1) Install the neck races in the bearing cups. Oil the races and push them in using a press or in a vice. You will need an appropriate sized socket or other round object to push the race all the way home. Please note that the hidden fork-stop kit has a slight recess under the race, so it will not look like it is fully seated even though it is!
2) Install the bearing cups in the frame. Use a press, a rubber mallet or a special tool, and oil the cups & frame. We use a tool that consists of two thick aluminum discs with a length of 1” all-thread and two nuts. The hidden cups are a very tight press fit, so be sure the locating pin in the lower cup is correctly aligned with the hole in the frame before you start to press it in– you will not be able to rotate it in to place if you start pressing it in askew! The locating pin is pressed in to the lower cup and may ride up to touch the race once it is pressed in. You may need to tap that pin on into the frame a little to ensure it does not interfere with the bearing seating in the race. Check by putting a bearing into the race and ensuring it seats properly and rotates smoothly. Be warned that if you use a really strong press it is possible to deform the bearing cups, so use caution. If you need to remove the cups again for painting, then they can be knocked out with a metal drift and hammer. If you are building a Softail, then this would be the time to install the swing-arm in the frame.
3) Slide your motor into the frame. It should be installed from the right side. We suggest wrapping your frame with rags or tape to protect freshly painted surfaces. Install the lower motor mounting hardware and start the nuts on the threads, but do not tighten.
4) Mount the kickstarter kit, if you are using one, to the transmission. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t forget to connect the clutch cable to the ball & ramp assembly in the starter cover before you do the final tightening of the fasteners.
If you wish to mount your regulator under the transmission then weld two studs under the transmission plate in the appropriate place (or have us do it for you).
5) Mount the transmission plate to the transmission. It will only fit in one location. PLEASE NOTE that we do not manufacture our components with oversize holes because that increases the chances of loose hardware and movement in the alignment of the drive train. The exact positioning of the studs in the transmission varies slightly between manufacturers, so it is possible that you will have to file some of the holes in the transmission plate to fit it to the transmission. Holding the transmission plate in a vice and using a round file, this process will take you about two minutes. Just remove enough material to allow the transmission plate to fit snugly over the studs. Depending on your choice of transmission, it is possible that there may be slight interference between a raised area on the casting and the transmission plate. If necessary, clearance the raised area on the underside of the transmission slightly. Once you are sure that the transmission plate fits perfectly to the transmission, then slide the front bolts that bolt the transmission plate to the frame through the holes in the transmission plate before tightening the nuts holding the transmission plate to the transmission. With some transmissions it is not possible to install these bolts with the plate bolted fully to the transmission. Bolt transmission plate to transmission.
6) Position transmission with plate attached into the frame. Install the hardware to mount the plate to the frame, but do not tighten. Install the transmission sprocket or pulley. You will need to ensure you have the correct spacer and seal behind the sprocket. If you have the wrong type it will be obvious as, even with the nut on, the sprocket will be able to slide back and forth on the shaft (i.e. the spacer is too short).
7) Install your inner primary or motor plate. This is the step where you should expend the time and effort to get it right. The plate or inner primary should bolt up smoothly to both the transmission and the motor with out being forced to ‘bend’ into place. If you are using our motor plate there may be a spacer between the motor plate and the transmission, and you will need to use a couple of shorter bolts to ‘mock’ fit the plate at this stage. The motor will be able to shift and rotate slightly in the frame and so will the transmission, and you must get them positioned so the primary plate or case aligns with them without effort. Rarely, it may be necessary to take a file to the holes in the frame, the transmission plate or the motor plate to achieve this smooth alignment. Do not tighten anything down yet.
8) If you have had us mount your rear fender, then now is the time to bolt it into the frame, as the bolts attaching the fender struts to the frame axle blocks are hard to access once the rear wheel is in place. Consider mounting/wiring your tail-light at this point, and also your license plate if either one is related to the rear fender. If you are mounting your own fender, but using our strut kit, then bolt the lower strut tabs to the rear axle blocks at this point.
