VTX 1300... the works...

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Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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VTX 1300... the works...

Post by Prof » Mon May 20, 2019 11:08 pm

After an extensive phone conversation Rick brought in his VTX1300 for some rear end changes. These completed, he is determined to go the whole hog with rake and extended forks.

But first, the rear end...

And man does that fat backside even need slimming...!
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I encourage my customers to be as involved as possible and Rick got into the act, first being to remove his shockers and rear monstrosity Honda calls a rear guard...
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I pop the shocker in the press and compress it to get a figure for maximum tyre movement for ensuring the guard has the right amount of clearance; 30mm on full compression, enough to clear even on a hot day at speed when the tyre is expanded, and not more than needed to keep our profile as low as we can...
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temporary strut made to mimic full compression...
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Rick wants a tall sissy bar, so the next step is mounting brackets off the rear subframe...
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They are threaded for ease of assembly and disassembly. Bike is carefully levelled...
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Good riddance to one fat bugga!..
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Police generally use 45 degrees as the cutoff point for rear guards although there are now no specific regulations about length...
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Once marked, use the square...
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I made this mount for for holding tanks and guards years ago and it has served me well. Valve compressor works a treat for holding the guard firmly...
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How high Rick? This high!..
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Rick wants an old school victory sign on top...
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A few suggestions drawn of the concrete and a V sign in a circle wins out...
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I point out that a good angle for a passenger and for looks and it looks best if it lines up with or close to the rear axle...
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Marking the 16mm mild steel round bar we will use. It will be welded to the top of the brackets we have made...
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Angle being set up...
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Heated to cherry red and bent in the vice. Sharp bent achieved by keeping the red area short...
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Two bent pieces laid together to check the bends and to make sure the lengths are identical...
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Double checking the centricity of the wheel between the brackets by measuring both sides; within 5mm...
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Cut to length for height and now the top couple of inches need to be splayed out so the circle can rest in them...
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Heated and bent and now areas to be welded linished to remove surface rust...
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Now for the circle. On old small fire extinguisher will suit the inside diameter as a former. If you are into chopping bikes, it pays to keep all sorts of nick nacks that can be pressed into service...
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16mm round bar is heated and bent around the former, cut and now needs the ends lined up. A piece of bar is placed inside the circle and used as a lever to pull both ends into alignment...
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Chamfered ready to weld...
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When bending with heat, you don't always get things straight, so the press is put into service to do a flattening job...
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How's it look guys? Rick is sold. Seb on the left has been our cameraman today. Been here having left France some months back. Sissy bar now lightly tacked...
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Now to get the thing central (ie straight up and down, not cockeyed). Bike is rechecked for level, tyre centre marked and plumbob brought into action...
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The two pieces of bar do not meet, so once centre of tyre is marked same gap is texta'd onto tyre and plumbob checked and rechecked...
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To keep three pieces in the same plane, we clamp a piece of 16mm melamine in front...
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Rick holds while I tack...
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Now the bar sides can be more securely tacked...
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Looks pretty cool just like this...
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Now to mount the guard. Chain is laid over the tyre. To provide sufficient clearance we slip a thick leather belt under the chain. Now lay the guard on that...
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Front of guard needs to just clear the swing arm of full compression so we slide a piece of 12mm timber on the swing arm and rest the guard on it...
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Find centre of guard using the folding paper method (see previous TCS posts), so we can drill holes...
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... for the tail light and wiring. EEk! Look at that enormous muffler!..
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Guard mounts on the sissy bar. Curved ends weld to the rear curve of the sissy bar (blue arrow). One reason for this is that the bracket will add strength to a potential weak spot in the sissy bar; the heated bend...
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Tack welding brackets. Cardboard used for marking...
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Nuts are bronze welded to keep assembly/disassembly easy. One thinner guards I weld in threaded bar to spread the stress, but this is a thick guard...
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Old and new...
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Sissy bar welded and checked on floor for twist...
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At this point, though late in the day, Rick is getting enthused about how cool his bobtailed machine looks except for those horrible muflers. Has a gander at muffler options. Decides to see how this lot looks and picks the turnouts...
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Slide them on the header pipes. Hmm! Very loud for Mr Plod. Some extra baffles needed...
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Long ones are chosen and will slide inside headers. Pipes are inch and a half, so the adapter ring is needed for the muflers which are incha dn three quarter...
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All nicely set up. Definitely better...
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Some half inch copper pipe welded inside the guard will keep the wiring out of harms way. I usually use plastic tube glued in, but Rick is riding home tonight and glue would not be set in time...
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Bent with this device...
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Missed a couple of pics. Number plate and taillight mount all made in one piece from 3mm steel plate. When he comes back we will make up a 3mm ally plate to reinforce the number plate, but this will do for now as darkness has set in...
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Side view shows number plate lights which Rick 'just had to have'...
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Small steel brackets for indicators as this is a post '88 machine....
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Now off the stand at last and let's see how she sits...
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Rick is stoked and now determined so save up some of that elusive paper called money and give it the full chopper treatment. He'll be here in three weeks so we can rake the front end. Keep posted.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: VTX 1300... the works...

