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Educate Me About Springers

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Post Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:43 pm

Posts: 307
Location: Ohio
Can someone please identify what year springer this is in this photo?
I always believed it to be a 1948 due to the grease zirks facing to the outside and the location of the front brake cable retaining clip tapped hole in the rigid leg.

I’m asking cause I’ve found what I believe to be "period correct" handle bars to replace the bars I just threw together four years back to get this thing on the road. I’m one of those guys that want to ride first and find the correct parts later, when/as I can. I’m hoping I found the “period correct” handlebars after waiting four years.

The springer in the photo is an “In-Line” springer, but I would like to know more about its year of birth if you can tell from the photo -Steve
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Post Thu Feb 28, 2008 2:27 pm

Posts: 45
Location: Midwest
Not sure if I'm following your "period correct" statement. Looks to be a 55/56 panhead...which wouldn't have had a springer front end. Unless it's a 45, then it wouldn't have an offset springer.

Post Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:03 am

Posts: 307
Location: Ohio
Yes, the bike is a 56 panhead with what I’m hoping to be a 48 front end. When putting this bike together a few years back the only front end I had available to me was this springer and since I was building it as a bobber it seemed to make perfect sense to use it.

Maybe “period correct” is the wrong term to use for this bike. It really is more of a Johnny Cash machine. You know that old song he sang about the Cadillac he built from different years parts. That’s pretty much how this bike has been built. As I have been able to find/afford any parts which are 1956 or older I put them on this bike to replace any after market parts which got put on it to keep me on the road. At some point it will end up as a complete 56, but till then I’ll keep riding it like it is.

I have been trying to keep everything from the frame neck forward as 1948 and everything back from there 1956. Don’t bother calling me crazy cause many people have already told me so.

From that photo can you tell me if that springer is a 1948? Cause if it is then I’ve finally found a set of handlebars for it. Thanks for any help. -Steve

Post Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:23 am

Posts: 640
Location: Wisconsin, USA
A 48 fork would be an offset. The fork you have would likely be a 45 to the middle of 46, if there are deep machined notches at the headlight bracket mount, or a later replacement for 36 to mid 46.

Post Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:36 am

Posts: 2687
Location: Los Angeles, CA
amklyde wrote:
A 48 fork would be an offset. The fork you have would likely be a 45 to the middle of 46, if there are deep machined notches at the headlight bracket mount, or a later replacement for 36 to mid 46.



Also, in addition to being an offset fork a true 1948 will have a hole in the stem for the fork neck lock. The 1949 sidecar springer is the same.

Post Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:14 pm

Posts: 307
Location: Ohio
Ouch…. That stings. I read all about it in Palmers and still didn’t know what I was looking at. Maybe this explains why I had so much trouble fitting up an after market 48 front fender on this thing. This learning curve is killing me. But, you know what? To me, the older the better, it’s all good. I’m going ahead with my plans to put these buckhorn handlebars I final got a hold of thou. It can’t turn out any worse than what’s on there now.
Thanks for your help guys. –Steve

Post Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:22 pm

Posts: 349
Location: Champaign-Urbana, IL
Hey Chris,

How about a simple chart or graphic that identifies the diagnositic points on various year front ends, both BT and 45? I seem to remember that Mr. Palmer touched on it, but it was real difficult to keep straight ...

Mark

Post Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:28 pm

Posts: 729
Location: nekoosa,wisconsin,usa

Steve,
Maybe it's just me........... buckhorn bars will not be comfortable after 25 or more miles of riding !
JKE

Post Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:14 am

Posts: 307
Location: Ohio
Hi John... Your the third person to tell me that I may not enjoy the buckhorns. I've also been told that they have a tendency to hit your legs while making turns and that the downward angle of the grips can be uncomfortable as well.

After sleeping on it last night, I think I'm just going to step away from the idea of using theses bars for a while. In fact I may just dump that springer front end this year and put the one that belongs on it. There is a fellow here locally who has offered to swap a complete 56 front end for this springer front end of mine for a couple years now. I haven't done it cause I always believed this front end to be much more valueable than that of a 56. Now that I have been educated a bit about springers, maybe I'm wrong about that as well. -Steve

Post Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:52 am

Posts: 1028
Location: Ojo Caliente,NM,USA
Steve,
It's all what you prefer! I love my buckhorns and find then great on long rides.
Dusty

Post Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:08 pm

Posts: 607
Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin, USA
My thought is that the springer is worth more than the glide - probably by half.

Jerry

Post Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:32 am

Posts: 307
Location: Ohio
Thanks Jerry,
At least now when I call this guy about swapping front ends I have good place to start the bardering from. Time for me to get back to the book and learn all I can about those 56 front ends, so that I get what I'm expecting this time.

Dusty, The buckhorns on my 45 flathead have always been ok for me. Yet that bike doesn't get to go on the very lenghty rides, that the pan does. All the guys that have said the buckhorns where not comfortable for them, where much taller than me. That could make a differance.

Post Sun Mar 02, 2008 3:52 pm

Posts: 729
Location: nekoosa,wisconsin,usa

Steve,
I'm about 5'9". The problem that I find with Buckhorns is the un-natural angle that the wrists must take holding on to the grips.
John
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.

Post Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:34 am

Posts: 307
Location: Ohio
Saw this 47EL on ebay which looks to have the same online springer as mine. I'm still chasing this thing down. -Steve
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1947-EL- ... 0205265386

Post Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:04 pm

Posts: 607
Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin, USA
The auction doesn't really show a real good picture but from what I can see it sure looks like it has an offset springer. Offset springers were introduced as far a I can tell in the end of January 1946 on all big twin bikes. Jerry

Post Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:39 am

Posts: 1654
I had buckhorns on a 70s ElectraGlide with buddy seat and windshield, and I liked them for long and short runs although they do indeed, tend to hit your legs in tight turns

my 45 project has got flatter, straighter bars much more like the original 45 ones, taken from a flat-track bike, and I prefer them for a bike with a solo saddle and no windshield
Shoot, a man could have a good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff...


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