Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thinking pipes

Man it's cold here. 7 degrees as I write this. So since the holidays are over and we're getting into cabin fever season my little pea brain is drifting back to motorcycles. Specifically my Sportster. Like all my projects I have these delusions of grandeur about taking things to the extremes. That's probably why I rarely finish any of them. As I've said, this bike is an experiment. I need to prove to myself that I can buy a bike for a decent price, make it into what I want it to be, ride it and when the time comes to sell it not take a bath on the silly thing. The past model was overpay for junk, buy a bunch of expensive parts, sit on it all for a couple years, sell it for half what I've got in it. So far so good on this one. Mrs. Surly wasn't happy about taking the capital out of savings for the bike but the price was reasonable for all parties. I got some of the parts I needed in a trade so I'm only out a little shipping money. Other than that I paid for title work and some oil. I need handlebars next. The ones that were on the bike just did not fit me. The bike in it's old configuration would not fit someone 5'11" with monkey arms like mine. The way it's setup now with the flat bar is a pretty comfortable deal. The bar is pretty funky and the risers are...well, I'm not using those. I need to get a set up for the handlebars but that's another post.

This being an XLH, means it has the oil tank mounted off to the right to make room for the battery. The enormous battery. It's real close to the size of the one in my car. That's going to be an issue if I want to do anything with pipes. The ones that are on there fit fine. I could use them and the bike came with another set of staggered duals. The idea here is to be fairly close to stock with some custom touches. I'd like some interesting exhaust but I want to be careful not to get too carried away.
I'm not going with fishtails but I like these.

These are quite sexy too. I unfortunately do not know where this pic came from. 
With both of these styles there are issues with the timer (distributor) being in the way and with the top pic my oil tank would be in the way as well. I'm not changing the ignition around but I might think about going with a smaller battery and re-configuring the oil tank. Changing the oil tank wont be a big deal but the filter is in there and from there the project grows legs. That's where I have to check myself. The pipes will be custom built by me and the Old Man so I can work around what I've got but I don't want to have the whole bike be three feet wide from stacking up oil tanks, shocks, pipes, and the like. 
Of course, I have to keep the whole vision of what I want the finished bike to look like in mind. 
Rare and expensive originals
If I had the stock exhaust I'd run it and shut up but it's hard to come by and pretty pricey so I'll pass. I'm pretty much over worrying about what the blondes on the beach think anyhow. Apparently a guy on the XL forum (who seems to actually know what he's talking about) proved that the crossover tube adds a couple of horsepower just as the factory claimed. People just like the look of the staggered duals, I suppose. I'm getting old apparently because I don't want my bikes too loud anymore. Mostly because I leave the house early in the morning and I like to fly below the radar as far as my neighbors are concerned. 
Definitely a clearance issue with the timer if I went this route. 
Not sure who took the shot, bike built by Cheapskate Cycles

No denying these are freaking sweet. 

Might be on to something with these. We could probably squeeze all that in there. Not sure how they would work, performance-wise but at least there is some sort of muffler. And yes, I know it's not a Sportster. 
These are bad-ass but probably too much work to make it fit on the XLH.

Photo by Mark Kawakami Bike by Top Shelf Customs
More coolness here. Quite original flares on the ends of these. I'm sure we can make something work. It comes down to how much work we want to put in to achieve the overall look versus slapping on some drag pipes and moving on.


Shop Teacher Bob said...

Making a set of head pipes like the stocker wouldn't be all that tough - could include the crossover or make them 2 into 1 at the stock location. If you keep them 2 separate pipes, you could join them to straight pipes of a larger diameter with the baloney slice on the end but hide a muffler inside the tube. I'm planning on something similar for the Kaw. 3" tube from the collector like the old Yosh pipes with an internal muffler/baffle hidden away inside. I'm capping it off with a machined aluminum tip about 1/2" long so everything isn't all black.

Surly said...

I hear ya but if we're making new pipes lets make em sexy. The stockers just look...stock. I can't see the point in reproducing the originals. Maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle. I have another picture I'll post.