Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

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Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5770
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Prof » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:33 pm

A 2003 Softail was brought in last week for a 3 degree rake, 3" extension and a set of pullbacks. The owner had tried out the pullbacks on my shovel chopper and wanted some the same.

Here are the forks disassembled with the longer tubes. Tubes are 4" over but the rake kit will lose an inch which will make it just right...
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Rake kit for later models with out removable fork cups require replacement of the HD headstem which are a press fit. Extended stainless cups fit into the original steering head once the outer races have been removed. Just a note on rake... The purpose of rake while it looks good and allows for a longer front end primarily is to increase trail (think of a trolley castor). Increased trail improves straight line stability on a bike. The old bikes up to the 80's had minimal trail (2-3") and made for good tank slappers. Increasing trail to even 10" or more makes for a bike that steers itself and is very stable if a little slower in cornering. This is why you should never use raked triple trees as they decrease trail to dangerous levels even with 6" extended forks. Only ever do a true rake using either raked bearing cups or raking the headstem...
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Easiest way to remove old outer races is to run a bead of weld around the inside of them and lift them out. This pair of bent files held together around an old bolt pivot with wire works a treat...
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Bike was an FL with fancy fork covers that bolted to the bottom triple tree. Ugly!!!
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Bracketry removed and new head stem being pressed in. Was able to do it in the hand press. Original HD one had to be removed in the hydraulic press...
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Raked cups need to be centred. The have a locating punch mark, but the centre of the steering head needs to be found. On this model there is a central rib at the rear of the steering head, so I make a punch mark on top of steering head. Use this little gadget to line up the mark so I can put a mark at the front...
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Here marked and about to be punched...
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To find the bottom centre use a piece of angle iron as a ruler. On this model HD the bottom of the steering head is a bigger diameter than the top...
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... so run a mark with the angle down each side and halve the distance at the bottom. That will give the centre. surface is cleaned with emery and thinners..
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Top cup is a tight fit but bottom is a bit loose, so new bearing cup is liberally punched and both are installed with 'Bearing mount'...
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Installed, primed and painted to match the rest of the frame. You can see how the new cups protrude 18mm. Outer races are also installed in the cups at this point, having been in the freezer for a day. they are pulled into place with a heavy thread and spacers.
Freezing the mounts shrinks them ever so slightly so they will pull in more easily.
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Because of the protruding fork cups, the fork stops only just connect... maybe ok in normal use, but not with a hard knock. Not comfortable with this and add an extra 5mm to the fork stops. Taped up to protect surfaces from any weld slag...
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Faired in and ready to paint...
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With triple trees installed (sorry no pic) the lower legs are polished as requested by owner...
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Polishing involves removing casting marks and any dings. I use a die grinder, an air sander and mini belt sander before hitting the polishing wheel... all hard work and the ol back suffers at the polishing wheel after an hour of polishing!!...
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Bottom axle cap installed showing the difference after polishing. I took the liberty of replacing the original nuts with chrome acorns and a polished stainless acorn axle nut....
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NOW FOR THE HANDLEBARS...
Wiring is to be run outside the bars for convenience. Wires are cut 30mm apart so there is not a big bulge in the loom when they are soldered to lengthen them...
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Holes are drilled in the controls and burrs carefully removed so wires will not foul the bars and will not get cut through vibration...
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Stupid stock screws are replaced by stainless socket head cap screws. They can be polished to a bright shine...
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Pull backs mount directly into the top tree. First step is to make up some threaded inserts. I always use UNF in steel as it pulls up better and is less likely to loosen through vibration. Stock threads are UNC...
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Inserts mounted...
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1" stainless tube measured and marked for both bends...
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Bent in the bender and then tested for the owner. They were made purposely longer and higher so we could cut them back to suit.
Width worked out fine and they were lowered by a bit over an inch. A pair of risers bolted to a piece of bar are used to hold them in place once we work out the right position of the two bars...
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A piece of square tube drilled to 89mm centres locates the bars while we lay them on flat board to get them square for welding...
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A 3mm steel plate is cut, shaped and welded. Welds are ground down and lightly polished then low spots filled. This happens about four times till we get it right. Weld is built up at top corners to provide a seamless join to round bars...
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Partway through polishing with controls assembled...
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Just need to finish polishing and hook up wiring. All wiring will run into back of headlight and be joined in there for better looks, convenience and water proofing.

