Our Sister Sites:

Bikernet Trikes Bikernet Baggers Bikernet Blog
Ride Forever - Bikernet.com
Wednesday Edition


Mudflap Girl Part 2, the Bandit Engine and Spitfire update

H-D Engine off to Bennett's and Branch for Performance, Frames coming together

By Bandit, with photos by Sin Wu, illustration by Chris Kallas
3/29/2011


Share this story:





 
Okay, you have the story behind this build, and Chris Kallas is refining the concept drawing. My engine arrived from the factory, and Eric Bennett immediately noticed the return address, in Viola, Wisconsin.




As it turns out, the factory hired the S&S crew to assemble their Evo line of engines. What a natural. I liked that notion all the way around the block. First, it means more American hands in my new engine. Plus, what could be better than to have the best performance engine company on the planet working with the factory on the last and most refined V-twin configuration?

Official Bikernet Mudflap girl, by George Fleming
Official Bikernet Mudflap girl, by George Fleming



For this crew, and lots of riders all over the world, the FXR Evo is the best of the best. So, for Bikernet, this became the year of the FXR and the Evo engine. I asked the factory about their Evo engine program and received the following information.





A Modicum of Harley Engine History
The first 74 cubic-inch V-Twin engine on the JD and FD models was introduced in 1921 and the 45 cubic-inch side-valve V-twin engine (later to be known as the Flathead) on the D model debuted in 1929. The Flathead engine proved so reliable that variations of it were available on Harley-Davidson motorcycles as late as 1973 (servi-car trikes).



In 1936, Harley-Davidson introduced the EL model with an overhead valve, 61-cubic-inch engine. With increased horsepower and bold styling changes, the motorcycle earned the Knucklehead nickname, due to the shape of its rocker boxes.



New features were added to the 61 and 74 overhead valve engines in 1948, including aluminum heads and hydraulic valve lifters. New one-piece, chrome-plated rocker box covers shaped like cake pans earned this engine the nickname Panhead. The engine introduced on the Electra Glide models in 1966 to replace the Panhead became known as the Shovelhead, again due to the shape of its rocker covers.



In 1984, Harley-Davidson unveiled the 1340cc V” Evolution engine on five models including the all-new Softail. The result of seven years of development, the Evolution engine produced more power at every speed, ran cooler, cleaner, and was oil-tight. Also witnessed is the debut of the Softail design and its trend-setting method of "hiding" the motorcycle's rear shock absorbers.
 
Over the years, we heard two interesting facts. Porche designed the Evo engine, and if it wasn't for the financial support of AMF during a slow period of H-D development, the Evo would have never seen the market. The Evo engine of today is at the crest of a 77-year development cycle and the factory got it right in so many respects. Sure, the Twin Cam has more performance capabilities, but the Evo is the best, simplest, most refined version of the original. We're voting Evo for 2011.

1340CC Evolution Softail Engine - Silver and Polished SPECS


Type: 4-cycle, 45 degree V-twin
Bore X Stroke: 3.498 X 4.250
Displacement: 80 cubic inches or 1340 cc
Compression: 8.5:1
Torque ratings at 3,500 rpms: Touring with fuel injection, 83 ft./lb.
Touring w/carb 77 ft./lb. @ 4000 rpm
Dyna/Softail 79/76 ft./lb.


Miles per gallon: 50 hwy/ 43 city with a touring model using a carb
55 hwy/ 43 city Dyna or Softail

Variety and sales info:



1340CC Evolution Softail Engine - Silver and Polished


Since the first single-cylinder built in 1903, engines have been the heart and soul of Harley-Davidson history. Each motor has made its unique contribution, and the V2 Evolution engine is no exception. With the Smart Start Engine Program, buying a new Evolution engine has never been easier. When replacing your Evolution motor, Smart Start offers brand-new, factory-tested engines at an unbeatable price. Choose the standard silver and polished Evolution, sinister black, the classic black and chrome or the silver and chrome finish. Either way, you won't just be making a new start; you'll be making a smart start.

16161-99

IN-STORE PURCHASE ONLY, Contact dealer for pricing and availability.


