Sportster Tips

A collection of tips, techniques, data points, part numbers, facts, figures, screwball opinion, works of wisdom, and other random cruft siphoned up from the Sportster Mailing List.


Quality Time With One's Motorcycle

Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 08:02:06 -0800
From: "Joe & Kjeri Boyle" <>
Subject: One Bike Bike Show

Bruce asked, "Is it normal to spend quality time with my bike out in the garage?"

I have had my bike since 4:30 PM October, 1997. I still enjoy venturing out into the garage to admire my one bike bike show. I do 360's on mine. When I back my truck out, which sits along side the bike, I always wait for the garage door to completely close so as to catch every possible glimpse of that beauty. My bike is a work of art in progress.

That is Sportster Bike Passion. From my wife's perspective, it is better than chasing other women.

To paraphrase the often heard concept, "I have to stop working so hard so I can spend some quality time with my material possessions."

1998 - 1200C
27,500 miles
Lakewood, WA

Spitting Oil from Transmission Vent

Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 10:49:32 -0800 (PST)
From: "Dale A." <>
Subject: Tranny Vent hose puking...New Rocker Gaskets

For those of you who are new owners with a 2000 model Sportster..there was a problem with the Tranny Vent hose routing from the factory. This causes primary oil to vent out the hose on the swingarm area, near the rear tire. There is a copy that you can print of the HD service Bulletin addressing this & how to re-route the hose to stop the leakage. I bring this up, only in thinking, their are more new owners on this list now, & it's been brought up again on another list.

Also, I have a copy of the #709 Bulletinn from HD on my web page concerning the new Rocker Gaskets. It basically only states that all HD Dealers should pull their old paper gaskets & replace with the new one piece metal rocker gaskets. Both can be seen at the web link below in my signature line. I'll let you know soon how the new one piece metal ones work as they are going into the wife's Lil Hugger when it's re-converted back from race mode.

Dale A.
Rattler..95 883-1200
01 883-1000 Hugger aka "Mystery EVO" 1000 cc P/PP Record holder @ 143.079 MPH
"When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane!"

New, Improved Rocker Box Gaskets

Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 10:24:31 -0500
From: John Kodis <>
Subject: Re: RE:Tranny vent hose puking..New Rocker gaskets
On Wed, Oct 31, 2001 at 04:48:49PM -0800, Dale A. wrote: bad..I stored it in a file on Yahoo versus on my web page. Go to the link below, then click on PAB709.pdf .done=http%3a// .dir=/Mail%2bAttachments%26.src=bc%26.view=l

That did the trick. Thanks Dale.

My 2001 Sportster just developed a leak from the rear rockerbox cover. I have 4700 miles on the clock so far, so I've set up an appointment to get the leak fixed, have the 5000 mile service performed, and I'll probably ask them to install an SE air cleaner at the same time. I want to be sure that I get the new-style gaskets, so I'll keep a copy of the bulletin handy. Thanks again.

-- John Kodis.

Doing the 1200 Conversion

From: "Rick Haller" <>
Subject: Re: T-storm conversion--prices and P/N's
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 19:05:23 -0500
A friend is looking to T-storm his 2000 1200C. Archives show costs ranging $700-$1400. Does anyone have a simple list for this conversion (with ign module, coil, etc) *with* part numbers I did the 1200 T-Storm Conversion with Andrews' N6 cams using the following HD and Zippers part numbers.
16797-98Y High Flow T-Storm Head Front
16827-98YB High Flow T-Storm Head Rear
16554-92A 1200 Cylinders (2 of them)
22676-98Y Buell 1200 Piston & Ring Sets
17032-91 HD Top End Gasket Set

298170 Andrews P/N for a 2000 Sporty "N6" Grind Cam (from Zippers)
58-896 Custom Chrome P/N for a CC Rider Carb Kit

SE II Slash Cut Slip Ons (Baffles have been modified with a Dremel)
SE High Flow Air Cleaner
7500 RPM SE Ignition (forgot the PN)

Without being "dyno tuned" the bike put out 82.1 HP and 72.5 Ft Lb Torque. Most of the power comes on after 4500 RPM and continues up to almost 7500. (Thank you N6) I ran out of "dyno money" and will have to wait to get it tuned on the dyno. I am hoping to pick up a couple more ponies after that.


Maurice Opines on a 1200 Conversion Proposal

From: Maurice Riggins <>
Subject: Re: 883/1200 conversion pricing
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001 12:55:08 -0500 
> S.E. cylinders

That's fine... you can also have your 883 cylinders bored for a little bit less

> 1200 cc Teflon coated piston kits

Bad. These are the stock 1200 pistons... they are WAY heavier than your 883 pistons, and will increase vibrations and lower the rpms at which they occur. You will probably resort to higher belt gearing to help relieve them.

> S.E. Performance heads

If you don't ride over 4,500 rpm,

(see to find out what mph that is in each gear) these are a waste of money. If you do ride over that speed a lot, Buell Thunderstorm heads are a lot better for about the same price.

> S.E. bolt in hydraulic cam set

These are also high-rpm cams. Waste of money if you don't ride over 4,500 rpm.

> Tappet assemblies (4)

Stock tappets are fine, but the one's on an '86 are probably pretty tired by now... depends on the mileage.

> Top end gasket set

That's fine.

> S.E. adjustable pushrod kit

Huh? You sure you aren't looking at a Big Twin setup. I didn't know SE made adjustable pushrods for XLs. At any rate, you don't need them.

> S.E. ignition module (includes harness for earlier bikes)

If you're doing the high rpm setup, fine. If not, keep the stock module.

> Oil & filter change

Should do on an engine rebuild.

If you don't ride over 4,500 rpm, just do the typical 883/1200 conversion. Keep your stock heads, carb, pushrods, cams, and buy SE cylinders for $260 minus 20% mail-order at Chicago HD and HD top end gasket kit (about $60 mail-order) and use the K1655 Wiseco 883/1200 conversion piston kit, $230 retail... less than $200 mail-order. The labor for the conversion, without doing cams, should cost about $400.

If you do ride over 4,500 rpm, a cheap bolt-on setup would add the Thunderstorm heads, and SE bolt-in cams and ignition (and cam cover gasket and seal)... all available at 20% off at Chicago HD, substitute Wiseco K1700 Thunderstorm pistons for the K1655 883/1200 pistons, and add about $100 to the labor to install the cams.

To whoever was concerned about piston noise... when the piston to cylinder gap is no greater than the range Wiseco recommends, .002-.0025" there should be no significant noise once the engine has warmed up. They do run more gap than cast pistons (.0015") but expand more, so wind up with the same when hot.

DON'T do the old-style flat-top piston/grind the 883 head Harley conversion! You wind up with NO squish and higher compression for an engine that's more likely to ping, not to mention will vibrate more.


Maurice's 1200 Conversion Advice

From: "Maurice Riggins" <>
Subject: re: 883 to 1200
Date: Fri, 8 Mar 2002 08:35:52 -0500

To do an 883/1200 conversion, you only need:

  1. 883/1200 conversion pistons (Wiseco K1655 9.5:1 forged pistons for $229 retail for example) Conversion pistons have a dish (reverse dome) to enlarge the combustion chamber in order to keep the compression ratio reasonable. This is better than hogging the chamber out with a die grinder. It is also better to use these pistons that weigh the same as your 883 pistons so you don't change the balance and get more vibrations.
  2. Your 883 cylinders bored from 3.0" to 3.498" or two 1200 cylinders page 85 in the P&A catalog. No difference in the outside diameter of the sleeve or the sleeve thickness between bored 883 cylinders and factory 1200 ones.
  3. A top end gasket set
  4. Assembly lube, neverseize, and loctite.
  5. Basic mechanics tools and a torque wrench. You don't even need a ring compressor that disassembles if you install the pistons in the cylinders on the bench and install them on the rods together.

Yes, SURELY it IS that simple. Anyone who has the most fundamental mechanical skills can do it in a weekend, even taking two or three times as long as a pro to be careful.

PROPERLY boring seasoned (used) cylinders gives you a more stable cylinder (holds dimensions better) but the factory slaps new pistons into new cylinders a few hundred times every day.

There is no difference between 883 and 1200 cases (what you call a block). The outer diameter of the cylinder sleeve is the same on both 883 and 1200 cylinders so the bore in the case is the same... so is rod length, etc.

Since '95, Harley has even used the same flywheel in 883 and 1200 models... they deal with the vibrations caused by the big boat-anchor cast 1200 pistons by gearing the bike higher to move the vibes up in the speed range.

Combustion chambers in the head don't have to match the cylinder bore... look at the Evo and Twin Cam Big Twin heads in the catalog... in fact, it's better if they don't so that some part of the head is over the piston to create quench or squish as it's also known. This is a good thing.

Your stock heads, carb, ignition module are fine and replacing the carb and ignition at this level won't get you anything. If you decide to build a hotter engine later, you'll need different pistons that are suited to the performance heads you are using.

This isn't a step by step thing... you chose to do the low-cost stock 883 head 883/1200 conversion because it gives more than a 50% increase in torque in the low and mid rpm ranges. Obviously, heads that feed 883ccs to 6,200 rpm or so are only going to feed 1200 ccs to 4,500 rpm or so. If you don't ride over 4,500 rpm, there's no point in going farther with big-valved heads, etc. This type conversion will give more torque than a factory 1200 setup because of its higher compression. And it will give as much high rpm power as the larger valved factory 1200 because of this higher compression.

Yes, it really IS that simple.

-- Maurice 

The 1200 Conversion FAQ

From: "Daniel Ratner" <>
Subject: 883-1200 Conversion FAQ first draft
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 22:22:13 -0600
Ok, I worked on it a little today. Looking for some feedback. It is temporarily located here: It is not completed but go ahead and ping me offline with your comments, rants, abuse etc.

The 1200 Conversion FAQ

From: "Daniel Ratner" <>
Subject: FAQ version 1.6 now available
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 16:29:54 -0600

The 883-1200 FAQ has been revised (ver. 1.6).

Added index (TOC)
Revamped Intro including some links
Minor updates to Upgrade Path section
Added Heat problems to Reliability Section
Minor wording changes to Cams Section
Added links to Supplier List Section
Added sections on dyno tuning, squish, octane, timing and compression

As usual, comments, questions and clarifications are greatly appreciated and accepted.

Dan Ratner
1993 883 - 'Black Rat'
Decatur, Alabama

Pang's Rejetting Instructions

Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 09:35:29 +0000 (GMT)
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?H=20L=20Pang?= <>
Subject: rejetting

Bruce, you don't have to remove the tank to rejet, just go to the sportster tech page and try to search for a file that tells you step by step how to do the rejet. If you need help just email me direct and I'll give you step by step instructions, heck here goes a brief one.

On left of bike:

  • turn petcock to off position
  • cut off the metal thing gripping your fuel hose to the petcock. Many have used a dremel for that. Replace it with a small hose clamp. This may be the toughest part of the job. I did'nt have the metal thing, mine had a cable tie.
  • remove the fuel line from the petcock, just pull it down with your hands.
  • next remove the enricher (choke) assembly. look for a metal nut behind the choke and turn it clockwise, when you're facing it. (anticw for the nut)
  • remove your horn cover and horn, to remove the horn, just unplug the 2 wires connected to it. This will give you a clearer view of the carb.
  • look for a long hose coming from the bottom of the carb, its routed to somewhere around the oil filter area, this is known as the float bowl drain hose.
  • from the left of the bike, with the horn removed, look closely at the carb, you'll find a small brass flathead screw near the bottom of carb, this is the drain screw, you need to unscrew this about 3 turns to let the fuel in the carb bowl drain out of the hose I just told you about. Catch the fuel with something. You'll need a long flathead screwdriver for this. Retighten the screw back after the fuel's drained.
  • now go to the right side of the bike, remove the aircleaner cover and aircleaner, just 2 phillips screws holding these
  • you'll now see the backing plate, its held by 5 screws, 2 large ones which go into the cylinders and 3 small ones that go into the carb
  • remove the 2 large screws first, its tight
  • next remove the 3 small screws, do this by alternatively loosening each of the screws a little at a time and pulling the backplate towards you at the same time. You have to keep the backplate touching the head of the screws at all times to try to avoid the threads of the screws cutting the backplate, at least that's what the FM says.
  • remove backplate and you'll see the carb. There's a vacuum hose connected to the carb also secured by those metal clamps but you don't have to touch it if you don't want to. You don't have to remove this hose.
  • with one hand holding the top of the carb, the other holding the bottom, alternatively pull the top then the bottom till it pops out of the manifold, its not very tight in there. Don't move the carb left or right when you pull.
  • remove the 4 screws that hold the float bowl, the main jet's the one roughly in the center and the pilot jet roughly around the vicinity. You will know they are the ones because they have 45 and 180 stamped on them, yours may have 42 and 170 or something like that. Just unscrew these 2 jets and rescrew in your new jets and you're done. Put everything else back together the reverse of how you took them out.
  • the idle mixture screw is on the bottom of the carb, it lies on the centerline of the carb, near the engine side of the bike, and it lies in a long cylinder like thing. It may be plugged with something so you need to drill the plug out (use self tapping screws to pull them out) then use a long skinny screwdriver to turn the idle mixture about 2 turns out. For more on tuning ask again.

Wow, that was long. Hope it helps!


Pang Removes a Stripped Screw

Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 00:40:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: hlp <>
Subject: Re: 1000mile HELL
<Cliff stripped his derby screws>

Cliff, I've thought of a step of plans to take when I strip a screw, it lists the least damaging and easiest to do first, followed by the harder solutions. Some may or maynot be applicable for your case.


  1. Use the RIGHT BIT and press hard to NOT strip the screw in the first place. DON'T USE CHEAP TOOLS, THROW THEM AWAY. If you're reading this, it means you've screwed up anyhow. If everyone followed step 1, no one will have stripped carb float bowl screws. Check twice (for fit), screw once. If a screw even shows slight signs of damage, replace it.
  2. Spray WD-40 round the screw head, this stuff REALLY REALLY works, its saved me many times with IMPOSSIBLE to get off screws. Let it seep in and spray somemore.
  3. Using a soft metal drift, put it on top of the screw head and give the screw head a few hard raps with a hammer. This will jar the threads loose. 2-3 times ought to do it.
  4. Spray WD-40 again and let seep.

Actual steps

    Try again with an impact screwdriver, the manual kind that you knock with a hammer. A must have tool, get a good one. Again use the RIGHT bit.
  1. By now the head should be stripped beyond all hope. Get a correctly sized pair of vice grips and grip the screw, then turn. Only applies to some screws.
  2. Using a centerpunch or small sharp chisel, depending on the type of head the screw has, cut a small notch at the edge of the screw, or punch a small deep hole, and knock the screw out counterclockwise. Take it slow and be careful to protect surrounding areas when using chisel. This is my personal favourite method.
  3. Using a dremel tool, cut a slot in the screw, then try to turn it out with a flat head screwdriver. (Seldom works, screw heads are soft and its quite hard to get a good cut for the screwdriver to fit properly, but worth trying).
  4. When that fails, get your parts manual, look up the screw's shank size, then using a smaller drill bit and screw extractor, try to remove screw. (reverse drill bit if possible). Centerpunch before you drill.
  5. If that still fails, using a drill bit the same size as the shank, drill the head off.
  6. If you've really screwed up and broke a screw in some really inaccessible place, you'll need a welder to slowly add material to the screw's body till you can turn it out. If the weld breaks, continue ad nauseum. The welder must really really like you to do this for you. Don't ask me how I learnt step (7).

