Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Morthodites-"Non Factory" Rigid vs Duo-Glide

Rigid vs Duo-Glide

Built something weird, one-off or want to? Ask or tell us about it here.
Post Wed May 24, 2006 9:30 pm

Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, Canada
...I'm plotting my next project and can't think of a better group to ask.

I've been riding rigids for a long time and want to build something more comfortable for longer trips. I always wanted to build a big inch flatty and was thinking about a Duo-Glide frame (solo, foot shift). Does anyone care to comment on the comfort factor and handling, rigid vs Duo? Thanks.

Post Wed May 24, 2006 11:56 pm

Posts: 304
Location: oklahoma usa
JMHO, but I don't think a rigid frame rides that bad if everything is set up right.
Correct tire pressure, good padded, sprung seat, preferably a wide glide fork since they ride much better than a springer, and it's a wash to me anyway. Personally, I can live without the shocks.

Post Thu May 25, 2006 2:07 am

Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, Canada
44u, a rigid with a glide front was my initial thought. I'm currently riding a rigid/springer/4" tire which is hard on the kidneys after a few hours. I did spend some time on a 48 pan/glide/5" recently and it was much better.

A strictly personal thing, but I never liked the look of the back end on the swingarm frames. But because it's going to be a bitsa bike, I could probably put on a rigid fender with struts etc. (moves with the swingarm) and get the older look that I like. The cost and availability of a good frame is a bonus. I'm still curious to know if the shocks add much. Thanks for the comments.

Post Thu May 25, 2006 2:26 am

Posts: 630
Location: belgium
JA, yes the shocks add much...weight!
But that you knew already, Imho I think it's the passenger who benefits most from the rear suspension...when I listen to the OL after some miles.
I must admit that I go for the suspension on longer rides also...age?

Post Thu May 25, 2006 2:55 am

Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Stéph, ...for me, age and an expanding girth.

And no passenger issues as the OL will not ride with me (lingering reputation from a renegatus youth).

Post Mon May 29, 2006 11:06 am

Posts: 646
Location: Detroit
Get a rigid frame, a stock solo cop seat, and a good seat post with new springs and lots of grease.
New Knuckleheads? Thank, you, Jesus!!

Post Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:19 pm

Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, Canada
I spent an hour yesterday on a close to stock 61 Duo and it was an eye opener! The ride comfort was OK, and the rear brake was great - it had the later/wider drum assembly. The tires and mechanical bits were in good condition and I didn't feel any low-speed wobble. I suspect because of a hydraulic aftermarket steering damper set on firm.

Going around corners, the handling was as bad as on anything I have ever driven. I know it's first generation but you'd think they would at least looked at a featherbed Norton. I almost want to get one to see how much it could be improved ( that's irrational thinking).

I suspect bad dampers, lousy spring rates and a whole lot of flexing goin' on. Has anyone tried to improve things?

As a starting point maybe a fork brace, progressive springs and new damper valving. In the rear; new inserts and progressive springs. The swing arm looks like it could use major bracing around the pivot point and some bracing on the arm itself. I know it will never be a GP bike, but it could be waaay better than it is.

Post Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:37 am

Posts: 767
Location: CA USA
I made a duo glide handle pretty good back in the day. Tossed the H-D fork and put on a dual disc water buffalo fork with brace. Braced the swingarm and used aftermarket shocks (progressive I think). Single disc rear, morris mag wheels 19" front 16" rear with the stickiest pirelli tires I could find. 84" pan/shovel with Branch heads etc. Mid mount fold up pegs. Handled the power just fine. Today I would use a late model inverted fork assembly and the matching aluminum swingarm from a donor crotch rocket. I'd also consider an FXR type frame as the foundation. There's a guy in NY state that builds like this; his last name is TODD. The rigid would be easier and fast. To save your back you could put a seat post shock absorber into it and run a K solo and pill. 'dog

Post Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:31 am

Posts: 304
Location: oklahoma usa
Looks like I was a guest on the BG statement.
I'm a tech by trade and pretty cynical by nature. A BG rep came in the shop once and I had a chance to personally go through a demonstration with their oil additive.
Essentially, it was a 110volt A/C motor with provisions for mounting a torque wrench and loading the motor shaft until the motor stalled - basically, steel on steel.
With a dry shaft the motor would stall at about 10-15 foot pounds.
With one drop of regular engine oil, it would stall at about 30 or so.
With a drop of BG I had to apply near a 100 foot pounds to slow it down.
There was no way I could see this being rigged somehow and after being given several samples I figured the old clunky HD would be a good guinea pig.

About 2 ounces of BG added to each fork leg and a full can to the trans. It definitely helped the ride quality and smoothed the trans out. I gave a couple of cans to a bud of mine to get another opinion and he stated that it made a noticeable difference on his 84 Softtail.
This stuff is actually engine oil treatment but I figured what the heck. It was free and worth a try.

Post Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:55 pm

Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, Canada
It's clear after spending an hour on one and listening to your comments that a Duo is not for me. I'll go with a rigid and an air shock. I have a bladder from a police seat that should work.

It's going to be a frequent rider and I want it to be dead reliable, handle well and stop. I can't quite bring myself to use disc's so I'll use a 4 shoe racing front drum with street linings, (...been saving a Grimeca for something). Front forks will be modern; maybe 50mm Marzocchi - they're big and look sorta like a Glide. Raised, narrow footboards and a tucked in exhaust as suggested.

I'm going to keep everything else as vintage and stock looking as possible, plus it will be a mildly stroked U.

Many thanks to all who have replied.


Post Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:51 pm

Posts: 39
Location: Vancouver, Canada
...hoping the air bladder will reduce the pucker factor, maybe even a gel insert in the seat - damn I'm getting old.

Post Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:00 pm

Posts: 767
Location: Pa. , USA
JA, I don't think the air bladder alone will be enough, not that much travel. Always felt the best ride (on a rigid) is the original pogo, but its gotta be set up correctly for the individual, correct springs, good slider/bushing fitment, and keep it greased..
Vintage roadracing, Class C, AHRMA # 335

Posts: 4
Location: S. ILL.
my 61 rides like a champ . course ive got my pogo seat still in place ive rebuilt my glide and bought new oem shocks for the back and rebuilt my swing arm all origanal 6v dual point twin coil single fire the only problem ive got is kickin it 2 neck surgerys (full neck fuison rods clamps and bone grafts ) makes it a little difficult. course ive ridden hard tail (chopped) trumps until about 12 years ago when i bought my pan so mabye all that pounding rattled my brain too much . my pan handles great for all origanal

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