Fits all '99 Softail models. Does not include carburetor, manifold or timer cover.

MSRP US $3,295.00




1340CC Evolution Softail Engine - Black and Chrome


16160-99

IN-STORE PURCHASE ONLY, Contact dealer for pricing and availability.


Fits all '99 Softail models. Does not include carburetor, manifold or timer cover.

MSRP US $3,995.00




1340CC Evolution Softail Engine - Silver and Chrome

16177-99

IN-STORE PURCHASE ONLY, Contact dealer for pricing and availability.


Fits all '99 Softail models. Does not include carburetor, manifold or timer cover.

MSRP US $3,495.00

That Teflon or plastic gasket could last forever.
That Teflon or plastic gasket could last forever.




When my engine arrived, I immediately hauled it in the Bikernet Hearse to Bennett's Performance for a slight performance upgrade. I needed to let that puppy breath without messing with the reliability aspect. Sharing the same building on the edge of Signal Hill, California is the headquarters for Branch O'Keefe. John O'Keefe worked for Jerry Branch for decades and ultimately bought the business when Jerry Branch decided to retire.
We're looking at several options for stock engines and for rebuilds. We have three touring models coming together right now, and they are all 80-inchers. One for my son, my factory motor, and Dr. Hamsters 200,000-mile Evo rebuild by Bennett's.

I'm running the brand-new factory plain Evo engine with the Andrews EV-27 cam and Andrews chrome-moly adjustable pushrods for less flex, a new cam bearing and the Branch flowed stock heads, for 8.9:1 compression, 78 cc Branch-flowed chambers, and 75-80 horses at 2,600 rpms.

The next higher upgrade step from Branch is the EV-51 cam and additional headwork and shaved heads for a 10:1 compression and 85 horses at the same rpms. And finally, a customer can run with an EV-59 Andrews cam and 10.5:1 compression and 90-95 horses. Not bad for never taking the barrels off.




"I like rpms," John O'Keefe said, "and the new ignitions allow these engines to burn more fuel and bring out the horses."

New gaskets are tough as nails.
New gaskets are tough as nails.




The key to all this performance is the headwork set to match the cam, and John O'Keefe has studied this science for most of his life. The key is building a mid-range hot rod without sacrificing reliability.




The first move was to strip the engine and deliver my fresh factory heads to the Branch team. Eric Bennett set my beautiful, plain H-D Evo engine on his clean room bench and removed the top motormount, the top rocker box that came off with the middle ring. We noticed much improved, one-piece factory Teflon gaskets. We won't mess with them. Then Eric removed the rockers, the pushrods, pushrod tubes and rocker boxes. We also retrieved the new base gaskets to reuse.


Eric Bennett, tearing my brand new engine apart. "I love working on new motors," Eric said. "They're so clean."
Eric Bennett, tearing my brand new engine apart. "I love working on new motors," Eric said. "They're so clean."


We will make this puppy fly and not mess with the stock flat-top piston hiding down there.
We will make this puppy fly and not mess with the stock flat-top piston hiding down there.






Then he removed the head bolts, the front head, and the rear head. I had already purchased the Andrews EV-27 cam from Branch O'Keefe, and Eric and I started to prepare for installation. He removed the point cover, ignition, and cam sensor.





He had a terrific Trock tool for removing the cone cover. It's always a bastard to try to carve around the narrow gasket surface with a screwdriver or a knife, hoping to find opening and risk damage to the cases or create a leak by scratching the gasket surface.

We will replace the stock ignition sensor with an adjustable Compu-Fire all-in-the-cone ignition system.
We will replace the stock ignition sensor with an adjustable Compu-Fire all-in-the-cone ignition system.




"We always replace the new factory cam bearing," Eric said, "with a full compliment Torrington bearing. The factory ran the good ones from '55 to '92, then they shifted to a cheapo brand. It's also not a bad idea to replace the factory plastic breather gear with a solid JIMS unit."




I scrambled to take notes and photographs while Eric peeled into my engine. He popped a factory set of magnetic tools into the lifter stools to hold the lifters up during cam removal. I wish I had a set of those puppies.

