PROJECT CORNER (STILL) WORK IN PROGRESS
Not so much barn find as garden find, but Ped’s Hog is getting there
1990 HARLEY-DAVIDSON FXRS LOW RIDER CONVERTIBLE CLAIMED WEIGHT 261kg (dry) CAPACITY 1340cc MILES unknown
My Harley-davidson FXR project has shamefully just rolled into its third year, but despite being nowhere near finished, there has been some progress.
Bought as a ‘running project’ in November 2013, the FXR had spent most of its life in a Guildford back garden. It’d been rescued by the previous owner and I’d Initially planned to do minimal work to get the bike roadworthy, paint over the ‘patina’ and ride it, but after a discussion with Harley, we decided it might be wise to check the internals for any potential problems before I potentially made them worse.
Gavin Cupit, a technician from the Harley-davidson European training centre in Bromsgrove was volunteered to help me strip the engine, and with Gavin’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the Evolution model we made short work of breaking the motor down to every last nut and bolt.
First the good news: the engine has been fitted with a 93in Stroker kit made by S&S Cycle. This performance upgrade includes an S&S crank, barrels, connecting rods and forged pistons. As the name implies, the kit increases the piston stroke by a quarter of an inch raising the capacity from 1340 to 1524cc. The engine has also been fitted with a hot camshaft (Andrews EV5), beefier valve springs and a large bore Screamin’ Eagle Keihin carb. When the bike was originally modified in 1990 this would have cost the owner at least an extra £3-£4k. Result!
Externally it all looks very tatty and corroded but inside the cams and bores aren’t showing the usual tell-tale wear patterns of a highmileage engine, if fact, it looks like the bike has hardly been ridden. Even bigger result!
One blemish on the report card is some heavy damage to the front cylinder wall. When an engine hasn’t run for some time moisture can get trapped between the piston rings and the bore, causing corrosion to the steel liner. On the FXR the corrosion is deep enough that you can just about feel it with a fingernail. This is why it’s always a good idea to turn engines over regularly and if your bike isn’t going to be ridden for a few months squirt a little oil into spark plug holes.
So it was a smart move to strip and inspect the engine and not just ride it. Our options are to resleeve the front cylinder and refit the original pistons with new rings or rebore both barrels and fit new oversized pistons. As always it’s going to come down to cost...
Gavin Culpit from Harley helps strip down the engine
After years languishing it could be worse Damp has damaged the front cylinder S&S parts are an unexpected bonus
THE RIDER Ped Baker managing editor digital and events. ped.baker@ motorcyclenews.com HEIGHT: 6ft 4in WEIGHT: 90kg