Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Knuckles What is this springer?

What is this springer?

Post Tue May 05, 2009 12:12 am

Posts: 2
I am new here but this seems like a great forum. I need some help identifying this springer. I have six springers and the one pictured above is noticeably different than all the rest. Bruce Palmer's book (How to Restore Your H-D) doesn't seem to reference this front end. Forum member Fran-6 in the topic "Springer Forks Help?" has alot of info but all his image links no longer work.

My first question regards the narrow arch. This brazed fork with a 1" stem is narrower and less robust than my other forks. Does this date the part? The black comparison fork is a 7/8th inch stem WL fork.



The fork has been hit because the stem is not where it should be. The pictures are taken from both sides and the deformation appears to be equal. I am wondering if the offset of the stationary leg is factory formed or is crash induced. Fran-6 makes reference to some forks not being manufactured straight. Might this be one of those? Bear in mind I am not talking about an "inline" or "offset" stem.

Let me know if you need more pictures. Thanks.

Post Tue May 05, 2009 11:07 pm

Posts: 2

Don in Spokane sent me this image that Fran-6 posted formerly but is now a broken image.

It appears that the 1.5" arch dimension applies only to offset springers. If the rest of the pictures are correct, it would also appear that my stationary fork tube bends are attributable to a crash.

Can anyone recommend a shop that could straighten my fork? Below is a picture of more damage that did not show up in my previous post. How much offset is there on a top triple tree or handlebar?.

Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:49 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE

top is a late 42

and bottom is an OFFSET , bent like hell ( on its left arm )
and with the neck axle bent to fit an online handlebar : COOOOOOl ! :D
( neck should be at the big-twins diameter )

ghift for you all :
the original drawing in full size !

careful !
see the data of the last update : since : i have discovered other things ....saying me i maybe am wrong on the offset forks design .
( i believe now they all are originally "straightlegs" type )

+ i believe some other types of forks are missed ( building differences on the BT forks : fender tabs , per example ... )

+ about the spring tees : brazed or arc-welded ? the drawing is incomplete !

+ differences in casting shapes on the spring-tees ( on the shock abs. brackets ):arrow: evolution thru the years ....

+ ... i forgot it : that's too big for me ( Unka Bruce will do the job ! )


Post Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:38 am
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

To see the complete image. Click on the link below. Pa ... nfirs.jpg/

Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:11 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE

really sorry !
i have deleted my own message , trying to complete it ....

Shit ! :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

it was about THIS fork shown on the pic below :


some thing this kind :
" this is a 47 model UNTOUCHED and all original .
what do you see about the rigid fork shape ?
is it straight ? ( and this is nothing else than an optical illusion )

can you explain me why i always have SEEN 47's B-T models with this kind of "bent to the rear" fork
and i NEEEEEVER seen 47's 45's models with such a fork !?!? "
Last edited by milwaukee belle on Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:35 am, edited 3 times in total.

Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:59 am
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

Looks rearward to me fran-6. Pa

Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:11 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE

Thanks a lot , Pa ....
and what d'you think about the story ?
did you ever see other forks this kind ?
or are we TWO to see the same hallucination ????

Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:02 pm
Pa Site Admin

Posts: 5843
Location: Ohio USA

My expertise is very limited with springer forks. :(

Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:21 pm

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Fran-6, I own a 47 EL I just went an checked and mine has offset bars, but my rear legs are straight from top to bottom.

Post Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:49 pm

Posts: 7
Wow, looking at my 47FL just got running this year (had it since 1983) . looks bent to the rear, and has high speed wobble, was getting ready to put on 18” wheels hoping for a safer ride,

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:30 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE


these two last replies show us the answer !

THANKS Rudy ! THANKS Neil !!!!!

so :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: TWO TYPES of offset forks !!!!!

one early ( i think the so-called "rearward" by Pa )
and one late ( with straight legs ) :D :D :D :D :D

this problem is as tough to resolve as the offset forks has had a very-very-SHORT life !( two years only ? am-i exact ? )
ans i THINK :
as this springfork WAS JUST kinda "quick-made ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION" to the HYDRA fork ( not completed yet at the factory during these years )
Harley DID NOT talked and explained A LOT about it ! ( thinking "no time to loose with this crap : the HYDRA fork is COMING SOON !!!! ")


the early offset fork :
they built it ON THE PAPER ( plans and mathematical trail and rake calculations )

the late offset fork :
they built it ( modifyed it ) thru the BAD CUSTOMER'S FEEDBACK !!!!


coz there's today on the earth NOTHING to PROOVE IT ( not even Unka Bruce , i guess .... )

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:39 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE

i have said :

" .....and LOGICALLY : with the very-last NECK-CASTING on frame :
ONLY A " bent to the rear" fork will give the GOOD TRAIL AND HANDLING !"

coz i NEVER ride or owned a big-twin with such a fork .
so : all my logical thinking was based on PLANS , MEASURMENTS , CALCULATION , rake and trail SKETCHES .....

