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imfromwisconsin
04-17-2012, 2:52 PM
so I bought a '96 sportster late last year and I want to start changing it, however, I don't know where to begin as I don't have any experience with welding, mechanics, etc. nor the tools or space to do so.

It's on my 'bucket list' to build a bike from the ground up some day, but in the meantime, I would love to learn how to make changes to mine, other than the bolt-on shit, and to avoid the $$$ at the stealer.

A few things you should know:
1) I am a woman but not your typical feminine woman, so it that bothers you, please don't bother
2) I live in Douglas, MA (near RI border) but would be willing to come to you
3) I am familiar with hand tools and have used many power tools (drill, saws, etc.) so it's not completely foreign to me, nor am I scared of using them

If anyone is interesting in helping me out, and showing me the ropes, I'd be grateful.

NHMike
04-17-2012, 3:13 PM
What kinds of things are you looking to do now? I'm pretty far from you in NH, and am FAR from a "builder" but I pretty much work on my bikes and change them up myself.

You can learn a lot from just looking around this site, there's a ton of Tech articles people have done showing step by step how to do changes.

ThePete
04-17-2012, 3:15 PM
Too bad you're out in MA, hopefully someone out your way will take you under their wing and help you out. My wife is almost the same way, oldest daughter of a Canadian rough neck, not afraid to turn a wrench or use a torch. She was as involved as she could be with her last couple bikes, I'd just tell her how to or what to do and why its done that way and she'd have at, she even helped me drop the tank out of my truck and put it back in when I had to replace a sending unit 7 months preggo.

imfromwisconsin
04-17-2012, 5:14 PM
Thanks for the feedback so far; hard to get into this when you don't know where to start.

Have a long punch list which are probably basic things for most.

Change bars, cut down on wire clutter, change/relocate lights (head, tail, signals), relocate speedo, replace front forks (or maybe just springs-want it a bit lower in front), eventually hard tail it, etc.

Long list, not afraid to try, but nervous that if I can't fix it/put it back together then im without a bike, plus the fact that I don't want to die by my own doings :)

I read a lot of how-to's and understand a lot of them, but fucking up my bike is scary.

Pendulum
04-17-2012, 6:27 PM
Thanks for the feedback so far; hard to get into this when you don't know where to start.

Have a long punch list which are probably basic things for most.

Change bars, cut down on wire clutter, change/relocate lights (head, tail, signals), relocate speedo, replace front forks (or maybe just springs-want it a bit lower in front), eventually hard tail it, etc.

Long list, not afraid to try, but nervous that if I can't fix it/put it back together then im without a bike, plus the fact that I don't want to die by my own doings :)

I read a lot of how-to's and understand a lot of them, but fucking up my bike is scary.

Is it your only transportation? If so, then definitely don't go crazy on it until you know what you're doing. If it's not, then have at it. Just read read read before you get into things.

NHMike
04-17-2012, 6:36 PM
Thanks for the feedback so far; hard to get into this when you don't know where to start.

Have a long punch list which are probably basic things for most.

Change bars, cut down on wire clutter, change/relocate lights (head, tail, signals), relocate speedo, replace front forks (or maybe just springs-want it a bit lower in front), eventually hard tail it, etc.

Long list, not afraid to try, but nervous that if I can't fix it/put it back together then im without a bike, plus the fact that I don't want to die by my own doings :)

I read a lot of how-to's and understand a lot of them, but fucking up my bike is scary.

Ya, the good thing about New England is the Winter (most years) sucks for riding so I'd plan on making changes then.

Bars are easy, the wiring, headlight and signal relocate could be done on a rainy day easily. Same with the lowering of the front forks, although I've never done it, I know it's an afternoon job.

I have a '92 and did a basic re-wire so I could mount a new, smaller headlight. It's pretty daunting at first, but extremely easy to do. There's good tech on it, and I have a wiring diagram that you could use, I'm fairly certain our bikes wiring is identical.

And never hesitate to ask around here if you get stuck. I've been helped NUMEROUS times in my years on the board.

Kickfiend
04-18-2012, 8:09 AM
Would be willing to help out. Me and my buddy's are always wrenching on something here in Springfield area just LMK!!

MadRiverMoCo
04-18-2012, 8:18 AM
First,

Come on the WPR.

Over beers, talk about what you want to do. It'll be mostly sportster riders anyway and you can see what the mods you're kicking around look and feel like.

Then,
Get to it.

once you've put in a few hundred miles with people, they'll travel to you to help or at least that's what i've found...

imfromwisconsin
04-18-2012, 10:42 AM
thanks for all of the feedback and the offers to help; I'll definitely be reaching out to you!

It's not my only mode of transportation as I have a car, but it is my only bike. I know I missed the prime season to wrench with the weather getting nice -- maybe I'll take a stab by myself, I guess the worst thing is that I have to beg for help and cry in my beer.

UncleMonkey
04-18-2012, 2:14 PM
Most of the mods you want to do are pretty straight forward once you get into them.

For decluttering wiring learn to pull the wires out of the connectors (small sharp pick from the back. I spent an hour getting my first wire out then figured it out and can pop them in and out.) I did that to move most of my electrical connections to inside the headlight shell. I don't like cutting wires because I'm always changing the look of my bike so it is easier to bundle unused wires up in the tank tunnel etc.

Bars are dependent on height over stock and how much electrical you want. You can extend the wires but that can get bulky if you are running them inside the bars so I typically run all new wires to the controls. Cables are easy. If you are drilling holes to run wires in the bars keep filing/sanding the holes until you can pull tissue paper through without snagging.

Lowering fork kits have good instructions.

Any tank can fit with the right bracket. I put fat bobs on my by making a U bracket for the back and strapping for the front with spacers.

As long as you are not diving into the motor/tranny you'll be fine

ARBY
04-18-2012, 4:21 PM
thanks for all of the feedback and the offers to help; I'll definitely be reaching out to you!

.....maybe I'll take a stab by myself, I guess the worst thing is that I have to beg for help and cry in my beer.

Never be afraid to ask for help. It's the BEST way to learn.