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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I got the MG Midget running pretty well to the point that I wasn't afraid to let somebody else have it. It still needs a bunch of little stuff to be right, but it was pretty decent. I figure it was worth about $2500, since it needed to have the clutch bled, the rear brakes adjusted, a complete tune up, a carpet kit, some other misc. stuff and I was tired of it. I had the car for 16 years and drove it for about 20,000 miles. I didn't put more than a couple of hundred bucks, but a lot of time into it. So, I saw on Craigslist last Friday that a guy had a bike for sale or trade for a sports car. I contacted him and he was interested in the MG. So yesterday we met and did the deal. Here is what I now have.

sportster asis.jpg

I have been threatening to get an ironhead and do it up right. This is a 73. It needs some work, but it starts and runs and I drove it home from the trade. It has no speedo, tach, brake lights, or turn signals. The front brake doesn't work, either. But I fired it up and hit the freeway for the 40 mile trip home. I made it but with those stupid bars and ridiculous mirrors made it one of the worst rides I have had.

So, today I started rummaging through my boxes and tubs and shelves to see what I had. I found a set of superbike bars and put them in the 1" risers with some shims to see how they would feel. I put on a different throttle and throttle cable and some new grips and some bar end mirrors along with a Yamaha Master cylinder. It makes a big difference.
new bars.jpg
I have to bleed the front brake and see how it works. I don't know whether I want to convert everything to 7/8" or get a set of 1" superbike bars and get all new 1" throttle and master cylinder and stuff. I am inclined to go 7/8", but I'll see what I can find on E-bay for period type stuff. I need to replace the tires since it has a Goodyear rear and some rib front (I didn't even look for the brand). I think I have a set of Bridgestone S 11's somewhere.

This will be a long term project, but I am not in a hurry. I'll just plug away at it for a while.
 

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Shame you got rid of the Midget though, I have always thought MG's were cool little cars. Sounds like you should have fun building the Ironhead though
 

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Congratulations! Did you have to clear some extra space in the garage to fit the ironhead in the space the midget used to be?

I love that old DT. My cousin had a purple DT100 around the same era. Tank and pipe looked the same. I think it had a low front fender.
 

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I like it. Every now and then I get weak for an Ironhead. Keep us posted man.
Oh, if you do decide to go with 1" bars, the Biltwell Tracker bars are a pretty nice bend.
The black finish fades pretty quickly though.
 

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Congratulations! Did you have to clear some extra space in the garage to fit the ironhead in the space the midget used to be?

That's the only thing that ever kept me from buying a Spitfire, I was not sure I would fit in the damn thing lol
 

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So, Ken, What is doing an ironhead up right? What are your plans?

Can you post a pic of the frame area under the seat? 1973 was a transition year for the frame going from cast lug shock mounts to bent steel bar and if you have the bent steel bar you may have to do some reinforcements and check the frame for cracking. I see the home made fender struts which may mean someone already did the reinforcement or maybe not. Could be a hack job.

don't bother messing with the IH front end or disc brake. If it is the 1973 caliper and disc you have to rivet the brake shoes to the caliper like it's a 1930's car. I have gone through two master cylinders because the seal keeps popping under hard braking. The forks are showa and are just kind of meh. I had a machinist make me up a set of bearing cups (Ironhead necks are small and short when compared to japanese necks) to take a set of cb750 bearings and I have a 1975 GL1000 front end ready to go on mine. I will loose the too cool headlight eyebrow when I do the swap but your bike is missing it anyway so it won't matter. The only other thing I still need to do besides assemble the thing is to bore the GL1000 top clamp to take a 1" bar since I want to keep mine.

going to 1" bars really depends on your budget and the level of custom you want to go. 1" bars opens you up to the harley aftermarket which has a lot of really nice and sometimes expensive handlebar jewelry. It also makes it easier to run internal wiring as many HDs did. Your choice of good master cylinders goes down, but most can be bored to 1" from 7/8ths".

