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  1. #1
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    Default Adding kicker to rotary top trans

    Happy to say I picked up a sweet 1985 FXE this weekend. Evo in a 4spd frame with rotary top transmission. It runs like a champ and has service paperwork going back to the early 90s that covers nearly everything done to it from tire changes to new valves and springs, rings, etc only a few hundred miles ago.

    Anyhow, in my opinion all it's missing is the kicker. I'd eventually like to sell it for top dollar and feel like many folks would want it being that it's part of the charm, having the kicker on an Evo. I happen to have a spare full rotary top trans (not completely assembled right now) I picked up as a fun winter puzzle I could mess with in the warmth of my house. It has the kicker stuff on it already and the kicker cover loaded with the parts.

    I'm hoping I can just do what is needed to add the kicker parts from the spare trans while trans stays in the bike???
    Also read in a quick Google search, someone in a forum says that not all rotary top trans's have the appropriate threaded and keyed shaft necessary to simply add the kickstart components.

    Figured I'd turn the trusted Chop Cult members and here it directly before I go pulling stuff apart on a perfectly good bike and find out it can't be done easily. If the trans has to come out and be taken completely apart then I wouldn't make the change on this particular bike.
    Last edited by BlackCloudSalvage; 11-22-2021 at 8:24 AM.

  2. #2
    tzienlee
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    you wont get 'Top Dollar' for a mutt,
    they need to be bog stock to get the top prices, throwing money at it to get more back don't work....
    better off getting it running, cleaned & honest & make a modest return,
    then do it a few more times till you have something someone will drop the big bucks on....
    theres a shit load of good original bikes out there for good money, but millions of miss-matched bikes no one will pay much more than scrap value for,...
    it's a buyers market now, not a sellars unless its quality & unmolested ....

  3. #3
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    I had a basket case Shovelhead "mutt" if you will.
    In the mess was a rotary top tranny. While I am not the expert, this was my experience:
    I needed a new inner primary for some odd reason, I think it was eaten away by the rear drive chain and had a big gaping void there to leak.
    Anyway, being aftermarket, I soon discovered a casting web was interferring with the toggle shift set up it had.

    Now I wanted a kick starter added to it too.
    So I bought one from somewhere, I believe it was maybe Vtwin, not sure & do not remember those details, not an original HD I know that.
    It didn't quite want to return the kicker arm, something was rubbing, too tight of a fit internally.
    I ended up shimming it out with 4, or 5 cover gaskets to make it work. But I did get it to work.

    I'm not sure what you'll run into, but you can likely get it added, even if you need to improvise.
    Not recommending the gasket stack to you either, that was a long time ago, like 40 years or less ago when I was younger. That was the only rotary top I ever had. After that, I always wanted a ratchet top with my build tinkerings.

    I agree with tzienlee and do it for yourself to enjoy!
    Last edited by 10scDust; 11-22-2021 at 8:10 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tzienlee View Post
    you wont get 'Top Dollar' for a mutt,
    they need to be bog stock to get the top prices, throwing money at it to get more back don't work....
    better off getting it running, cleaned & honest & make a modest return,
    then do it a few more times till you have something someone will drop the big bucks on....
    theres a shit load of good original bikes out there for good money, but millions of miss-matched bikes no one will pay much more than scrap value for,...
    it's a buyers market now, not a sellars unless its quality & unmolested ....
    This is not a "mutt"! At least I don't think.. And it is a running, riding, ripping bike road ready. My understanding is that it is a true "one year only" bike. I realize they made this combo for some models like the fxwg and softail in 86 as well but I believe they were belt drive. This is Chain drive, original limited run black paint scheme, numbers matching title, frame, motor. Does not have mags like some but I believe the spoked wheels were originally on some bikes too.Mostly original aside from having added chrome rocker boxes, exhaust and fwd controls. I was given the original mid controls as well. It's not an FXSB. I know it's not gold or anything but its not a dime a dozen bike either. All I meant is I'd like to get as much for it as possible.
    Last edited by BlackCloudSalvage; 11-22-2021 at 8:39 AM.

  5. #5
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  6. #6

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    I think what tzienlee was saying was that changing it from stock is a mistake, nice original bikes bring the good money, buy adding a kicker with probably some fine over seas parts will hurt the value. Also if it has the stock ignition you probably you be able to kick start it anyway.

  7. #7
    tzienlee
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    a 'Mutt' is a non original bike built from parts off of several different models,
    just like the scrap yard dog is often a Heinz 57 mutt, made by several other breeds...
    it does NOT reflect on the quality of the work or how good it may look &is not used in a derogatory way at all but to describe a parts bike, & that is a good looklng bike,
    but far from stock & thats what people want.
    i was pointing out that those dropping the 'TOP DOLLAR' want originality over looks....personally i'd spend very little on it, ust a good clean & service & chop it out for a fair return & build up to a top dollar line of bikes that if you keep at could get you a good return, but always think originality even if rough & tatty often beats perfect but missmatched
    Last edited by tzienlee; 11-22-2021 at 9:22 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloudSalvage View Post
    That's a damn nice bike..... I don't think it came with a kicker so I wouldn't bother...........

  9. #9

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    To piggyback off of what tzienlee and pan have said, the big twins of those specific few years of the mid-80s (84-86) are all "unique" because the MoCo was transitioning everything to the evo and 5 speed transmission.

