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Harley Davidson XL Sportster Narrow glide conversion : How To

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by veedub1955, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    Hi Im Nick from Denbigh, North Wales UK, currently building a hard tail XS

    Here's how I converted my front end to a Harley Davidson 35mm showa forks off a Sportster (XL) or a Superglide (FX). I'm sure you can use the same principle to adapt any other forks to it, I wanted the front end to be narrow with a 21" front wheel and the calipers on this model look really neat and tidy

    First of all comparison for lower triple tree and steering stem, as you can see the Harley at the bottom stem is much shorter and narrower

    [​IMG]

    So I chopped the stem off each lower tree using a lathe, you could just grind the welds off if you dont have access to a lathe, there is a weld only on the bottom of each stem that holds it in

    XS Tree, I made a bevel cut on each tree so you can weld it up good and strong again after, you will see the break in the weld as a ring once you have broken through

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Then cut the harley one too, after cutting the stem I made a cut straight across the face of the yolk, this will serve as a good datum point for holding the yolk on a miller or boring machine, or to clock it in if you use a 4 jaw chuck in a lathe to enlarge the stem hole in the Harley yolk. Also note I cut the rear bracket off the stem that acts as the Harley stop first before putting it in the lathe

    [​IMG]

    Now as mentioned above the XS steering tube is larger than the Harley one so you now need to enlarge the hole to 29.5mm or as I did on a boring machine, enlarge it for an interference fit
    Unfortunately Ive lost the pic mocked up on the boring machine, sorry, you can use a miller, lathe with 4 jaw chuck or even a drill but you need this hole to be exactly square and have an interference fit for it to be a decent job, so take this to your local machine shop if your not sure

    Now the top yolk amazingly is EXACTLY the right size for the steering tube, I couldnt believe it when it just popped on nice and snug! And is held in by the standard XS top nut

    [​IMG]

    Then all built up using standard XS tapered bearings, looks the business

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now all I need to do is weld the steering stem up, fabricate 2 small steering stops, this also will be a neat job as you can use the XS stop welded to the frame neck, all I going to do is weld two small tabs on the bottom yolk and this will be spot on. I will add another pic of this when done. The XS front axle also fits the forks, it is mounted on in the pic, so if your going to use a standard wheel and sure it will fit OK

    Hope this helps someone
     
  2. inxs

    inxs xx

    2,267
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    - welcome...i like the look of narrow 21in fronts...how are you going to balance it in the rear?
     
  3. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    Hi, Im running a narrow 18" coker on the back, althought that may change yet lol
     
  4. That looks awesome, thanks for the write up!

    Isn't the XS650 axle 17mm? and don't the forks take a 3/4" (19.05 mm) axle?
     
  5. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    To be honest Ive not checked I just slipped the axle in temporary and it nipped up
    Ill get back to you on that!
     
  6. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    Travis is right I only quickly nipped the xs axle up, you do need the harley 3/4" one

    Also welded a couple of small tabs on the lower tree for the steering stops, plenty of lock
    without any fouls, very happy with this conversion
     
  7. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    Welded the stem up now and made two steering stops out of hardened 6mm steel dowels.
    I recommend drilling the dowel holes up 1st before welding the stem up cause its nigh on
    impossible to drill the holes straight if you do, worked out a really neat solution

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    Also had the 77-83 sportster harley hub laced up to a 21" rim, then beadblasted the rear wheel before I powdercoat them black, pics of it as a rolling chassis so you can get an idea on what the front end looks like as soon as the wheels are back

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Ironsled77

    Ironsled77 XS650 GRAND HACK

    Very nice write up

    Posted via Mobile
     
  10. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Nice job, well written and good pics.
    Just a thought, wouldn't it be easier to turn the 650 stem down to match the Harley tree than boring the harley tree to match the 650 stem?
     
  11. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    No mate because the Xs stem is hollow and there won't be any meat left in it as the Harley stem is quite narrow
     
  12. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes, your right didn't think of that.
     
  13. danno

    danno XS650 Addict

    I'd be tempted to leave the front rim alone, and have the rear rim clear coated. I think your wheels make a nice looking couple as they are (but I am sure they will look killer in black, as well).
     
  14. hotrod937

    hotrod937 XS650 Enthusiast

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    Sorry to bring up an old thread but my 1973-74 upper tree doesn't fit and is loose on the top of the stem. What did you do about this? It doesn't seem addressed.
     
  15. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    See the first pic of the forks in the frame, I mention the top harley tree I fitted was exactly the right size for the stem. So I dont know why your top tree is loose, im not familiar with the differences in harley parts sorry, are yours the showa forks like mine? Inside the mudguard mounts on the lower legs it will have showa name cast in there
     
  16. hotrod937

    hotrod937 XS650 Enthusiast

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    I think mine are the KYB forks. That's what it is.. Thanks for the reply. I'll post what the fix is in here for ref to show others who may be doing this same thing.
     
  17. XSGLENN

    XSGLENN XS650 Enthusiast

    I'm digging it! What's the difference in width from the Narrow Glide to the stock XS trees?
     
  18. veedub1955

    veedub1955 XS650 Enthusiast

    Its quite a big difference cant remember how much, seen as its a thread revival heres an old pic with the wheels on

    [​IMG]
     
  19. XSGLENN

    XSGLENN XS650 Enthusiast

    Looking good, I'll be keeping a eye on this bike. Also would love to see a pic from the front.... What else u got up your sleeve?
     
  20. sure would like to know the rack and trail before i go a ton on it.
     

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