Magnetic tool from H-D holding the lifters in place.
Magnetic tool from H-D holding the lifters in place.




"It's interesting," Eric said. "Virtually every stock cam is .060 longer than any aftermarket cam."


This tool was terrific, designed by Trock, who is no longer with us. But the tools are still available.
This tool was terrific, designed by Trock, who is no longer with us. But the tools are still available.





Eric pre-measures the cams and adjusts the thrust washers before replacing the cam, which you will see in the next report, when we study the Branch recipe for performance, the headwork, and modifications. He replaces the valve seats for larger valves, then ports and polished the chambers. You won't believe the long-lasting components Branch uses.

The Trock tool popped the cone cover off without a problem. Now the cam will just slip out.
The Trock tool popped the cone cover off without a problem. Now the cam will just slip out.




Then we will watch Eric replace the stock cam with the Andrews unit and adjustable pushrods, and put the whole Evo puppy back together. "Don't forget to order a top end gasket set," Eric reminded me as the rain cut loose outside and I wondered if this winter season would ever end. I need a ride.

There's the basic thrust washer. Eric will add to it another washer to create the proper clearance about .010.
There's the basic thrust washer. Eric will add to it another washer to create the proper clearance about .010.



Then Eric grabbed a JIMS tool and a couple of wrenches and in 30 seconds pulled the cheap cam bearing from the new cases.

This is probably a JIMS cam bearing puller.
This is probably a JIMS cam bearing puller.




"I've seen these go south in 10,000 miles," Eric said. "I'll never understand why they replaced a perfectly good quality bearing with this junk."

Here's the cheapy on the left next to the full compliment Torrington bearing.
Here's the cheapy on the left next to the full compliment Torrington bearing.






Just as quickly Eric took an aluminum guide and a mallet and tapped the new bearing in place, another 10 seconds passed, and we were finished.
New EV-27 cam on the left and the stock one with the tiny nubs on the right.
New EV-27 cam on the left and the stock one with the tiny nubs on the right.





A couple of days passed and I thought, just maybe my frames and front ends would be completed at Spitfire. On a hunch, I peeled 57 miles away from the coast in the hearse while listening to KJazz on the radio.

Here's the Spitfire bars we decided to use. We will run a set of tall bars with short risers, and a set of short bars with tall Custom Cycle Engineering classic dogbone risers.
Here's the Spitfire bars we decided to use. We will run a set of tall bars with short risers, and a set of short bars with tall Custom Cycle Engineering classic dogbone risers.




It was quiet as I wandered into the vast machine shop, welding shop, bike assembly area and ran into Joe Cavallo, Paul's dad, who was hunting around the shop for Softail brake anchor brackets. He greeted me and said something about shop organization. The Spitfire and American Made business model has faced serious transformations over the last couple of years.

Spitfire forward controls once built for a now defunct builder.
Spitfire forward controls once built for a now defunct builder.






As I mentioned before, Paul was the partner and manufacturing arm of Hellbound Steel motorcycles. American Made manufactured fast moving products for a bunch of now defunct companies such as WCC. At one time, they were building hundreds of choppers each month, and thousands of products in a much larger facility. During the last year, they adjusted their business model and tightened their facility. They rewired their building, replumbed it with compressed air lines, and kept building products.






It's tough to stop everything and regroup, scour through boxes of tools, base material, parts, and junk. With a skeleton crew they are still building any frame a customer needs, including big twins, rigid Sporty frames, British custom frames, and even frames for Yamaha 650s and Honda fours. They also build an entire line of forward controls, gas tanks, handlebars, girders, and glide front ends (bowling pin), pegs, oil tanks (a variety of styles), trees and taillights. Paul is the mad scientist of the group. As a kid, he manufactured exotic gun cases.

I got a big kick out of these risers.
I got a big kick out of these risers.




He's the kind of guy who will catch a notion in a cup of Starbucks coffee, in the morning and by the evening, he has a new product. It's not a one-off either. It's fully designed and configured for multi-manufacturing.

Every where you go in the shop, you spot some cool stuff coming together.
Every where you go in the shop, you spot some cool stuff coming together.