Phil's Tool Kit

From: "Phil Anderson" <>
Subject: RE: Tool Kit!
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 10:13:18 -0500

Check the archives for my posts on this from earlier this year... search for the "speaking of tools" thread from May.

In summary, start with the Craftsman Portable Mechanics 53pcs. Tool Kit (p/n 00933853000). The set is bring offered right now (sale ends Dec 1) for only $25, which is 50% off the regular price. To this you'll need to add two more wrenches: a 10mm (p/n 00942867000; $6) and a 5/8" x 3/4" double-ended standard (p/n 00944582000; $9); a set of the folding hex and torx keys (p/n 00946705000; $25); and a pair of 8"" locking pliers (p/n 00945603000; $10).

For about $75.00, this tool kit (which includes a nice vinyl case to keep it all organized) will cover almost anything, and is much more comprehensive than anything you will find from Cruz, Snap-on, or H-D, and it's guaranteed for life. It's also gotten rave reviews from knowledgeable listers who have used my set for roadside repairs, including Crim, Moshe, and EdMerc. Makes a great holiday gift too!


A Battery Wrench

From: "cunhel" <>
Subject: battery wrench for H-D's was Re: Tool Kit!
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 12:15:04 -0500
Isn't the 10mm the nasty additional surprise when you try to work on the battery? Along with the fact that you can't GET to the darn thing?

I believe almost all MC batteries use nuts and bolts that need a 10mm wrench or socket. I have also run into a few 10mm nuts and bolts on the battery clamps on cages, for instance Hondas.

A H-D service tech gave me a little tip one day. Go to the tool counter or wall of an auto parts store and look for a wrench specifically made for "Ford Escort Timing Belt Tensioner". It is shaped like a straightend "Z" with a 4" long body, the legs on each end are about 1". One end is a 12 point 10mm box end wrench, the other has a square cut out for 3/8 drive. You can reach the front post from the LEFT (battery) side of the bike easily with this tool to fully tighten or loosen. You can do the usual the reach through from the right side (AC) with a long screwdriver to speed up the loosening/tightening of the battery bolt.

If you go to the Matco Tool site, and look up PN MST98, it will give you an idea of what the tool looks like. Theirs is a little different but should work the same way. Go to:

( 続)

It's not too late to put one on your Christmas list...

'95 883
Billerica, MA

An Intake Manifold Bolt Wrench

Subject: Intake Manifold Removiing & Installing Tool
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 01:59:06 -0400 (EDT)

The allen head bolts on the intake manifold are a pain to get off. The left side bolts come off with a regular allen wrench. The right side ones behind the carbarator are more difficult because of the angle of the intake manifold. They make a offset allen wrench for freeing up stuck garbage disposals, It works great. They are avalible at any Hardware Store for about $2.50

Bernie from So. Cal. 883-1200 (Roarry)

Squeaky Brakes

From: "Andy Porter" <>
Subject: Re: Posted for another Sportster Owner
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001 18:49:19 -0000

I had a similar experience with the front brake on my Sporty a while back. I spent ages greasing the pins and the back of the pads to no avail. Eventually I bled the brake, and I found that if I held the lever to the grip while tightening the bleed nipple - rather than letting it back out - the pads seemed to retract a bit when you let the lever go (I'm sure there's some kind of negative pressure techno-explanation for this - whatever...) But afterwards, the wheel turned a whole lot easier. It might be worth a try? Still, that's what comes of getting your wheels off the ground!

Andy  Hampshire (UK)
'95 XLH 883

Speedometer Diagnostic Codes

From: Jake Rewa <>
Subject: Diagnostic codes
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 08:55:48 -0500

The following is taken from the HD Factory manual, 2000 edition:


XLH Models have a speedometer with self-diagnostic capabilities.


The reset switch is used to change the odometer display between mileage and trip values and to reset the trip odometer. It is also used to identify the speedometer calibration and to enter the diagnostic mode, clear diagnostic codes and exit diagnostic mode.


The Diagnostic Mode is entered by turning the ignition from OFF to ON while holding the reset switch in. The normal power-up sequence will occur before entering the diagnostic mode. Diagnostic codes set during this power-up sequence will be stored as well.

Important Note: Be sure no diagnostic codes are indicated before reset is held in for more than 5 seconds or diagnostic information will be lost.

When in diagnostic mode the odometer will display the first diagnostic code. When the trip switch is pressed again the next code will be shown. If the trip switch is pressed for more than 5 seconds at any time while in the diagnostic mode, the diagnostic code displayed will be erased.

There are 7 different diagnostic codes available. They are as follows:

    d01 - Speed sensor power output shorted low
    d02 - Speed sensor power output shorted high or open
    d03 - Not Used
    d04 - Not Used
    d05 - Speed sensor return shorted high
    d06 - Speed sensor return shorted low
    d07 - Not Used
    d08 - Speedometer power over voltage
    d09 - Speed output shorted high
    d10 - Speed output shorted low or open
    CAL XX - Speedometer application calibration number:
    14 = Domestic
    15 = HDI

When in the diagnostic mode, all codes are displayed in sequence from d01 to d10.

As a code appears in the display (for instance d02), it will read "d02Set" if set or "d02CLr" if clear.

The diagnostic mode is exited either by turning ignition from ON to OFF to ON again without depressing the reset switch or if a speed signal greater than 5 MPH is detected.

Diagnostics cannot be performed if system voltage is less than 9 VDC or greater than 16 VDC. The only exception is d08 which is set when system voltage is greater than 16 VDC.

After all the diagnostic codes are displayed, the speedometer calibration number is displayed (CAL 14 for example).

That Boat Anchor of an 883-R

From: Maurice Riggins <>
Subject: Re: XL883R to XR1250R conversion
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001 13:48:34 -0500 
Brad sez:
About performance: according to my owners manual the XL883R is the poorest performing Sportster in production. It is the heaviest at 503 pounds thanks to a boat anchor of a muffler and it makes the least torque at 52 ft-lbs.

You have obviously never felt the total weight of two stock XL mufflers! Talk about BOAT ANCHORS! The 883 standard weighs 489 lbs. The 1200 Sport weighs 501. That 12 pound difference is almost all unsprung weight on the front... the additional rotor and caliper. I weighed them when I did the dual-disk conversion on my '97 and that's about what it came out to. The 883R gets almost all its extra pork from the additional front brake, not the exhaust system. If anything, I'd think it would be a bit lighter. BTW, the torque of the 883 standard and 883R are both listed as 52 ft-lbs on the web site. The 883 standard torque is listed as 53 ft-lbs in the 2001 Service Manual... not much difference.

And for what it's worth, even with a restrictive muffler and stock cams, it should give a boost in the torque curve above 3,500 rpm, at the cost of some torque below that... in the real world. But I haven't measured them.

I have not seen any dyno results of the SE muffler for the 883R exhaust system, but I'm sure it has to help quite a bit. Whether it is better than dual SE/Cycle Shack slip-ons throughout the rpm range remains to be seen, but I'll bet it's as strong or stronger from 3,500 rpm up.

gerry says:
On the other hand, my buddy draggin' me around on a recent treasure hunt (honda shadow 1100) passing cars at the end of straights and gassing hard half way up the hill,etc. left me downshifting in multiples and playing catch up... feel the extra pull of paying at least some of the tax to be needed.

You can't pay "some" of the tax and get much benefit. The components are a system in series... you have to remove the restriction at both the intake and exhaust, AND get jetting right, to see a significant gain.

That being said, the mulitiple gear downshifts are part of the game with an 883. It has a very flat, but also very LOW torque curve. Gearing multiplies torque. You need to run an 883 between 4,500 and 6,000 rpm. That means you are running in the lowest gear possible with the most torque multiplication. That's also why hp is important. HP=(torque X rpm)/5,252. Horsepower reflects what torque multiplication does. Running at high rpms also gives you the performance you paid for with the tax. Most of the gain of the tax comes at high rpms with an 883. See: (go to Setup and select 883)

to determine what gear you need to be in at various speeds to keep the 883 in its powerband. For best performance you need to ride in the following mph ranges... and preferably a bit higher than that with an ignition:

        1st  35-45 mph
        2nd  45-60 mph
        3rd  65-85 mph
        4th  80-105 mph
        5th  90->

In other words, shift at 45, 60, and 85 mph in a drag race.

If you want to try to keep up with an 1100cc bike without going over 4,500 rpm, the 883/1200 conversion is the only way. It'll give 70 ft-lbs in the lower rpm range where an 883 only makes 40-45 ft-lbs. (these are real wheel, Stage 1 values). An 883, ridden to the rev limit in each gear, MIGHT keep up with a 1200 ridden casually and shifted at 4,500 rpm or so.

If you are going to stay at 883, get the SE 6,800 rpm ignition module for 883 models. Most Stage 1 883s continue to increase hp to 6,300 rpm. This will let you run all the way up to that with a 500 rpm "cushion" before hitting the rev limiter.

Hope this helps. I really like the 883R too. Because of the web page layout, I initally thought it came with the 1200 Sport suspension. Not so. I'd strongly recommend replacing the fork oil with SE Heavy Duty (NOT racing) oil and adding about 1-1.5 oz more oil than recommended (for example, use 10-10.5 oz on a wet change or nearly 12 oz if you fully disassemble and dry the fork components) And replace the rear shocks with 13"" Progressive Suspension units.

From a looks standpoint, I'd like to see the black and silver cast wheels that come on a XLH1200 standard. These are the same as used on Dyna models and you can often find virtually new ones pulled off where the owner went with custom wheels. I'd also like to see the black centered rear belt sprocket. This is pretty easy to do yourself with careful masking and a rattle can job. I did both these upgrades to my black '97 883 standard and it really improved the looks.


Best Vintage for a Sportster

From: Jake Rewa <>
Subject: RE: Help!!
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 00:58:35 -0500

Mickey wants to know what year Sportster to get.

In my opinion, you first need to decide if you want a classic Ironhead, or the most advanced EVO you can. Personally I'd like to have both, but I decided to go with the EVO first, for a reliable riding bike before I started my project bike.

In my research, I found this list in the XL-List Archives. I can't guarantee the accuracy, but it seems to be pretty good.

  • The electronic ignition system has been improved every year since 1991
  • In 1991 they went to a five speed transmission
  • In 1992 (or late 91) Harley put belt drives on Sportsters
  • In 1995 they went to an in-head breather system and electronic speedometer
  • In 1995, Sportster 1200's got a 3.25 gallon gas tank in place of the 2.2 gallon tank
  • In 1996, the 1200 went to the current 3.3 gallon rounded tank
  • In 1997, the 883's got the 3.3 gallon tank
  • In 1996, the handlebar controls were replaced with the current setup. A new front master cylinder is part of that setup
  • In 1996 the Sportster 1200 Sport and 1200 Custom were introduced
  • The electrical system and ignition was completely redone in 1998-1999.
  • In 1999 the 883 Custom was introduced and both the 1200 custom and 883 Custom got forward controls
  • They put a whole new (stronger) transmission and all new brakes in 2000

A Buell-Inspired Breather Setup

Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 12:12:22 -0800 (PST)
From: "Dale A." <>
Subject: Buell stuff for Sportsters???

A nifty breather set-up for the Sportster engine. The Buellers use should adapt easily to the Sportster with some Big Twin Banjo Bolts & a carb Bracket.

An alternative Air Cleaner & Breather system...I'm sure someone can make this work on a Sportster too. profile=displayroom&uid=10083&catuid=10039& returnURL=http%3A// category.nhtml%3Fcatuid%3D10039

The above info comes from the below web link posted on the Buell Bad Weather Bikers BBS. Lots of the same interest items on this page. It makes a good rainy day read for those learning about their Sportsters or new to them. Their also is a link to a downloadable Service Manual for a 1996 Buell. Guees what..the engine stuff should be near the same for those with 96 or older bikes. Lots of great info here folks!
Dale A.

An HD Breather

Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 01:20:47 -0800 (PST)
From: John Schnupp <>
Subject: re: breather
From: "Dale A." <>
To my knowledge, HD doesn't make a hard breather line for Sportsters. Some have used the Big twin version, but the head connectors will not line up. People tweak them a little bit by hand bending.

You are incorrect. HD DOES make a breather for the XL. The p/n is 29281-91T, HOWEVER, it is for use with SS tear-drop type air cleaners. For those of you who have tear-drop style air cleaners, stop reading and pgdn. If you have a SE air box keep reading.

I know, I bought one for $29.99. The problem is that it is not a simple bolt on. There are a couple ways to accomplish the task of getting heads on an external breather when using an SE air box.

  1. Use the HD kit and drill mounting holes in the backing plate for the supplied brackets. This will also require that you find cover the old holes from the stock breather bolts.
  2. Use the HD kit and cut the SE spacers to the required length. You will need to plug the hole in the stock bolt and cross drill. Problem here is that the horseshoe needs to be mounted next to the heads which means you will probably be drilling thru the threaded portion of the bolt, NOT GOOD. Mounting it next to the SE backing plate will cause interference problems between the air cleaner cover and the crossover tube.
  3. Order a set of spacers/bolts from Lee for $34. His e-mail is: Here is a close-up photo of the bolts

Personally, if you are running the SE airbox, I think the easiest and best option is to get the set-up that Lee is offering.

Breather Bolts

From: Crude <>
Subject: Re: oil breather routing kit for SE a/c
Date: Sat, 06 Apr 2002 16:26:58 -0600
I saw a post a bit ago with a link to a source for the spacers/banjo bolts to reroute the breather with a SE a/c kit, and have since lost it. seems to be down at the moment, and I was wondering if somebody out there would be kind enough to let me know the link?

Only if you send me money!!! With the SE AC the best fix was this one:

I'm running several sets.

From Lee:

This setup only works with the Screamin Eagle Airbox. If that is what you have I will send you the vented standoffs and specially bored and drilled bolts for 25 dollars. You will need to buy 3 ft of 3/8 fuel line tubing, a Tee connector, some clamps, and whatever you want to terminate the system with. This could be a PCV valve, or a crankcase breather filter or nothing.

$25.00 a set.

Lee Barnett
2433 Osborne Dr
Norman OK 73069
99 XL
Lewisville, TX

Front Suspension Improvements

From: "Jim in SB" <>
Subject: Re: Progressive Damping  Rods
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 13:25:29 -0800
Dan Asked:
I've read many posts about the improved riding results by installing Progessive Springs front and back. However, I was wondering if anyone has any experience with their Damping Rods for the front forks.

The hot ticket for your front forks are the Race Tech Cartridge Emulators. See

They can be done with your stock springs or with Race Tech springs or with Progressive Springs.