SEE : i have made THE SAME ERROR the factory made ont the early offset forks !!

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:20 am

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
Fran-6 are there any markings or numbers on my frame that will identify it as an early frame. Also what do the numbers on the engines range from from early to late? Maybe we can establish a time line to go with your theory. I used to ride with an old timer here in Florida who owned a 48 Pan, that he bought new, an we had discussed his forks being bent because they were bent rearward. He could not remember ever hitting anything to cause it:) They were off set an bent back.

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:03 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE

Sorry Neil !
about the big twin's frames : i'm just kinda DUMB .
we just can hope and pray for the next Palmer's BOOK will answer to all these questions !
two months before : i have sent all what i found to Bruce , explaining him this was a too difficult / big / neverending story for such a lost redneck like me .
i hope he is still online with us ( hidden somewhere )
and i hope he understood my way to think about these questions about forks .

the fact is here :
i DON'T have documentation
i DON't know enough friends around with original bikes to check and compare .

all i can say is :
as a custom machines builder : i know what i am talkin about rake and trail
i have restored many scoots big-twins and 45's
i even have BUILT springforks
and most of all i know how using my eyes :
so ; when i notice something different , best than the last year production : i see it and note it in my documentation .
( i am NOT really a "biker" , i am NOT a mechanic-man : i am just a designer . i SEE and REMEMBER )

now , Neil : the story you posted here is REALLY-REALLY intérressant !
in facts : we need stories like this to get solid prooves !

so : thanks !

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:56 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE


as i knew all the TECHNICAL DIFFERENCES on a real OFFSET forks
the day i have had the GREAT PLEASURE to compare it with a repop :
i found this :

repops :

- lower rigid tee : not the good model : this is a 1941 / early 42 shape ( not an offset shape )
- floor of the rigid tee is NOT ANGLED like on originals
- neck stem is NOT in the good position !!!

( in other words : the offset repop is nothing else than an early fork with bent stem ... )

my notes on last update :

and now the repop , to make you understand what i mean ...


Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:48 am

Posts: 2688
Location: Los Angeles, CA
It is simply an earlier springer. Cutbacks in material during WWII made them smaller.

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:09 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE

sorry : no

the components to assemble an offset lower tee are DIFFERENT in size and géométry // an early lower tee

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:53 am

Posts: 251
Location: Hudson, Florida
You're welcome Fran-6, it is probably your artist eyes that help so much in picking out differences:) You seem to pay attention to details. It seems the more I think I know the more I have to learn as I get older:) I looked at my friends 48 for a very long time an something was just not right, I finally picked up a piece of wire an confirmed what my eyes were telling me. I have allways wondered since HOW? WHY? Thank you for clearing some up and also for adding more mystery:) I rode his machine on many occasions and noticed no ill effect with the forks bent back.

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:30 am

Posts: 923
Location: South Provence of FRANCE

update :

due to this "strange" lower tee design :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: note that THE FRONT SPRING FORK casting ALSO has a DIFFERENT SHAPE !

he is THINNER in the meedle ! ( between spring floors )
why ?
coz of the stem floor : centerline is some millimeters AHEAD ! ( see my drawing ! )

Post Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:17 pm

Posts: 426
Location: Tucson Arizona

Sorry, but you're wrong Fran-6....Quote "( in other words : the offset repop is nothing else than an early fork with bent stem ... )"

The stem is not "bent"....the stem is installed at an angle and welded.

If you use the original ball bearing cups and cones, there is absolutely no problem with the installation because the design of the cone centers itself on the fork stem rounded washer. It's when you try to use the Timken bearing that's the problem.......they never came with Timken bearings.....I don't recommend Timken bearings at all. But.....if you absolutely have to have them, you need to make yourself an offset washer so the Timken can sit flat. Ask Anders about this....he had to do it every time.



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