Post by Prof » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:39 pm

Back onto the VTX. Lionell stripped the front end of the bike and it looks a hundred times better already... in fact a genuine bobber.

40's through 60's American bikes were all fat and heavy although not quite as extreme as this modern Japanese copy. Rear guards got bobtailed, and front guards, big lights and tinware got junked. Bobbers and choppers of the era were all about lighter more agile, not great heavy framed fat tailed behemoths. Oops! Forgive me for I am a 70's chopper jock through and through and through!

I got Rick up to have a look and work out with me what he wants. As any of you who have had work done here would know, I give you ALL possible (practical) options and so it was with Rick. He wants it as raked out and long as possible well past the RRule, and with a springer planned in the future when he can afford it. In the mean time telescopics will have to do. He also wants to be able to pull the bike back to legality if defected.

This narrows things down a bit. Means 3 degree raked cups, means pre 1988 HD steering head.

We will set the chopper up so that with the cups reversed the chopper will sit on the 550 RR if getting a defect taken off, butcan then have 6 degrees extra rake when cups are set forwards.

I have a set of 8" over 35mm forks in massively wide triple trees and standard narrow glide triple trees to match. Will have to find a 19" front wheel to suit narrow glide... and he wants twin front discs. Anyone got a wheel of that description they'd like to part with as I have recently sold my last one?

Rick's happy with this, "but I want it as long as possible"...
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So yesterday we get back into it. For raked front ends I now use a big 1" sheet of particle board with a centre line marked on it. Bike is jacked on four jacks so the wheels just touch the board. This makes it easier to set up the exact rake we need as we don't have to calculate for fork collapse of an inch or so as the weight of the bike comes on the forks. Get the bike roughly level...
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...and measure existing RR which =410mm which will reduce by about 10mm when weight of chopper is on the forks... gives us 150mm to play with the cups in the reverse position...
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Chopper to be is now clamped down. Each short piece of chain wraps around the frame tube and hooks on one end of the turn buckle...
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Bobber is now carefully levelled. A spirit level off the wheel is the most accurate way. The small rectangle of particle board is permanently screwed to the spirit level to set it out from the wheel...
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Turnbuckles and a small sledge are used to get the rear wheel...
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... and steering head centred. Turnbuckles are thenscrewed tight so bobber can't move...
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Here are the 8" over forks in their wide trees. Narrow trees to be used are on the floor...
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When dismantling the forks we discover the tube spacers are too short, so there is no pretension on the springs; meaning the springs will sag too much with the chopper's weight on them. We could use forks a few inches longer and use shorter spring spacers to get within the 550, but bobber sits just right (level) now...
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Make some new spacers 30mm longer. Could be a bit more, but because we will be pulling them apart a few times in the build will settle for something a bit easier to deal with...
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Set the front end up with the axle 150mm forwards to see how much the steering head needs to be raised..
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Challenge with the VTX steering head is that it is about 30mm longer than the HD steering head (145mm long). With a bit of ingenuity we can get to within 5mm which is fine for both standard HD forks and springers...
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VTX steering head is also considerably wider than HD. This all means that we can shorten the VTX steering head and machine up a sleeve to fit inside it. A very good solution as I prefer to not have to cut off a steering head if I can leave it be.