The complete Race Tech kit is available online from places like Wally's Cycle World for under $200. This was a "must do" item on my Sportster "to do list" but inadvertently I bought a Buell instead (which came with fully adjustable and tunable WP inverted forks).

Many Listers have done the Race Tech mod and been very pleased with the results. The Indy HD guy in my town highly recommends the full Race Tech kit as well. You can search the archives for more info. if you need it...

Jim in Santa Barbara
'96 S2 Thunderbolt
'91 XLH 883 Deluxe - For Sale

Tripping Stop Light Triggers

From: "Bob Lloyd" <>
Subject: The Magnet Trick
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 20:27:37 -0700

Well, the magnet trick works. I can now make a legal left turn in the middle of the night just like a real vehicle. I had picked up a small but powerful rare-earth (neodymium) magnet from Edmund Scientifics part #CR30812-37, $9.95. It's about the size of the end of my thumb...1.26"x.7"x.4"", rated 12 to 15 lb. pull. Looks like a rectangular piece of ceramic.

I went to an intersection which stays green for the main highway until a vehicle comes up the side street to trigger a change to green, to cross the highway or turn left. I sat there at the red light a long time, till a pickup came up behind me and triggered the light. Just to make sure, I went across the highway, turned around and approached the intersection from the other direction. Oncoming traffic turning left onto the highway triggered the light (for them) three times, but it stayed red for me. I turned around, went down the side road a ways, took the magnet out of my pocket and plopped it onto the front cross member beneath the bike. It nestles nicely inside the U channel, protected from boulders, humps and other obstacles. I then went back and forth through that intersection twice in each direction; the light changed for me each time, no problem. I believe I will anchor it with a dab of JB KWIK, just to thwart the less scrupulous who may hear me talking about it.

Mounted underneath the frame, there's plenty of iron above the magnet to act as a shield; I doubt that any significant portion of the magnetic field would ever reach, or affect, the bike's electronics.

AZ  Grampy   &   "Ernestine"
97 Patriot Red 1200S in Payson, AZ
Feeling more like a legitimate member
of the motoring public......

Tripping Stop Light Triggers

Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 07:13:47 -0800 (PST)
From: Erik <>
Subject: Re: The Magnet Trick
--- Bob Lloyd wrote: part #CR30812-37, $9.95.

Wouldn't it be cheaper if you got the Green Light Trigger ( it's only 8 bucks and they pay shipping.

98 XLH 74ci Evo
93 ZJ 318ci V-8 Up Country
01 WJ 242ci I6
Baton Rouge, LA

Rake and Trail

From: "Maurice Riggins" <>
Subject: Re: Front Wheel Trail
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 18:56:56 -0500

Draw a line through the steering head until it intersects the ground. Now go back to the point directly below the axle, which is the center of the tire's contact patch. The distance between where the steering head line intersects the ground, back to the center of the tire's contact patch is the trail.

Raked trees change the angle of the forks with respect to the steering head. When you move the wheel forward with raked trees, the center of the contact patch gets closer to the steering head line and the trail is reduced even though you are increasing rake.

AND, if you don't lengthen the tubes OR drop the rear end, you get hit with a double reduction in trail because the front end drops, relative to the rear, and the steering head line moves back (gets steeper) toward the contact patch further reducing trail.

Harley wanted a really raked out front end, but to do so would make the V-Rod steer very slowly due to the huge amount of trail. And they want a performance-image bike, including handling, so they used the trees to reduce the trail and make the bike turn quicker.

Weerd Brothers had a great site explaining all this with drawings, but it looks like they don't have the domain anymore.


More Rake and Trail

From: "Maurice Riggins" <>
Subject: Re: Triple Tree for Sporty
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 19:19:28 -0500

The Weerd Brothers site was a lot better and had illustrations that applied to real world bikes... not just 45 degree choppers. But using this...

The top picture shows forks raked out relative to the steering head (i.e. with trees) Note that trail has been reduced so much that it's negative (the contact patch is ahead of the steering head angle). This front wheel is gonna gyrate like one of those bad grocery cart wheels.

The next picture shows normal trail... but I'd keep it between 4-5"" if you're around 30 degrees in the steering head.

The bottom picture, too much trail, we'll use as an example of the V-Rod without trees. Now if you angle the forks out and leave the steering head line alone, the trail will decrease... i.e. the contact patch will get closer to the steering head line and the bike will turn quicker.

Kennedy's stuff is good for frame-raked choppers. It's the wrong stuff for someone trying to turn a steep headed FXD into a Wide Glide or kicking out an unraked XL.

There's another company that makes a whole setup for getting more rake without reducing trail. It mounts in the steering head and essentially gives you another steering head angle that works with their trees to keep your trail but gain rake... and it's available with up to 10"" over forks. A guy on YSOC put it on his bike,


Even More Rake and Trail

From: "Michael Friedrichs" <>
Subject: Re: Front Wheel Trail
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 23:16:27 -0600

I assumed the line of projection was always down the axis of the fork tubes. Garth Hoard informed me that the line of projection is always down the steering head, thanks Garth. Now it all makes sense.

Mike Friedrichs
Montgomery, Texas

Still More Rake and Trail

From: "David F." <>
Subject: Re:raked trees
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 22:24:40 -0400
Please read the following article at the link below: This explains everything. "Can't we all just get along?"
Dave F.
1999 XLH 883

Will This Rake and Trail Madness Never End?

Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 15:51:25 -0800 (PST)
From: Zooey <>
Subject: Chopper Math by Zooey, part 1

Hi Eric,

(since this reply has turned into a book, I'm also sending it to the list)

First the bad news, if longer _and_ lower is what you want, there is no "safe" way to do that without either chopping the neck to increase the factory 30 rake, or putting on the only alternative I'm aware of, which is the Seeger chopper kit that also increases the neck rake, but by bolting on a "virtual" neck instead of cutting and welding a real one.

Nothing against Moose, but my formula, which correctly predicted the trail of my finished project within the margin of error when measuring the actual bike, and also will spit out 4.6865" when I put in the stock XL-Custom rake of 30.1 degrees (per HD) and the stock fork length, says there's no way he's got more than 3 inches of trail. It depends on many factors, most particularly the exact offset measurement of his triple trees, and to a lesser extent the exact amount of nose-up tilt his bike has, but with the most generous numbers, my formula says he's under 3 inches. The only way he could have measured exactly correctly (which I'm kinda doubting he did) is to put the bike together, then jack it up and lower it until the frame is barely touching a block, but not putting any weight on it, and so the bike is sitting straight-up-and-down, then center the fork so that the wheelbase measure exactly the same on both sides, then draw a line on the perfectly flat and level floor where a weighted sting passes straight down through the center of the front axle, on both sides. Now secure the bike so it cannot roll even a hundredth of an inch, best to draw another line someplace as a reference point, then jack it up, take apart the front end, and lower the bike back onto the block, so that the steering neck is exactly the same distance above the ground. Now, stick a homebuilt measuring rod into the steering neck, which fits snug in the bearing races, is perfectly straight, and has a sharpened perfectly centered point at the end on the ground. Then measure the distance between that point and the first line you drew. Done carefully, this method of measuring should be accurate to within a few hundredths of an inch. No, I didn't do this. I did what he probably did which is eyeball a long straight-edge to be parallel _alongside_ the assembled steering neck. Every tenth of a degree off (invisible to the eye) equals a tenth of an inch on the ground. Throw in the fact that the bike is tilted over sitting on it's sidestand, the ground is probably not tabletop flat and perfectly level, and the front wheel is in the way of where your straightedge wants to go, and in my opinion, if you had one hundred different careful and meticulous guys make this same measurement, you would get a range of results within plus/minus a half inch or so. You add Moose's personal unconscious desire to see a larger measurement, and there is the discrepancy between what my formula and his tape measure say. Anyway, supposing he's only got 2.7" trail. If that's "bad" is debatable, I have read in several different places that the absolute minimum amount of trail is 2 inches. But, since even something as radical as a 2-stroke 500cc Bimota race bike has 3.5" of trail, and most factory "cruisers" have more than 5", you can see that it's not a very large range to play with. Almost every article I've read about building choppers they tried to achieve 4 inches of trail. It's the agreed-upon best compromise between easy handling and freeway stability. I'm sure Moose's bike handles and feels very well. Whether he has "too little trail" will only be determined by whether he ever hits a bump just the right way at high speed and suffers a tank-slapper. Probably never. There's a lot of factors involved, like how much weight is pressing down on how many square inches of front tire contact patch, and how much friction is in the steering neck bearings...all these things determine how much of an oscillation can be absorbed by 2.7 inches of trail. The wide-glide puts the weight farther apart, which helps, too. Like the arms of an ice-skater.

Anyway, to continue to refer to Moose's bike, the rear is about as low as you can get it with rear suspension. 11 inch progressive 412's bottom out at 9.2 inches full compression (according to their employee on the telephone), which would leave about 1/2 inch between the tire and the fender, which is why people say you should relocate the wires. I also dremeled off the wire attachment things on the underside of the fender and shortened the seat-attach bolt thing and rounded off it's edges. That's what the tire will hit, if it ever did hit anything. If you also put White Bros lowering blocks on, the tire will hit before the shocks bottom out. Of course, you may never hit a bump that big. Anyway, with the rear end basically as low as it can go, the only other way to increase the nose-up tilt of the bike, and therefore the "effective" rake angle of the steering neck, is to lift the nose of the bike up above stock ride height. Which is what Moose did with the longer tubes, his front end is about 1.8 inches above stock, I'm guessing. It's an educated guess. Going up in front and down in back gives him a nose-up tilt of maybe 3 degrees, for an effective rake angle of about 33. I'm guessing his 6 degree Rizoma trees have a 1.4" offset, which is what my SJP ones have and appears to be about as small an offset as they could get. The top stem bolt is under the backside of the riser, and the hole on the front for the wires is right up against the top stem bolt, and is just exactly wide enough for the deutsch connecters to squeeze through, and leaves a bridge of aluminum on the front about 3/8ths of an inch, probably just thick enough to suit the engineers. So, I doubt anyone makes them with an offset of less than 1.4" The less the better, for raked trees. Stock triple trees have 2.7" offset, reduced offset reduces wheelbase, raises the front of the bike, and most importantly, increases trail.

So, if you want to get longer, you cannot also go lower. What Moose has done is really the only way you can increase the wheelbase significantly (without also raising the front of the bike quite a bit more than he did, which is what would happen with stock-type zero degree triple trees and the longer tubes. But, then, you would also get more than stock trail.) as I was saying, what he has done (lower rear, raise front) is the only way to do it without actual cutting & welding, or going with the Seeger kit. He could say his trail is adequate and the nose-up tilt is not very noticable.

I wanted to keep at least 4" trail, I wanted the bike to be longer AND lower AND sit level, and the only way to do that (other than the damn ugly Seeger kit, I keep having to affiliation) was to have a professional chop/weld my neck. (to sum up for those joining us mid-program, my bike has a total 44 degree rake, 38 in the neck, 6 in the trees, "4" over tubes, 11" PS rear, 67" wheelbase, and 4.2" trail...calculated. I measured 4.5" trail by the eyeball-and- straightedge method.)

Now, to finally answer your actual question, if you put on a 5 degree wide glide kit with the stock front tubes, your front end would sit about .8"" lower, which should be close to level and give you a 1.0" longer wheelbase and leave 3.0" trail. This is _if_ your selected wide-glide trees have offset reduced to 1.4". If the offset is stock 2.7" or so, then the wheelbase goes to 62.1, the front height drops to 1.6" lower than stock, but the trail shortens to 1.5". So you can see, the KEY measurement which has the biggest effect on everything else, is the offset. Which, just in case you're asking, is the distance between a line drawn from center to center of the fork tube holes on the upper triple tree, to a parallel line drawn through the center of the steering neck axis, or stem. My opinion is, you should just save up, bite the bullet, and do it right with experienced motorcycle frame-shop help. If there's no "chopper" shop around, find the guy who welds aluminum race-bike frames for a living. If he can do that, he can do a steel street-bike safely. The reason I advocate chopping, is that if you want it "lower and longer" you're just not going to get the visual effect you really want any other way. You'll spend almost as much money on the project (without the $600 chop job) when all the receipts are added up (mine total $2200 so far) but you won't get hardly any "lower and longer" within the constraints of a 29.6 degree neck. (XLC models have .5 nose-up tilt, therefore HD says 30.1 You didn't think they actually built two different XL frames, did you?)

Don't ask me to teach you the formula, yet. It's too complicated. I can fly through it now, 'cause I've done it a million times. I'm working on a program to automate the whole thing. You put in the measurements, and it spits out the wheelbase, height, and trail.


Accident Avoidance

Reply-To: "Mike Novogradac" 
From: "Mike Novogradac" <>
Subject: Re: High Mileage
Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 21:00:24 +0900
Phil in Maine said ... >the more miles you ride, the more time out there mixing it up with cages, >the greater chance for a mishap. I do not agree that more miles will mean >less chance of an accident, I think it's quite the contrary.

If you could change your way of thinking, you could think like this instead: More ride time equals more experience "avoiding" mishaps. Mishaps can be avoided by riding smartly. These are just some of the habits I've developed while riding, I remain mindful of them continually, and I think they are smart things to consider:

  1. While following a cage, I am far enough back that I can stop if he stops. If another car pulls in between, I drift back from that one so I can stop if he stops. I also drive in the left side of the lane, so he can see me in his rear-view mirror and left side-view mirror. On-coming cars can see me too when I'm in the left of the lane behind a car in front of me.
  2. I get the attention of cage drivers. I drive with a headlight modulator and one of those brake light modulators too. I also get their attention by blowing the horn and waving. I wave to their kids so kids in the car can say to the driver, "Hey Mommy, there's a motorcycle." I'll do a lot of things so cage drivers know I'm there. I never get impatient and pass the driver who looks like he's lost -- he'll only want to make a left-hand turn without signaling as I'm passing -- that's inevitably Murphy's Law in action.
  3. When red lights turn to green, I don't try to get through intersections first. I let the car next to me take off first, and I go through beside him, and I try to be in the left-hand lane, rather than the right. The car beside me protects me. The car beside me at the intersection always knows I'm there, because I do things to let him know I'm there. Same holds true when going through an intersection when the light is green -- I make sure I get near a cage, even if it means slowing down a bit -- the cage will protect me since chances of someone doing a left hand turn across the lane in front of me are less when I'm next to a cage. The simple fact is that cage drivers are looking other cages, not motorcycles, so if I'm next to a cage through an intersection, my survival chances have just increased. But I never speed up to get next to a cage when going through an intersection. And I NEVER increase speed when going through a green-lighted intersection -- that's just dumb.
  4. I never think I am invincible while on a bike, and I lay off the heroics. I don't try to impress anyone with speed or sound or fancy maneuvers. Concentrating on riding safely helps one to ride safely. Next time you cut yourself shaving, pause and think what you were thinking about when you cut yourself. Bet you weren't thinking about shaving. Always thinking about that safe ride and anticipating what other drivers are capable of will keep you safe. If a rider gets on a bike thinking he's taking chances with his life, he probably is.