Should be finished next week after a couple of other jobs are done.

Today Lou came up to have a set of 1.25" bars built out of stainless.Unfortunately I didn't take any pics of the process. I used heavy wall 1.25" stainless so that 1" would slide in as an interference fit. I could have simply used bearing mount to secure the 1" tube, but decided on overkill and plug welded them on the underside. Bars were made to be an exact copy of Lou's 1" flat bars. Job took a little over 2 hours plus and hour of polishing some of which was done by Lou...

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Finished job. Have shined up beautifully...
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Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5770
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Prof » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:13 pm

Finished the pullbacks this afternoon.

They need a final reinforcing piece which we locate at the bottom. Reason is to stop flex in the flat piece that ties the bars together. Here cut out to fit the bars, clear the headstem nut cap. Two cut outs are for the wiring...
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Bottom inside of bars and top of reinforcing piece polished as they will not be accessible once welded...
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Set in place to weld. Reinforcing piece is set about 8mm high to allow for weld...
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Welded and cleaned up. Does not need polishing as it will not be seen...
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Top inside looks tidy without weld and polished finish still remains...
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A couple of hours on the polishing tools and the bars are mounted and controls attached and wiring in place. I have fine stainless ties which will go with bars. Plastic ones for time being in case owner needs to remove bars...
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A couple of photos after polish and before mounting...
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Tomorrow a couple of holes drilled/enlarged in rear of headlight and wiring connected and bike is ready to be collected...
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5770
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Prof » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:59 pm

Well, here is the final bit of the story... wiring into headlight and a new brake hose.

Existing hole to be widened and a second hole to be drilled and widened. the holes are made large enough to allow the wiring in with space to spare to reduce likelyhood of damage to the wires form vibration. Step drill is used for bottom hole and both widened with an die grinder. Burrs are removed with a spherical bit...
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For some strange reason, one set of wires on each side of the joiner are unrelated colours so a diagram is drawn up...
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Holes are bordered with rubber edging...
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... which is glued in place with super glue...
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Finished job. Top set of wires go to handlebars; one each side. I like to use these connector blocks in weather proof areas so that wiring harnesses can be removed without cutting. Same reason I prefer wires outside the bars. A third harness comes from the bike to provide high and low beam, rather than coming direct form the handle bars... Oh for simple chopper wiring and pre '88 freedom from all switches on handlebars...
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Now for the brake hose. I use a plastic covered stainless braided hose with screw together fittings. I am told by my supplier they are ADR approved but do not come with tags. While I am at it, I replace that ugly mirror nut with a chrome acorn...
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For some weird reason, banjo nut is 7/16 UNF rather than the normal 3/8. This creates a problem, because when I shoot down to my supplier, we discover the company has limited fittings in 7/16, so I can't get a nice line along the handle bars...
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Oh Well. We'll use a 3/8 recoil thread - pictured here...
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An easy way to hold controls with out damaging chrome is to grab a piece of 1" tube and clamp that in the vice. As it turns out the thread I have to do to fit the 3/8 recoil thread is actually 7/16UNF, so I can just screw it straight in albeit with loctite to be sure it won't come out and there will be no leaks. When using Loctite on Recoil threads, clean the inside of the thread thoroughly or you may find your bolt being stuck in as well!
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Fitting is done at the caliper first and the hose run up to the master cylinder. First cut is slightly longer, followed by the final cut to make sure the hose lines up with the bars and forks. Here MIG wire is used to make a retaining clip at bottom triple tree...
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Clamped up tight on the hose and then bolted to an existing thread with a stainless button head...
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Hose follows a nice line. Wiring... Blue arrow shows to wire looms coming form handle bars (6 wires each). Red arrows show three looms coming from the bike. Green arrow points to the indicator wires...
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Caliper fitting...
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A cool ally clamp attached to the bottom of the headstem...
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Bleeding HD front brakes often can be a problem as air tends to stay near the top of the line and will not get pushed down th the caliper, so I always remove the master cylinder, use that piece of 1" tube and bleed keeping the master cylinder lower than the caliper with an upward slope on the line. The other trick I find useful is to never pull the brake lever all the way down, but leave half an inch of play each time you squeeze.

