50 or 60wt in the summer. Been doing that for over 20 years, and the engine seems to be happy. These old Ironhead motors are "loose", and like the thicker oils. An oil cooler is a good idea, too, if you live in a hot climate.


  7. #6
    Member mortar-forker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Detroit
    Posts
    36
    I had a 71 xlch, which made me appreciate electric start, but what really made me a true believer was my xr600r with a bore kit, head, 12:1 piston, and cam. That bike would fuck you up.

    I have been running 20-50 in the engine on sportsters.

    Nice 83 xlx.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    23,275
    I run 60wt straight weight dino oil in the 1974. Every old timer ironhead guy I ever spoke to said don't run anything else. I ran 10W-50 in it once and it smoked the wet clutch, never again.

    It's not a bad start. Seat is kind of ugly. Good on you for getting it ride-able and running.
    oldhokie likes this.
    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 o1marc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Dawsonville, Georgia, USA.
    Posts
    7,013
    Inspiration for how far you can go with an Iron head if you want to dive deep into a build. The 60's frames were the easiest to convert. We ended up cutting off and saving just the cradle of the stock frame from the motor mounts down, throwing away 27lbs of cast heavy crap and replacing it and the new seat subframe with 9lbs. of chromoly.
    this one weights 331lbs dry and is 1327cc.




    bmartin, 83XLX and thechief86 like this.
    www.CreativeCandy.org

    I carry a gun because I'm too young to die, too old to take an ass whooping, and a cop is too heavy.

  10. #9
    Member mortar-forker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Detroit
    Posts
    36
    I am internet familiar with your bike 01marc and the lineage on some of the top-end work. It is very nice work. I had thoughts of building a tt frame as the prints are floating around and I have a 66 frame that is butchered with a weld on hardtail, but those are dreams.

    Geeto, I am very proud of my dept of public works seat, thank you very much for attesting to its beauty, or lack there of. It is very soft and is covered in the finest of walmart vinyl over an old couch cushion.
    Geeto67 likes this.

  11. #10
    Ews
    Ews is offline
    Senior Member Ews's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Lewiston Idaho
    Posts
    1,321
    I had an 02' 883 Custom that I never considered as a cafe project, always thought they were to heavy for that. Then a year or so ago I saw one that was built into a cafe (not sure of the year) and it looked really good. I've always been a fan of the peanut tank. I wish I still had the bike so I could make a project out of it.
    Name:  FB_IMG_1464190284644.jpg
Views: 727
Size:  58.2 KB
    Dream as if you live forever, Live as if you die today.~ James Dean

    I feel the need, the need for speed.~ Mavrick (Tom Cruise before he was a big ol' bag of crazy)

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Best formula for an ironhead bitsa?
    By drgonzo in forum General
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 08-22-2013, 08:11 AM
  2. Ironhead BUY?
    By BrianH in forum General
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 09-23-2010, 04:21 PM
  3. Ironhead BUY?
    By BrianH in forum General
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-23-2010, 01:26 AM
  4. more ironhead fussiness
    By Geeto67 in forum General
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-29-2010, 12:43 AM
  5. 77 ironhead.
    By anup_vince in forum General
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 05-06-2010, 09:59 PM

Search tags for this page

1980 ironhead

Click on a term to search for related topics.