What you've said is that if you ride less, your chances of having an accident are reduced. You certainly can't be more right than that, I suppose, Phil. Me? I want to ride more because I think more experienced miles is what keeps me safe, and that's the other side of the coin.

I don't claim to be the best rider around, and while I'm learning all the time, I'll also read anything about riding safely, even if I've read it before. In the Army, we have one great training philosophy that keeps the basics of anything we've ever learned intact -- it's called "familiarization training." That means training on the same tasks even though we've trained on them hundreds of times before -- it leads to mastery and total proficiency. On some military installations, the Advanced Motorcycle Riding Course is provided on base for free, and it's mandatory, because we soldiers are essentially government property, so they want us to be trained well, even at motorcycle riding. Michael Jordan didn't become the greatest basketball player because he's a natural -- he constantly practices the basics and continually familiarizes himself with his sport. You can't become an excellent rider by thinking that if you ride less, your chances of an accident are reduced.

Mike Novogradac

Loud Horns

From: "Bob Lloyd" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 06:52:16 -0700

The horn installation is complete. There's no doubt I can break through the sound barrier of the soccer mom in her SUV, window rolled up, stereo on & a cellphone in her ear. Like a parachute, I may never have to use it, but if I do, I want it to be a good one.

They're matched (left and right are mirror images), HI tone and LO tone, rated at 138 decibels each. From Checker Auto, I also got a small (about 1 inch cube) 30 amp relay and an inline fuseholder, a second rubber mount & chrome acorn nuts from Harley dealer, "L-brackets" from hardware store and cable clamps from NAPA.

I clamped the assemblies in the middle of the downtubes; the horns rest just below and just behind the top bar of the engine guard, with clearance from the fender on a braking dive. All solderless connectors are covered with black shrinkfit tubing, all bare metal is rattlecanned black, so it's really a stealth installation. You hardly notice they're there....until you push the button.

Pics at

Peripheral Finding: just GOT to get a decent digital camera.

AZ Grampy & "Ernestine" 97 Patriot Red 1200S in Payson, AZ NOT gonna
behave like one o' them a$$holes who use their horn to let everyone
know how they feel...  just 'cause I can....

Fat Tires

From: "Art Northrup, Jr." <>
Subject: Tire sizes
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 08:55:35 -0500

Periodically, someone asks how big a tire they can use & generally, a 140 is the biggest for belt-drive & a 150 for chain-drive w/o modifications. But, since I've been corresponding with a Sportster rider on that very topic and have my Metzeler book handy, I thought I'd post the actual measurements so you can grab that tape-measure & check for yourself when it's time for tires.

I know there are a lot of riders other than me who use Metzelers & the measurements below are for the ME 880 "Marathon" Touring/Cruiser series. Although tire manufacturers use the same size designations, the actual measurements are different, but not drastically so (usually). All of the sizes listed fit stock Sportster wheels.


        100/90/19       108 mm wide x 674 mm tall
        (stock size)    (4.25" x 26.54")

        110/90/19       116 mm wide x 686 mm tall
                        (4.57" x 27.01")

        80/90/21        80 mm wide x 693 mm tall
        (tube-type)     (3.15" x 27.28")

        90/90/21        96 mm wide x 708 mm tall
        (ME 33)         (3.78" x 27.87")


        130/90/16       137 mm wide x 646 mm tall
        (stock size)    (5.39" x 25.43")

        140/90/16       146 mm wide x 665 mm tall
                        (5.75" x 26.18)

        150/80/16       153 mm wide x 660 mm tall
                        (6.02" x 25.98"")

The 140 with belt-drive requires the removal of the center section of the mud-flap on the lower belt-guard (ask me how I know) & the 150 won't fit with belt-drive, period.

Now, if you're a "canyon carver" & don't care that much 'bout mileage, the the 33 front / 55 rear series is just the ticket, but those sizes ARE substantially different. You can ping me off-list if you want info on those.

- Art    ('95 XLH - the blue one)
         ('00 XLH - the black one)
         LSR Team
         Lake Norman, North Carolina

Bright Lights

Subject: Re: Headlights
From: Jim Edwards <>
Date: 30 Jan 2002 19:06:23 -0500
On Wed, 2002-01-30 at 09:19, wrote:
After all that talk about headlights a few months ago I went out and got a PIAA Xtreme White bulb. WOW!!!

I agree with you Bruce. The pics I took of before and after does not do this lamp justice. URL for you that are new to the list or didn't see them the first time. ->

The ambient light that this bulb puts out to the sides is excellent. The high beam would put an econo box two lights to shame. While cruising these last few warm days into the evening, it is nice seeing the white flying saucer 30 feet up the road. This bulb (until there is better) should be added to the "taxes paid" list. If you are using stock... Get this bulb and you will never go back to stock. Ever.

Bright Lights

From: "Greg" <>
Subject: PIAA vs Sylvania
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 21:06:44 -0600

A month or two ago we had the headlight thread of the PIAA extreme white($40) versus the Sylvania VisionPlus bulbs($15).

At the time, I had a PIAA superwhite 80/80 in Sweetie Pie. ( I bought two for $20, closeout on CBTImports. com). It was definitely much better than even the 85/100's I had been getting from a local HD dealer. It finally burnt out. I installed the Sylvania VisionPlus 55/60.

Interesting comparison between the two. IMO, the Sylvania is the better bulb. It doesn't seem to blind people up close and is more effective in distance illumination. The Sylvania doesn't seem as bright as the PIAA. The PIAA seemed to "fry" cages in front of me at stoplights. Almost daylight illumination immediatley in front. It bothered cagers(some covered or turned their rear view mirrors.) As I said the Sylvania doesn't do this strong illumination up close, but it is better(IMO) at distance illumination than the PIAA. Not intense illumination, but farther reach than the PIAA, bigger spread and better contrast at distance. Sylvania claims a 10 to 20 meter longer beam. From my experience, I believe it.

While I don't have a PIAA extreme white to try for comparison I'm not even tempted to spend the $40 to try. I'll stick with the Sylvania. I got mine from

Hope this helps someone.

Ride safely.

95 883 Sweetie Pie
rideshomeinthedark division

Tail Lights

From: Ron Kimball <>
Subject: Speakin' o' bulbs...
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 08:18:41 -0500

I compiled this a while back for another list. These are all tail light bulbs. There are more that one kind of H1157 (halogen) bulbs around, just one is listed. Note that folks have melted plactic housings with the H1157 bulbs, Caviat Emptor! The 2357 is a good "upgrade" over the stock 1157...

These all fit the standard socket:

#	Filament	Volts	Watts	Amps	CP	Life
2057	Low		14.0	6.86	0.49	2	5000
	High		12.8	26.88	2.10	32	1200
1034	Low		14.0	8.26	0.59	3	5000
	High		12.8	23.04	1.80	32	200
1157	Low		14.0	8.26	0.59	3	5000
	High		12.8	26.88	2.10	32	1200
2397	Low		14.0	6.72	0.48	2	5000
	High		12.8	28.54	2.23	40	400
2357	Low		14.0	8.26	0.59	3	5000
	High		12.8	28.54	2.23	40	400
H1157	Low		14.0	15	1.07	25	400
	High		12.8	50	3.9	107	400

Small Helmets

From: George White <>
Subject: RE: Helmet Help
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 12:21:18 -0500
Phil asks:
What is the lightest weight beanie helmet or half helmet.

DOT approved, very light and comfortable. I have one and love it...

'01 XL1200S
SF Bay Area

Helmet or Not

From: "Maurice Riggins" <>
Subject: Re: Looking for a lid !
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 09:22:06 -0500
> Iowa 883 is for real,he just got his first Sportster and is real > excited.Just like many others have been when they were getting started.

Here's my thoughts since we're doing the winter helmet thread...

No helmet looks good... but that's not the point of a helmet... especially in a helmet-free state like Iowa.

Beanies don't do anything for you... why bother wearing them in a helmet-free state?

Most half-helmets make you look like a mushroom-head, they act like a parachute pulling on the chin strap, and they actually increase the wind noise around your ears... this applies to all half-helmets... police style, etc. And anyone who thinks the small, thin beanie-like DOT helmets protect as well as the mushroom-style are just fooling themselves.

The German helmet beanies just make you look like a wannabe outlaw... while the larger DOT versions look like a nerdy wannabe outlaw.

The 3/4 helmets protect more of your head (except your face) and are quieter, but like full-faced helmets need good ventilation. Yeah they're big... and they make you look like Gold Wing riders.

The helmet to have, especially if you're a new rider, is a well-ventilated, white Snell-rated full-faced helmet. If you're gonna bother to wear a helmet, wear a good helmet. A full-face keeps your face (and glasses if that applies) dry in the rain and you don't feel the needles of the rain drops. It keeps bugs out of your mouth. I've had a huge grasshopper explode on impact on my face, and the goo gets up under your glasses, and in your nose and mouth... not to mention hurts like hell... but not as bad as the rock off a truck tire I took in the face that cracked a cheekbone. It's also the warmest thing you can have on your head in the winter. As far as looks... a full- faced helmet makes you look like a knowledgable motorcyclist.... unless it's done up in flourescent color graphics, then it makes you look like a sport bike rider.

Contrary to the pseudo-science spewed by anti-helmet groups, a full-faced helmet doesn't increase the risk of injury, reduce your peripheral vision, or even your ability to hear things around you. The real science shows helmets save lives and help prevent injuries... that's why racers use them.

Go buy a watermelon at the grocery. Hold it up over a concrete driveway about shoulder high and drop it. That's your head hitting pavement without a helmet.

Black helmets may look cool, but they're hot in the sun... ventilation can't overcome that. White or light colored helmets reflect the heat back out and make you more visible to others.

I go lidless most of the time... but you won't find me preaching anti-helmet pseudo-science to new riders. To me riding with a helmet is like having sex with a condom... it's better than nothing, but it takes away from the experience. Even in a monogamous relationship, you're taking a risk having sex without a condom... there's a chance your partner could be cheatin' on ya... but in most cases the risk is low. I've been ridin' about 40 years and think my own risk level for needing a helmet is low... but I know my head's gonna probably explode like that watermelon if I ever go down. In either case, sex or riding, if your number comes up, you need the protection and don't have it, the results can be deadly. I chose to take that risk.

Hope this helps,

-- Maurice

The Mythical 5 Gallon Tank

Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 11:07:42 -0400
From: TheRodMan <>
Subject: 5 Gallon Sportster tank
Marje scribbles: "I've heard of a 5-gallon Sportster tank that looks almost exactly like the stock Sportster tank, just on a larger scale. And it tapers the same way near where the seat is. Anyone hear about this tank, and know who makes it? I would like a bigger tank than my current 3.3 gallon, but I really like the look of the Sportster tank."

This thread goes around often enough that it should be included in the urban legand list. No Marje, I'm afraid theres no such thing (at least not that I've seen). I know they are advertised in the '00 an later catalogs. The reasons Harley advertises them is beyond me but I've heard stories from "they can't make them leak proof" to "they're afraid that Sportsters would sell better and take away from BT sales". What I really don't understand is why they keep advertising them. Speaking of which, does the FAQ list get updated and if so how? Submit them to Doug? Like I said, this would make an excellant candidate. Just my 2 cents worth.


Some Truths from Down Under

Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2002 09:50:45 +0100
From: "Dries 'Doris' Bessels" <>
Subject: Australia Biker Truths !
HI All,
Some dear truths from down-under.
  • Midnight bugs taste Best.
  • Saddlebags can never hold everything you want, but they can hold everything you need.
  • Wear heavy boots. You can't kick things when you're wearing runners.
  • NEVER argue with a woman holding a torque wrench.
  • Routine maintenance should never be neglected.
  • It takes more love to share the saddle than it does to share the bed.
  • The only good view of a thunderstorm is in your rear-view mirror.
  • Never be afraid to slow down.
  • Only bikers understand why dogs love to stick their heads out car windows.
  • Bikes don't leak oil, they mark their territory.
  • Never ask a biker for directions if you're in a hurry to get there.
  • If it takes more than 3 bolts to hold it on, it's probably crucial.
  • Remember that you will be judged by the Horse you ride.
  • Don't ride so late into the night that you sleep through the sunrise.
  • Pies and coffee are as important as petrol.
  • The number of kicks it takes to start your bike is directly proportional to the number of spectators.
  • Never ask your bike to scream before her throat is good and warm.
  • Sometimes it takes a whole tank full of fuel before you can think straight.
  • If you want to get a job, you may have to compromise your principals. You may even have to shave.
  • Riding faster than everyone else only guarantees you'll ride alone.
  • Never hesitate to ride past the last street light at the edge of town.
  • Never mistake horsepower for staying power.
  • A good rider has balance, judgment, and good timing. So does a good lover.
  • A cold hamburger can be reheated quite nicely by strapping it to an exhaust pipe and riding forty kilometres.
  • Never do less then forty kilometres before breakfast.
  • If you don't ride in the rain, you don't ride.
  • A bike on the road is worth two in the shop.
  • When you look down the road, it seems to never end but you better believe it does.
  • Young riders pick a destination and go. Old riders pick a direction and go.
  • Overconfidence can be supplied by spare spark plugs, a set of spanners, and a roll of toilet paper.
  • Advice is free and worth every cent!
  • Sometimes the fastest way to get there is to stop for the night.
  • Always back your bike into the curb and sit where you can see it.
  • Work to ride - Ride to work.
  • Whatever it is, its better in the wind.
  • Two lane blacktop isn't a highway -- its an attitude.
  • Good coffee should be indistinguishable from 50 weight motor oil.
  • A biker can smell a party 5,000 km away.
  • Keep your bike in good repair.
  • Motorcycle boots are NOT comfortable for walking.
  • People are like motorcycles: each is customised a bit differently.
  • More races were won in the tavern than on the track.
  • Never loan your bike to someone else, and never ride another's.
  • If the bike isn't braking properly, you don't start by rebuilding the engine.
  • Remember to pay as much attention to your partner as you do your carburettor.
  • Sometimes the best communication happens when you're on separate bikes.
  • Well-trained reflexes are quicker than luck.
  • The best alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.
  • Learn to do counterintuitive things that may someday save your arse.
  • Beware the biker whose ink peels off.
  • If you really want to know what's going on, watch what's happening at least 5 cars ahead.
  • Don't make a reputation you'll have to live down or run away from later.
  • Smoke and grease can hide a multitude of errors, but only for so long.
  • A friend is someone who'll get out of bed at 2 am to drive her/his Ute to the middle of nowhere to get you when you're broken down.
  • If s/he changes her oil more than s/he changes her mind -- follow her/him.
  • The thicker your oil, the hotter you can take it.
  • If you want to get somewhere before sundown, you can't stop at every tavern.
  • Hunger can make even road kill taste good.
  • You gotta be smart enough to understand the rules of motorcycling and dumb enough to think the game's important.
  • The older I get, the faster I was.
Dries 'Doris' Bessels                           Ride to work, work to ride
Amsterdam, The Netherlands                      FLSTC '00 (Yellow)
E-mail :       
Freedom isn't Free!                             ICQ : 134590934

The Biker's Creed

From: "Bob Lloyd" <>
Subject: Re:  : bikers creed
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 23:12:59 -0700
Hey Sable, I just did a quick search and found, is this it?

