Blog BOM Custom Design
Garage OSARM Repair Smörg

The motorcycle.

Harley Davidson introduced the K-model motorcycle in 1951 for the 1952 model year. It was quite advanced compared to the other models. It was unit construction, that is, the engine and transmission were in one casting. Harley's big bikes have a separate transmission even today, requiring an inner primary cover, and causing a host of other problems.

The 1952 K-model had a rear suspension, unlike any other Harley at the time. By 1957 overhead valve cast-iron cylinder heads turned the K-model into the Sportster. Iron heads lasted until 1985.

The bike was intended to be raced from the beginning, giving spawn to the KR, the XR, and the XR-750. Because the bike does well on dirt tracks, it is also a bit of a trail bike.

The 1952 K-model engine has a displacement of 45 cubic inches, same as the 45 CID W-model. By 1956 Harley punched out the stroke to 54 CID, or 900cc. In 1972 the factory went to 61 CID, or 1000cc. You can take the long stroke flywheel from a KH model, and make a 74 CID Sportster, the same displacement as the old Shovelheads.

The Sportster is truly an open system, like the old VW, or Chevy small blocks, or IBM PC computers, or the Linux operating system. Parts interchange among the model years, and you can make just the kind of bike that suits you. Better yet, collect the whole set, and keep multiple old iron bikes on the road.
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The site.

This site is dedicated to preserving and sharing the design, repair, and modification of this motorcycle, The Blog is the blog. The BOM (bill-of-material) section is starting to detail the history of every part in the bike, from 1952 to 1984.

The Custom section shows some of the ways you can customize an Iron Sportster or K-model. The Design section has various experimental designs and musings on now to do things differently.

The Garage section shows how you can set up your shop, your tools, and your parts stash. OSARM (Open-Sport aftermarket replacement motor) is a redesigned set of cases that take the old components but solves the oiling, breathing, and maintenance issues of the original design.

The Repair section shows various fixes and maintenance procedures. Be sure to read the post about common disasters that happen to Iron Sportsters and K-models.

The Smörg section is a smörgåsbord of Iron Sportsters and K-models. We are attempting to show both original bikes for the collectors and restorers and wild choppers and custom bikes for the folks that like to hack up their bikes.

This site has no Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, imagur, Tumbler, etc. No Java, JavaScript, or spyware. Just 100% pure HTML and some CSS, Search is a Google function. YouTube channel is on the way.
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The social.

To keep an old Harley on the road you need to be some combination of three things: rich, smart, or social. If you have a lot of money you can just buy the bikes running and send them out to be repaired when they break. But that creates a distance, an aloofness from the hardware.

Alternatively, you can be really clever. If you are are good with your hands and spend a lot of time working on automotive projects, you can usually keep a bike on the road and since there are so many old Sportsters out there, it won't cost an arm and a leg.

The real secret to keeping an old bike running is the social aspect. You can gravitate toward other folks that share your passion. The older people help the younger, and everyone tries to share what is going on with these antiques.

Best yet, unlike the 1950s where you could only hang out in surly gangs that terrorized towns on the weekends, you can now find kindred spirits online. Then you can arrange for the weekends and everyone is hip to the plan.

We can't help your money situation, but this site tries to show you how to be smart There are other sites as well, such as the Harley KR XLRTT site run by Patrick, a French Canadian aka thefrenchowl. Also recommended is the excellent Harley K-model site, as well as its forum, and the XL Forum Ironhead section. With friends like these, anyone should be able to keep old iron running.
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What's new.

Well the big news for 2015 is a complete site redesign and re-write. The site is now responsive, it will fill a TV or a smartphone screen, but it also supports columns that make it easier to read.

The pages all have a print style sheet so you can print out the content to take it into the garage or share it with a pal. We used this feature to make pdf files of most of the pages. One major benefit of this old-fashioned print-centric design is that it allows us to keep a big binder of the site, where we can red-line mistakes or any additions or new thoughts.

All the top-level landing pages linked in the navigation bar are expanded and re-written. This home page is all new.

The BOM (bill-of-material) section has a new format with thumbnail pictures to go with the new landing page. There is still the tables of part numbers, but they are toward the bottom of the sub-assembly pages. This BOM needs way more work.

The old under-construction HARM (Harley aftermarket replacement motor) section is now OSARM, Open-Sport aftermarket replacement motor, in case the Harley lawyers get tweaked when we introduce it. We should be putting up some pages soon, there was a lot of Solidworks this year to develop this engine.

A lot of the work was converting the existing pages to the multi-column format. There are still sections that need this done, such as the Smörg section.
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