9) Mount the rear sprocket or pulley to the rear wheel and install the wheel in the frame using the axle spacers provided. Be sure to follow the instructions and use plenty of red loctite when installing a sprocket/rotor. If you are using a Sprocket Brake then the order of components on the axle is this: longest spacer, wheel, stainless washer supplied with caliper (0.13”), caliper, shortest spacer. If we have mocked up the bike then the axle adjusters will be close to their final position (note that there may be a lock screw in the axle adjuster on one or both sides). Do not tighten the axle nut at this point. If you are running a rear belt, remember to install the belt as you install the back wheel. You will need to mock fit your chain at this time. Offer the chain up to the sprockets and determine the length needed. Your chain will be probably be slightly over-length, so you will need to remove a few links. Do this by grinding the heads completely off of the two pins over the side plate at the point you need to break the chain. Take precautions not to cover the entire chain with grinding dust! Position the chain on the sprockets and insert the master link, but do not connect the master link at this point. Check that the chain or belt tension is close to that which is required. At this point we want to check the alignment of the final drive pulley or sprockets. Offer a straight edge along the face of the rear wheel sprocket and the transmission sprocket (or pulleys). Adjust the axle adjusters until the two are parallel and check that the chain or belt tension is still good. At this point we need to tighten the rear axle but as we will need to remove it again you should use some form of spacer or washers under the nut so that you do not use the ‘Nyloc” part of the thread. Tighten the axle nut and recheck alignment. Note that the sprockets are not as wide as the ‘space’ in the chain, which means that some slight ‘stagger’ between sprockets will not be a problem (0.050”), but they do need to be parallel. If your primary mounts smoothly, your belt or chain tension is good and your final drive sprockets or pulleys are parallel, then you have successfully mocked up the entire drive train. Start to tighten down the drive train components. Tighten the motor plate (or primary case) to the motor and transmission. If you are using our electric start kit, then install it at this point (except the starter nose). Check that there is no gap between the rear lower motor mount areas and the frame. Use a feeler gauge to measure any gap visible and if any is found then create a shim. Shim stock can be purchased at good hardware stores and is a thin metal sheet that can be cut with scissors. Once any necessary shims are in place you can tighten the rear lower motor mount bolts. Shims are rarely necessary when using our frames. Check whether any shims are necessary under the front motor mount areas, then tighten these bolts. Repeat the procedure with the transmission plate mounting points. The point is to tighten down your drive train without stressing any components or upsetting the alignment. It is worth taking the time to install your drive train and align the primary and final drives properly. DO NOT forget to connect the chain master-link before heading down the road, but don’t do it until the final tightening of the axle AFTER the Sprocket Brake caliper has been bled.
The top motor mount can be installed at this point. If you are using our one-piece billet mount then it may be necessary to use shims between the frame and the mount. (Different motors have different cylinder heights). Mount the coil at this point whilst you have good access to the area.
10) If you are mounting your own fender then now is the time to do it. We tape 3/4” thick blocks of rubber to the tire and then set the fender in place. Accurately mark where the front fender mounting tab will attach to the fender (this tab welds to the cross brace at the rear of the seat triangle area). Remove the fender and drill it in the position marked for the tab. Bolt the tab to the fender and weld the nuts on the inside of the fender. Just gently tack the nuts in place and allow to cool before removing the bolts. Weld the nuts on, allow to cool and run a tap through them. Set fender back in place and bolt the tab to the fender. Be certain you are happy with the fender position and then weld the tab to the frame. Decide on the angle of your struts. We choose to make them either parallel to the fork tubes, parallel to the center post of the frame, or, most commonly, at 90 degrees to the upper rear frame tube. Which you choose may be dictated by how long you want the rear of your fender. Mark your fender on each side at the point you want the struts to meet the fender. You will now need to weld the other two tabs in the strut kit to the fender at these points. Depending on clearance you may weld these on the inside or the outside of the fender. If you are welding on the outside you can clamp and tack weld them in place without removing the fender. Once they are in place reposition the fender if necessary. You will now have two notched tabs ready to accept a strut between them. Cut the supplied round stock to the exact length required. Cut it slightly over-length and then grind it to length, to avoid cutting it too short. Position the strut on either side until you are completely happy with your fender’s position. Now put some good tack welds top and bottom either side. Now you can remove your fender with the struts now part of the fender and weld it up completely. Reinstall fender. If you removed rear wheel do not reinstall it yet (or at least do not tighten down the axle nut).