The Biker's Creed

I ride because it is fun.

I ride because I enjoy the freedom I feel from being exposed to the elements, and the vulnerability to the danger that is intrinsic to riding.

I do not ride because it is fashionable to do so.

I ride my machine, not wear it. My machine is not a symbol of status. It exists simply for me, and me alone.

My machine is not a toy. It is an extension of my being, and I will treat it accordingly, with the same respect as I have for myself.

I strive to understand the inner-workings of my machine, from the most basic to the most complex.

I will learn everything I can about my machine, so that I am reliant upon no one but myself for its health and well being.

I strive to constantly better my skill of control over my machine. I will learn its limits, and use my skill to become one with my machine so that we may keep each other alive. I am the master, it is the servant. Working together in harmony, we will become an invincible team.

I do not fear death. I will, however, do all possible to avoid death prematurely. Fear is the enemy, not death. Fear on the highway leads to death, therefore I will not let fear be my master. I will master it.

My machines will outlive me. Therefore, they are my legacy. I will care for them for future bikers to cherish as I have cherished them, whoever they may be.

I do not ride to gain attention, respect, or fear from those that do NOT ride, nor do I wish to intimidate or annoy them. For those that do not know me, all I wish from them is to ignore me. For those that desire to know me, I will share with them the truth of myself, so that they might understand me and not fear others like me.

I will never be the aggressor on the highway. However, should others mess with me, their aggression will be dealt with in as severe manner as I can cast upon them.

I will show respect to other bikers more experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will learn from them all I can. However, if my respect is not acknowledged or appreciated, it will end.

I will not show disrespect to other bikers less experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will teach them what I can. However, if they show me disrespect, they will be slapped.

It will be my task to mentor new riders, that so desire, into the lifestyle of the biker, so that the breed shall continue. I shall instruct them, as I have been instructed by those before me. I shall preserve and honor traditions of bikers before me, and I will pass them on unaltered.

I will not judge other bikers on their choice of machine, their appearance, or their profession. I will judge them only on their conduct as bikers. I am proud of my accomplishments as a biker, though I will not flaunt them to others. If they ask, I will share them.

I will stand ready to help any other biker that truly needs my help.

I will never ask another biker to do for me what I can do for myself.

I am not a part-time biker. I am a biker when, and where ever I go. I am proud to be a biker, and hide my chosen lifestyle from no one. I ride because I love freedom, independence, and the movement of the ground beneath me. But most of all, I ride to better understand myself, my machine, the lands in which I ride, and to seek out and know other bikers like myself.

AZ  Grampy   &   "Ernestine"
97 Patriot Red 1200S in Payson, AZ
Never Let A Day Go By...

The Evils of Synthetic Oil

From: "Brad Litz" <>
Subject: The "Truth" about Synthetic Oil
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 20:20:35 -0500

Beware of synthetic oil, it can do terrible things to you and your beloved motorcycle. It will not only leak out of your engine faster than you can put it in, but it will also cause your oil filter to clog and implode, dumping debris and dirt into your lubrication system. Your piston rings will never seat and you'll burn more oil than gasoline. It also will make every part of your bike permanently slippery because of its linear molecular chain dispersion action. Then it will leak onto your kickstand causing it to retract automatically, dropping your bike on the ground! But that's not all...

Synthetic oil will round off your sprockets and spin your bearings. It will also splatter onto your seat causing your girlfriend to fall off in the apex of a turn and she'll never ride with you again. Synthetic oil coats your timing window with a whitish pro-emulsification additive that is both non-removable and highly corrosive. Synthetic oil will completely leak onto the ground overnight and your dog will drink it and die.

Synthetic oil will wear out your tires and make your battery leak. It will give you the desperate need to urinate after you put your full leathers on and then jam your zippers shut. It will contaminate your gasoline causing your bike to stall on railroad tracks and accelerate uncontrollably near police cars. It will make it rain during rallies and on weekends. It will slicken your timing gears causing them to jump teeth and break your valves to bits. Synthetic oil chemically weakens valve train parts and causes the clearances to change every six miles. Then it melts the black soles of your riding boots right before you walk across your new carpeting.

While riding past groups of attractive women it will cause both of your handlebar grips to slip off at the same time. It also causes your swingarm to crack, your studs to break, and your rotors to warp, and then it voids your warranty by changing your odometer reading to 55,555. It also dries out your wetclutch and wets your dryclutch. It makes your clutch cable fail in the heaviest traffic on the hottest day of the year while putting an angry wasp in your helmet for good measure.

Synthetic oil hides your 1/2 inch socket and puts superglue on your earplugs. Synthetic oil will scratch your faceshield and make your gloves shrink two sizes the night before trackday. Synthetic oil stole your neutral and sold it to the Chinese for $1.25. Synthetic oil will make you grow a tail. Synthetic oil will write long crazy e-mails to your Internet friends and then sign your name at the bottom!

Brad XL1250R

The Benefits of Synthetic Oil

Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 04:52:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Moshe K. Levy" <>
Subject: Re: Synthetic Oil test (long)
--- Michael Kunze writes:

But most listers are changing their oil (the oil in the sportster, o.k?) after some 2.500 miles or latest after one year. So, I think, the big advantage of long lasting oil (syn. lube) won't be used. It really make sense to use syn. oil if you change the oil every 10.000 to 18.000 miles. Otherwise it is wasting oil and, of coarse, money.

1) "Most" listers change more often than the recommended intervals to be "on the safe side." Obviously, after losing 30% of its value in 3k miles, doing so (with conventional oil) is a good thing. If it's true that synthetic retains its lubricating properties almost 100% after 6k miles as the most recent thread claims (and I believe it), then there is no need to change at 2,500 miles to be "on the safe side." You can change at 5k. As proof, take a look at any vehicle that comes standard with synthetic oil and check out the oil change intervals. Typically 7,500 miles with conventional, and typically 15,000 miles with synthetic. My 2000 328i didn't call for an oil change for the first 20k miles!

Nobody can argue this - and if they try, I want specific proof (i.e., copy from an owner's manual of a recommended maintenance schedule, not some bullshit rumor the guy heard from the local oil salesman) of similar vehicles with similar timetables for oil changes.

Thus, given what we know about how long you can safely wait before changes using synthetic, your first point is moot.

2) Cost: Let's say you want to use synthetic AND STILL change at 2,500 miles, just to be extremely anal about it. I routinely buy Mobil 1 15W/50 at KMart on sale for LESS than the stealers charge for HD360, an vastly inferior product. Make no mistake - you CAN get the superior product, at a lower price to boot. Thus, your second point is moot as well, as no money and no oil is wasted using synthetic if you buy it at same or lower cost.

Put this in the archives so I can read it in a few years: In a few years, the MoCo will do a 180 degree turn, and tell you that they have a "specifically formulated" synthetic oil made just for their V-Twins (probably just rebadged Mobil 1 for $10 per quart). At that point, the same people that run the marketing rumor mill ("bearing skate," etc.) now will tell you then that synthetic is the way to go. And once they are given permission to use it, the sheep crowd will follow right along....

-MKL '98 1200C

Oil and Filters

Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 12:58:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Crim <>
Subject: WTF, let's start an oil thread!

It's been at least a couple of days since the last one. Here's a VERY interesting article:

Nothing specific to HD oils, but it sure does bust some pretty nasty myths.

FYI: I am using bargain basement oil during the break in on Diablo Debbie. Only because I don't want to run $6 a qt. oil for only 500 miles and then dump it.

Also... I am now using an oil filter that fits most Ford and Chrysler V-8s. A Fram PH8-A or it's equivalent is probably twice the size of the HD units and half the price.

Diablo Debbie - '99 1200 Sport
Roadkill - 1650cc Bonneville record holder
PLEASE support the Sportster List Race Team

Alternate Oil Filters

From: "B/C Nelson" <>
Subject: Re:  Fram it and oil temp
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 08:46:50 -0700

This was posted on the list several months ago.

A number of folks on the Buell list (American Thunderbike) are running:

  • Motorcraft FL-1A filter
  • PureONE PL10241
  • Purolator L10241
  • AC PF53 /ACDelco UPF53
  • Fram PH3614 (According to our data, 9-12 is the pressure relief valve setting (PSI) for the PH3614, PH3600, and the PH6022)
  • Motorcraft FL-793
  • Napa 1348
  • Wix 51348
  • Bosch 3430

You might want to consider trying the FRAM PH6068 filter. I've been using it for a while on my bike (a 1200). No need to paint it, because it's chrome. Same diameter as the OEM filter, but almost 6 inches long.

Chris N.
'97 Suzuki GSF-1200S
'78 Honda CB400T (another project)
Orcutt, CA

Replacement Tires

From: "Café Bill" <>
Subject: Re: tire recommendations.....
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 2002 20:16:50 +0000
designeraccd asks:
The question is: what tires have been put on Sporty's that are capable of carving curves??

My personal favorite is Bridgestone's BT-45V. (Do not get the H rated version. The H uses a harder tread compound.) Very solid grip with an unbelievable increase in turn-in and feel. These tires make the Sportster come alive in the corners. The equivalent Metzelers and Dunlops (which I have also tried) do not provide nearly the same grin factor. I've averaged about 8000 miles of a set. YMMV.

As Fred X1 would say: "two kevlar clad thumbs up".

Café Bill
'98 S3 Thunderbolt
'95 XL 883 café racer in Ziploc hibernation
'92 Seca II

Avon Tire Sizes

Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 09:42:15 -0800 (PST)
From: Gordon Horwood <>

I am a little behind in reading my posts and have noticed a few emails about rear tyre sizes.

I am posting this for reference. These measurements come from the Avon tyre fitment data brochure. Measurements are in inches.

	Tyre                Overall   Diameter
	130/90H 16           5.4       25.6
	MT90-16              5.4       23.6 ( misprint ? )
	230/60H 15           9.0       25.9

	150/80V 16           6.2       25.4
	MT90-16              5.2       25.0
	140/70V 18           6.1       25.7

	VENOM-R (Valkyrie fitment)
	180/70R 16           7.1       25.9

	150/80 16            5.9       25.4
	140/90B 16           5.8       25.5
	160/80B 16           6.6       26.2
	MT90B 16             5.2       25.2

	140/80VB 16          5.9       24.9
	150/70VB 18          5.9       26.0
	160/80VB 16          6.5       25.6
	180/55VB 18          7.0       26.3
	180/60B 16           7.0       25.0
	200/55VB 18          8.1       26.2
	200/60B 16           7.8       25.8

As you can see some 150 section tyres are the same width as 140s ! So you pay your money and take your choice !

I have no affiliation with Avon tyres and post this for reference only. If you need any other info ping me offline, there are other sizes listed but these are the ones I thought were most relevant.

1988 883/1200 Sportster
UK lister - Watford Herts
Don't forget the UK Website -

Types of Heads and Valves

Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 18:35:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Zooey <>
Subject: RE: HD/Vance Hines Drag Bike
>What are below head valves?

That would be a flat-head, also called a side-valve. But, I guess they are "below the heads". Our sportsters have four cams because their ancestor, the model K, had flat-heads. Instead of push-rods riding on the cams, the valvestems themselves rode on the sides of the cylinder, on top of the cams, and were pushed straight upward into the combustion chamber to open.

The head was basically just a finned slab bolted on top of the cylinder. The original reason they designed four cams was to enable a flatter head (and therefore a higher-compression ratio), because the intake and exhaust valves went up and down pretty much parallel on each cylinder, instead of angling away from each other like on the single cam models. Side-valves or flat-heads is the way they did it back in the old days. When the new technology of putting the valves up on top came along they called it "over-head valve OHV". Then, later they eliminated the push-rods by putting the camshafts up there and called it "over-head cam OHC".

"Under-head cam" is not really a term in wide usage, usually people call such an engine a "pushrod engine" or else just "over-head valve". I guess "under-head cam" sounded more nifty to somebody in the MoCo marketing department.


Quarter-Mile Times

Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 06:16:43 -0800 (PST)
From: "Moshe K. Levy" <>
Subject: Re: 883-1200c  vs  FXDX

Recently there was a thread about 1/4 mile times and such, which I promised to respond to with hard data. Well, here it is, from the 2-02 issue of "Motorcycle Cruiser" magazine...

	V-ROD                       11.92 @ 112.8MPH
	SOFTAIL DUECE               13.14 @  97.2MPH
	SPORTSTER 1200 SPORT        13.39 @  95.2MPH
	DYNA T-SPORT                13.68 @  94.3MPH
	ROAD KING CLASSIC           13.74 @  93.8MPH
	DYNA SUPER GLIDE SPORT      13.77 @  93.7MPH
	ROAD KING STANDARD          13.80 @  93.5MPH
	SPORTSTER 1200 CUSTOM       13.89 @  93.7MPH
	FAT BOY                     13.97 @  91.9MPH
	DYNA SUPER GLIDE            14.03 @  91.9MPH
	HERITAGE ST CLASSIC         14.28 @  92.2MPH
	SPORTSTER 883 STANDARD      14.77 @  89.9MPH
	SPORTSTER 883R              15.63 @  83.3MPH

As you can see, bone stock FXDX vs. your bike, you would probably win - assuming equal rider skill. The difference in times is very slight, and your reaction time will determine your success more than your bike given this competition.

-MKL '98 1200C


From: "" <>
Subject: Roadster
Date: Sun, 3 Mar 2002 11:53:10 -0500

Roadsters were made from 1979 to about 83-84. The 79 to 81 version, my '80 is in the xl-list boutique, had a 3.2 gallon tank. They made about 3000 in 80 I could look up other years, but the numbers were not big. Need more info ping me offline.

Jim Shaw

More Roadsters

Date: Mon, 04 Mar 2002 00:23:04 -0500
From: Brian Ferguson <>
Subject: re: Roadster
The Roadster was made from '79-'85. To see a nice '85, go to

Production numbers for each year are at

Hope this helps,

'85 XLS Roadster - 1 of 616
'02 FXD - to be shipped today!

Air Cleaner Covers

From: Brian Muirhead <>
Subject: RE: Alternatives to Ham Can air cleaner
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 21:13:45 -0600
Ben writes: would be happier with the look of the S&S unit....Does anyone know of good alternatives to the ham can look?

You can get an S&S breather for the stock CV carb. Look in the 2002 Custom Chrome catalog - Page 8.28, PN 45-826, 91-up Sportster w/CV carb, $169.99.

Overland Park, KS
'99 883

Air Cleaner Kits

From: "Scott Megna" <>
Subject: Air Cleaners by S& S
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 13:49:50 -0700

I found a site on the internet that is selling S & S air cleaner kits that will fit the stock CV carb. This kit is just to replace the (in my opinion) gaudy large oval stock air cleaner not the whole carb. I am going to pay the Harley Tax and I already have the Cycle Shak slip-ons. I am now wondering if anyone has seen these kits and will they fit an XL883. I am not sure if the 1200, 1200C or 883C have a different carb and air cleaner than the XL883. Can anyone help me with this? Is there a better alternative to the one that I am proposing that will change the stock air cleaner look? The dealer suggested the high flow kit but as I understand that really just eliminates the black back plate and uses a K & N air filter. Any help or advise would be great. Anyone can email me at Thanks for the info!

