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  1. #1

    Default 87 evo hardtail build

    So I just picked this bike up. For the last couple of years Iíve wanted to find a basket case evo to hardtail and build. I found this 87 on Craigslist and bought the bike sight unseen. The kid that was selling it was saying the only thing really wrong with it was it needed a starter. I didnít know going into it that the 86-90 models were much different than 91-03 I figured Iíd snag it because it came stock chain driven. When I went to pick it up I realized that there was quite a bit more than just the starter. The right side controls were gone clutch lever was broken. Wiring was a mess. I talked him down another 300$ and ended up getting it for $900 the funds were held that I had sent him to save it for me he was kind of a jerk about it saying I agreed to $1200 but he ultimately let it go. I got it home and first thing I wanted to take care of was the controls so I ordered a pivot stud and 86 oem foot pegs. I also ordered a starter. The bike has good compression and I do believe once I get the starter installed it should fire up. Itís a mess but since Iím going to be chopping it stripping it all down and replacing almost everything Iím pretty happy with the deal and stoked to get started on it. Iíll be posting pics of of progress and parts coming Iím hoping to get it built in before May 1st so weíll see.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 03264B94-257A-441C-AC70-4B5110CE9A6C.jpeg  

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2017


    Seems good for the price. I think you should get it running and ride it so you know what else may be needed before you tear it down.
    Create some history now.

  3. #3


    That’s something I’ve been debating. The thing is I’m going to be replacing almost everything aside from motor wheels forks which I plan on doing the wheel bearing and head tube as well. So we will will. I figured while the frame was getting powder coated I’ll dig into the motor and maybe do a 1250 kit new clutch and stator. But as you know things rarely go as planned. Hardtail kit will be here tomorrow. So it’s going to be hard to not get started on that.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2017


    Just thinking it would be good to know if the tranny shifts right no clunking, clutch works, top end and bottom end clatter or clunk...just to have a better idea of what it is before it is in parts...

    and as always, it's best to fully build it before powder coating...seems there is that one extra bracket, tab, bung or change you want or need.
    Last edited by TriNortchopz; 01-05-2020 at 6:32 PM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2013


    I would definitely fire it up first because after your bore kit install is NOT the time to get bit in the ass by surprises!

    You will need an outer primary gasket/seal kit and a starter gasket.
    I'd just buy a complete engine gasket and seal kit instead of going piece by piece because the full kit is cheaper than all the stuff you'll eventually need and you'll have it all in hand, but here are the part numbers for doing a starter swap:

    I order the five packs since it's little more than one gasket plus shipping and I like spares:

    The later starter is an upgrade so no loss replacing the early turd (no longer for sale new) and the early starter doesn't take the pushbutton end covers unless ya make one for it or (unlikely) someone makes one so you're good there.

    There's a lot of 4-speed info on xlforum and in Sportsterpedia.

    Keep this thread going and post pics to inspire others!

    Get or download a factory service manual and get a factory parts book. The 1986-1990 covers all four speed years.


    On reinstall I always use anti-seize on the exhaust nuts. Beats having them rust and snapping a stud!

    Since it's getting torn down anyway I'd pull the carb if it hasn't run in a long time and strip and dip then reinstall with new intake manifold seals before testing since you'll need to do it anyway.

    Have you inspected the old starter? I would still replace it but usually clueful owners fix that shit before sale since it's easy. You don't need the wiring or relay to move the solenoid. Testing takes a few minutes. I'd pull the solenoid end cover, eyeball the contacts, then use a plastic or wooden dowel etc to push the solenoid into contact (make sure the bike is in neutral!) and see if it cranks. The vast majority of starter problems are fried contacts which are easy to replace but with a new starter on way I wouldn't, you can sand the old ones if they're horrible.

    When ya have the heads off I'd do a valve job since 1986 was a very long time ago.
    Last edited by farmall; 01-05-2020 at 7:01 PM.

  6. #6


    So I took your guys advice and decided to get it running. I had my brother come over to help out he’s way more mechanically inclined than I am(he just finished a 1966 VW bug with a 2332 cc motor on bags the whole nine). He agreed to at minimum hear it run before we go and chop it up. He went to work and got the starter in it we went to start it and click nothing. He went through the wiring and the starter wire was nearly cut in 2 so he spliced it together with electrical tape and it cranked but battery was very low head light was super dim we got a jump box and after cranking a few times it fired up. It sounded good (no bogging or back firing the idle was actually perfect). Glad to hear it run but I didn’t get a chance to ride it was getting late and the clutch cable wasn’t hooked up due the lever falling apart when I pushed the pin out to take the cable off. The new plan is to get the bike built 100% to the way I want it ride it for a weekend then strip it down get the frame, triple clamps misc parts powder coated and tins sprayed and while the motor is out do a 1250 kit get the valves done rebuild the carb( basically go through the motor and replace seals gaskets etc as well of in dechrome primary cover. my brother is 100% on board in putting in a lot of free man hours on it and if it’s half as nice as is VW is when all is done I’ll be very happy. He’s going to do all the wiring as well which I’m happy about. I got a clymer manual from amazon and ordered a ton of parts. I’ll update this when parts start coming in.

    Parts list ordered:
    Road six customs hardtail kit with battery box oil tank and axle
    Primary gasket
    Clutch cable
    Throttle cables
    Air filter
    J&P bar clamp (silver)
    3 inch rise drag bars (silver)
    Odi vans grips (gum)
    Biltwell whiskey throttle (silver)
    Biltwell midline seat
    Biltwell seat mount
    Lowbrow seat bungs
    Lowbrow 3” seat springs
    Lowbrow starter ignition switch
    Tc bros/moto iron vintage levers (chrome)
    Oem foot pegs/shifter peg from sporty parts

    New coil
    Headlight and mount
    Tail light /plate frame
    Brake rotors/pads

    I’m sure I’m missing some stuff but that’s all I can think of at the moment.

  7. #7


    so this came in today. It’s the road six kit. I went with this due the fact it seemed like the easiest kit to install. I like the lines and I like the fact that it uses the factory down tube on the frame. I like the look better with the oil tank behind the down tube.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Cam87sporty; 01-07-2020 at 1:45 AM.

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