Steering lock is cut off and ground back so it can be tapped in with a hammer and drift... gently as we don't want to move the bike on its jacks...
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To raise steering head and give us the rake we need for the extra 150mm, the rear of the back bone will have a narrow 'V' cut out of it. Needs to be cut square or steering head will pull out of line...
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Thin wedge cut. Always ere on the side of caution. You can always cut more out, but will have a mess if you take out too much the first time...
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While I have been doing this, Lionel is cutting off an ugly padlock bracket off the bottom of the steering head...
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Now to cut the down tubes leaving plenty of tube each side for the slugs that will lock it all together again. First step is to mark the cut with a pipe cutter...
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Now very patiently cut along the mark with only 3mm of the blade in the steel to reduce the easy trap of going crooked. Each down tube is cut all around but for a couple of mm. Then very carefully cut into the final pieces. Steel invariably springs apart, to the side or pulls tight. You don't want to jam that fast moving blade...
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Forks are now slid into the steering head and wheel put on and set over our 150mm mark. Perfect! and looks pretty cool to! What a change!
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Now for the insert in the steering head. We use a small square to get the top even. It is trimmed down as far as possible so the bearing cups will just fit and not foul the backbone...
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Interior burrs are removed with a file. The steering lock hole would have originally been punched, so metal needs to be removed to allow our insert to be a close fit. End up having to use the die grinder to get the job done...
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Insert (bearing cup carrier) machined to fit in the VTX steering head and internally to fit the bearing cups. A piece of pressure pipe has very close dimensions and needs minimal machining...
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VTX steering head is drilled so the sleeve can be plug welded...
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The steering head has to be shortened and I do most of this at the bottom because the steering head has more weld area attaching it here. Hole that appears at the bottom is filled with a shaped piece of 3mm angle (in foreground). This has now been welded in and once the weld is tidied up, the bottom bearing cup with be inserted in the carrier. Carrier won't be welded until we have set everything up for minus 3 degrees and 550RR. Then it will be turned 180 degrees for the extra 6 degrees. Monday's job.
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Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: VTX 1300... the works...

Post by Prof » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:08 pm

New steeringhead needs some slimming in a few places. Turning the steering head as it is pushed in shows high spots...
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I find a second hand wheel in very good condition... getting hard to come by. It is set up for one rotor, but owner wants two. Sides of HD hub are identical, we just need to drill and tap another set of holes...
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HD front hubs run 5/16 UNC bolts. The rotors are counterbored, but countersunk bolts will do the same job and be much tidier. Measure depth...
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Set rotor on hub and use a 5/16 or 8mm drill bit to make a dimple in the hub. Because the hole in the rotor is 5/16 dimple will be centred. Then use a 6.5mm drill to drill the hole ready for threading. Tap thread with a taper tap. Then finish with a bottoming tap. Final job is to use a 13mm bit to slightly countersink the hub. Now bolt the rotor in place, so the process can be repeated on the remaining five holes...
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Drilling the remaining holes for tapping. Largest drill bit was for countersinking and intermediate size was used to create the dimple...
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One more job now to do. Late seventies/eighties narrow glide forks used a ten inch disc rather than 11.5 inch of later bikes. For some reason, the centres on the on the 10" rotors are 50mm versus 40mm of the 11" rotors. So we now have to make up a pair of spacers. Rotor needs to be a firm fit on the hub to prevent misalignment. Bolts' purpose is to hold the rotor on the hub and prevent it from turning...
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Machining the spacers. Large drill is used. Then bored with a boring bar. A point in interest is the difference between the two pieces of swarf coming to the drill bit. This tells us that the bit is incorrectly sharpened...
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Rotor installed over spacer and tapped onto the hub. Second spacer in foreground...
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Taking wheel to DC motorcycles for a new tyre. Some rust on rim is removed on the wirewheel and then Silvar frosted. I would normally use rust converter first, but have to get the tyre done the next day...
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Back to steering head and tapered cups are lined up and pressed in...
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... using a one inch piece of threaded rod. Driving blocks are machined to to just inside the bearing cups as they are used to install the outer races as well...
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Outer races have been left in the bottom of the freezer overnight ( a couple of hours are usually enough)...
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... carried up to the workshop on my knife to keep them from warming up form my body heat (fingers)...
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Outer races are also now drawn in. They always seem to pull in crooked, so 'press' has to be removed and a brass hammer used to straighten them up for final pressing...
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New race and dust cap are installed on the headstem using a piece of tube set up for the purpose. I won't grease the bearings until final assembly...
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Forks installed and then wheel attached. It is at an angle because we will need to...
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... remove a little more metal from the backbone. Must be very carefully done so that when welded it will not pull to either side. Now wheel sits straight with no upward pressure. Sits nicely on the 550 mark. When the forks compress under the weight of the chopper RR will reduce another 20 or so mils...
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A check on where down tubes need to be heated and bent (red arrow)...
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Before putting any weld on the backbone, all paint needs to be removed. Most is taken of with a flap disc, but the fine hard to get to bits are a job for the 1mm cutting blade. This can be effectively used if care is taken and the grinder is rested as it is used... in this case the lower back of my hand against the rocker box...
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Welded across the top for the moment. Tacked each side first, then right across. Later, I will weld in a three mil plate that will extend to the red dotted lines...
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Now back to the down tubes. A cross piece that carries the top of the radiator and braces the down tubes needs to be cut out as it is the way of where we need to bend the down tubes. It will be welded back lower to match the top of the radiator. A breather hose is in the way and removed. A bolt is dropped into the hole to keep swarf out...
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Plate is cut out and down tubes cleaned up with grinder and flap disc. Left done. Right hand to be done. Takes just 3 minutes to cut out the plate and 20 minutes to clean up!..
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Plate we have removed...
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P:aint removed from down tubes prior to welding. Used the flap disc...
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Tomorrow (Friday) I'll machine up slugs and then with Lionel's help the down tubes will be heated and bent into alignment...
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: VTX 1300... the works...

