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  1. #1

    Default 88 FXST Softail Makeover Thread - help/advice needed!

    Hey everyone,

    I picked up an 88 FXST softail from the original owner and am planning on chopping it down quite a bit more than I already have.
    The guy I bought it from was really tall and I'm not so a few changes had to be made immediately so that I could ride the damn thing (getting it home was interesting to say the least).

    This is the (low quality) photos of what it looked like when I got it.
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    I took off the windshield, side leather bags, side tool boxes, swapped out the +4" long forward controls, put on a new carb, slinky air filter, pulled the front fender, changed to some drag pipes with performance baffles, put in a new small Moty lithium battery, and pulled off the horn.

    This is what it looks like in its current state.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now that it runs nice (aside from leaking oil out of every orifice) and fits me comfortably, I still have a few things I want to change which is where I'm asking for advice/help on the makeover.

    First and foremost, the gas tank. I want a peanut tank and to get rid of the speedo and relocate the ignition to where the horn previously was.
    Either a round peanut or a skinny sportster style one.
    Click for some gas tank inspiration.

    Second, the bars. The wiring is run internally through them which makes swapping a huge pain in the ass and will require all new hand controls.
    I'm thinking some mild pullback bars bars (not narrow) or some mini apes. Plus will need some simple (and hopefully cheap) hand controls.
    Gonna wind up chopping the wiring down to the bare essentials as well while I'm in there.
    Click for some handlebar inspiration.

    Third, the seat. I'd like to keep the ability to take a passenger in a pinch but no long rides 2 up will be necessary.
    Would also love a tall sissy bar and a much smaller rear fender.
    Thinking of a 2 piece king and queen or a small sprung seat with a p-pad.
    It also has a 2" lowering kit on the rear that I want to remove and go back to the stock height.
    The suspension is so harsh since it was setup for someone way bigger than me that every time I go over a pothole on the shitty LA roads/freeways, I fly off the seat.
    Click for some seat inspiration.
    Click for some sissy bar/fender inspiration.

    Thoughts? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to contribute in any way that could help this build look like an old school chopper!
    I'm totally open to suggestions.

    Also I totally suck at and have very little confidence in my wiring and electrical work, so if anyone has someone in Los Angeles they'd recommend, let me know.
    Definitely need a hand there.


  2. #2
    Senior Member

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    Feb 2016


    1)Gas tank. I don't believe there are any direct bolt on options, so the good news is you can pick any tank you like and modify the mounts to make it work. You will have to either add flanges to the tank or relocate the mounts on the frame. Not very complicated, but will likely require welding.

    2)Bars. You don't have to buy new hand controls. You should be able to pull the wires out of your current bars. Rather than cutting the plugs off, take the time to dis-assemble the plug, by prying the orange cap off, and then using a pick or small screw driver, push each tab toward the center of the plug, releasing the wire. Snap some pics beforehand so you know how to re-assemble.
    Electrical work isn't hard, it just requires attention and patience. Learn how to solder and don't use any janky crimp connectors. Take your time and you should be fine.

    3)The lowering kit is probably just threaded extensions added to the shocks. They are easily adjusted/removed. Take a look under your bike where the shocks mount, you will likely see what I'm talking about. They will be on the front facing side of the suspension.

    To achieve the look of the rear fenders you referenced, you'll need to cut the struts off the frame and mount the fender directly to the swing arm. There's a few ways of doing this, builders choice.
    Seat choice will have to be made after the fender choice, to get it all to fit. If you are mounting the fender to the swing arm, you'll be better off going with a solo/removable p pad set up.

    I did some of the things you are talking about to a twin cam last year. You can check out the build thread here

    Grab a factory manual for the bike if you haven't already. Make a solid plan and be prepared to change things as you go along. Usually one modification leads to another, be it out of function or form.
    Good luck with your build man, don't be shy. There are some really knowledgeable people on here who I'm sure will help you along.

  3. #3


    hand controls---since you are wanting bare minimum wires---ditch the portion of the hand controls with the buttons on it
    and slim down the clutch lever and brake m/c housing.

  4. #4

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    Jul 2014


    Adding the gas tank you want isn't hard. You'll have to grind down that casting just aft of the neck on the backbone flush. The old hole the speedo cable used to pass through makes an excellent location to pass a bolt through for the new tanks front mounting tab. Wiring wise you're probably going to end up redoing 99% of it. You'll have to relocate the key.

    Two up seats on a softail are hard. The fender has to remain attached to the frame and not the swing arm if you want your passenger to have suspension. You'll realize pretty quickly that this means the fender has to float well above the rear tire so as not to contact the tire when the suspension is articulating over road bumps.

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