Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Ruby Chopper is also featured in Ozbike magazine issue #331
Read on as we help Phil make his dream come to life!
We don't usually do HD as we aren't tooled for it. British is our specialty but one of our customer/friend, Phil, persisted we undertake a Harley he just purchased. After a few beers we agreed and the plan was put to paper.
The machine started life as a normal Sportster from the saddle to the front - fat tank, tele forks etc.
Someone had allready hardtailed it and although we weren't too happy with it's cosmetic geometry, it was well built so rather than mess around, we worked with the design on hand.
Phil was hell bent on a spring front and went ahead and purchased the generic types sold on todays market. They also sold him the front wheel and caliper and told him it was a 'kit and will fit straight on with no mods what so ever'. That, ofcourse, was not the case. These springers might look good but when it comes to function, they are absolute rubbish not to mention very dangerous. We had to re-engineer the forks, headsets and trees to work properly without interference and also re-bush pivot points to suit. Front wheel fitting and caliper also needed attention because if you fit these as they come, then you can kiss your ass goodbeye under heavy break loads. We machined a slot out of the caliper to take the torque stay straight and without any flex. The excersise in whole was not pleasant and we recommend you do lot's of homework if you want this type of set up for practical use.
Next was the Petrol tank, it's sportster bobber tank that we friscoed. These are awesome, they have threads at the four points and also come with mounting gear. We agreed that the floating look was the way to go to keep the top lines flowing.
Saddle is custom, proven tested and hand made here for us in Australia.
Rear guard is genuine Triumph front guard chopped and shorter than normal for maximum tyre exposure.
The next major hurdle was the oil tank and battery set up. Because of the angle of the top rigid section and the HD down tube, we could not find a good sized oil tank that would fit and also be removed easily. There is nothing worse than having to do future work and not being able to remove parts off the machine easily. So, we made a stainless steel oil tank with a Triumph rocker inspection cap, that falls in from the top once the saddle is lifted. Lot's of work but well worth it in the long run.
Underneath the oil tank we have the battery sitting in a hand made side hinged stainless steel battery box with rubber strap, so the battery slides out from the side.
Hand cut and turned alloy forward controls work a treat but took a while to set up and iron the bugs out.
Other features include handmade stainless steel chain guard, number plate bracket with a genuine Bosch tailight we found in the spares bin. Also handmade stainless rear indicator brackets, alloy steering stops, and stainless triangular axle stops that are shaped to the lines of the rear frame.
Oil filter is side mounted and we added a pressure gauge even though these machines run at practically five psi.
Final stages, paint scheme was meant to be silver and red but by accident this color was mixed and tested. We all agreed and got quite excited as it reaps nostalgia Hotrod. Pinstripes just ooze coolness!
Wiring was stripped and we started from headlight to tailight keeping everything as simple and neat as possible.
This project took about six months in between other jobs and actually turned out better than we expected. The machine rides and handles exeptionally well for a heavy rigid and the response Phil has been getting has been positive all the way.