Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

OT ironhead sportster

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • OT ironhead sportster

    Even though I swore I'd never buy another Harley I find myself thinking about 883 sportsters, specifically late iron heads. My question is were the last of them any good?

    I had a '73 xlch which was awful but a lot of the issues mine had were fixed on later bikes. The big thing I'm worried about is that the cases on the '73 were prone to breaking and I'm not buying anything with a known issue like that.

    And before people get started on why the bigger bikes are better, those hold ZERO interest for me.

  • #2
    Cases don't usually just break...more like shaky worn transmission problem or real bad shifting problem. . But they do sometimes blow trannys up.
    and I will be the first to say, not much space for anything to drop down, so it takes out a lot if parts, and if it jams case breakage.. which is often repairable.
    I take it dead set against the first Evo type 883 ... the 73 to79 were 1000cc and to the end I think ..

    a few years later m you could get beltdrive, alternator and 5 speed.. really easy to hop up the evo type...

    Comment


    • #3
      Like 754 said the iron-head Sportsters were all 1000cc from '73 on, although the older 900cc Sportsters from 1957-72 were in fact really 883, just rounded up to 900, probably won't find too many of those kicking around though.

      The newer 883cc Sportsters came out in '86 I believe. The newer 883's are a nicer bike in my opinion than the older iron-heads. The old iron heads weren't really a bad bike once you knew the devil you were dancing with, although I have had a few of those transmissions on the table, it was mostly the riders fault, but not always.

      If you do have your eyes or mind set on a iron-head look for a 1980-1985 year model as these had all of the latest engine/transmission case upgrades and in my opinion are the best of the iron-heads. I believe the change in cases came about in late 1979, however I don't think any of those new design cases were released until the 1980 model year.
      Check all of my figures as I'm going by memory here.

      Funny how everybody wants the bigger bikes now days. When I was growing up a 650cc bike was big and a 900cc XLCH was damn big and damn fast.
      1200cc hogs were absolutely huge and truck like. LOL Now everyone wants to get a 1000-1300cc bike as a beginners bike.

      I suppose most folks shopping for their first ride today are intrinsically all natural riders from the start and don't need to learn all those silly basics of motorcycling anymore.
      Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
      Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

      Location: British Columbia

      Comment


      • #4
        I have 83k on a 2015 FLH limited. The only thing I have a problem with is the chrome plating on the wheels is flaking off. The Guy I go to for chrome told me it due to two things the chrome goes to a share edge and prep.

        Would love to have an old school but I like riding a lot. Wrenching on them every now and then is not bad but I would rather ride.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by outlawspeeder View Post
          ...Would love to have an old school but I like riding a lot. Wrenching on them every now and then is not bad but I would rather ride...
          Yeah, if you want to ride buy Japanese. If you want to spend your time playing roadside mechanic buy British or American...😃
          Keith
          __________________________
          Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...

          Comment


          • #6
            I remember Lance Weill campaigning his 883 in the UK. It had aluminium heads, however. He was not successful against the top British teams, but got a huge ammount of cheers and goodwill for being the underdog.

            Comment


            • #7
              Willy, this reminds me, you wanted to see my street tracker when done.
              I hate the stock tank but it's all I have right now.
              1250 stage 2 engine, 18" Morris mags.
              Len

              Comment


              • #8
                Cool , looks good. .. if you save your loot , or scour eBay , you might be able to get a Storz alloy tank for a better price than new...I did..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 754 View Post
                  you might be able to get a Storz alloy tank for a better price than new...I did..
                  It would certainly have to be!
                  Unfortunately I also have to change out the rear sets and design/make mids.
                  The pegs ended up right where my feet need to be when stopped and I'm a bit less stable than I used to be.
                  Last edited by QSIMDO; 11-14-2020, 01:38 PM.
                  Len

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think it was in 79 that they changed the frame and made the whole bike taller, and slightly longer. Not sure what changed in the engine/trans. Being short, the older frames were a lot more comfortable to me.
                    My 77 was very reliable, I put a couple hundred thousand miles on it, did go through one rebuild with new jugs. Every 3 or 4 years I'd pull the heads and side covers for inspection in the winter

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      WOW!
                      Very nicely and tastefully done Len, she's a beauty.
                      Thanks for the update.
                      Have you got an idea on weight? It looks light, I'll bet it's quick and nimble.
                      Did you make the rear-set bracket?
                      Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                      Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                      Location: British Columbia

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        QSIMDO. I got a narrow tunnel Storz for around 340, a few years back, saw one this year for under 400. Search alloy tank.. .. mine was at 30 bux a few hours before end .. I thought great .. nobody figured out what it is , but by the end it was clear at least 3 of us did..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The ‘73 XL model year includes the removal of the countershaft driven speedo and the reinforced case wall in that area. ‘73 and later cases don’t break on a stock displacement engine. That's also the year I wrenched at a dealership and did almost nothing except warranty work. The shop I worked at a went bankrupt and closed up. That’s how I got my first tool room job. AMF meant well they just messed up in the process.

                          I had a ‘76 CH that I bought used in early ‘85. Did a total engine job in ‘89. The lower end was still In tolerance when I traded it in for an EFI 1200 4 yrs ago.
                          I had done a few top ends and a set of Taiwan Ted cylinders when the oil return hole cracked through at + .030. I miss it dearly, but not the hours of upkeep.

                          You need to do your due diligence and stay away from the later transition period bikes. Some parts only fit half model years and others are whatever the factory had left on the shelf that still fit. I never had to keep track but there’s lots of info in the Sportsterpedia at the XL Forum .

                          http://sportsterpedia.com/doku.php/start


                          My metal right knee forced me to get rid of the kick only CH. If I was to find another Ironhead it would have to be electric start.
                          I still have this pic as the wallpaper on my phone. Click image for larger version  Name:	468E9856-1936-415F-97BB-F32F00028275.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	108.0 KB ID:	1910538

                          VERY nice bike Qsimdo !!
                          Illigitimi non Carborundum 😎
                          9X49 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade and 15.5 in refinery unit operations. Now retired. El Paso, TX

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            i had a 1983 XLX 883 bought new for $3995. A couple months in I was at the dealer for some reason. One of his guys happened to walk past my bike in the lot and noticed one of the downtubes fractured clean through just below the steering neck. They swapped out the frame under warranty. the gussetting in the replacement frame was completely different. I'm sure the guy looked because they had a notice on the problem. I rode that XLX from the east coast to Denver and back.

                            I had a 1965 XLCH at the time, a real screamer when the dry clutch wasn't slipping. The '83 was more fun to ride.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Willy View Post
                              WOW!
                              Very nicely and tastefully done Len, she's a beauty.
                              Thanks for the update.
                              Have you got an idea on weight? It looks light, I'll bet it's quick and nimble.
                              Did you make the rear-set bracket?
                              Thank you sir!
                              Yes, made the rear sets ( polished stainless ) and using a Storz shifter.
                              Not a clue on the weight but I reckon low-mid 400's.
                              About the same as my '06 Bonneville.
                              Gettin' heavier every year too seems like!
                              Len

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X