'57 '59 Sportster

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by Dr.Evil, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Dr.Evil

    Dr.Evil Junior Member

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    Question?

    I recently looked at these two bikes side by side and I am puzzled. The owners were not arround to ask, so here goes.

    They both had suicide shifters, left side tank. The FL hand was the front brake. The FR hand looked to be the clutch. There was a right foot brake pedal. What I did not get was what looked like a (heal/toe shifter) over the left foot running board, it had a big spring on it.

    Can someone tell me what I was looking at?
     
  2. 84FXRS

    84FXRS Member

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    go back and look at them again, follow the linkage or cable, if you need.
    A suicide shift should have a clutch pedal on the left floorboard,
    front brake at the left handlever.. That heel toe control should be the clutch.
    Toe to disengage, Heel to engage. Are these custom, tank shift.
    I dont think Sportster ever came with tank shift.
     
  3. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Well-Known Member

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    If the bikes had tank (hand) shifts, they were not Sportsters, unless it was custom set ups. Hand shift bike front brake levers were usually on the left handlebar, and the right side had no lever. The heal/toe shifter looking thing on the left footboard was a "rocker" clutch. Push down with heel to disengage, and you could take your foot off & it would remain disengaged. Push your toe forward on the lever and the clutch engages. Some foot clutches were modified to act like a car clutch, meaning take your foot off, and you GO. That's where the name "suicide" clutch came in. Suicide shift is a term the O.C.C. boys incorrectly call any hand sift bike. Usually a short hand shift lever attached directly to the trans. is called a "jockey" shift. Like many things Harley, different regions have different names.
     
  4. Dr.Evil

    Dr.Evil Junior Member

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    The shifters could very well have been add on, but the '57 had a fatter tank than the '59. The toe part of the clutch was in the down position and had a large spring on it, so I would guess they were set up to engage as the heal is lifted. So what would the right side hand lever be for if there is a right side foot brake pedal
     
  5. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    These are rocker type foot clutches, I have never seen them on a sporty, they must have been FL models
     
  6. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what the right side lever could have been. What tells you that they were '57 and '59 Sportsters? Sportsters of those years had 4 gal. tanks, and no instruments were mounted on the tank. Anything is possible. They could have been some special built customs.
     
  7. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    There were some Indians built with throttle on left and shifter on right very rare I have seen 2, If these were indeed Sortsters, they would have had right side foot shifters from the factory, tho I cant imagine a tank shifter or how to make one for a Sporty or why