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Sturgis Shovel Part 2

Makin Shit Fit

By Bandit with photos by Sin Wu
6/10/2010 6:10:41 PM

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Illustration by Tim Conder.


lead shot
I'm attempting to build the ultimate handling chopper. It's not designed to be a show winning, bitchin looking, artistic masterpiece. I'm going another direction, attempting to build a righteous, old school, performance, handling, and reliable machine. No, it's not a Martin Bros job, and from an artistic standpoint I believe they are the ultimate builders. I want it to fit me, handle like a dream and last forever. We'll see.


paughco rocker
Inside the Paughco powder coated springer rocker.

This bike might look like shit, but it should work perfectly. I'm endeavoring to keep it light, tight, narrow and right. So far so good. We've even decided to eliminate paint from the equation, except for rusty metal that may need black powder coating from Custom Powder Coating in Dallas, and the front end was powder coated black at the Paughco factory.

headlight on 
We tried to find the smallest, strangest, most effective Custom Chrome headlight available.

Let's jump into the shop. I was jazzed to receive my Rev Tech wheel order from Custom Chrome. I needed to mock up the frame and ship an image to Tim Conder for a concept drawing. Conder's images inspire any builder. I couldn't move on it until the Custom Chrome wheels were delivered and mated to the Avon Venom tyres. I'm also going to avoid chrome and flashy stuff as much as possible. We're running bare metal in several instances: Wheel rims, aluminum tank, brass fender rails and linkage, copper hard oil lines, and thick wall copper tubing bars. Dig this, we're going to galvanize the frame, rear fender and oil bag. The XR Sportster racing tank which is aluminum was delivered from Cyril Huze. I'm going to leave it brushed aluminum, but the capacity was a minimum 1.75 gallons. I'm mounting it high on the frame so we'll open the tunnel for additional fuel capacity and weld the area shut.

front wheel

I'm jumping around. Let's get back to the Rev Tech wheels. The spokes are stainless with polished aluminum rims for a long lasting approach. Even the Paughco frame came with brushed aluminum axle plates. We're going to leave 'em alone. Cyril Huze designed a new, between the heads, coil and ignition switch mount. I ordered one without polish or chrome. It's unfortunate that we can't get wheels with Stainless hubs and eliminate chrome all together. The front is a 21 with a 18 by 5-inch rear for a 180 Avon Venom. I don't want a super wide tire. I'm specifically avoiding wide tires. I think they make choppers look like fat-assed chicks. They lose their chopper code of agility and lightness.

front axle w 
This is the springer axle and spacers available from Paughco.

With my Doherty wheel spacer kit I was able to set up wheel spacing quick, for the time being. It's a trick working in the shop by myself and I will try to explain some operations from that perspective. We all face shop blues from time to time. Makes me kick back and rethink various operations when six hands are needed and I'm limited to one on the part and one on the arm of the drill press.

cce risers in 
place short
Custom Cycle Engineering risers in place with studs.

So alone one night I grappled with the installation of the CCI neck bearings (I need a JIMS tool for the races), to install the Paughco springer front end. After a trip to a local fastener store I was able to weave two studs into the rear legs of the front end for traditional, vibration dampening Custom Cycle Engineering risers. The studs needed were 1/2 inch about 2.5 inches long with 1/2-20 threads on one end and 1/2-13 on the riser end. The shop only had two different-length studs and one needed additional tapping to fit.

longer riser 
Here's the CCE risers with 1-inch longer, tank clearing, stems . I don't throw away a goddamn thing. I had these laying around from another bike project. Worked perfectly. I'll black powder them before it's all done.


I use these risers on most of my bikes because of the traditional, old school appearance and the vibration element for long runs, but they take a degree of thinking since they shove the bars toward the rider (and often the tank) about 2 inches. I needed to watch for the appropriate amount of tank clearance and ultimately needed the 1-inch longer stems. Very high bars can be a problem with the leverage against the flexible rubber, but with patience, they will work fine. Since each riser is a single unit, they will flex and pivot until they're aligned and tightened down.

front wheel on 

I installed low rise drag bars from Custom Chrome/Khrome Works. I'll see how they fit as the seat is mounted. I ordered a seat at a swapmeet this weekend, black with brass buttons by West Eagle. My plan is to bend thick-walled copper tubing and polish it for the final bars.

wheel spacer 
Here's a Doherty front axle spacer in place. What a dream it is to have a kit of varying lengths at my fingertips. Actually, a girl named Bree would fill my dreams more appropriately, if you know what I mean.


Now Imagine the first time I installed the front wheel, wrestling with the slipping front end and frame, the front wheel, the axle and the spacers simultaneously. Fortunately my 11-year-old grandson was on hand with a rubber mallet to assist. For the rear I used a crate to hold the wheel and the approximate height so I could muscle the axle and spacers through to align it with the frame. It was time for a Corona.