12) This is a good time to install the kickstand. Check the pin fits easily into the hole in the stand and through the hole in the frame tab. Hook the spring to the stand and to the frame and then lever the stand into position. Have the pin to hand so you can push it into place as soon as the holes line up. If you are welding the stand assembly yourself, we line the tab up directly with the cross member in the frame. This position ensures the tip of the stand protrudes just behind the clutch pulley. Weld it so that when the stand is out, it is pointing horizontally when the bike is straight upright. We have found this position gives us the appropriate lean angle. This information will allow you to position the stand without mocking up the entire bike!
13) Install the primary drive as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t forget to bolt the starter ring gear to the clutch pulley if you are using the Exile Starter Kit. If you are using one of our pulley covers, remember to install it at the same time as you install the belt and front pulley.
14) Fit the oilbag. Our round oilbag needs the blank end (lower left) to be shaped slightly to give the best aesthetic fit over the starter nose area. This will be perfectly clear once you have the oilbag in your hand, but will sound confusing otherwise! If you are welding your own mounts in place for the Exile oilbag, then screw the rubber mount bushings into the oilbag once you have positioned the oilbag in the frame and then bolt the weld in mounting struts to the assembly and position the whole thing as one assembly. We position the mounting struts so they are completely flush with the top of the frame rails in the ‘seat triangle’ area. Remember to install the electric starter with wires attached before the oilbag is installed. Screw in the outlet fittings using Teflon thread tape and connect up the oil-lines. On the Exile oilbag the right fitting is the vent, the center is the feed to the oilpump and the left is the return from the oil-filter. The instructions with the motor will help you identify where to attach these lines to the motor. The return line from the oil pump connects to the fitting that feeds into the center of the oil filter. We like to route the oil-lines down behind and under the transmission end cover for a real clean appearance. Use 1/8” rubber sheeting around the battery to protect it from vibration damage from contact with the oilbag. On the Exile oilbags we like to route the main positive cable from the starter to the battery (as well as the wire to the starter solenoid) up through the hole in the bottom of the battery box to the battery terminal. BE SURE that there are no sharp edges and that the cable will not be damaged by the movement of the oilbag (it’s rubber mounted). A dangerous short could occur!
15) Seat installation will be self-explanatory once you have the components.
16) Install the forward controls and shift linkage (and rear master cylinder and push-rod if separate).
17) Install the exhaust pipes. If you are welding the tabs yourself, then bolt the tab to the pipes and use the pipe itself to jig the tab in place. If you are using the Monster Drag Pipes with a Sprocket Brake Kit, do not install the rear pipe until the final tightening of the axle as you will need to remove the axle to reposition the caliper for brake bleeding.
18) Install the triple trees. Pack the neck bearings thoroughly and follow the instructions that come with the “Sani-Trees” if you are using our trees. The “Sani-Trees” are tapped to accept the ring of the “hidden” fork-stop kit, but other trees will need the lower tree to be tapped. Use the ring to mark the hole position. Fork assemblies can now be installed in the trees. It is easier to install a Front Trojan fender before the front wheel is installed. Installation of front wheel and fender should be straight-forward. It may be necessary to adjust the axle spacing to get your tire seated exactly center between the fork legs and your rotor centered in the caliper. The front caliper can be fitted and may require some shims (usually included with the caliper) to center it on the rotor. On 15” front wheels it may be a tight squeeze to get the caliper onto the rotor; install the wheel with the rotor only loosely bolted in place and remove the bolts once the axle is tightened. This will allow the caliper to slide onto the rotor before the rotor is permanently installed with loctite.
19) Handlebar and headlamp installation should require no explanation. The internal throttle is far easier to understand when you have it in front of you. The grooved ring acts as the stop for the cable outer sheath, and it is held into the bars by the set screw in the underside of the bars.