I run a 1" superbike bar on my bike. It came from the handlebar bin in the back of works so no idea on who made it, but I run stock controls. I have always wanted an old webco style bar because that is what the WL and K flat trackers used in the 40's and 50's and it's really just a superbike style bend with a curved cross bar but the repops I have found are stainless and $150 so no go. I run a stock ironhead throttle, but I ditched the plastic throttle sleeve. One of the advantages of harley aftermarket is there is so much, and at a swap meet I found a new in box pair of metal grips where the throttle grip was also the cable pull - so I have an aluminum cable pull and don't have to worry about a grip slipping around the sleeve because it is the grip. I think marc said it a long time ago - they are called HD's because everything is a hundred dollars and in the aftermarket that is mostly true if you look online, but my grip at a swap meet cost me $30 because I don't insist it be made in the USA.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I am back in AK and the Sportster is in WI. I won't see it again until Christmas break. I did some messing around and I can make the front brake setup from my Honda Ascot work with a little bit of fab work on a caliper adapter bracket. I have a working prototype done but will need to re make it with better material that isn't welded together to make me happy. But, that still leaves me with wimpy 35mm forks and a small single disk and a 2 piston sliding caliper. All in all not the best solution for the weight of a Sportster and my liking of really good front brakes. I think I want to keep a spoke wheel but would prefer an 18" alloy rim that can handle at least a 110 front tire with dual disks and 4 piston calipers. I may need to look at a Yamaha FZR/YZF 1000 front end with an XS650 hub. I wonder if I could just use a Sportster dimensioned steering stem and fit it to the Yamaha lower triple. I have a lathe so I can easily make up a stem.
I also think I want to convert the rear brake to a disk setup, too. That will make it easier for me to move the footpegs to whee they belong and just weld up some mounts to the frame to take some FZ600 pegs, since I use them on all my racebikes and have lots of spare pieces. I don't quite know what I will do for the rear shocks, yet. I have a set of Ohlins hanging o the wall that are probably long enough, but I am sure I would need to change the springs and damping since they are set up for My CB350 race bike, and I may want to put that thing back together.

I also would like to put a different tank on it, but don't really want a tracker tank or the Turtle tank. If I can justify the money, I think I might like to have Tannermatic do something like an XLCR tank and seat that looks a little better. Maybe even a 1 piece seat and tank in CF along with a half fairing of some sort. I will see. I don't want to go with USD forks and monoshock. I also don't want a featherbed or rigid frame either. But I don't care for the stock frame so much, either. This is going to be a projects so the first step is going to be the front end since I can source stuff off e-bay and work on it here, then just bolt it up at Christmas. I also will change out the tires since it has a goodyear on the back, currently.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Knappy was asking in another thread how the Sportster was going so I guess I'll put in an update. I did some work on the sportster at Christmas break. It was kinda cold in the garage and I didn't get as much time as I wanted what with visiting with the kids and grandkids and all.
Sportster left dec 16.jpg Sportster right dec 16.jpg

I also made a decision to try not to spend any unnecessary money on this and try to build it out of spares I already have or if I am going to buy a front end for instance, I'll get a better one for one of the FZs and put an FZ600 front end on the sportster. So, I found a set of 7/8 handlebar risers and converted all of the controls to stuff I have around, mostly Yamaha FZ600. I had the CB200T tank sitting on a shelf for 15-20 years and I have stuck the tracker seat on a bunch of stuff over the years, too. At this point I really like the look. In the picks, the front wheel is farther off the ground than the rear, but when it is sitting on the floor I think the bottom of the tank will be level. I will then adjust the seat to match it. I think I can make some brackets that will work with the stock footpeg mounting points and move the pegs back and up a couple of inches and use some FZ600 rearsets. I am still in a dilemma over wheels. Should I go cast or stay with spokes? I think for now I will stick with the stock wheels if I can find some tires in my stash that will fit. I have a rear wheel off one of my XL500s that I can make fit and it already has an alloy rim or I can lace up a brand new alloy rim that I have to a CB350 rear hub and use that, but If I want a matching rim on the front I would need to buy new spokes and I don't want to buy any parts. I am also thinking I can stick the stock CV carb from the Ascot on it, as it is a carb I know. I haven't looked at the carb that is on there right now, so I don't know what it is. It has an S&S air cleaner on it but who knows what the carb is. I also have a big Mikuni VM I can stick on it, too.

