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  1. #1

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    Default Hardtail ride???????

    I need honest opinions on the ride of a sportster hardtail. I recently purchased a 883 and I'm interested in putting a weld on TC Hardtail on it. I haven't be on a Hardtail bike and I would like some opinions on the ride. I have been recently diagnosed with a degenerative hip disease but it doesn't bother me while riding now. I won't be taking any road trips on it just back and forth to work and around town.

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    Default Hard tailed big twins

    I have 2 suspended and 2 hard tail bikes[ big twins]- in the profile pictures
    Both hard tail bikes are springers too...Indeed, the suspended bikes are more comfortable rides.

    But I love the way the hard tailed bikes ride, it's fun, unless you have a very bad back. I keep air pressure at 20[ some people use even less in the back tire]+ I have suspended seats, i think - the must for
    hard tailed bikes.
    Both bikes are light[ 480 and 500 lb] but solidly built[ no major vibration despite 120 and 127' engines ].

    However, if it had a suspended bike to start with, i would keep the suspension, adjust it, lower it , but keep it. It's fun and challenge - to make it look nice and have the function. It's less damage to the bike and the rider...with the suspension. IMHO

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    I rode a 1947 Knucklehead rigid about 15 years ago. It was fun around town. But I lived in a small town back then. Keep the suspension. Your hip problem will only get worse from here on out. Having a brother with two hip replacements I can assure you that hip disorders are excruciatingly painful. Do NOT do anything to aggravate it.

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    if you want it go for it
    my hard tail with a good seat and springs and girder 6 over
    and about 5lbs low air in rear rides just as smooth as
    my swing arm frame with a springer

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    What kind of seat will you use?

    Mine are all rigid and the ride is rough, but with a good seat it's no big deal.

    I don't like the trade off you get running lower pressures - adds a lot of rolling resistance. I keep my rear at 30 and my front at 35.

  6. #6

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    Yes I should have mentioned it will be a sprung solo seat.

  7. #7

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    Any other opinions or words of advice???

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    I have three opinions...

    1) Sprung solo seats blow.

    2) There's nothing like that lil hardtail shimmy over every bump and crack (or getting launched on the highway).

    3) "Chopcult"... choppers or GTFO.


    A video posted by //brian (@boomboomthump) on



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    I've got a hardtail on my sporty and I've got a spring seat as well. I don't think I could ride my bike in its current setup otherwise.

    I heard lots of horror stories prior to building mine. Everyone I know (save a few select) said I'd ride it for a few days or weeks before I was trailering it. Not a chance. I love my bike and I cant wait to start my next hardtail build. If you're the type of person that just cant be convinced to take the car to work instead of the bike and you just love riding- you probably wont mind a hardtail. I was also given the same advice- run low pressure in the tires, run with mids, go slow around unknown terratin, etc. I run with about 25-30 psi in my tires, a spring seat with 4" springs, and forward controls. I finished the build around labor day weekend and have already put about 3000 miles on it. I also run the piss out of the bike too- often over 120mph at times (speedo wont go past that...) and regularly at 80-90.

    I love the bike. I wouldn't change a thing and don't regret any of it. Biggest difference is quite frankly I need to ride with a weightlifting belt for a kidney belt. Its not uncomfortable at all for me. I did initially use 3" springs on my seat, but what sucked about that was when I hit a big enough pothole at a fast enough speed the seat would bottom out. When that happens, no amount of kidney belt or whatnot will help your spine when it gets compressed. I also have a little sciatic issue from lifting a 3 fly fire ladder, but figured Im only able to be young and stupid first, so I went for it.

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    Just do it man. I'm running struts on my Sporty. Ride it everyday to work, rode 1000 miles on a weekend trip couple weeks ago no issue's, back felt great.. I'll be doing a Led Sled hardtail this winter and would ride it anywhere any time!! Like other guys have said if you set it up right it won't ride that much worse than a Swingarm bike!!!

  11. #11

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    Some have mentioned if the setup is right it's fine. What's the correct setup????

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    I have had both...on ironheads, I would keep the swing arm. Sportys are a little smaller so the bumps are killer. If you do go rigid get a cobra seat or something along those lines. Hard to ride properly when your trying to keep an eye out for every little bump in the road

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    You will learn certain roads (or spots in the road) to avoid. All in all it's not bad.

