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  1. #1
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    Default 92 Sportster Hardtail Build

    I thought I would join the growing legion of Sporty chops and post my on going project. I'm about mid-way through the build, looking at Spring 2022 for completion. I'll post my progress over the winter, but also wanted to share some of the things I've done and figured out, if it helps anyone in the future.

    I bought this 1992 883 XL in the summer of 2020. I was looking for a project bike, but was holding out for a Custom. This one was listed at a very reasonable price. It started and ran good, but the front end was loose (like really scary loose) and the brakes were sketchy. The owner said that it had electrical issues. I rode it around the block and said I'd think about it. He immediately dropped the price to a 'take it away now' deal that I couldn't refuse. So, I rode it home.

    My plan was to fix it up and have a little thrash machine, but the when I pulled out the wiring it was simply atrocious. That combined with the need for tires, brakes, bars, risers and bearings, not to mention the garbage homemade forward controls, led me to the only conclusion possible: Chop It! I ordered a Lowbrow hardtail, wheels (16" and 21") and rubber, and got to work. That was about a year ago. In the process, I discovered that the motor is actually a 1200 with Wiseco pistons (the owner had no idea) and it is perfect inside. A total bonus! I'll post more details, parts list, and lots more pics as I go.

    I'm not in the habit of naming my machines, but while sitting around admiring my 'new' bike, I honked the horn. Something's wrong with it and it makes an intermittent high pitched growling noise. My buddy's wife immediately named the bike Grover, after the Sesame Street character. Youtube: 'Me' reference

    So, here's Grover.

    Before:
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    As it sits today:
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  2. #2
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    Default

    Looking pretty good so far. What's your plans for paint? I also have a 92 that I planned on chopping this winter. I've been thinking about painting the frame to match the tins with some minimal pinstriping. Haven't gotten too far into the weeds yet.

  3. #3

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    Looks great. Ive got very similar plans for my 93. Cutting the swingarm off tomorrow.

    You got any idea where youre going to put your fuses or breakers? I think fuses? Ive got a cluster of like 6 little cube fuses. They sit under the sit and are rivete dto the old
    Fender. Obviously that space
    Wont be there once its a hardtail. Trying to brainstorm where to put em.

    Excited to watch your build as its a close year/direction as mine!

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    Clawhammer, I was trying to figure out the same thing with my breakers. I think I'm going to make a battery box and mount the ignition control modules on the back (towards the front of the bike) along with the circuit breakers. Hawthorne Co makes these slick little breaker boxes that I think I'm going to use: https://www.instagram.com/p/CO11G6whKKZ/

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdwillis View Post
    Clawhammer, I was trying to figure out the same thing with my breakers. I think I'm going to make a battery box and mount the ignition control modules on the back (towards the front of the bike) along with the circuit breakers. Hawthorne Co makes these slick little breaker boxes that I think I'm going to use: https://www.instagram.com/p/CO11G6whKKZ/
    Oh hell yeah. Thanks for the quick reply. Those are sick! Post pics of your setup when you do it. Im sure youll get to it before i do...

  6. #6
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    I really have no idea at the moment. I'm going to run it bare metal for a bit and see how it goes. I sort of have a hankering for a white bike though, but then drift over to a light blue. Either way, it's going to be sweet when it's all done. Room for another project I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by cdwillis View Post
    Looking pretty good so far. What's your plans for paint? I also have a 92 that I planned on chopping this winter. I've been thinking about painting the frame to match the tins with some minimal pinstriping. Haven't gotten too far into the weeds yet.

  7. #7
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    Thanks! It's been a boatload of work so far...but fun. I blew my budget and bought a Motogadget m-unit basic. I've re-wired and wired a number of bikes. It's a pretty straightforward deal, but lots of little bits when going the 'analogue' route. I'm treating myself this time to the digital unit. That being said, feel free to hit me up with questions. It doesn't matter if you run fuses or breakers. You can replace the breakers with a little fuses box, takes up less space. I usually keep the 30amp main breaker through.

    Post the thread link if you're putting the build on the forum, would be great to see it as it goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clawhammercycle View Post
    Looks great. Ive got very similar plans for my 93. Cutting the swingarm off tomorrow....You got any idea where youre going to put your fuses or breakers? ...
    Excited to watch your build as its a close year/direction as mine!

