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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default '78 XLCH learning how to build, build.

    Ok, so a little bit about me. I have zero mechanical experience except fixing my car with my dad, and working on my bmx bike. I still canít figure out my mountain bikes. I started with an í81 Honda cb650c, fixed it a little bit and rode it for a year or two. Then got a í75 cb750k, which needed a lot of love so I was able to get my hands a little dirtier. Then I wanted to get into the chopper world, and picked up this í78 XLCH sportster from a guy who owned it for the last 25 years. This is what it looked like when I brought it home-



    Got it in fall, rode it around a bunch and throughout the winter since I was pretty close to work at the time. took the apes off cause I really wasnít a fan. Girlfriend was a champ about it-



    My opinion about bikes changes all the time as I get more into it. So the apes went back on. I think these forks are about 4 over, which I also wasnít super into



    So I put on stock length (maybe?) and some fork gaiters.



    then put some biltwell chumps on there, since I liked the look of the apes but not the big rise. then rode it around like that for awhile. took it to some riding spots



    another view of the chumps


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default

    wanted to start cleaning it up a bit, so I bought a grinder and started removing the reflector perches and fender mounts



    after grinding I used some hand files and eventually some kind of sandpaper. could of been more anal about it but looked good enough for me



    then I started thinking about hard tailing.. started collecting some parts and mocking it up. at the time I was stoked on how it looked



    wanted to stop those pesky oil leaks, so googled how to take off the pushrods. and replaced the cork seals








  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default

    in may I finally had enough cash to order the hard tail. went with the david bird because I really liked how it looked as a bolt on, and I had never touched a welder before. 5-6 week turn around time, so it arrived 3rd week in June. Strange Days was a few weeks later. time to start hustling.



    new stuff



    old stuff



    well, time to start chopping






  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default

    went on without too much persuasion, and I started laying parts on it again



    rolling around



    got a seat which I canít remember the brand, some 3Ē springs, biltwell tongue thing and some spring mounts



    started trading bottles of jack to my buddy to borrow his mig for a week at a time. this is literally one of the first welds Iíve ever done, in hind site I probably should of practiced for an hour or so, but I was too excited and just went for it. oh well



    starting making a fender support to weld to the frame














  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default

    had to cut away part of the hard tail to fit the tongue for the seat far enough back





    more weld attempts



    bent some metal to weld onto the frame for the first support, tried to match the contour of the trailer fender I got from lowbrow





    fender mounted to frame at the chain stay and seat stay (hopefully those bike terms transfer) and spring posts and seat thing welded on



    had to buy a tap for the sissy bar support


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default

    friend had a tank laying around, thought it looked much better





    license plate bracket time



    complete with walmart trailer light



    instagram shot of welding





    attaching the thing that the license plate bracket will attach to

    Last edited by jaycagney; 04-27-2014 at 12:29 AM.

  7. #7

    Default

    Awesome. Makes me feel like I have some hope for mine next winter

  8. #8

    Default

    Awesome thread. Thanks for taking the time to post this. Very cool.

    The chalkboard paint tripped me out at the end. Interesting idea.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    1,897

    Default

    Cool bike and nice write up. Thanks for taking us on the journey.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Great job

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    100

    Default

    Cool story and support from your girl, gives me hope on my own project.

  12. #12

    Default

    bikes always look best with a pile of camping gear strapped down.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    216

    Default

    cool thread man. i think a lot of us have had similar experiences learning.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    330

    Default

    Wow. Neat story about the build. Your welding skills are much like mine--crappy starting out...and just serviceable now. Keep it up!

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default

    well my bike keeps on changing so I thought I would update this a little.

    rode it around all summer with different chalk all the time, mostly from other people drawing on it, which was fun-


    but then I started to not like some of the "flashy" stuff on it. so I took of the brass kicker at put the stock one back on, took off brass rocker nuts, changed bars, put on some reasonably priced 900cc rockers.


    and now that it's winter again, time to start doing more stuff. on my list is- high pipes, I put new headlights on (thanks girlfriend), needs rings, front drum will go on, and I'm going to attempt my own oil tank that hopefully works. started on pipes-




    (my girlfriends feminine chalk work, not mine)-


    first time welding pipes, it's been super fun so far. made it follow the lines of the hardtail and sissy bar. hopefully matching pipe number 2 will go smoothly, although I think it'll require more time.

  16. #16

    Default

    Very cool thread. Good call on the 6" over tubes they look awesome, I think i see a set of them in my distant future..

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    125

    Default

    This is a super motivating thread! I'm undertaking a similar project with similar skills so it's great to see it is achievable. I prefer it with the low pipes but I'm sure you'll make it work. Look forward to the next update!

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    171

    Default

    Dude you are fuckin killing it, nice work, bike looks great. I like the chalkboard paint idea.

    I'm in the middle of my first build so it's always inspiring to see someone else succeed their first time doing something. Hopefully I'll have a similar success story soon. Keep it up!

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default

    thanks man

    tonights progress, straightened out that pipe, and took my old 12" apes and slimmed them up, pulled them back, and made them riserless. Just tacked so far, but I like the feel. I'm also slowly getting happier with my welds









    Last edited by jaycagney; 01-14-2015 at 8:46 AM.

  20. #20

    Default

    looking good.where are you in jersey? im in jersey Westville.if you need some shit text me...

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