FOR SALE: Stars-N-Bar Hopper – 1983 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH 1000 Ironhead Bobber

Oden Motor Shop is proud to offer for sale our latest project: “Stars-N-Bar Hopper.”

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This is 1983 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH 1000 was rebuilt in spring of 2014. It was converted into a “mild” hard-tail bobber with classic Army Air Core paint scheme.

The original speedo was in excess of 38,000 miles, but the rebuilt engine and aftermarket speedo have 50 miles as of this listing.

It has the standard factory four-speed transmission.

It has an S&S Super E “Shorty” carburetor, properly jetted and tuned.

This is a “mild” hard tail using struts in place of shocks: the frame is original and can be easily converted back to factor if you value comfort more than cool.

A spring-mounted solo seat makes the hard-tail a little less hard-on-the-tail.

It has has a side-mounted tail-light and license plate.

It has no turn signals (other than those mounted on your shoulder, also known as your left arm).

The front and rear brake pads have more than 75% remaining, and there is no scoring on the disks.

The tires are in great shape with plenty of tread.

The battery is new and has a battery tender cable installed.

The oil and filter were changed in April, the brakes were serviced and the clutch was serviced and adjusted.

The bike is registered in Virginia with a current safety inspection and is ready to ride today.

SALE PRICE: $3,500.00

If you’re interested in purchasing or scheduling a demo, email curtis@odenmotorshop.com.

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Technological Terror

After running the ’77 Ironhead (aka Imperial Entanglement) for the past few months with a “temporary” Plasti Dip paint job, I decided it was time to give it a more permanent paint job.

My plan is to show a lot of bare metal with black primer accents, and seal it under a nice layer of clear coat.

Shortly after I did the original Plasti Dip paint job, I managed to spill a few drops of gasoline on the tank. The result wasn’t pleasant.

I peaked off the ruined Plasti Dip and reapplied another layer over the original purple paint. Because a little gas spillage is inevitable, this time around finished the Plasti Dip paint job with an acrylic clear coat.

The result was beautiful, and it almost looked like a real paint job.

Unfortunately, that clear coat / Plasti Dip came back to haunt me when started the process of repainting the tank.

Apparently, clear-coated Plasti Dip is highly resistant to paint strippers, including Aircraft Stripper. Additionally, the process seems to create an ultra-hard shell (after a few minutes of goopy nastiness) that can only be removed with a lot of elbow grease and power tools.

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Thirty-Six Years of Road Grime

I try to keep my bikes clean, and when I’m washing them, I pay special attention to those hard-to-reach places. But some places are totally unreachable, and dirt and grime accumulate, layer after layer, year after year.

On my 1977 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH1000 “Ironhead,” one of these impossible-to-reach grime collectors is the inside of the primary chain guard. Normally I wouldn’t even think about the grime collecting there, but when I was freeing up a sticking rear brake line (which required some disassembly of the right primary cover), I happened to reach my finger around the back of the cover while trying to free the brake line, and my index fingertip sunk to the first knuckle in gritty, greasy grime.

I pulled off the cover to inspect it, and I saw that it was so deep, the chain was actually carving a groove through it. As I scraped away at it, the harder, deeper layers resisted until they gave away in big chunks. That greasy mess was slopped onto the primary cover sometime in the Carter administration.

It took about half an hour to clear out the grime, and while I was concerned the metal would be pitted with corrosion, the exposed metal actually gave off a nice dull shine.

Removing the primary cover wasn’t that big if a task, so I’m adding “Clean muck out of primary cover” to my 10,000 mile service checklist.

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Custom Chrome Forward Controls: FAIL

Last week I picked up a set of Custom Chrome forward controls for the ’77 Ironhead. I bought the on eBay from a reputable dealer for about $200, and while I didn’t expect them to be the fanciest forward controls, I did expect them to be good basic controls.

The forward controls I bought we’re made for ’78 and up Ironheads, but looking at the photos on eBay, I knew I’d be able to fit them on the bike with just a few tweaks.

After doing a “Buy It Now” in eBay, it only took a few days for the controls to arrive. The eBay description said I was purchasing a complete forward controls “kit”, but my idea of complete and Custom Chromes idea of complete obviously differ.

The box was missing instructions, but I’m mechanically inclined enough that I was able to assemble the controls on my kitchen table. I had no problems assembling the kit until near the end, when I started hunting for the brake peg. After a bit of head scratching, I realized the box had three fold-up foot pegs and a shifter peg, rather than two fold up pegs, a shifter peg and a brake peg.

I contacted the eBay seller via eBay’s messaging service and tried to track down the company’s phone number. I did manage to find a possible number via Google, but the mailbox was full.

A bit frustrated, I tracked down Custom Chrome’s contact information and left a harried message on their voicemail.

i admit, I threw my weight around as a crack motorsports blogger, letting them know the product review I was working on probably wouldn’t be that great if they or their dealer didn’t get their act together.

A few hours after my flurry of emails and voicemails, I got a call back from the eBay seller, who apologized for the problem, saying these packages drop-ship from the manufacturer. He arranged for a footpeg to be rushed out to me. In our brief conversation, I did find it odd that he mentioned how cheap the Custom Chrome forward controls are that I selected compared to some of their other, pricier options.

He did send me some basic instructions for installing the forward controls. I was a bit annoyed that they called for me to cut down and drill my shifter knuckle rather than just including the part in the kit. The brakes lacked any real instructions.

Shortly after I got off the phone with the eBay seller, I got a call from a business development executive at Custom Chrome. I told him about the Oden Motor Shop blog, the Ironhead project, and the review I was writing on the forward controls. Like the eBay dealer, he mentioned the low quality of the forward controls I purchased, saying they were actually the product of a company they acquired several years ago.

So, after all of my parts arrived, my expectations for the Custom Chrome forward controls wasn’t too high. Because of my low expectations, I wasn’t too upset to discover just how crappy these forward controls actually are.

On the plus side, they bolted on easy.

And that’s it.

Once they were on, I mocked up the positioning and saw that the shift lever was too close to the peg, and the brake lever deflected so far forward that it hit the front fender.

Essentially, these forward controls are too far forward and too high.

Modifying these controls wouldn’t be too big of a deal (if you don’t mind trashing your existing controls) to make this kit work with the ’77 Ironhead, but it would be nice if Custom Chrome just mirrored the left controls to the right rather than providing a fancy bracket with mount points for a master cylinder.

But I didn’t bother modding the Custom Chrome controls. When I got on the bike to test the positioning, it became clear that it was made from seriously cheap components. I would feel unsafe with these on my bike.

I’ll give CustomChrome the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s top-dollar forward controls are top-notch, but they should really ditch this “value” line altogether.

And until someone comes up with a good quality “budget” forward control kit, I guess I’ll have to keep hunching over to ride my 1977 Ironhead Sportster.

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