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  1. #1
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    Default 883 to 12XX conversion. Best bang for the buck?

    Hey everyone,


    Got me a 1988 883 sportster recently for my first attempt at a ground up build.

    I have the motor pulled and on a stand while the frame goes in for its hard tail.

    Since this is a 4 speed, i was wondering if the 1250 might be over kill in actual gains and in the price department.

    My question is this hypothetical;

    "

    If you had a 1988 883 sportster motor and about an $1100 motor budget (not that you want to spend every penny because youre in college) how would you go about it? the 1200? the 1250? S&S? hammer?

    "

    Also, this bike came with a S&S carb which is awesome but, is there a more ideal carb for an upgrade like this? mikuni or back to a CV?





    To be clear, this bike will run exaggerated upswept drag pipes when finished so Im not going for a total performance build. Just a respectable size engine on a cool looking bike.

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    To control costs I'd run the S&S carb since you already own it. They're pleasantly crude and easy to deal with. If you had no carb I'd do a CV. (All my bikes have S&S but I started long before HDs came with CVs and really just keep them as a standard so I can grab a ready spare off the wall.) Replace the intake manifold seals when you do the top end.

    A basic Hammer kit for unmodded 883 heads would be my choice. Contact them as their tech support is famously good. I've only installed one of their kits for a customer long ago and didn't need support since it's so easy.

    You can save cash ( I would) buying cosmetic blems. https://www.hammerperf.com/garagesale.shtml

    Buying blems leaves you more money for minor necessities. While your engine is on the stand I'd replace the starter contacts (kits are cheap) and inspect the power cable. Power and ground are equally important. You'll need a contact kit, primary cover gasket kit and a starter gasket (I get the five packs since they're cheap) for that.

    Some folks love the four speed. I'm not one of them because of the clutchernator alternator abortion but more displacement makes more torque makes more fun and the engines were designed for it then de-bored by the factory as an insurance advantage and for "product differentiation" (which like pimping a ho but charging extra for pussy access).

    If any questions ask here and in the xlforum.

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    If I were you I would buy a running 5 speed XL motor and stick it in your frame. You will be dollars ahead in the long run.

    Jim

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    A late running 1200 five speed would be a good and easy swap if you can find one cheap in your area or online and hear it run so it's not a mystery motor. You have to move the sidestand tab or (my plan but that's a back burner project due to too many bikes) fab a mount for a big twin jiffy stand.

    It's an easy job: https://www.baggersmag.com/sportster...tein-i-presume

    You can also do the kit on your four speed then later drop it onto a five speed 883 if you snag one cheap should you want the extra gear. The Evo Sporty world has plenty of choices.

    One option would be to make a lower offer than typical asking price on an Ebay 1200 from a reputable seller, take clear pics and video of your 883 running before you pull it, swap engines, ride the bike for a while to make sure all is well, then sell the 883 unless you want it for a spare. Never marry what you can pimp.

    Since there's no rush you can finish the motorcycle with the 883 it has then look for deals. Never run your wallet dry for a motorcycle!
    Last edited by farmall; 09-27-2019 at 7:51 PM.

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    Find a later 5 speed frame mount if at all possible. It's not worth spending the money on a 4 speed bike.

    Hammer is the way to go they know sportster engines better than anybody else.

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    Thanks yall,

    Sorry for the etiquette, im sure im posting in the wrong spot anyways so thanks for not giving a bunch of snarky web-bully shit.

    Will def think about the 5 speed. My understanding is that the 4 speed is the same, minus a middle gear somewhere. Since its gonna be rigid and I have a bad back from the army I wasn't so concerned about the 4 speed.

    Appreciate the tips, yall are awesome.

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    A rigid and a bad back (most backs go bad eventually) = bad shit unless you have an awesome seat. How close you are to the center of gravity matters which is why long chops ride better than short chops all things being equal. Long wheelbase (on any vehicle) means while the front and rear axles move X amount over bumps the CG point moves less. If interested in long bikes, ask owners like Tattooo (it doesn't matter if BT or Sporty) what works for them and get dimensions/rake angles if possible.

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    Will def think about the 5 speed. My understanding is that the 4 speed is the same, minus a middle gear somewhere.
    A few good comments in this old 2010 thread, that got dusted off in 2018:

    Thread: Sportster 4 Speed vs. 5 Speed
    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4499

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomiles View Post
    Thanks yall,

    Sorry for the etiquette, im sure im posting in the wrong spot anyways so thanks for not giving a bunch of snarky web-bully shit.

    Will def think about the 5 speed. My understanding is that the 4 speed is the same, minus a middle gear somewhere. Since its gonna be rigid and I have a bad back from the army I wasn't so concerned about the 4 speed.

    Appreciate the tips, yall are awesome.
    Nope. The two are completely different. The four speed is a continuation of the gearbox design that started in 1952 with the k model

    The five speed is a completely different animal. In fact, in order to keep the overall power plant package size the same, the cam chest was changed to make room for the larger gear set. If you look, there are cams for 4 and 5 speed Evo sportsters.

    Also, Farmall brings up a good point about the aborted-thalidomide-fetus 'clutchernator'...

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    Best bang for the buck would be getting your cylinders bored to 1200. Buy a used set of 1200 takeoff heads and get them serdi’d. The 883 heads cost too much to get the work done to get them comparable to 1200 heads. Get a complimentary cam set.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomiles View Post
    ... If you had a 1988 883 sportster motor and about an $1100 motor budget (not that you want to spend every penny because youre in college) how would you go about it? the 1200? the 1250? S&S? hammer?...
    I would keep it as an 883, set up the ergos to my liking, tune it to run efficiently and just ride it. Sure a 1200 can offer more power and torque but IMO as a student it wouldn't be worth the added expense... especially not for a 4 spd (and not because it 'only' has 4 speeds, it's because of the overall design). If power mattered that much to me and I wanted a 1200 Sporty, I'd just buy a 91-03.

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    Seen this today:

    http://www.chopcult.com/cheatersteve...ifieds/154642/

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