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JR's 1982* HD FXR

Discussion in 'My Bike' started by John.R, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. John.R
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    John.R Member Supporter

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    So those that know me, know I've got a soft spot for HD's, some more so than others.

    One of those is the FXR aka Superglide.

    History lesson:

    This particular model has a STACK of history around it, but a short version is as follows:

    After the pretty average AMF era of HD (yes, the bowling company owned HD...) HD became a privately owned company again in 1981. This is basically when HD pulled their finger out, and realised they needed to start making something decent to pull themselves out the (debt) hole, and that was to be the new engine platform, the Evolution.

    At the same time, they decided they needed something more than their normal cruiser/custom range, and needed a bike to mix it up with the Japanese bikes of the time, something lighter, sportier and all round better than their current offerings.

    That turned out to be the FXR.

    Using the guts of their new tourer, they basically wanted to transplant all of that running gear (5 speed box, rubber mounted engine etc) into something "sporty" (In the context of HD's of the time haha).

    "The Harley engineering team-which included a young road-racer named Erik Buell-quickly determined that the Tour Glide frame was not suited to the mission and instead designed an all-new frame that would hold the powertrain in the same elastomer tri-mounts. The frame had a more triangulated shape than that of the FXE Super Glide, and the rear shocks were set further back on the swingarm."

    Since the members of the design team had to create a new chassis anyway, they decided to create it in basically their own idea of a “performance” image. Obviously stiffer than before. What they ended up discovering was that the FXR frame was FIVE TIMES stiffer in torsion, which is where it counts, than the old FX/FL frame had been. Which made for better cornering and ultimately a much better ride than can be offered even within the Dyna family that is produced today....

    "Instead of heavy castings, the FXR frame had a lot of welded stamped-steel parts. This was before the era of robotic welding, so it all had to be assembled by hand. It was expensive and difficult to manufacture."

    Funnily enough, and unbeknownst to me, this bike was HEAVILY favoured by the Hells Angels MC due to the performance and handling, something my old man mentioned a while back but I thought he was full of it, before I read Eric Buell's interview about his involvement.

    EB: There was a young group of engineers and test guys who actually rode a lot, so we made it a rider's bike.
    I remember being approached way back when by some Hells Angels, who thanked me for being part of building the FXR that finally had made a Harley a rider's bike again.
    It was definitely a different type of duty cycle than racing, but those guys rode hard and knew that the FXR was built for speed."


    As you can see below, the headstock is THICKKKK
    [​IMG]
    Below is a Kawasaki KZ (650) frame of the same era, you can see they basically copied the Japanese bikes of the time to get the frame stiffness, including the triangle shaped area under the seat...
    [​IMG]

    That triangle section proved to be the deal breaker for sales. Stuanch HD riders of the time where wayyyyy too opposed to the 'Jap' look and performance orientated bike, so sales weren't crash hot.

    They decided to introduce some new models that layed down the shocks, made it sit lower (FXLowRider) and generally just change it to cater for the traditional HD buyers... These models went from 82 to 94, and then they released some CVO versions in 2000+ with the same frame, but more bling.

    The bike FXR was replaced by the Dyna, introduced in 91. It was 100lbs heavier, had 2 engine mount points instead of 3, looked average and was generally worse in most ways haha. However it was MUCH cheaper and faster to make on the assembly line.

    My bike

    I was looking for AGESSS for a suitable model, however 1) There aren't a whole lot around, 2) Even less are for sale because most people hold onto them, and 3) Those that were for sale, where generally munted. massive wide front ends, billet flame mags, chopped and raked frames etc. It was a mess.

    Ended up getting a call from an ACT bloke after posting a WTB ad on Gumtree, he's a retired old school Harley builder in Canberra, who's favourite bike is FXR, and who was in the process of putting together an FXR from an imported frame. Took a little while for him to finish it off because I wanted a particular transmission (splined mainshaft instead of tapered) but the wait was worth it in the end.

    It's got everything I wanted, narrowglide front end (From an FXDX which had better internals), twin discs, the mags I wanted, splined mainshaft.

    The frame is an 82 frame, which is the best of the bunch, with an Evo engine instead of the original shovel. Its been completely rebuilt, the wiring's been completely redone to factory wiring loom specs, including proper shielding and proper Deutsch plugs (which cost a mint for what they are..)

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Plans:

    Ive put this in 'My bike' instead of 'Project' because technically I'm riding it around, however plans are as follows:
    • New seat, probably an RSD job[​IMG]
    • Highmount custom exhaust.
    [​IMG]
    • 13-14in Ohlins or racetech piggy back rear shocks
    • Emulators/valves in the front forks
    • Adapt some later model 4 pot calipers to the front end.
    • EV27 Cam
    • Powdercoat frame, clean up engine, replace crusty looking mounts with the new ones that i've got.
    • Find another circular airfilter like the original.
    Thats about it for now.
     
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  2. Richo
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    Richo QBN's Next Top Model Veteran Member

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    I really like the classic look of the bike in the side on shot.

    Really like that high mount exhaust as well.

    Well done
     
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  3. SJM
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    SJM Member

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    very nice. look forward to seeing the finished product
    the FXR is often described on the harley forums as best handling model made.

    Not sure how hard it would be to find a high mount exhaust. Could you modify an RSD tracker or RSD slant exhaust in some way???
     