20) Gas-tank mounting should be obvious. If you are using flat-side fatbob tanks you will need a tank mounting kit. If you are using some other type of tank, then you will need tank mounts to be fitted to the frame. Custom Chrome offers some one-piece gas-tanks designed to mount to flat-side tank mounts. Dash mounting is also self explanatory, but you will probably need to shim and experiment to get the dash and dash cover level and aligned properly to the tank surface. Use patience, washers and bend the dash plate a little if necessary!
21) Wiring. This task seems to scare everybody, but on this type of bike it is fairly simple, and can be very satisfying when everything works. Wiring is simply the job of connecting the wires from each electrical component to the other electrical components they are supposed to connect to! Each component comes with instructions telling you where each wire needs to connect. Once the bike is assembled you start with any component and route wires from its terminals to wherever they need to go. Once you have done that for each electrical component, everything will be connected and you will have some spaghetti that constitutes your wiring loom. Run these wires through heat shrink, cut them to the appropriate length, fit terminals as necessary, and pretty soon your bike will be wired. Take your time and be careful to connect as directed, as mistakes can be costly. DO NOT ground the battery until you have double-checked everything. A simple multi-meter will enable you to check circuit continuity (i.e. what is connected to what) and will tell you what is live once you hook up the battery. If this sounds way too scary then find some-one else to handle the task, but if you have a reasonable grasp of the properties of electricity and the job each component performs then you may be surprised how easy wiring is. You will need to mount some circuit breakers and possible places include; the dash plate, the back bone of the frame between the tanks, under the seat area and under the transmission. Small in-line circuit breakers are often used as these are easier to hide. There are no rules to custom bike building. We use a 30 Amp breaker between the battery and the ignition switch, and occasionally a separate 15 Amp breaker between the ignition switch and the light circuit.
22) Make up your brake lines. The Goodridge hoses are of the cut-to-length type and the various fittings are easily attached where necessary. The basic instructions for attaching a fitting to this type of hose are as follows: measure the hose to determine where you want to cut it. Slide the ‘nut’ portion of the fitting on to the hose past the point where you are going to cut. Also, slide on the heatshrink if you are going to cover the stainless hose. Wrap a piece of masking tape twice around the point where you want to cut. With a fine cut-off wheel (e.g. dremel tool) cut around the hose, just cutting through the braided stainless, not trying to cut all the way through the plastic core. Cut the plastic core cleanly with a sharp blade. Check for any burrs etc. on the cut end of the plastic. Remove the masking tape. The stainless sheathing will spread slightly; gently spread it further with something like a small screw driver. Put the brass olive onto the end of the plastic and push against a flat solid surface to push it ‘home’. Install the male portion of the fitting onto the end of the hose and slide the nut back down the hose and screw it onto the male part of the fitting. A drop of oil on the threads is a good idea, but do not use thread tape. An in-line hydraulic brake light switch can be used, although it is a little bulky. We like to use the Goodridge banjo bolt that incorporates a brake-light switch – very clean! If you order our ‘Goodridge hydraulic supply kit’ we will send you what we recommend you use in your particular application.
Bleeding brake-lines is a topic covered in every other type of publication. One thing to remember is that air will be trapped at the top of any component and must be released by positioning that component so that the air can escape into the hose and be bled out. For this reason it is necessary to bleed the rear caliper for the Sprocket Brake off the axle. Pull the rear axle out enough to remove the caliper (after the brake hose has been attached to the caliper). Put something of equal or greater thickness to the sprocket/rotor (0.350”) between the pads whilst bleeding. Position the caliper so that the bleed nipple is the highest point of the caliper if bleeding from master-cylinder down, or the lowest point if bleeding from caliper up. We like to put the fluid into the system by ‘syringe’ feeding it in from the caliper up to the master cylinder (with bleed nipple at lowest point). Then we close the bleed nipple and top off the master-cylinder and then bleed in the conventional manner (with the bleed nipple as the highest point). Once you are sure all air is out of the system, reinstall the caliper, tighten the axle nut and install the rear exhaust pipe. The seat is about the only thing left to permanently install.
When you are ready to take your new bike for it’s first ride, travel only a very short distance. Stop and check the bike thoroughly before repeating. Brake rotors and pads will offer poor performance until bedded in. Try to avoid excessive braking force for the first few hundred miles to avoid glazing the brake pads.