Post by Prof » Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:06 pm

Back on the VTX today. Slugs need to be machined to join the front down tubes. Years ago I procured a heap of forks and fork legs to use for machining as they are good steel and have thick walls; half way between hollow bar and pipe. Find a fork leg that is .5mm larger in diameter than the ID of the down tubes...
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Slugs machined to be a slide fit. Here marked each end at 1.5 ID of down tube = 45mm...
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Heat is applied to the down tube at the point we made earlier. Most of the heat is applied to the front which is the side that stretches. Always heat over a wide area to reduce thinning of the tube as it stretches. This tool, being used by Lionel as I heat, is a TCS special is used to give leverage when bending tubes especially handlebars while they are still on the bike. White arrow shows the slug which has been slid into place...
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Left tube done and right ready to bend. Slug has been held inside top tube in readiness. Tape is then removed and slug slid down to just clear the bottom tube opening... makes for easy alignment...
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If slug is a bit tight it can be tapped into place like this...
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Rear of legs are heated briefly to normalise any tension in the tubes. This is done because more heat was applied to the front of the legs so they will want to pull slightly forwards as they cool...
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Slugs are now moved out of the way to drill down tubes for plug welding...
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Left leg measured; a gap of 82.5mm. Right side measures at 84.5, so we will weld this side first and then pull down other side to match ( so much for relieving stresses, but no option...
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Left welded and right side pulled together with a ratchet strap...
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Welding complete...
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While I am doing this, Lionel cuts a plate for the backbone and marks it for a threaded hole that holds an item...
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Missed a couple of photos here. Lionel cut up some matching tube to make sleeves ot weld over the slugs. They were split longitudinally and then cut to length. Here welded in place...
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Lionel's place cleaned up and hole drilled...
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Plate welded in and sides welded. Snips you can see is holding the wiring loom out of the way...
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Radiator top mount which we removed earlier must now be set into its new location. Radiator mounted and screwed to its top mount. Tack welded to the right leg and then adjusted to have even spacing on the left. Ruler used to guage gap...
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Steering head alignment checked. Originally it was about 15mm off centre to the left. Still 8mm which is corrected by turning the raked cups slightly. If we put in plain bearing cups we will be back to 8mm off which I have managed to achieve, but will be better than we found it anyway. You can see the laser splitting the steel rule which is the centre line...
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8" over forks and new wheel (and tyre) now installed on the steering head. At 3 degrees minus rake, we were just under the RRule. At the full 6 degrees achieved by turning the raked cups 180 degrees we how have 48 degrees rake and forks that are way too short.

So I grab a set of 6" fork slugs and Lionel and I install them. Just the right length. Well xx wanted the forks long. However 14" over will be a real cop magnet. We will need to drop out the raked cups and put in normal ones. This will bring rake back to 45 degrees and the 8" over forks should be about right. Some handlebars tomorrow morning and well get the machine on its wheels. Talk to you then...
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Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: VTX 1300... the works...

Post by Prof » Sat Oct 26, 2019 9:22 pm

A couple of jobs on it this morning so Rick can see the stance of his chopper with 48 degree rake and 14" overs.

A set of new antivibration mounts for the risers...
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A pair of stainless TCS Zed's so we can move it around...
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Well here's the beast... a cop magnet in this nanny dictatorship. Not sure how well the forks would work at this angle. Paul's 550 has 45 degree rake and 10.5 over and they work fine, but this is a much heavier bike...
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Front end is super floppy without a guard or fork brace. I put on the brace from my shovel narrow glide front end. Works miracles and now quite unflexible...
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Another shot of the fork brace which is a Screaming Eagle...
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Does anyone out there have a fork brace for narrow glide forks. I have a couple for wide glides but in the past have machined up braces, a time consuming business.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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