    The times still dictated that most people were going to fuck with those bikes and customize them, so there are very few that are truly unmolested. That is why the ones that are OEM will fetch a premium. At the very least, they had exhaust systems, air cleaner covers, points covers and seats changed and those OEM components were lost to time. The only way to fetch top dollar is with ALL of the original parts and the original paint. Without that there is no collectability to them, which relegates them to being everyday riders, and as everyday riders they won't fetch premium because there are generally better choices. The transition in tranny, primary drive and starting system configurations make availability of parts for those things a total pain in the ass to find, so maintaining them can be a complete kick in the dick.

    I passed on an 84 Softail someone had for sale several years ago precisely for this reason.

    Nothing wrong with the bike you posted. It's a good looking ride, but it's really going to be a labor of love either way, so decide whether you want it to fetch the premium of a full OEM original specimen, or whether you want to modify it to suit you, and just go for it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DazedandConfused View Post
    so there are very few that are truly unmolested. That is why the ones that are OEM will fetch a premium. At the very least, they had exhaust systems, air cleaner covers, points covers and seats changed and those OEM components were lost to time. The only way to fetch top dollar is with ALL of the original parts and the original paint.
    I was Damn lucky to find this bike with all you listed above..... It even has the original paint.....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MVC-015S_zpsef848745.JPG  

  11. #11

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    THAT ^^^^^ right there is rare as fucking hens teeth! Put that sumbitch in a time capsule!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DazedandConfused View Post
    THAT ^^^^^ right there is rare as fucking hens teeth! Put that sumbitch in a time capsule!!!
    The reason I bought it was because I remember them when they were new on the Harley show room floor..... All I had then was a 66 FL bobber..... I couldn't afford a new bike......

  13. #13
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    Well that all makes sense. I actually love the platform and would love keep it and modify it to suit my own asthetic desires but was thinking it was too much of a original classic to do so. So if nobody objects.... I might just have to "make it my own". I really just love the shovel frame combined with the evo. That being said I'll have to sell one of my other bikes to keep it.

    So....as far as fitting a kicker to it? Because I'm gonna want one.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    The reason I bought it was because I remember them when they were new on the Harley show room floor.....
    I totally get it. I'm an absolute sucker for OEM of the 70s - early 80s, for the same reason. That square air cleaner is about the most gawtawful design ever, and its no wonder everyone ripped those things off as soon as they left the showroom, BUT that is exactly why they're so charmingly quirky to me now.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloudSalvage View Post
    Well that all makes sense. I actually love the platform and would love keep it and modify it to suit my own asthetic desires but was thinking it was too much of a original classic to do so. So if nobody objects.... I might just have to "make it my own". I really just love the shovel frame combined with the evo. That being said I'll have to sell one of my other bikes to keep it.

    So....as far as fitting a kicker to it? Because I'm gonna want one.
    It's not too much original to be blasphemy to mess with. It's maybe 80%+ there, but that last 20% would be just as much a pain (possibly more) as a kicker kit, so it really just comes down to the vision YOU have for YOUR bike.

    Because I am an admitted nutrider for OEM crap from that specific era, I would probably think about taking the original sheet metal off and store it properly to preserve it, and replace with new tanks and fenders with a fresh paint job of my choosing. BUT that assumes that you a) have the money to replace perfectly good tanks and fenders, and b) personally give a damn about the original paint and decals.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloudSalvage View Post
    So if nobody objects.... I might just have to "make it my own".
    LOL Hell I'm not going to object it's your bike but I do think it's a shame...... But I hate that term make it my own.... If it is in your name it is your own...... I'm sure you will be different but when most people say that they are going to bolt on a bunch of ugly do dads and chrome crap.......

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tattooo View Post
    LOL Hell I'm not going to object it's your bike but I do think it's a shame...... But I hate that term make it my own.... If it is in your name it is your own...... I'm sure you will be different but when most people say that they are going to bolt on a bunch of ugly do dads and chrome crap.......
    Haha. I hear ya. I'm not that guy! There'd be a lot more coming off than going back on.

    Anyhow. We'll see what I decide to do. I picked it up cheap so it's either a good bike to make a little profit on or a sweet bike for cheap.

    By the way. Anybody know if I can put a kicker on this thing or if there are indeed different mainshaft ends?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloudSalvage View Post
    Nice, bike and wordplay

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloudSalvage View Post

    By the way. Anybody know if I can put a kicker on this thing or if there are indeed different mainshaft ends?
    A kicker is a bolt on for that scooter ...

    Going to be needing a swing out kick arm ..

  20. #20
    tzienlee
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    my last build, to many doesn't look that far from a stockish FX at 20 ft away, but get close & the details become obvious, but i built it that way intentionally, (and now & again yes, I do get a shiny new HOG member asking what model it is thinking it's a new factory built bike !!)
    it started as a 78 fx frame with a 79 1200 FL motor in it, i rebuilt everything as I wanted with a ton & a half of go faster, Stopping power & handling updates,
    I musta dropped well over $18k-$20k on it, but doubt I'd get much over $10k-$12k for it if i were to sell, simply because it aint original,...
    not that I ever intend to sell, it is for me, My ultimate build, using the best of everything I ever wanted in & on a bike,... my 'magnum opus' so to speak,
    but .... had it been all original, it would fetch top bucks for less input...

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