Some of his crew have been working with Paul and his dad for decades, including Larry, who is their master motorcycle assembly guru. He knows it all. "Pull the alternator rotor off that engine before you run it," Larry told me. "Check the wires for twists or tears."

This is my frame, but the crew used my son's drive train for mock-up. They are working on the V-section.
This is my frame, but the crew used my son's drive train for mock-up. They are working on the V-section.


The spitfire swingarm jig.
The spitfire swingarm jig.





I made a note. Then we made our way into the frame jig area to see the FXR frame progress. The FXR fever caught on and there were at least five FXR frames in the making. The first was based on the pro-street configuration with additional gussets, the squished wishbone, for the single-loop notion and 36 degrees of rake for a 2-inch longer girder front end.

This is Frank's frame with the pro-street config.
This is Frank's frame with the pro-street config.


Nick's mudflap girl oil bag from New York City Choppers.
Nick's mudflap girl oil bag from New York City Choppers.





They discovered some issues with my request for a V-style frame in keeping with the stock FXR configuration. I also hoped for less rake and a shorter Frisco style girder front end style. Paul was working on my unit with a 30 or 33 degree rake, but he also started building a couple of drop seat FXR frames, including one for himself.

One of the drop seat frames, for the midgets on the staff.
One of the drop seat frames, for the midgets on the staff.




We are also going to try a slightly longer swingarm suggested to us by Dar, the boss of Brass Balls for his FXR configuration. He wanted to pull the rear tire out of the frame some, and I was willing to try it. They are hot after these frames, since Paul plans to ride one on the Diablo run that kicks off on May 5th in Temecula, California and rolls toward the border. Don't know if we will make it.

The Redneck Softail Saddlebag. I would like to run even just one if I could, but mounting saddlebags has it's limits. Is Redneck still around?
The Redneck Softail Saddlebag. I would like to run even just one if I could, but mounting saddlebags has it's limits. Is Redneck still around?




The plan for now is to pick up the frames, swingarms, axles, and Spitfire girders, on Friday April 8th. Between now and then, hopefully we will wrap up the engine and bring that puppy home to the headquarters. We are trying to match up these Mudflap Girl FXRs wherever possible, but not always. We are going to run long and short dogbone risers from Custom Cycle Engineering, but we've ordered a new set of Raw 2-into-1 performance pipes from Bub for Frank's FXR, and I'm running a D&D 2-into-1 system. I'm running a Frisco'd and stretched tank and he's running something completely different. He's running a Klockwerks rear fender and I'm running something bobbed. I'm getting seriously ahead of myself. See you in a couple of weeks with the next report.

--Bandit

 
My cool stubby D&D muffler.
My cool stubby D&D muffler.





Sources:

Bennett's Performance




Branch O'Keefe
 
Biker's Choice
Advertisement



JIMS



Spitfire


Custom Cycle Engineering
Advertisement


D&D

Bubs


Harley-Davidson


Rivera Primo Inc.
Advertisement



Belt Drive Unlimited


Metal Sport Wheels
Advertisement

Share this story:



Back to Tech




Reader Comments


neat!

Dino
Cranebrook, AL, Australia
Thursday, March 31, 2011
I haven't been this interested in one of your builds since the Stugis Chopper.
It's good to see some American shops have the moxy to keep on when others fall by the road side.
But no offense intended ,but Larry scrotum...um hes in the witness relocation system right?

Tom Kellerstrass
ogden, UT
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Editor Response Thanks, and it's just a nickname.
--Bandit
Great article! The bikes are coming together and I really like the bars! Cool shots of the engines, I'm sure they will POP. I think I'll stick with my Revo motor, I'm hitting a modest 113 hp, 11:1 compression, 80 ft lbs. of torque, and oh yeah...she's stock. Lets see if I can get 100,000miles outta her.

Well, unless I trade it in for the next big thing. Seriously, the bikes are looking cool, and I can't wait for the next article.

Johnny
Humble, TX
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Editor Response Thanks, send us reports on the Revo motor. We should follow that puppy.
--Bandit

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Email
City
Country
v
State/Province
v
Comments
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.
Submit
Clear