I won't be back to my garage until June 1, so there won't be any updates before then, but feel free to make comments and suggestions, just remember that one of the parameters is that when I finish with the bike it has to be to race in WERA V-3. I don't know whether I will or not, but all of my bikes are drilled for safety wire, capable of being fitted with race compound tires and legal for some race class.
 

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That's super cool!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am surprised at how much I like the CB200T tank on there.what do you think about wheels you can see a Yamaha front end leaning up against the stack of tires behind the rear end of the sportster. It is also 35mm, but I think has better suspension than the oem Harley fork. If I went with that I could Use the FZR 17"wheel that is on it and I have the matching 18" rear.

Geeto was asking about the frame under the seat. I think you can see the parts he was talking about, but I don't know what type it is and whether it has been reinforced or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Cafe sportster.jpg
I have done some more work on the ironhead this summer. As you can see, I reversed the front forks so now the original banana caliper is trailing the fork leg. I think it looks a lot better and should help the handling. I kinda like it now in a period correct sort of way. I also fitted a stainless brake line and a remote re master cylinder with adjustable lever. It is finest kind chinese via e-bay that I could find. surprisingly, it works really well but I don't trust it. I still need to figure out what front fender I am going to run. I am going to mock up a CL350 fender that I have to see if it will fit. I rewired the whole bike except I haven't connected up the tail light or the brake lights yet. I had to take out the whole rats nest the previous owner had electrical taped, scotch locked and wire nutted together, including replacing all the wires that had melted to the exhaust system or gotten worn by the chain. Some people shouldn't be allowed to work on stuff. The seat is chinese from e-bay and I like it quite a bit on here. The rear fender is a trimmed Yamaha DT1, that I had laying around. It has possibilities. I also put my favorite shocks on it, Honda CB700SC Nighthawk S). They are long, stiffly sprung and adjustable damping. I use them on lots of stuff. I think the oil tank needs to go and I might see about getting a custom one made that will fill in the space under the seat. I ran out of time as the summer was coming to an end for me and I also worked on one of the XL500s, the FT500 Ascot, AN FZ600 and I almost have my spare XL500 engine in my CB350 racebike frame.
So Summer is over, I am back in Alaska and school strts next week. I won't see the bikes again until Christmas break.
 

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it ;looks bitchen ken
beware of the longer travel shocks you have fitted
the IH shock GEOMETRY lashup has about a 1.5 or greater slr
bottom line the tire eats the fender
using a longer travel shock like that the best scenario is moving the lower mount back pretty close to the axle
 

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so it almost looks like somebody gave a pit bike steroids. I bet its tons of fun
 

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for those uniformed slr is swingarm leverage ratio a number derived by dividing the legth of effective swingarm ie axle to pivot length by the distance from axle to centerline of shock at 90 degrees to shock centerline
at 1.5 slr with a 4'' travel shock(measured well into bumper)rear wheel travel will be apprx 6''
the short trtavel ih shocks only yield a bit over 3'' wheel travel
 

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Discussion Starter #18
it ;looks bitchen ken
beware of the longer travel shocks you have fitted
the IH shock GEOMETRY lashup has about a 1.5 or greater slr
bottom line the tire eats the fender
using a longer travel shock like that the best scenario is moving the lower mount back pretty close to the axle
I have plenty of clearance at full travel, that is why I had a bunch of trouble with the rear fender to get clearance and still look good.. The DT fender is mounted very high and is pretty deep, but I think I accomplished what I needed.

Here is my question;
Why do so many HDs, even stock big twins, have a negative swingarm angle. Why would HD do that? I always try to set my bikes up with about a 10 degree swingarm angle. As it is now, the swingarm is pretty flat right now, even with shocks as long as feel comfortable with.
 

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I have plenty of clearance at full travel, that is why I had a bunch of trouble with the rear fender to get clearance and ?
ok you checked it all full bump ?t doesnt look like 5" assuming it haas no rider sag
i think the negative angle all boils down to the cs sprocket location th
harley engines are very tall the cs apparently follows suit
harley want to keep seatb height low as possible
to maintain the seat hright they want cs would need to be higher to have pos angle
 

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Discussion Starter #20
But isn't it better for suspension and handling to have a negative angle?
 
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