Air Filter Covers

Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 20:06:12 EDT
Subject: Technical Assistance/Information Requested

We're going to get rid of the "Ham Can" breather on my wife's 2001 XL 1200 Custom and we think we want to use a Screaming Eagle Stage 1 Kit with the 8"" round cover and K & N filter. I've been told that this set up will work (actually saw one on a 2000 XL Custom) BUT that it requires a few modifications on the brackets, etc. I've also been told that someone may actually sell the modified brackets ??? I've read though the archives and apparently I should also route an oil hose or something ??? to a special location to prevent oil from splashing back towards the oil pan? We also intend to put on a set of Python III's at the same time and I'm planning on changing the high speed jet to a # 180, I've already changed the low speed jet to a # 145 (used Maurice's Directions and they were great).

Can anyone provide me with the actual HD part numbers that I will need and any advice / tips on the bracket modifications, etc.?

Kerry & Carolyn

2001 XL Sportster 1200 Custom - Diamond Ice
2001 Softail Deuce - Diamond Ice

Julie's Steering Head Adjustment Procedure

Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 08:24:57 -0500
From: JB <>
Subject: Re: steering head bearings
Make up an alignment pointer with a hanger and figure out a way to prop it up so it is over the front of the fender (like shown in the FM). Then, measure the "drop away" points as described. Tighten the steering nut just enough to give you the correct setting (about 2"" between drop away points).

Actually, even though that's the procedure described in the manual, there is a more accurate way. There was an article in Hot XL a few years back that described that procedure, I got in an argument about it with a friend (I defended the FM procedure, which was also the way taught at MMI), but when we measured after both procedures, turned out he was right.

This is how it's done on a Springer, and how it should be done on a Sporty.

  • Remove anything that binds when you swing the front wheel from lock to lock - clutch cable, etc. - I've even had to loosen the headlight at times. By the way, it' easier to just remove the left lever with cable attached than to take the cable out of adjustment and remove it from the lever.
  • Remove caliper(s) and hang it/them so they don't hang up when you swing the front wheel. Lift the bike so it's level. Hang a plum bob from that little hole in the front fender. Slowly swing the front wheel from lock to lock and put a piece of tape on the floor following the path of the plum bob.
  • Now balance the front wheel so it's pointing straight ahead. Notice that the procedure in the FM also seems to want you to do this but it's impossible without removing the caliper, especially if you only have one. The FM is also unclear as to where you start to "nudge" the wheel. At MMI, we were taught that you start at right lock, and that before you start, you swing the wheel back and forth slowly a few times to distribute the grease in the bearings, or your measurement will be way off. You should do this regardless of which procedure you follow.
  • Anyway, once you have the tape on the floor, mark the center spot, the spot where the tip of the plum bob points when the wheel is pointing straight ahead. Now distribute the grease and then nudge the fender in one direction from that center point, and mark on the tape where it falls away. Then distribute the grease again, point the wheel straight ahead so the plum bob is pointing at your center mark, and nudge it in the other direction, again marking on the tape where it falls away.
  • The distance from fallaway mark to fallaway mark should be 1"-2", preferably right in the middle at 1.5"". If it isn't, you can follow the procedure in the manual for adjusting it.
Julie K. Balassa
98 1200S - Boo! the black ghost
ride like you're invisible - to them, you are!
Don't forget to support the Sportster list LSR team!

Cool Buell Plugs

From: "Richard Butville" <>
Subject: Re: Pinging and N2's
Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 10:43:35 -0500

One way to deal with pinging involves VOES adjustment. Good explanation on Moshe's website. Search for MKL Sportster.

Second method that's easy, cheap, and was used by Buell as a factory service bulletin- colder plugs. Use a 10R12 (or equivalent) in place of the 6R12. Buell changed all their v-twin bikes from 6R12 to 10R12 for this reason. Harley's plugs are made by Champion in Burlington, Iowa, so I've been told.

I run 10R12's in my XLH 1200 with no problems.

Rich Deerhunter
'00 XLH 1200
Levittown, PA


Date: Tue, 07 May 2002 09:19:46 -0400
From: "john aka. red" <>
Subject: 10r12's New & improved spark plugs!!!
Message-id: <001801c1f5c9$df4a3aa0$2dbf2c18@oemcomputer>

If anyone else is looking for these plugs, when you get to the dealer ask for part # 27671-01K These are a new item & may confuse counter guy because they're for '02 VRSC models & not are girls bikes :-)

ps. Crash. You should come up to Marcus Dairy on a regular Sunday. Much better! Get to actually move around & see some classic 50+ year old bikes that were drove there. Give me a shout & I'll try to meet ya. I'll show you some of my favorite back roads. This invitation is open to all listers in the area. Super Sunday is a cluster fuck! I went to the first one over 15 years ago(it rained) & it has out grown the venue IMO.

ride safely, RED
Fairfield County, CT
99 883/1200 XLH std. w/ Wiseco 9.5:1
Motorbreath the corner carving tractor!
"going fast is easy, it's knowing when to slow down that's hard!"

Cheap Plugs

From: "crash" <>
Subject: alternative to 10r12's
Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 18:33:31 -0400

To all of ya who hate or are too far from a HD dealer go to your normal parts store and order a couple of Champion RA4HC's. That's the Champion part number for 10r12's. Hope this saves ya a couple of bucks and some aggravation!


More Cheap Plugs

From: "Bill Steele" <>
Subject: Re: 10R12's UNAVAILABLE
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 10:41:43 -0400
"Bob Lloyd" said:
Does the MoCo have this particular plug locked up

Autolite 4194 are available


More Cheap Plugs

From: "Richard Butville" <>
Subject: Plug #'s
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 08:13:59 -0400
Champion #810 equals stock 6R12. Champion #809 is a range colder. Not sure if 10R12 is one or 2 ranges colder than 6R12. Found #809's at my local Pep Boys, but I'm running 10R12's right now. Rich deerhunter '00 XLH 1200

Cheap Plugs

Subject: Alternatives to 10R12's AVAILABLE
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 19:16:37 +0000

Don't follow the lists much anymore, so sorry if this has already been posted.

The 10R12 is two heat ranges colder than the 6R12. The NGK replacement for the 6R12 is the DCPR7E. One range colder is DCPR8E and two ranges colder is the DCPR9E, the latter being a little hard to find.

If you don't mind carrying a metric plug wrench, and you've got some of those screw-on tips laying around, the stock plug on a Honda Gold Wing is essentially the same as a 6R12, the NGK DPR7EA-9. One range colder, DPR8EA-9, is stock on a Kawasaki KL650, and two ranges colder, DPR9EA-9 is stock for a Kawasaki KL250.

So the DCPR9E would be a direct replacement for the 10R12, or if you don't mind the metric plug wrench and coming up with the tips for the spark plug wires to snap onto, the DPR9EA-9 is also essentially the same. That's what I run in my Twin Cam now.

-- Maurice

Doug's List of Things To Do to Your New Sportster

Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 10:32:48 -0800
From: Douglas Shook <>
Subject: First Thousand Miles -- Top Ten Lessons Learned (part 1)
Message-id: <>

I bought my '01 XL 883 in June, but was out of the country for quite a bit since then, but now have about 5,000 miles on it.

I have gone through many of the first lessons learned, and thought it might help someone who just picked up their Sportster from the dealer to recap the "Top Ten Lessons" my Sportster taught me during our "first thousand miles." (All prices quoted are dealer retail prices.)

  1. SPORTSTER PAGE: Before you even buy your bike, you should read most/all of: It helps if you can print them off and read them when it is convenient (like next to your bike when you cannot figure out how to put it back together):

    Cost: $0; Effort: some; Tools: none; Return on Investment (ROI): 10 (a must do) (1=low, 10=high)

  2. SERVICE MANUAL: Your first purchase should be the Harley Davidson Service Manual -- don't leave the dealer without one.

    Cost: ~$35; Effort: none; Tools: none; ROI: 10 (a must do)(1=low, 10=high)

  3. KEEPING YOUR BIKE YOUR BIKE: You should not leave the showroom without buying a good lock for the steering neck. The American Tee Series 700 is much more stout than the Harley lock. (Note: you might wish to add a tang to your bike to hold your lock while you ride so you don't have to attach it to your belt loops another ~$30)

    Cost: $32; Effort: none; Tools: none; ROI: 10 (a must do) (1=low, 10=high)

  4. FRONT SUSPENSION: First thing I noticed was that the front suspension was way too soft and under-dampened, particularly for the braking force achieved by the '01 four piston caliper. The standard cure is to buy the Progressive springs, and this works, but fellow lister Crude emailed me about just cutting off 2" off the top of the springs and inserting 2" of schedule 40 PVC pipe. I did exactly what he suggested, but added about 1/4" of additional preload (2 1/4" PVC spacer) along with changing to SE heavy fork oil. Huge reduction in reducing front brake dive and feels much more stable in high speed sweepers. It also just makes the bike feel lighter and quicker. Note: The additional 1/4" of preload requires a pretty good squeeze to get the fork caps back on again.

    Cost: ~ $10.00 for SE heavy fork oil; Effort: one hour; Tools: cut-off wheel to cut the springs. A 1 3/8" end-wrench lets you take the caps off the forks without loosening/removing the handlebars - saves some time/effort; ROI: 10 (a must do)(1=low, 10=high)

  5. AIR CLEANER/REJET: The California models in particular are strangled by the air cleaner (they have that little trap door to prevent evaporation). Changing to the SE air cleaner and re-jetting dramatically improves performance as well as tractability (the stock jetting is very lean and results in cold-blooded starting, flat spot in throttle response, etc.). Also, once you can hear the engine's throat, it is much easier to tell if you are lugging it or how happy it is.

    Doing this oneself is a breeze, particularly if you print off and follow Mr. Riggins' excellent how-to on the Sportster Page

    This is a win, win modification. Standard setup would be a 45 slow jet and a 170 main (for an 883), but read the jetting page.

    Cost: $75 for SE AC, $5 for each jet (mine needed one); Effort: two hours; Tools: phillips screw drivers, basic wrenches, 1/8" drill bit; ROI: 10 (a must do)(1=low, 10=high)

  6. REPLACEMENT MUFFLERS: The "putt putt" sound of the stock mufflers is a joke, and they also are too restrictive for best performance. The Cycle Shack slip-ons are very popular, cheap, boost performance, but are loud. The Screaming Eagle II are more expensive and quieter. Other options exist like the Vance & Hines StraightShots. Here personal preference and budget dictate.

    I was able to change the mufflers simply by unbolting the old ones, loosening the bolts clamping the pipes to cylinder heads, and removing the 1/4" allen bolts in the rear master cylinder -- I did not even remove the heat shields on the pipes. I re-used the muffler clamps, though the MoCo said to replace them.

    Cost: $100 Cycle Shacks, $200 for SE II, $350 for V&H; Effort: one hour for slip ons; Tools: end wrenches, 1/4" allen wrench, slotted screw driver; ROI: 9 (1=low, 10=high) (getting the right sound/power combo is challenging, the bike seems to vibrate (resonate?) a little more with CS slip-ons installed)

  7. REAR SUSPENSION: The rear shocks are woefully under-dampened. It becomes more noticeable once you correct the front suspension. With the front suspension in order, the rear suspension will tend to "buck" you right off the seat on a substantial bump -- most disconcerting (and embarrassing).

    The Progressive line of shocks are very popular:

    The 412's give the most bang for the buck (retail @$250), but are steel bodied (rust). The 418's are aluminum bodied, and pricey ($450 retail). Top of the line 440's retail for about $500, aluminum body, lifetime warranty, and sophisticated valving.

    These are retail prices, you can get the the 440's for about $100 less:

    You can replace the standard 13 1/4" shocks with a 13 1/2" set for slightly more responsive handling. Going to a much longer, or much shorter shock length will affect affect handling and should not be done without some foreknowledge. You can slide the fork tubes or or down a bit to keep (or modify) the original geometry. I went with the 440's primarily for the aluminum bodies and lifetime warranty (I tend to keep bikes a long time).

    Cost: $200 - $425; Effort: 45 minutes; Tools: 5/16" allen wrench, 3/4" end wrench and 3/4" socket (a floor jack is nice to hold up the bike while replacing the shocks, but if you are replacing with the length, you can do it without a jack if you do one side at a time); ROI: 8 (1=low, 10=high) 8

  8. OIL TANK THERMOMETER: I installed an thermometer dip stick in the oil tank because I wondered whether the oil actually ran hot. I really enjoy having it there as it gives me peace of mind on hard rides and hot days, but the oil temperature on my 883 has never gone over 190 degrees -- it usually stays between 160 - 175 degrees. If anything, it made we worry more about not getting the oil warm enough on short rides on cold Los Angeles mornings -- you know, when it gets down in the 50's ;). Your bike clearly could be running much hotter, though, and it is a good "sentry" to detect other problems (running lean, low oil, obstructed oil flow, etc.), that you might detect earlier if you had a thermometer.

    Cost: $22; Effort: none; Tools: none; ROI: 7 (1=low, 10=high)

  9. PARTS MANUAL: Getting the parts manual will help you a good deal when you walk into the dealer to purchase something. It also helps you to figure out what parts are interchangeable. It also helps during wrenching as it shows the locations and fit of the parts. Not as important as the shop manual, but nice to have.

    Cost:$50; Effort: none; Tools: none; ROI: 6 (1=low, 10=high)

  10. ALARM SYSTEM: I added a Thunder Pager alarm for my bike (I live in Los Angeles and use the bike to commute, so it is parked at work during the day). I bought one that comes with a pager, so that if the bike is moved/disturbed, it sounds an alarm, but also pages you. This adds a little peace of mind while you are in a store or business and the bike is outside. It is supposed to page you up to one mile, but I have my doubts about the range.

    Cost: $200 - $300 for a paging alarm; Effort: (90 minutes to install); Tools: screw driver (mounted with velcro); ROI: 5 (1=low, 10=high)

Better Intake Manifold Bolts

Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 11:28:04 -0800 (PST)
From: Crim <>
Subject: intake bolt alternative

Most of the 'old timers' here know this one, but I thought I'd repost the idea as I just ordered some for the 80"" motor.

If you've ever tried to remove a stubborn intake manifold bolt you'll understand. The allen head bolts are a MUTHER to get off, if you can get them off at all. So replace those suckas with Caterpillar Tractor PN 1T-0416. This is a 12 point headed bolt that will take a regular old box end wrench. They're about $1.50 a piece and one of the best investments you can make.

Diablo Debbie - '99 1200 Sport
Roadkill - 1650cc Bonneville record holder
PLEASE support the Sportster List Race Team

XL, or XLH?

From: "Steve Lange" <>
Subject: Re: xl & xlh?
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002 07:14:00 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 13 April 2002, david mitchell wrote

What if any is the difference between a XL and a XLH?


