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1956 KH project

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Nick55KH

Posts: 121

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Post Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:09 am

Re: 1956 KH project

Hi suicideshovel65,
would really love to see more pics of the project, I'm trying to match your front and rear fenders... Also what year is that sporty tank?
Best, Nick.
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:00 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

G'day Nick,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner!

The tank is an XLR tank (dual bung) that will be swapped out for an early CH tank I have (RHS bung).
Front and rear fenders are just bobbed OEM - I bought them cheap as-is.

Here's a poor recent pic; the engine is now back out of the frame for finishing prior to reassembly.
The seat mounts still need to come down half an inch or thereabouts to drop the seat closer to the rear fender.

Image

Other than the paint the bike is actually pretty clean using unrestored parts and should work out to be quite light for a swingarm machine, without having really tried too hard to achieve this. I'm still always pleasantly surprised at how simple these machines are when stripped of the ancilliaries.

The oil tank is currently an almunium unit, and the front and rear wheels are the Borrani rims.
I am trying to keep it fairly period, whilst making it a fun little regular rider.

One thing I noticed was clearancing of the fins around the carb on the rear cylinder - I wonder if this engine may have been run with something like an Amal monobloc in the past.
Last edited by suicideshovel65 on Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nick55KH

Posts: 121

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Post Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:08 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

G'day suicide,
What Sportster tanks will and will not clear the top frame tube of my KH, I ask because the very modern tanks 2001 etc are a pretty nice bobber shape, would they be wide enough underneath to clear?... if you get a chance can you get me some close ups: above, profile etc... of the front/rear fender cuts so I can match them? Can you lead me to wear I might find similar shocks – mine are stock KH and are not that great. The drag pipes are they from Sporty Specialties? Sorry to ask so many questions but there is no one over here doing this kinda thing. You might get a shock one day when I spring a photo on you of a matching project a million miles away...
Best, Nick.
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:13 am

Re: 1956 KH project

Hi Nick,

I hear you on the late model tank shape, however I have no idea how they'd look or work on the KH - I suspect with some fabrication you could get it to fit. Can't help you on which would work though I'm afraid - best bet would perhaps be to ask on the General section or an evo forum and get the tunnel width from someone who has the newer stuff?

I will try and snap some pics to give you an idea of where the cuts are (parts currently in multiple locations being finished). The fender struts (repro) and frame etc on this bike are a stock setup so you can kind of work out where to cut if you mount yours and compare.

Also check ebay for the shocks - they are just stock early 60s shocks I believe. Maybe the black spring was stock on the CH and chrome on the H - I dont know? If I had more sets of the earlier shocks I'd probably have run them on this sans covers.

The pipes are the same ones as you can get from Sporty Specialties.

Definitely post pics!
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Nick55KH

Posts: 121

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Post Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:53 am

Re: 1956 KH project

Hi suicide,
forgot to ask what you are doing for a front light (if you are running one) are you having rubber boots on the forks and K-model dash or no dash? What colour are you going to do it? You mention the XLR and CH tank but are they all pretty much the same shape? This one below would seem to match yours? It's $74 so if you think it's pretty close I might buy it... it says it'll fit '54 onwards...
Image
Again – Thanks for helping me!
Best, Nick.
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:25 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

Hi Nick,

What carb will you run? You can choose the tank to be vented or non-vented (earlier) to suit. They're all pretty much the same shape, same brackets - the XLR is dual bung. The early sportster tanks have a LHS petcock which works well with the LHS carb.
The tank in your pic looks right - see how the rear mounts protrude a little rather than sitting under the tank (later model)? The vented tanks will have a small tube at the front left on the underside. You should be able to get a nice OEM tank for around $80 or less depending on condition and source.

I will be switching the front end over to a shorter set, and running them parkerized (or somewhat rusty...) with boots.
No light for now, but if I don't get a racing number plate fabbed up with a flush-mounted PIAA spotlight set into it, then I will possibly run a Bates bracket and light or stock light flipped upsidedown if that will work. No visor on this one, and no dash. Speedo if/when fitted will be side mount or bar mount mini. I'd prefer a tacho!

Colour I have been fretting over for some time - I'm partial to (faded, stained and browning) silver on vintage machines, but then the groovy 60s paint job on the XLR tank has grown on me so much I might go all psychadelic or scallops on it yet.
I'm envisaging this bike was a built mid-60s I guess, now with the 12V electrics and -60 wheels, etc...

Then again I have the hummer decals for the 55-56 (I like those 50s decals a la the race bikes), and it would be neat to use them on the CH tank. The rear fender with sparto tail lamp is a dark green and nicely beat-up, so it might be nice to match the tank and have the gold of the decals on that dark green. (go the green and gold)

Can anyone tell me if the hummer decals (OEM NOS) have a red coloured section in the middle? I can't see through the backing paper. If so I may need to trim them and then finish with lacquer...
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:48 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

I think I'm going to polish the oil tank too. For some reason this bike makes me want to bling it out a bit, and it IS aluminium after all...