  8. #8
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    When I decided to pull off the factory gussets, there was not a lot of info out there on how to proceed. So here's a few thoughts and pics, in case anyone wants to go this route. First of is why? The stock setup works just fine. But, why not! I wanted a cleaner look, and I like doing new things. Also, if I was going the scrambler/cafe route, I would leave the gusseting alone, but since this is a chopper build it's important to remove most anything that resembles structural integrity...right? At least that's what the instructions said... My apologies in advance about the photos, these were taken with my old phone.

    So first off, it's assumed you have a welder or access to one. This is to fix up any dings you put in the frame, and to add some kind of new gusset support. Some people don't add anything and say it works out fine. This might be true, I chose not to test the theory. Also, I couldn't imagine doing this job with the motor in, or anything attached to the frame.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Two things to watch for. The VIN number (tape them up, and careful when grinding that neck seam weld). And, the plate at the bottom of the neck (highlighted in the image above).

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    Here is the end result and that plate I mentioned.

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    But lots of cutting discs and a flap wheel. I began by cutting the top motor mount bracket at an angle, and then working down the welds with one off those slightly thicker zip discs. I ground both the top off the weld and then angled my cuts away from the frame. Once the weld was ground down and the cut mostly through, I started to pry with a big screwdriver. An air chisel would also work really well in spots.
    Last edited by Bruce; 11-08-2021 at 9:57 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    When I decided to pull off the factory gussets, there was not a lot of info out there on how to proceed. So here's a few thoughts and pics, in case anyone wants to go this route. First of is why? The stock setup works just fine. But, why not! I wanted a cleaner look, and I like doing new things. Also, if I was going the scrambler/cafe route, I would leave the gusseting alone, but since this is a chopper build it's important to remove most anything that resembles structural integrity...right? At least that's what the instructions said... My apologies in advance about the photos, these were taken with my old phone.

    So first off, it's assumed you have a welder or access to one. This is to fix up any dings you put in the frame, and to add some kind of new gusset support. Some people don't add anything and say it works out fine. This might be true, I chose not to test the theory. Also, I couldn't imagine doing this job with the motor in, or anything attached to the frame.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	001.jpg 
Views:	2 
Size:	287.1 KB 
ID:	106502

    Two things to watch for. The VIN number (tape them up, and careful when grinding that neck seam weld). And, the plate at the bottom of the neck (highlighted in the image above).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	02.jpg 
Views:	4 
Size:	283.7 KB 
ID:	106503

    Here is the end result and that plate I mentioned.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	003.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	291.2 KB 
ID:	106504

    But lots of cutting discs and a flap wheel. I began by cutting the top motor mount bracket at an angle, and then working down the welds with one off those slightly thicker zip discs. I ground both the top off the weld and then angled my cuts away from the frame. Once the weld was ground down and the cut mostly through, I started to pry with a big screwdriver. An air chisel would also work really well in spots.
    Awesome man!.. Thanks for the tutorial, pics

  10. #10
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    Default

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I then split the thinner part were its joined (arrow)... inside behind the neck, if that makes any sense. Then kept working down the welds with grinder, and peeling back the gusset with a screwdriver. It's a work out!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm not sure if this applies to all years, but the gusset is held on to the frame rail on each side by two large 'tacks'. Just grind into them until you see an outline. I don't have pictures of the underside of the neck. This was probably the most delicate part of the job. I used a die grinder to pick out the weld here.

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    Keep grinding the welds and prying back the metal. I replaced my bearing and races, but if you plan on keeping the races, it be best to tape up the neck. Also wash it out with solvent after to get rid on any and all chips.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Repeat for the other side. Smooth the welds with a flap disc. It took about four hours (maybe) to pull the whole gusset off.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is an after shot. I added some filler plate behind the neck, and used an old handlebar to make the 'new' gusset. Lots left to smooth down, but the welds are all strong. Hope this helps. It's a tedious job, but doable. Just take care not to cut into your frame to much. Even if you do...fill it up with weld and grind it down.
    Last edited by Bruce; 11-08-2021 at 10:43 AM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
    Thanks! It's been a boatload of work so far...but fun. I blew my budget and bought a Motogadget m-unit basic. I've re-wired and wired a number of bikes. It's a pretty straightforward deal, but lots of little bits when going the 'analogue' route. I'm treating myself this time to the digital unit. That being said, feel free to hit me up with questions. It doesn't matter if you run fuses or breakers. You can replace the breakers with a little fuses box, takes up less space. I usually keep the 30amp main breaker through.

    Post the thread link if you're putting the build on the forum, would be great to see it as it goes.

    http://www.chopcult.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55310

    Right here and thanks!

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