But then, you probably wanted to know more:

The "H" designation was added in 1958 and stood for "High Compression". (They also came out with the XLCH (C = "Competition") the same year.) The XL had 7.5:1 compression ratio, the XLH was 9.0:1. They stopped making the standard XL in '59.

We usually refer to our Sportsters as just XL's, but they are officially XLH's. Hope this answers your question.

... Steve

'95 XLH 883 Deluxe Sportster w/ Buddy up front
Nugget/Chrome Yellow

XL, or XLH -- The Saga Continues

Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002 16:17:31 -0400
From: John Kodis <>
Subject: Re: xl & xlh?
On Sat, Apr 13, 2002 at 07:14:00AM -0700, Steve Lange wrote:
On Sat, 13 April 2002, david mitchell wrote
What if any is the difference between a XL and a XLH?
We usually refer to our Sportsters as just XL's, but they are officially XLH's.

It seems that there's more to it than that. The Sportster model designations in the 2002 HD brochure are:

    XLH          Sportster 883
    XLH          Sportster 883 Hugger
    XL 883C      Sportster 883 Custom
    XL 883R      Sportster
    XLH          Sportster 1200
    XL 1200S     Sportster 1200 Sport
    XL 1200C     Sportster 1200 Custom

So the 883, Hugger, and 1200 are XLH models, while the sport, racer, and customs carry an XL model designation. If there's a pattern here, I sure don't see what it is.

-- John Kodis.

XL, or XLH -- The Resolution

Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2002 09:57:37 -0400
From: John Kodis <>
Subject: Re: XL vs XLH

On Sun, Apr 14, 2002 at 05:00:01AM -0700, Bone Randy wrote:

My guess is that Harley is dropping the H on the newer models, because it really isn't necessary anymore.

Yeah, that would explain it. I hadn't realized that the sport and custom models were introduced more recently than the standard and hugger models. Thanks!

-- John Kodis.

Installing a Tach

Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 07:11:43 -0400
From: John Kodis <>
Subject: Tach installation on my 2001 XLH 883

I recently installed a Harley-Davidson Sportster Tachometer Kit (part number 67182-95D) on my 2001 XLH-883 Sportster. Before starting this project, I asked for advice on the Sportster mailing list, and received two pearls of wisdom: 1) the instructions supplied with the tachometer kit are outright wrong in some places, confusing in most places, and make the job way more complicated than it needs to be; and that 2) I should ignore the supplied instructions, and refer instead to a post written by some guy who installed the tachometer kit on his bike a couple of years ago. These both turned out to be good bits of advice.

I found and read the post "Installing a tach on 2000 XL1200C" by Myron Tuttle from February 12, 2000 in the xl-list archives. I was relieved to find that there was no need to remove the gas tank and seat, to disconnect the battery, or to pull the wiring harness out of place in order to install my new tachometer. Unlike the instructions provided by Harley, Myron's approach didn't mention any steps which could result in severe injury or death. Most surprising was that Myron, who is presumably not a professional technical writer, was able to put in a half page email a set of directions which were clearer and more accurate than those provided in the six-page professionally written and illustrated instructions supplied by the motor company.

As good and as helpful as these instructions were, they were written for an XL-1200C, and so differed slightly from the procedure I used in installing the tachometer kit on my XLH-883. Because of this, I thought I'd write up the steps that I used to try to help spare anyone the confusion I felt when trying to reconcile the instructions supplied with the kit to the reality of my bike.

  • Cover the front fender and tank with towels to prevent scratching.
  • Unscrew the odometer reset button cover; remove the speedometer rear cover plate; unplug the cable connector from the speedometer. Pull out the bottom of the rubber ring that secures the speedometer, and extract the speedometer cable.
  • Remove the two upper handlebar clamp bolts that hold the speedometer housing in place.
  • Remove indicator light pod, being careful not to lose the thin plastic strip of indicator light icons. The speedometer housing will now be free, and the speedometer can be gently pushed out from the rear of the housing.
  • Remove the headlight and eyebrow assembly by removing the two bolts through the eyebrow; uncouple the twelve-pin Deutsch connector that's buried between the eyebrow and the headlight housing.
  • Fabricate a tachometer cable from the parts supplied with the tachometer kit:
        Amp Tach     Wire         Deutsch       Wiring         Signal
        Connector    from Kit     Connector     Harness        or Level
           1         orange       1 (splice)    orange/white   power
           2         black       12 (splice)    black          ground
           3         pink         7 (socket)    pink           tach
    • The orange power and black ground wires for the tachometer have to be spliced into the power and ground wires on pins 1 and 12 of the Deutsch connector. Crimp-on butt connectors are supplied to make these splices, but I made soldered connections instead.
    • Pin 1 of the Amp tachometer connector is set off a bit from the other pins.
    • Inserting the socket on the pink wire into the Deutsch connector block requires that the connector block be disassembled by prying the orange face out of its housing.
    • There will be several similar appearing pink wires supplied with the tachometer kit. Pick the one with a socket that's similar in diameter to the other Deutsch connector sockets.
  • After fabricating the tachometer cable and running the wires through the supplied plastic sleeve, reconnect the Deutsch connector, and stuff the connector and cabling under the eyebrow. Reinstall the headlight and eyebrow assembly as per instructions in the factory service manual.
  • Install the speedometer on the left and the tachometer on the right in the new bracket; reinstall the indicator light pod, and bolt the bracket loosely in place.
  • Route the speedometer and tachometer cables through the rubber seal rings, and connect them to the speedometer and tachometer. Test start the engine, and insure that both the tachometer and speedometer are getting power and are operating. Troubleshoot if not. Install the tachometer and speedometer rear cover plates.
  • Tighten down the handlebar bolts that hold the tachometer and speedometer bracket in place as per the factory service manual. Insure that all connectors are tight, all bolts are torqued to factory specifications, and enjoy the ride.

That's all there is to it. I hope this helps.


From: (Ridin' 4 Jesus)
Date: Sat, 4 May 2002 10:54:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Colors
Bob asked:
"What are colors (mc) and what do they represent?"

For a good explaination about colors and other information about the 1%er Biker life style read the interview with a guy who spent over 3 years living with the Rebels, a 1%er Motorcycle Club in Canada.

Read at:

Happy Hoggin'
Riverside, Ca.

Miscellaneous Advice

Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 07:50:29 -0700
Subject: Packing a  Sportster/ Oil leaks
From: Arthur Hinckley <>

Two quick pointers.

  1. When traveling to a known destination, mail your crap to the inn, motel, post office or friends place. That way you don't have to carry the junk on the back of the bike. Or you can do what I did for afew years, get married to a woman with a bike. She couldn't go anywhere without saddle bags. I always had a place to stash stuff as long as she rode with me.
  2. For those with aftermarket aircleaners that breathe through the heads and exit through a small crankcase breather. After spending years wiping the damned oil mist off the rocker boxes after it escaped from the breather head bolts, I removed the bolts and their useless plastic washers and put a very fine bead of silicone between the bolts and the heads. Perfect! No more oil mist on the rocker boxes.


90 XLH 1200 Black/Orange
92 XLH 1200 Black

A Few Things to Keep in Your Saddlebags

From: "Andrew Robinson" <>
Subject: Re: Tool Kits/Packing for long trips (kinda long)
Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 15:40:41 +0000
From: Pang
I'd like to get opinions of REAL life road side repairs that you've done and the tools you'd bring along for longer trips.

I had this saved for ideas, hell i may have pulled it off this list somewhere a couple years ago when i had my old chopper project ('74 assembled brute). It's quite exhaustive but there are some good idea's in there.

Saddlebag 1: Yesterday I mentioned the importance of packing tools and spare parts. Here's what I have (note: I have saddlebags on my bike, so this is not the smallest tool set-up in the world. But it works for me and I still have room in my bags for most of the stuff I would need to carry occasionaly): I started with the Sears Craftsman Portable Mechanics 53pcs. Tool Kit p/n#00933853000. This includes 35 sockets (standard and metric) and a ratchet, a spark plug socket, 3" extension, a set of std. hex keys, three double sized open ended std. wrenches, and a magnetic screwdriver handle with four bits, all housed in a padded folding case with elastic to keep everything organized. To this I added a three piece set of Folding Hex and Torx keys p/n#00946705000. Actually I bought the set, then returned the metric hex keys(Sears has a very lenient return policy) since I really didn't need them for the bike. I also added an 11/16 deep socket, since the Autolite sparkplugs I use are not the standard size (I think this is also the correct size for the BT sparkplugs); a 10mm wrench for the battery terminals; and another double ended open wrench (the next size up from the ones in the kit)... Finally, I tossed a spare pair of 8" vise grips from my workbench into the kit. So there you have it: a self-contained tool kit which should cover just about everything you need for a roadside repair which costs less than $100.Total weight is around 5-6 lbs., and like I said, it's not the smallest thing in the world (the case is maybe 8" x 8" x 2") but it works for me.

Saddlebag 2: In the other saddlebag, I have a pouch with the following items: A six-in-one screwdriver set. This is a neat item where the 3" long "bits" store in the handle. Two phillips, two standard, and two torx bits(including the one for the seat bolt). This is also sized correctly to let me take the turn signal and brake light lenses on and off (many screwdrivers like this are too "fat" or "short" in the shaft to fit into the housings... make sure you check yours before you need it).A mini-maglite. A tire pressure gauge. A leatherman-type multi-tool with pliers. A pocketknife with corkscrew (hey chicks dig wine, especially if it doesn't have a screw-top). A small first-aid kit, including those little foil packets of asprin and other non-prescription sundries, bandages and ointments (once again, they make little single-use packets of Neosporin and the like), and a condom (which can be used for LOTS of things other than its intended use: tourniquet, liquid-carrying vessel, bungee cord, etc.). A shop rag, rubber gloves from the doctor's office, a sample size tube of hand cleaner, and some "wet-naps". A "travel-sized" 3" can of WD-40. Zip ties. A tube of Loctite. A roll of electrical tape. TWO 6' lengths of 18 gauge wire. A spare set of spark plugs, a gap gauge, and sparkplug wires. A tin of 5ampfuses. A spare set of 1156 and 1157 bulbs, wrapped in a bandana. A 2' length of oil line, a 1' length of fuel line, and small hose clamps. TWO bungee cords (a 3" and a 6"). A plastic sheet (like a trash bag) which says "HELP" in large letters which I scavenged from one of those automotive emergency kits (also works great as a drop cloth in case you have to get down on the ground to fix something). A "Vistalite" flashing red LED reflector (helpful to get attention at night... this is actually designed to be a tail-light for a bicycle). A cheap pair of photogray sunglasses. And a small folio (HD give these out last year as an incentive for buying $250 worth of crap) with a mini road atlas, my HOG card (for towing if needed), HD dealer locator booklet, a pen, and a pack of large 3"x5" Post-Its. And of course, I always have my cell phone and a spare battery. All this stuff packs down to become a 8" x 4" x 2" bag, and costs maybe$30-50 to assemble (I had a lot of this stuff just lying around the house).On longer trips, I also stash a quart of oil, a bottle of drinking water, a flask of Jim Beam, and a pack of Lucky Strikes. Never know how long you might be out there...The only things I am missing at this point are tire-repair items (looks like that Cruz kit will be just the ticket). I'd also like to have an extra battery cable (I think I am going to make a slightly longer one to replace the one on my bike, and carry the stock one in my kit) and a short (3') set of jumper cables (I'm thinking of making these too, using the mini-clips like the Battery Tender uses).

Sears Bike Lift

From: "Dennis CB" <>
Subject: sears bike lift
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 17:15:43 -0500

Based on the reviews from the listers I just ordered by Sears motorcycle lift part #00950190000. It will be in in 12 days. total cost $107.24. The sale lasts until May 17th. Just look up Sears and type in motorcycle lift.

00 883/1200Y

DIY Painting

From: "James Crispino" <>
Subject: Paint
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 00:05:14 -0400

For anyone considering a DIYS paint job, I want to make a strong recommendation. If you're an amateur like me, there is nothing like a DeVilbiss FLG2 gravity feed HVLP gun!

I did my tank and rear fender using this gun, and did everything in my power to screw it up, and it came out great. Yesterday, I found out I was using the gun entirely wrong. It came with a pressure gauge, and it is supposed to be set to read 23lbs with the trigger pulled.

I have to send 110 lbs to the gun in order to get it to 23lbs while spraying, so I was sure there was something wrong with the gauge. I used the gauge on my compressor's regulator, and set my regulator to read 23 lbs while spraying. I was about 70lbs short of where I should have been, and it still sprayed far better than my siphon gun.

So tonight, using the pressure gauge on the gun, and sending about 110 to the gun, I got a reading at the gun of about 23 lbs. It seemed like way too much air was coming out of the gun, but I was going to take the word of the guy who sold it to me, and just try it.

Well I primed my new front fender and it came out like glass! All I had to do was give the thing a quick once over with some 400 grit paper, and I was on to color. Two coats of color went on like glass. On to clear, two coats, like glass. Unbelievable! What a gun!

If you're going to do it yourself, take my word for it. Spend the $169 for THIS gun. It is awesome!

Oh yeah, it also uses an optional bag system, which makes cleanup a snap! It comes with 6 samples. Try em, you'll like em, and you'll go back and buy the box of 48 bags for $30 like I did. :)

You poke a plastic bushing through the bottom of a special ziplock bag, and then using a tool that comes with the gun, you push the bushing into the outlet in the bottom of the paint reservoir. You poor the paint into the bag, and then zip it up while stuffing the bag down into the reservoir to get out some of the air. Then you put the lid on the gun, and have at it!

When you finish painting, you aim the gun straight up, and pull the bag out. It leaves a drop of paint in the bottom of the reservoir. That's it.


The 2nd Amendment is the reset button on The Constitution

Something to Read When Off-line

From: "Daniel Ratner" <>
Subject: RE: reading
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 09:24:43 -0600
Mitchell 98 1200 C (Traveler) wrote:
This is to the lister who wanted book titles, and then geocities wouldn't let him have enough bandwidth to put the list on his site. (Sorry I don't remember your name). Did you ever get the list on the net? If so, can I get the URL? If not, can you possibly email me the list? I tried to do a cut / paste of titles and authors as they cam in to you on the list, but I/m sure I missed a lot. If not...have a great day.

That would be me. The URL is listed below. Choose the Information Bank menu option.

Dan Ratner
1993 883 - 'Black Rat'
Decatur, Alabama


From: "Kerley" <>
Subject: Evo CV Jet Sizes???
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 21:15:25 -0400

I have just paid the tax and am planning to change the jetting on my 883 as per Maurice's jetting instructions. While perusing through my factory service manual, I noticed the different specifications for jet sizing depending where the bike was to be shipped. It is as follows:

49 state   - slow 42, main 160
California - slow 42, main 170
HDI/Swiss  - slow 42, main 190

My question is, why does a bike in California have a larger main jet than the other 49 states ( I would have thought that California would models would be smaller)? Also, why such a difference between the 49 states and the HDI/Swiss exports?

I look forward to the replys.

