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Installing a David Bird 1973 - 1978 Sportster Hardtail

The following instructions show the installation of a David Bird hardtail on a 1973 - 1978 Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle frame. David's innovative design is a bolt-on hardtail that does not bolt to the stock shock mounts as others do, giving a much better looking final product. David Bird hardtails and all provided hardware is made in the U.S.A.
STEP 1: Start by stripping down the rear of the frame including swingarm.

STEP 2: Cut where shown below using a reciprocating saw or cut off wheel, for flat bar style, being careful not to cut into the vertical tubes. This shows the 1974 - 1978 'flat bar' style. Please note that not all 1974 - 78 frames have the diagonal steel braces.

STEP 3: Drill out rivets on the three sheet metal brackets shown and remove.

STEP 4: Grind smooth and radius the top as shown in the first photo below to clear the hardtail tubes. Grind smooth and blend the bottom as shown in in the second photo. This is done easily with an electric or pneumatic grinder with flap discs or a grinding wheel.

STEP 5:. Position the hardtail on the frame and using a rubber mallet seat the top of the hardtail tight against the down tube and clamp as shown below.

STEP 6: Drill thru the existing two top holes into the frame rail below using a 3/8" drill bit.

STEP 7: Remove the hardtail and drill the two 3/8" holes out to 5/8" (IN THE TOP WALL OF FRAME TUBING ONLY)

STEP 8: Insert the supplied sleeves into the holes making sure they go all the way down to the bottom of the tube as shown and grind the top to be flush with the down tube.

STEP 9: Reinstall the hardtail and hold in place with the two supplied 2-1/4" long bolts, washers, and nylock nuts (do not tighten yet). Install the supplied lock tabs and bolts into the bottom, 1-1/4" long in the front and 1-1/2" long in the rear on both sides as shown below.

STEP 10: All bolts can now be torqued to 25 ft. lbs., then, using pliers bend up the lock tabs on all four bottom bolts as shown.

STEP 11: Wipe that grin off your face, finish up the rest of your bike and go RIDE!


One thought on “Installing a David Bird 1973 - 1978 Sportster Hardtail”

  • O want to get some info on the bolt on hard tail! I have a 77 sportster that I want to make rigid. Question is.... I'm 6'3 250 with long legs. To ride comfortable I'll need to move the seat back. Does ur stretches move the position of the seat? Which would be better....a 4-2 or a 6-2... to get the desired result?

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