  14. #14

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    Most folks with hard tails don't ride on long jams that much. But for those that do, I don't believe any of them will tell you its a comfortable ride. I am one of them.........Bolt (or weld on) hardtails or struts on a swingarm frame make for an even stiffer and harder ride

    Any small or perceivable flex on a hardtail frame is not present on a swingarm frame that has been converted over: I rode a SA shovel that was converted over to struts: That thing would REALLY kick your ass. Road a another with a welded on tail. Same result.

    I love the look, and yes, the road contact feel of a hardtail. But you need to be road aware, pretty much at all times with a HT. And yes, a HT will kick your ass in the long run: Ride a SA for 2 hrs. Now do it on the same roads with a HT...............The term barhopper pretty much works here

    Spring seats do take out some of the jarring, but not as well as some might think. POGO seats do the job well, but meeting the lines of a custom build might not work here

    Cool factor, HIGH.... Comfort factor, low..........

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    Hardtails exist for appearance and have zero other advantages. I like the way some of them look on other peoples motorcycles and of course on classics which came that way stock but classics are weekend toys except for Ironbutt riders and that's still not daily use.

    If you have hip or back problems then hardtailing is fucking stupid from a functional standpoint. When it hurts to ride you will ride that bike less then perhaps not at all. (Some of my old riding bros kept their hardtail chops, but those machines live in their garages while they ride swingarm bikes. I don't expect those rides to move again until the estate sales....)

    Of course if you are going full artbike then riding doesn't matter so have at it. There is no shortage of 883s to cut up and you can Ebay the leftovers. It's all about what you want to do with the machine and if it's an "extra" bike you don't care about you might as well experiment.

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    if you have to ask, your vagina is probably too tender for a hardtail...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2zwudz View Post
    Some have mentioned if the setup is right it's fine. What's the correct setup????
    Think about what a suspension does, then think about what you'd need to do to compensate for lack of that. There are several "combos" hardtail riders will use to help with the lack of suspension. It all has to do with sparing your lower back the appropriate agony.

    1: Lower tire pressure. This allows the rubber to take a little impact. Most also prefer spoked wheels over cast wheels as well (helps absorb a little more shock).
    2: lessen your typical crusing speed. The ride on a hardtail will only be as bad/good as the road you're riding on. If you have a small mine field to navigate through (i.e. I-95 in philly) you'll do better going slower so as to see flaws and potholes in the road and navigate around them.
    3: Use mids instead of forward controls. This allows you to stand up when hitting potholes and the like- dirtbike style again removing the need for a suspension.
    4: Spring seats. These help offset the impact on your spine, but have no illusions- they are NOT replacements for suspension. On a rough road you'll feel like youre riding with a pogo stick shoved up your ass.

    I think I explained my setup earlier. I use a weight belt as a kidney belt. You'll need this to support your spine and your insides. I also use a spring seat with 4" coil springs and forward controls. With this setup, I have no problems whatsoever, and a ride just as long as I would with my stock sporty. I ride normally 20 miles each trip about 4 times a day.

    You'll figure out what you like and what you don't like as you start to ride. Some claim that forwards are suicide, yet here I have them. Others have said you need to be delicate in the speed you cruise at- Im usually cruising around 80-90- and again no problems.

    Think of it like this- before there even was suspension, there never was a question of whether to ride a hardtail or not- it just was.

  18. #18
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    Every once in a while I'd hit a heave so hard it would knock the wind out of me. And I've been airborne and have seen others fly on a hardtail. To me that's the numero uno problem with a hardtail---hitting a cavernous pothole--suspension will save you, the skin of your teeth is all you've got without it.

    I save the swingarm for long trips, it makes nine hour days feel like I spent that time in the car--tired but not whooped. I can cover a lot more distance in that time not having to adjust speed on bad roads.

    An ideal setup to me is buckhorns, a sprung seat and mids. Just a little room to stand if you find a reason to.

  19. #19
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    You can buy solid struts to replace the shocks. They come in different lengths. Why don't you try that before you start hacking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by image1 View Post
    if you have to ask, your vagina is probably too tender for a hardtail...
    What he said

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