2002 883 Custom


From: Robert O'Connor <>
Subject: Re: needle shim help
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 11:01:28 -0400
Tinneric wrote:
I have a 2001 Sportster 883 Standard, The dealer changed out the slow jet to a 45 before I bought it. I talked with the service department and they said to change the main jet to 170 and shim the needle .020, this is after the Harley Tax is paid. I have read much about the jets but have seen nothing on the needle, I have searched. Please give me some feedback and a step by step guide on how to do this.

So you want to shim the needle, aye? This is what you do. I know you've already been told the part number for the HD washers (6048W) but you can stop at any bike shop and pick one up. The one I used to use was given to me by the mech at my local Honda dealer. Just make sure whatever washer you get a hold of is a THIN one, is a PERFECT fit, and is NO LARGER in size than the head of the needle, or the clip if using an adjustable needle.

You'll have to take off the air cleaner assembly. Do you have a FM? Loosen the enrichener cable and detach it from the engine mount. There should be enough slack in the main fuel line so you shouldn't have to pull that from the petcock but you can if you want.

Grab the carb with your hands with fingers on the float bowl and thumbs on the carb top. Rock the carb up and down gently while pulling it toward you. It will pop out of the intake manifold. As soon as it does, stop pulling. You just want it out enough to get at the carb top screws. Remove the one phillips head screw that holds the throtte cable bracket to the carb. Using the proper size screwdriver/bit, remove the four phillips head screws from the carb top, keeping in mind that the carb top is under spring pressure. With the throttle bracket out of the way, the carb top can be removed. You will see a long spring sticking out now. Pull the spring out and set it aside.

Now with needle nose pliers, reach into the slide and pull out the plastic cage. The cage serves two purposes; aligns and seats the diaphragm spring, holds the jet needle in place. With the cage out, use the needle nose pliers to grasp the top of the needle and CAREFULLY pull it out of the slide. Slip a washer onto the needle and drop the needle back in. Place the cage on top of the needle, checking to be sure one of the cage's feet doesn't block the air hole next to the needle (You'll see what I mean, the hole should be between two of the feet). Put the spring back in the slide and then the carb top back on the carb. Then reinstall everything else.

You'll want to be very CAREFUL when re-installing the carb top cover, so as not to pinch the diaphragm. If you have trouble getting the diaphragm to seat properly, type "diaphram" in the search string for the '00 archives at and there will be some tips there. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to browse the tech section there also. If you need any more help with this just ask. Also, don't over tighten the enrichener cable nut. Just finger tight then maybe 1/16 turn at the most with a wrench after that.

Bob O
2K Hugger > 1200 Lightning, likes the 48 slow jet better than the 45.
UP of Michigan

Speed vs. RPM

From: "Cherokee Ed" <>
Subject: For our Tachless 883 listers
Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 17:42:42 -0500
   MPH         1st     2nd     3rd     4th     5th
    20        2617    1916    1391    1148     973
    30        3925    2875    2087    1722    1459
    40        5234    3833    2782    2296    1945
    50        6542    4791    3878    2870    2431
    60        7850    5749    4173    3444    2918
    70                6707    4869    4018    3404
    80                7666    5564    4592    3891
    90                        6260    5166    4378
   100                        6955    5739    4864
   110                        7651    6313    5350
   120                                6887    5837
   130                                7461    6323
   140                                        6810
   150                                        7296
Cherokee Ed


From: "Ranger" <>
Subject: Seats and Lazyrider
Date: Fri, 24 May 2002 20:56:25 -0400

If anyone is thinking of changing seats or getting a backrest, this may be of interest.

I have a 2002 1200C. Recently replaced the stock seat with a Mustang Wide Vintage Solo seat. The seat looks very good on the sportster. I found that it sits about 1" higher than the standard seat (If you have short legs, this may be a problem). It is very comfortable for long rides. The only thing I don't like is that the pocket is not deep enough.

I added a Lazyrider bag/backrest combo ( This is a piece of luggage that rests against the sissy bar and is sized so the rider can use it as a backrest. Lazyrider sells two sizes, 10" and 12". The 12" size was perfect. The Lazyrider is worth its weight in gold for long trips. It also looks good on the sportster.

With the new seat, the Lazyrider, and buckhorn handlebars I consistenly travel for 4-7 hours without fatigue. The combo looks good and makes the sportster a dream machine for long rides.

If you are interested in what this looks like, let me know and I will e-mail a photo.

No More Carb Farts

Date: Sat, 25 May 2002 10:10:49 -0400
From: John Kodis <>
Subject: Re: New Sportster

On Fri, May 24, 2002 at 08:30:01AM -0500, Rita Figueroa wrote:

Just bought a 2002 883 standard and just love it. There are alot of things I want to do, but from reading this list sounds like I need to get the SE A/C and rejet to get rid of those carb "farts".

When I took my 2001 XLH-883 in for its 1000 mile service I complained about the carb farts and engine stumbling. In response, the dealer replaced one of the carb jets and changed one of the idle adjustments. This solved the problem, made a noticable improvement in the feel of the engine, and didn't cost me a cent beyond what I paid for the 1000 mile service.

Of course lots of other things I'd like to do - new pipes, sissy bar, bags.

You may want to replace the air cleaner, exhaust pipes, and a bunch of other stuff as well anyway, but that shouldn't be necessary just to eliminate a case of engine stumbles and carb farts.

-- John Kodis.

Fork Caps

Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 12:50:58 -0400
Subject: Front Fork Query:  Dyne fork caps vs. Air valve caps...

I'm ready to change the fork oil on my 93 sporter. They are very soft and dive badly. I've never had them open since I brought her home a few months ago. I've read about replacing your fork caps with the following parts: 45546-90 Socket Bolt, #45984-97 O-Ring, #45990-88 Bolt, Front Fork. These are parts off a Dyna that will allow you to change your fork oil without having to fight your front springs, as they have a plug in the center.

I've also been hearing about putting the caps on with the tapped/threaded in air pressure valves, and shooting a little air in them to adjust...

Any thoughts on one vs. the other would be appreciated.


Turn Signal Relocation

Date: Sat, 08 Jun 2002 16:27:02 -0400
From: Larry Reynolds <>
Subject: On moving the front Directional Signal Lights on my '99 XLC

Fellow XLrz,

Today, I moved the front signal directional lights on my 'scoot'. I used the kit for this (P/N 68517-94A) that I got from my local stealer for ~$29. In the kit, there were all the bolts, washers, etc. AND butt splices and shrink tubing. This implies cutting and re-connecting wires. The instruction sheet talks about cutting the wires. Although, I cut and splice wires all the time in my work, I didn't relish doing the same on my bike.

As it turns out, You don't necessarily have to......

The kit instruction sheet will give the general instruction for moving your lights, but this added info will help you do it without any wire cutting and splicing and save 'mucho' time and aggravation.

Tools needed: T-45, T-25 Torx, small right-angle drive, and 1/4" Allen wrench.

To move your front directional lights without cutting your wires, you have to do the following:

  1. Remove the top chrome cover from the upper fork bracket, using a 1/4" Allen wrench.
  2. Remove the front plate on the risers, using a T-25 Torx on the four top and bottom bolts
  3. Remove the two middle bolts holding the wiring connector bracket with same T-25 Torx.
  4. Remove the rear plate from behind the risers
  5. Remove the idiot light mount & bezel by releasing the four tabs that hold it in place.
  6. Remove the bolt that holds the hydraulic line on the left/rear of the upper fork bracket(optional, but recommenced).
  7. Remove both lenses and bulbs from the lights.
  8. Using the appropriate size wrenches (1/2" & 5/8"), loosen and remove the lights from the handlebars.
  9. Using the 1/2"" wrench, remove the rest of the hardware from the light body shells.
  10. Push the headlight ALL the way down. If you do all the above, you can now slide the direction signal shells in between the fork brackets and risers, without any interference. I did this to move and untangle and eliminate the need for cutting and splicing the wires. You will also see that there is more than adequate length of cable to allow for this.
  11. Re-assemble the direction signal lights on to the lower fork bracket and re-secure the mirrors to the handle bars, as per installation kit instructions.
  12. Re-visit steps 1 through 7, in reverse order, to re-assemble the stuff in the fork bracket/riser area.
  13. Re-position the headlight as best you can until you can do it right. Again, this procedure worked for my '99 XLC, YMMV.... I'm guessing that this is a 2-3 beer job.

Finished product:

Larry ("Weester")
1% Name: Ol' Knucklehead of the White Werewolves MC
Manassas, Va.
'97/'98 BikeE XL/AT ("Turtle", with 2 T-A)
'99 XLC ("Mz. Piggy")

Carb Reassembly

Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 06:13:30 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Moshe K. Levy" <>
Subject: Re: CV Carb Diaphragm
Robert Whitesel wrote:
I recently rejetted my carb and had it apart several times. Each time I had difficulty getting the cover back on over the diaphragm.

This may help you in the future FWIW, I doubt a touch of oil would hurt anything, but it's not really necessary...

-MKL '98 1200C

LED Battery Gauge

Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 14:58:36 -0400
From: Larry Reynolds <>
Subject: Re: LED Battery Gauge
David Barr wrote:
I am installing an LED KurYakin Battery Gauge. I am gonna connect to a hot lead (only when on) and then ground. What is the best way to do this in order to prevent future problems in the future to whatever I connect to? Probably the rear tail light.


The BEST way to do this is to connect the (+) lead of the battery gauge to the Red/Grey wire that goes to the fuse block.

This way, you can see what the battery gauge is with only the switch in ACC is.

Unless you have an accessory that draws a lot of current (jacket or gloves with heater, or a radio), it should be ~12.6 Volts, minimum. 13.8 Volts is better. If you see NO voltage, then (1) the 30 Amp Circuit breaker is open or, (2) your battery cable between the battery and the starter motor is broken, or (3) your Ignition Switch is bad.

Turn the key into the IGN/Lights/Insts Position and you will see the battery voltage with the extra load on it. It might drop a little.

When you hit the starter, you should see the effects of the large current draw on the battery. If it drops to less than 9 Volts or so, suspect a bad (+) battery cable.

Of course, the ground return wire should go to where the battery negative lead connects to the chassis. This, I believe, is preferable to connecting directly to the battery because of a propensity of the HD battery cables to break. If it breaks, you will also see 0 Volts on your battery monitor.


Larry ("Weester")
1% Name: Ol' Knucklehead of the White Werewolfes MC
Manassas, Va.
'97/'98 BikeE XL/AT ("Turtle", with 2 T-A)
'99 XLC ("Mz. Piggy")

Indicator Lightbulbs

From: "cunhel" <>
Subject: re: Indicator Lightbulbs
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002 23:14:50 -0400

I paid $3 for my first blown bulb years ago. Once I saw what it was, I went a hunting at a couple of auto parts stores. They came in three different stock numbers increasing in cost, but looked like the same bulb. I have tried all three. Believe it or not the least expensive lasted the longest and was the brightest.

Pick up GE # 74 or equivalent. I paid $1.69 for a package of two. And of course, since I have three packs in my tool box, I haven't blown one in well over a year. Go figure.

'95 883
Billerica, MA

Sportster Pick-Up Rides in Baltimore, Annapolis, DC, and Northern Virginia

Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 20:17:23 EDT
Subject: SPUR/new site
Hello Listers, Check out this new site at:

On-line Racing Forum

Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2002 17:18:08 -0800 (PST)
From: "Dale A." <>
Subject: RE: interesting racing forum
There's an interesting racing forum at

It's not a place for rejetting instructions or talk of slip ons vs drag pipes. But there's some good hard core bench racing that goes on there. And it's VERY Sportster oriented.

Well it was Sportster orientated...until I started the thread about my son's Jeep Wagoneer! Turns out Bo has one just like his...doing the same can always get a question answered by gearheads on anything it seems!

Dale A.

Not Everyone Loves Harleys

Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 13:10:27 +0200
From: "Dries 'Doris' Bessels" <>
Subject: Hee hee hee
This morning a friend of mine sent me this link. Personally I thought it funny but I know some people who most probably feel very offended by it: Read it with an open mind!

Dries 'Doris' Bessels                           Ride to work, work to ride
Amsterdam, The Netherlands                      FLSTC '00 (Yellow)
E-mail :       
Cellphone: +31-6-4402-8346            

Hot XL

From: "Joe I." <>
Subject: Hot XL - Tech & How-To
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 23:42:31 -0400

All, I have finally gotten my scanner to work. I have posted the Tech & How-To from the first issue of Hot XL magazine on my website. I will try to post a new issue each weekday until all 9 issues are done, but please don't hold me to that. I will try to get them all up ASAP.

I am very sorry for the large files. I scanned each page into a PDF document. If anyone can tell me if it is possible to compress a PDF file it would be appreciated. I tried zipping the files, but the sizes did not change. Also, if anyone has drive space on a server with a faster connection that these can be stored on it would be appreciated!

OK, "How do I get the files?" do you ask? Go to and click on the Hot XL Tech & How-To link from the menu on the left.

Enjoy and ride safe!!!


'02 XLH 1200
Melbourne, FL

Motorcycles on Display at the Guggenheim Museum

Date: 29 Oct 2001 22:12:27 -0800
From: Steve <>
Subject: Motorcycle site worth visiting
Check out this:

I received this link from another list. It's great! I could (and probably will) spend hours going through it. There are Sportsters (XLCR, Buell, at least) represented, along with some other "significant" motorcycles.

I'd like to visit this display, if I ever get close to it. Has anyone been?

... Steve

Steve Lange
'95 XLH 883 Deluxe
Nugget Yellow / Chrome Yellow

Knowing When To Wave

Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 16:41:24 EDT
Subject: Esquire Feature Story: To Wave or Not to Wave

Esquire Feature Story: To Wave or Not to Wave

an excerpt:

I love motorcycles, and I love riding. Like many of you, what first drew me to bikes was not just the experience of riding, but the feeling that I'd become part of a special community-a brotherhood, really. Nothing calms me more than a long ride down the interstate, waving to the members of my beloved clan. Except when I pass Harley guys. I hate Harley guys. Hate, hate, hate. When they pass me on the highway, you know what I do? I don't wave. With their little tassle handlebars and the studded luggage and the half-helmets-God, they drive me crazy.

(but you gotta read the whole piece to understand ;-)

How to Rev Up your Hog

Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 09:06:50 +0100
From: Buddha <>
Subject: Motorcycle Revving

Here's a little motorcycle related humor break for you all. Don't know if you've ever been to the Onion newspaper online, but it's great satire. Here's a good article guaranteed to keep your Sportster revving even if it's just in the driveway!
Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

Reading About Riding

From: (Ridin' 4 Jesus)
Subject: Best Bike Reading Material on Net
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 18:00:50 -0700 (PDT)

Being retired I spend a lot of time on the net trying to improve my mind and I read a lot of Motorcycle articles and I have never come across any as good as this one:

There are 160 different articles about Riding technique, maintenance, safety, oils, tires, taper braking, counter steering and many many more. There's something for everyone. I've been ridin' bikes for 37 years (over 350,000 miles) and I even learned some new stuff.

It'll take hours to read all there is but it is all indexed nicely so you can read a little at a time.

Happy Hoggin'
Riverside, Ca.

This page is compiled and maintained by John Kodis. Complaints, corrections, additions, and the like gladly accepted.