Fork assembly.

I have been asked how to assemble the forks on an early Harley and check if you have all the parts, if you have bought everything as reproduction and do not have an original set-up to follow. This should work for all 1910-14 models (and presumably some years just before that).

My example below is on a 1914 twin using all original parts. If you buy pattern springs from Competition or others, you will need to cut then to size as they are supplied long enough to cover all eventualities.

I happen to have the forks loosely set up in the frame but you can do this using a bench vice or even standing free. Image two shows the two fork plungers and the plunger coupling that joins them together.


The coupler has a right hand and a left hand thread. Turn one end into one of the plungers just about a half or one turn just so it grips. Then slide the coupler through the rear fork boss and hold the other coupler at the other end. In the middle of the boss is a small cut-out and you will be able to see a small hole drilled into the centre of the coupler. Use a thin screwdriver or bar and rotate the coupler. This will have the effect of screwing both threads (lh & rh) into the two plungers as in photo 3.

Insert the lower fork springs into the front fork legs as in photo 4.

Next slide the tubes upwards so that they slip over the plungers. Use the plunger coupler to adjust the width of the plungers so they fit into the tubes. The longer end of the plungers face downwards.

Then slide the forks up as far as they will go until you can drop the top springs into the top of the fork tubes. Then place the two spring guide rods into the top of the springs as in photo 6. Then fit the fork tube caps (I forgot to take a photo).

The fork rockers will not align as in photo 7. The best method for ‘one man’ operation is to use a ratchet strap as in photo 8 to pull the front fork upward until they align. If you need to add extra spring length to adjust the ride then using the ratchet straps to undo everything is an easy option.

Like most things, it’s easy when you know.

Another 1912 for sale

Another 1912 single for sale on eBay (from a very well known seller) at the moment. A great little project and with some large repop parts just confirming that all the parts required are still available to complete these great bikes. Frame from Dewey Rice and the tanks from Jethro Smith, I also have frames and tanks from these guys. These bikes are very usable when finished and super coooool!

It’s another great little project for someone. (He also has a 14 for sale).


9B maintenance

Loose play around the head-stock from all the off-roading I’ve been doing! Bars off and it’s obviously been a while since these bearings have seen some grease. But the problem is in part the worn/broken head cone. And I have another on the shelf which has gone the same way.

Gas cocks and Dirt traps

FOR SALE. Picture one is the complete dirt trap AK72A for 1909 -1914. I have the fatter 1915 version as well but can’t find them. Picture two is the Gas cock EK1094 for 1916 -17, later part number 3601-16. The one on the very right; I’m not so sure.

8XE dry build finished.

The dry build is pretty much finished now but there is still plenty to do. The wheels need taking apart and then will be re-built with the correct spokes. I am having some issues with the sizes. The oil tank needs lifting some and the front fender sits poorly at present. There are plenty of small things that need looking at before paint and plating but she is mostly done. So far so good.

47 with SU

The 47 is finished now. She is part ‘shiny custom’ and part ‘old dirty’ style; the next owner can decide. She needs some parts chroming and a paint job or some ‘patina’ work. 1947 motor with non matching cases, standard spec FTW frame with casting numbers, early Sportster forks with MCM covers, ratchet panhead four speed, 19″ rear and 21″ front wheels. I will fit the 6″ HD air cleaner that came with the motor and change the seat to a ribbed version. Need to get her registered first. PS- Starts first kick. SOLD

Spoilt for choice.

Well can you believe it; there is a 1911 single, a 1912, a 1913 and a 1914 two speed twin for sale on eBay all at the same time. No excuses now for not buying one of these great old bikes now.

This little 1912 might even make $50k; I think it’s worth it.

$60.2k and reserve not met.

1914 10E build

This bike came in as a fairly complete ‘basket case’ or ‘project’ depending on your terminology. It is the very desirable two speed variant of the 1914 twin cylinder model.

It was a complete bike and the previous owner has done some work in terms of sourcing the small parts that were missing. The ‘big’ job is going to be the two speed hub. It is largely complete but there are parts missing, others in need of repair and then the issue of putting it all together so that it works because as always, these bikes get ridden. I will need some help in terms of identifying what IS missing and also making the parts needed.


The start point is to lay the parts out, loose assemble them either on the frame or on the bench and determine what parts are missing and or need repair. The frame is complete (!) and correct so next will be to inspect the forks, fit the rear stand and look at the seat post; they never want to come out!

The forks look good; there are the usual broken springs and the fork plunger studs are always broken on these forks. The rockers are complete but I haven’t checked the bushes yet. I have a spare set of front and rear fork legs for comparison.

1913 single on

This great little project is currently up for grabs on eBay. Most of what you need is there and what isn’t is easily available. It’s listed as a belt drive but it’s clearly chain although it does have a belt drive tank (see pic 4). It will be interesting to see what the auction reaches, the parts alone are worth over $20k.


1914 two speed

Whilst waiting for some machine work help on the 8XE I have decided to start looking at the two speed but only as a fill-in. The real work won’t start until the 12 is finished (or approaching finish).

This is a nice original two speed hub but has several parts missing and will need some remedial work. It already has a replacement throw out plate and clamping ring and will need a new set of clutch discs.

The brake drum has had some wear over the years and the mounting tabs need attention. The drum itself is badly worn and the surface pitted. It could be skimmed but is already very thin. Metal spraying could be the solution but the tabs will still need work. Perhaps a replacement part would be better.

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