Now bike could be started and low and behold everything worked. Golly. Anyone would think we knew what we were doing!!!!

Bike is scheduled to be picked up tomorrow, but I will get owner to take it for a spin first and get his report. I have encouraged him to try a 19" wheel with 90/90 tyre on it rather than the current 16 incher... which he says he will do. It will handle just that bit nicer again. I have a hub waiting for him so it may be back again in the future.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5770
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Prof » Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:22 pm

Bike collected this afternoon...
As it came in...
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Riding out of the workshop...
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I asked him to take it for a test ride and see how he liked the steering and handlebar position. I suggested he try hands off and see how it tracked.

Well he came back very impressed.

Handle bar position is perfect... which is the benefit of custom tailoring bars. My approach is to sit the rider on the bike, close his eyes and put his hands in front of him where they are most comfortable... and that's where the bars will put the handgrips. I've had customers buy 5 or 6 bars trying to find a comfortable set. Individually, they may be cheaper than a properly done custom made set but together they cost far more. Riding with tailor made bars is also makes riding doubly enjoyable and one can stay in the saddle much longer with less fatigue.

The extra 3 degrees of true rake (not false like raked triple trees) has made a noticeable improvement. Tracks true and straight hands off. Says he'll take a while to get used to the narrower pullbacks compared with his old wide western bars and looking forwards to now being able to filter.

He's seriously considering a 19" front wheel soon, which will make it nicer still.

Good to have happy customers.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Hydro
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:50 pm
Location: Gepps Cross
Interests: Bikes and Cars plus Travelling OS

Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Hydro » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:19 pm

Andrew
Bike handles totally different
In a very good way
Thanks for all your incredible work and guidance in the changes
Do look forward to the extra change of the front wheel down the track
Dave

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5770
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Prof » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:42 am

Thanks Dave. May see you both Wednesday night Midnight Ride.

I was just on the phone to Wayne who rides a very hotted up XS digger. He's just bought a MV street rocket and says the difference in handling is amazing. Sports bike has to be 'ridden' the whole time whereas the digger with the extra rake/trail is much more relaxed and far easier to take through the corners. This is confirmed by a number of customers who are sports bike riders who have ridden my shovel through the Old Willunga Hill twisties. They all say the'd much prefer to corner on the chopper than their bike. A little slower through the corners because of its length and reduced ground clearance, but not that much.

Many riders comment on the seventies classic choppers with their 16" over front ends and heaps of rake and lack of front brake, but forget that the changed weight position on these long bikes mean the majority of braking is at the rear wheel any way.

That said we all need to get to know our bike and its limitations intimately if we want to be safe on the road... and this especially true for older riders coming back to riding on modern bikes... they are a different kettle of fish in acceleration, tyre size and speed. The roads are worse and the traffic not only crazy but the drivers distracted and in a cocoon.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Hydro
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:50 pm
Location: Gepps Cross
Interests: Bikes and Cars plus Travelling OS

Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Hydro » Mon May 21, 2018 11:04 am

Just fitted the larger front wheel as per Andrews suggestion.
Made some temporary aluminium brackets up to refit the original front guard until I am sure I dont require a new guard.
If I want to keep this guard I will organise to get some stainless plates and shape them up then polish. Or I might just go for a small stainless front guard yet.
Bike handles a whole lot better.
Hope the below picture links works.

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Thanks for the great advise Prof.

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5770
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Prof » Mon May 21, 2018 10:26 pm

Looks nice. Glad the handling is to your liking. Do you find the steering more precise and is steering easier?
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Hydro
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:50 pm
Location: Gepps Cross
Interests: Bikes and Cars plus Travelling OS

Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Hydro » Tue May 22, 2018 8:13 am

Prof
The handling is a lot better.
With the original 16 inch wheel the steering was better than before the rake change and extensions but was heavy.
Now it is light and appears a lot more stable on the road.
The wheel I am trialing is a 21 inch which is larger than the 19 inch you recommended, but was available to trial.
Feels good enough that I will leave it this way and just get the stainless brackets for the front guard.

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5770
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: Three degree rake, extensions, stainless pullbacks & flat bars

Post by Prof » Tue May 22, 2018 11:34 pm

Thankyou... good to hear. See you on the road soon. you can fab the brackets up here if you need to.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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