After shopping around on different listings on eBay, I settled for nice front end. It had a slight forward rake built into the triple trees and a four inch extension of the fork tubes. Along with the built-in rake of the neck, it would make a pretty nice extended front wheel without looking too extreme. “What do you mean by Triple Trees?” you ask. Triple Trees is the term for the clamps that make up and allow the forks or front end of the motorcycle to attach to the neck of the bike’s frame. (see picture on left) In the UK and a few other places it is called the yoke, and sometimes it is called the triple clamp. Triple trees come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. But no mater which ones you like, they all serve pretty much the same basic job. The fork tubes run up through the outer holes of the bottom tree and fasten to the top tree. The shaft in the center is the attachment point that connects the entire front end assembly to the neck of the frame. Not all manufacturers use triple trees to connect their motorcycle front ends. But since this bike is modeled after a Harley, and Harley uses triple trees, and the frame I bought requires it, I will use a triple tree.
I also shopped for handlebars and risers. I bought a couple of different “bars” before I got to the right ones. I ended selling the ones that I didn’t like back on eBay for a small profit. I didn’t want the tall “Ape Hanger” style handlebars that some equate to choppers but did want handlebars that would put the grips, with my arms out just below my shoulders. I also wanted the grips angled slightly so it would not cause my wrists to have to twist when at rest, when holding the grips.
- HEAD LIGHT:
I frequented several motorcycle shops during the entire project, but during one of the first trips, I was trying to figure out what kind of headlight I wanted to install.
I remember a James Gang Rides Again album I had, that showed Joe Walsh on a chopper with rectangular lights mounted vertically. I really thought that had a really unique style, but after looking at rectangle lights at the auto parts stores, I realized the light emitted from them would be all wrong. So I thought, “what if I mounted them horizontally?” I thought and thought about it and just could not come to a decision. I went to Walmart’s magazine and book section and looked at many different pictures. Soon enough, I again found myself in the showrooms of local motorcycle shops. I was on a mission, pretty much only looking at headlights. While in one Harley shop, I noticed a modified Sportster that had a single, small, headlight. I really liked that look. So again, I visited eBay and found a little seven inch diameter bullet shaped, chrome, headlight and the next thing I know, it was in a box at my front door.
- HAND CONTROLS:
As you are seated on the bike looking out over the handlebars, in most cases the gas and break controls on Motorcycles are on the right side of the handlebar with the clutch on the left side. These controls are worked with the riders hands. I decided to get hand controls that had a very classic look and mimicked Harley’s look and feel. Each control has to be bolted to the handlebar and the electric cables have to be fished down each handlebar into a hole at the bottom where they exit and go on down into the bikes electrics. I chose to add some steel braided hose for the wires to run through to hide the individual wires and to help give them some added protection. The front break line and clutch cables will attach later and not run down through the bars. They will attach and run down through a hole in the triple trees made just for this purpose.
- MIRRORS:I didn’t want any of the traditional “chopper” motif such as Maltese Crosses, Skulls, etc. for this bike. So I started looking for mirrors without all that kind of stuff.
However; I had shopped for lights before I started looking at mirrors. Lights like turn signal, running lights and stuff. I had bought some nice amber lights along with some matching tail lights that I could use as front turn signals and running lights plus a couple of little chrome clamps to mount them to the fork tubes. When I got them mounted, I just couldn’t stand anything about them. I didn’t like them just sticking out like big elephant ears. I didn’t like how the cables looked, nothing. There simply wasn’t anything I liked about those lights. I hurried to get them off the forks before they left any marks.
While I was looking for mirrors, I came across a pair that really looked cool and had lights built into them. I thought that this was a great way for me to get two for the money. So I bought them. When they came in, I had to do a little modification to the hand controls to allow the cables from the mirror lights to get into the handlebars. But the final result looks great, and, without elephant ears.
I did most of the construction of the bikes front end in the living room of my house. I often used an old floor fan base of a broken fan to help steady the front end as I worked on it.
Next up: Attaching The Forks To The Frame