Bikernet Warning: When mocking up your ride don't sweat the wheel spacers just yet. Install the wheels as close to center as possible, but keep in mind the slop before you install your fenders only to discover, under final spacing, that the fender is out of whack. Beware


The engine is currently in the hands of S&S for a breast reduction from 103-inch to 93 smooth inches of reliable horse power. I'm waiting on the engine build images to share with you.

rear wheel 
axle spacer
Again the Doherty spacer kit made my midnight working conditions shine. It comes with a variety of spacers from over 2 inches to 1/4 inch polished aluminum jobs.

rear wheel 
Here's the CCI chain sprocket. I like the old school notion, O-ring chains are reliable and not sloppy, and I like the size that's not an obstacle to view the wheel.

Hold on, I'm slipping the clutch again. Next I mounted the Rev Tech rear wheel with another Avon Venom within the Paughco frame. Unfortunately my Kraft Tech Fender is 9-inches wide and the tire on the 5-inch wide rim runs only 7-inches. I need about an 8-inch wide fender. I'm waiting for the shipment to arrive.

rear wheel in 

joker left 
forward controls n kickstand
I bolted on the Joker controls and the Custom Chrome kick stand to easy parking if the bikes was removed from the lift.

tank in place 
The stock XR Sportster racing tank in place.

Then I moved onto the tank. I needed to create a couple of bungs for rubber mounting the rear of the tank and tap them for 1/4-20 threads. It was the first time I used our new/old lathe. This is all a new learning experience at the new Bikernet Headquarters. I grabbed a lathe that was rusting in Japanese Jay's backyard. He wasn't using it and I wanted one to cut wheel spacers. I reworked and cleaned the lathe until it was operational then the Doherty crew created a wheel spacer kit? Ah, but the lathe has a myriad of uses, like cutting bungs from a chunk of aluminum. Worked great.

tank bung on 

Then I tapped them using the lathe chuck. I discovered that the tank petcock bung needed moving to the rear, since the tank was mounted at an angle. I cut it out with a die grinder and returned to the lathe to machine off the welds.

petcock bung 

petcock hole 
Here's the new petcock bung hole drilled at the rear of the tank for maximum capacity.

Next I need to learn how to use my new/real old, milling machine. My dad was a machinist most of his life and ultimately an engineer in the oil well industry. As a teenager I worked in machine shops and picked up equipment experience between smoking joints. I swear I learned something.

tank w pattern 
for tunnel
I'm not going to attempt to weld the tank. Just up the street is a 40-year pro, but I need to have all the parts and pieces ready to weld.

Let's see, what else. I dug through our parts bins and found the exact bracket I needed to mount the Kraft Tech oil bag. I need to cut off the existing coil and oil bag brackets and make a new front mount.

Wait a minute I'm slipping again. I dug through my bracket drawers and pulled a couple of old Jammer brackets 1/4-inch thick. I drilled 1/2-inch holes for the rubber mount grommets from Cyril Huze. I bolted them in place.

un cut tank 
tabs on tank
I made sure to bevel the holes slightly to prevent a fit with the rubber and insure the steel wouldn't cut the soft material.

Next, I carefully measured the backbone tubing of the frame and figured the dimensions of the tabs and carefully marked and cut them, then beveled the edges for strong welds.

tank tabs on 
tank cut to length
Here's the tabs ready to rock.

level on 
I used a level on the frame, ultimately on the front motor mount then on the top of the tank to make sure the tank was level with the frame.

tank tabs 
At 1:00 a.m. I turned in, but just before I tacked the tabs to the frame and used my air hose to cool the tabs, so I didn't smoke the rubber sleeves. I discovered in the morning light that the tank wasn't in the center for the frame rail, and it needed to be dropped 1/8-inch in the front.

tank tab 
welded in place

The next day under a sober sky, I refit the tank, tacked and MIG welded the tabs. Once the Bill Hall, pro-welder, welds my tank bungs in place and the tunnel is capped, I can make the final rear tabs and mount the tank semi-permanently. Is that possible?

holes drilled 
in tunnel
I'm not sure about this operation. I drilled several holes in the tunnel for gas to flow in and out. I hope it's cool and enough flow. Any suggestions? I didn't cut the tunnel completely out for structual reasons. It's an aluminum tank on a rigid frame. I don't want it to crack between here and Sturgis.

tank bung in 
After positioning the bungs and petcock several times, I decided to run the Petcock back as far as possible for the most gas capacity. Then I positioned the round tab forward enough to clear the petcock.

Next, I will mount the Kraft Tech Oil bag, the rear fender and sprung seat mechanism. I'm also dealing with the rear drive. The frame was set up for belt, but more and more I like the chain notion.

JIMS trans

The JIMS machine tranny is set up for 4-speed applications with 6-speed gears. First, I ordered the wrong Custom Chrome tranny plate, then I was twisted about the sprocket vs. belt pulley needed to drive the bastard. I dug through old parts bins until I found gears, since it looked like a gear-driven job. Then the sprocket didn't fit. I'm still trying to figure it out.

I'm going to meet with Jim of JIMS in the next couple of days and get to the bottom of it.

main shaft w 
chain sprocket

Although the frame is set up for a belt, that means if I run a chain, I'll have plenty of alignment flexibility. Hang on for my next report.


Doherty Machine
1030 Sandretto Dr Unit L
Prescott, AZ 86305



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Reader Comments

Free books, catalog, thank you!

Salvador herrera
El Paso 5904 oleaster 79932, TX
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Editor Response No problem, send me an address.

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