I have a finned generator and cover that I'm going to mount on it now that I've got this notion in my head.
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Nick55KH

Posts: 121

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Post Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:45 am

Re: 1956 KH project

Like the direction suicide, I gotta say I've shown a lot of people the existing tank and it is so impressive as it is: ratty tough of-the-period as you say, can't you match the base colour (see that 'colour' like the queen spells it :D ) to your new guards? I'm running an M53 so nothing wild there... I'm going matt black with a gloss white 56 stripe... now leaning towards a K tank, they are a pretty hard-to-beat shape I guess. Rusty forks cool! It's a styling dude that does not feel compelled to prep everything all new and fussy like as far as I'm concerned.

Polish the oil tank – absolutely. I'm not far off cutting my fenders, let me know when you can send a pic, you are the guiding force on this one!

Stay cool... Green and gold no way, Australians are not as patriotic as you guys – but secretly I love the green, I'm hooked on the drab bro.

Best and thanks,
Nick. :D
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45Brit

Posts: 1414

Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:29 am

Post Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:29 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

I do like this bike! Don't mess about with KR hardtails, keep the swing-arm for the road, you''ll be glad you did and it looks SOOO period too..
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...
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Nick55KH

Posts: 121

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Post Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:31 am

Re: 1956 KH project

Suicide,
yes the '55 Hummer decals are red... might look like Christmas on a green tank – might not too? These the ones you mean:
http://cube.redravenproducts.com/index. ... ductId=379

Just went out and kicked the KH over – it kicked back at me – bad; can't move, bed ridden now, leg 4 foot in the air, never had it that bad in 20 years, must be too advanced, I never bother retarding it for starting, any advice? Can't be doing that again... way way painfull. Figure I'll need a stick to walk with tomorrow... ooooch.
Best, Nick.
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ramjet

Posts: 55

Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:07 am

Location: west coast

Post Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:38 am

Re: 1956 KH project

Hey Nick55KH, sorry to hear you got bit. If those flywheels are marked as original, it should be no problem to check the timing. You probably know all about measuring down to the piston top , if the flywheel mark is changed, or missing. Have you got all the info you need to check this out ? Patrick has a good drawing of all timing mark/ distance to TDC/ degrees, on his website. I know the pain you are experiencing, and you do not want that to happen again.
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Nick55KH

Posts: 121

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Post Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:57 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

Thanks ramjet,
I'll wade over Patrick's site, the timing mark seems legit so I guess I'll retard it each time now: will it make a real difference? Can it still do it again do you think - I'm paranoid? Off to the X-ray center now! Man it hurts... I was high in the air didn't even get to move the kicker it got me right at the top... sorry to digress suicide on the post here...
Yours, hopping mad, Nick.
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Sat Jul 12, 2008 6:49 am

Re: 1956 KH project

ouch! take it easy on the knees! fingers crossed you haven't messed anything up in there.

travelling overseas at the moment so can't get to my pics right now unfortunately - will try over the next few days though.

Hopefully things should move fairly quickly on the bike when I get back - I'll post more then.
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Nick55KH

Posts: 121

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Post Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:36 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

Hi suicide,
having trouble getting the KR style drag pipes... the Sporty Speciality guy has never got stock of anything! Can you give me a lead as to where you got yours and how much they were?
Best,
Nick.
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

I should be able to get you a set - I'll get in touch when I'm back in the US. These are the KR bend to suit KH cylinders.
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:18 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

Some progress on the KH project, now on final assembly:

Image

Sprocket cover bolts are the wrong way around in this pic (top to bottom) - the front pipe's bracket will mount to the lower, longer stud. It's amazing what a little cleaning can do...
Image

I believe the aluminium oil tank was made by the late Jim Carpenter:
Image

Image

Image

You can see where the fins have been cut away, possibly for an Amal?
Image

I have received invaluable help from Jim Carr at Chino's MC (and of course Jim Carpenter, Mike Sinnot, Tom Keeble) to get this far on the physical stuff. And I have to thank especially Patrick for his advice and the rest of you on this K model site!
Fingers crossed it will be finished shortly.
Last edited by suicideshovel65 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nick55KH

Posts: 121

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:51 pm

Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:38 am

Re: 1956 KH project

Top work Simon!
It's funny because mine is at exactly the same stage, even though I first built it 20 years back but time has taken its toll so I'm giving it a once over. I'm stuck with a distributor and standard oil tank til I get some cash for a magneto (why are magies so dam $$$) and wrap around oil tank like yours. I'm putting new pistons in, cutting the guards back, doing the drag pipe thang (the sporty guy came through). Don't have the heart to do away with the K seat (I'm a fan of comfort, the bobber seat looks hard on your ass?).

How the heck do you get perfect oil seals in the front forks, whatever I do the forks leak: on the tyre!! Any tricks?

Keep sending picks.
Best, Nick.
Last edited by Nick55KH on Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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thefrenchowl

User avatar

Posts: 584

Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:18 pm

Location: Crewe, Great Britain

Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:42 am

Re: 1956 KH project

Hi Simon,
You can see where the fins have been cut away, possibly for an Amal?


Looks to me more like a cut away for a Sporty Linkert DC well tucked in.

With a 2" spacer, no trim needed for the DC on a K/KH:

Image

Patrick
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:20 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

I see what you mean about the carb.

Interesting oil tank on that bike, horizontal mag, etc - nice!
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suicideshovel65

Posts: 217

Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Post Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:50 pm

Re: 1956 KH project

With forks and magneto in the process of being mounted. The top fork clamp is a cast aluminium -62A item.

Image

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Image
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