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  4. Lurch
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    Lurch Capt. Sense of Direction Administrator

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    Ive been told the Muffler place next to Joes will do custom Harley pipes. Tuggeranong Mufflers (ie Ex-TMC) also do the occasional custom pipes.

    I had a sit on this at coffee. Its VERY nice. Although the mid-set pegs werent what i expected.
     
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  5. John.R
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    John.R Member Supporter

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    You basically can't find an off the shelf high mount exhaust, they all go under the rear pillion peg, which is at the bottom of the 'triangle'. You can find some that are kicked up at the end, like supertrapps etc.

    The closest and best off the shelf item is a Royal T Racing exhaust, but its still not high enough (and it's $1000 USD, which could get me a custom one made here for around the same coin)

    [​IMG]
    As impractical as it is, I want it HIGH. This is the bike that kicked off the obsession and research into FXR's last summer. I prefer the more even pipe lengths of the orange one posted above.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers @Richo, it comes up well for being so old, but then again, its not original so it doesn't really count. Its nice to have new wiring and hand controls, plus the majority of it rebuilt so i can just muck around with the fun stuff.
     
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  6. John.R
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    John.R Member Supporter

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    I'll hit em up, a few people seem keen to have a crack at the high pipes haha, Im just struggling to find a solution at this stage for an exhaust can that can be baffled, but doesnt look shit.

    I don't want it to be a straight pipe.
     
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  7. lucifer_mr2
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    lucifer_mr2 Veteran Member Veteran Member Supporter

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    That frame is such a work of art.
     
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  8. Richo
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    Richo QBN's Next Top Model Veteran Member

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    Do any of the local Car Muffler places custom make still?

    Approx 20 years I did some work for Midas and *some* of their stores were set up for custom work and were able to knock up sports systems for cars in under an hour. Maybe it's all changed but can't hurt to ask, especially since some of those guys are looking for a challenge, something outside the norm
     
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  9. Binksy
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    Hmmm got a mate who does pretty sick custom exhausts for Harleys from Albion Park. Apparently bikes he prepares and builds pipes that win awards at bike shows and things (I suppose it's a good thing but really not something I'm into / understand). But by all report he does cracking work I think he's still doing it @Lee?
     
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  10. John.R
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    John.R Member Supporter

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    Interesting, I'd be keen to get in touch and see some of his work. A.P is easily doable because I'm back there quite often.
     
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  11. supamodel
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    supamodel Secret Aaaaaagent Man Staff Member Moderator Supporter

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    Yeah definitely the kind of job you want to have a good chat to them about - getting the rear pipe equalish length to the front is tricky with high pipes on twins, though the more you bend it the more you cheat the required length.

    In any case, FXRs are cool, nice bike :).
     
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  12. John.R
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    John.R Member Supporter

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    Yeah, first choice to do it is DnA in Syd, but its a hassle to get it up there, but he's a gun and knows what his doing with exhausts and headers.

    I don't think getting them perfect length is imperative because it is a 34yr old tractor engine, but I wouldn't want it completely munted just for aesthetics.

    I think having a bit of a back pressure will make more difference as opposed to open pipes they generally run.
     
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  13. supamodel
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    supamodel Secret Aaaaaagent Man Staff Member Moderator Supporter

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    The length really dictates how well it scavenges the other cylinder but also power. Shorter is better for higher rpm (the pulse back from the open end of the pipe happens faster => scavenges better at higher rpm) is the general theory. I mean, bodgy also works, you can weld a weird donut into a Ducati pipe to make an X-pipe and they work fantastically yet look shite.

    Probably more critical on an old tractor motor than something with a million hp, actually!

    But I digress; one good option might be working back from where you want the muffler and what you think is a reasonable looking muffler. SuperTrapp could be an option for variable baffling. It's also not impossible to get one whipped up from scratch to match the rest of the pipework though.

    Just watch out for shitty fatigue properties of stainless - lots of anti vibration on a Harley :D.
     
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  14. John.R
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    John.R Member Supporter

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    I've got a Supertrapp on it at the moment, and wouldn't mind another can, but they are a bit funky looking and odd sizes, but I need to have another look.
     
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  15. supamodel
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    supamodel Secret Aaaaaagent Man Staff Member Moderator Supporter

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    Ah yes, indeed it is a slash cut end supertrap; I'm used to seeing the ones that look like someone's stacked a bunch of washers on the end of the pipe :).

    That current one would be a real pain to get it up high.

    Your final alternative that might look cool would be twin high pipes, one each side?
     
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  16. John.R
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    John.R Member Supporter

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    Its got something like 15 discs in at the moment, but its also turned 90* then normal due to the exhaust hanger.

    I wouldn't use this one (I want to keep this all together because it is nice and quiet)

    Not into twin pipes, apparently they're horrendous for performance on it anyway.

    I was looking at these ones but just not sure.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Someguy
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    Someguy Super Elite Awesome Member Supporter

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    Maximum complication means maximum performance, John. And we all know that maximum performance is why you got a Harley.
     
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  18. CT90
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    Wouldn't a high mount be a leg cooker?

    That comment made me laugh, you were being sarcastic weren't you?

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. John.R
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    John.R Member Supporter

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    Nah
     
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  20. Yedi
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    Yedi Guest

    Sweet bike! Nice pick up :D
     
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