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Building a Harley softail rig

Hi I am Chuckalac and I am a lost soul custom builder. Right now I am working on my Harley Softail/Ural rig and on the whole I have been able to solve most of my problems myself. I started with a new Ural car and my 1991 Softail and I have what I believe is a very robust combination how ever I have been stymied by a few things so its time to ask questions.


I am Darksiding my back wheel and  I decided to keep the 1 1/2" drive belt. so I machined the disc side to move the disc in 1/2" and then put a 1/2" spacer behind the pulley to move the tire away from the belt. That is looking like a good move as I believe at this point that I may just machine the caliper tail a little bit to reduce thickness and then it is just a spacer game. Incidentally I am going to black spoke mags front and back with a wide glide front  dual disc 16" front wheel and a 28deg apparent rake. Now the problem is getting the car tire to seat I can get all the tire to seat except for about 6" on both sides that will not seat. I have 120 lbs of air in it right now and have beat the hell out of it with a mallet, it just will not pop I have warmed it up etc put some 4 micron graphite at that point but it will not climb onto the rim. I have it sitting with 120 lbs and maybe temp fluctuations will make it go. If that fails I will run a drop chord to a safe place and put a little 300 psi emergency with a battery charger inflator on it and see what happens. Its gonna go or blow Now if anybody has some advice I am listening.


I see several import bikes have Black spoke wheels in the 19" range that are very similar to the Harley black spoke pattern. I want to run a 19X4.00 tire on the hack so if anybody knows which wheel I need to buy, it would help. I am going hydraulic on the hack wheel soif I need to do a reaxle to accommodate a different wheel with a disc that is no prob..

I intend to run the rig this summer  to shake it out and in the next winter I will break it down for a Imron paint job.

So far I am very satisfied with what I have and I have zero handling problems except that stationary its heavy steering ,but when its rolling you can steer with the throttle and in coast mode it goes dead straight. i have zero experience to call on as a side carista but this is it for me from now on. I just cannot pick that heavy sucker up anymore. 

I build road warriors with a workmanlike appearance that deliver reliability function and comfort about somewhere between those 2

I appreciate any advice  Chuck

I have done some research and that 175/60R16 tire is good for 200 lbs before it gets to burst pressures. So its going on the end of a drop chord/battery charger/ 12v tire pump till it goes pop one way or the other  Chuck

I have seen ratchet straps used around the center of the tire pulling the center in before inflating and also with silicone spray all around the bead.

Good luck!

smitty901 has reacted to this post.

I stalled the little pump but no luck. so I let the air out and looked at the place that will not seat on both sides and it seems that the tire cannot climb onto the flat on the inside as it lacks about 1/4" to get on the step. Its seats for about nearly 3/4rs of the rim. I looked at was it possible to turn a bit out of the rim to reduce the step a scootch but the thickness is not that much that I would feel good about the rim after I took a little out to reduce the circumference enough. Now that was supposed to go on that rim so.

Can anybody give me the dope on a 175/60-16R that will go on a Harley rim or close to that size. I fortunately can go a bit wider about 3/8" on each side max as I have the room before the tire and belt would conflict. The tire was a Korean FormozaFD2 and had a beautiful shape where it seated on my rim. Only cost a bit over $50 too online. When I get the bike "darksided" and the hack brakes hooked up I will be ready for a good summer long shakeout and a winter paint out. I am thinking of maybe redoing the hack windscreen something like the ME109F front glass and the front side glasses and then possibly a rag top to finish it out with soft side windows. "All very period"

I am using a clutch cylinder with an equaliser in the line which will terminate at a branch from where my footbrake stop switch goes into the line. I have a 1/8" NPT hydraulic quick release for easy on-off as well as a high point bleed to get the air out

12V compressor does not have the volume behind it to get the tire to mount. If you have the guts rubber mallet and time will seat it. Generically 16 inch is no real problem but the 15 inch can be. You need to really lube that bead  . Straps do help some times.

I agree a high volume air source would definitely be helpful. I remember the old timers using gasoline and a match to blow up a stubborn tire which worked because of the rapid volume change. Gee now I'm the old timer, guess that was a long time ago.....

EXTREMELY DANGEROUS not suggesting anyone to use that technique just referring to how helpful the high volume can be.

Thanks Smitty.   I cleaned the bead with Dawn and a plastic pot scrubber to a smooth sanitary condition. Then after I had the no seat at the problem point I pit some 4 micron graphite there and went at it all over again. I did the first 120 lbs with a big compressor and just upped the pressure with the 12v pump to try to pop it. I have the bead completely broke loose now and today if I get enough Sun I will do an ether pop and see what happens I will strap the outside dia as well. I used  sharpie marks on the rim to see if I was making progress with the mallet and at first I did have movement but when it stalled out it stalled. I think its the inner bump that may be causing the problem. I will graphite rub the entire seating area and also the inside slope this time before I do the ether pop.

Its very hard to get real info on the darkside. everybody just talks around the fact yet say nothing usefull. As to the guts to screw with it That is not a problem and I have a lot of patience with things as well. I look at the situation and try not to do stupid things while I do my research and weigh the odds first before I act. I am definitely not an adrenalin junkie

My philosophy regarding Knowledge/tradecraft Is I take knowledge from the pool and I try to put back what I have or see when I try things to grow the body of knowledge         Later Chuck

  You will find many talk about things, repeat what they heard but few really do.  Often the answer is not easy. Our 750 Street rigs run 15 inch car tire on sidecar and rear if bike.

    Sidecars are not of the faint of heart.  It is a serious project and costly. Rewarding when it all works out for those that are sure where they want to go. DMC is as good as it gets as is Hannigan each has much to offer depending on your needs.

Encouragement 1996 Fatboy softail with sidecar.

at 21 (4)

I am running a Fatboy front fender and I like the bobbed FXSTC back fender, makes the bike look saucy and the softail has a period look with help from the modified Ural solo saddle and really goes with my Ural sidecar. I have a simple batwing fairing on the front. I took the spare off the side car to give Mama place for her kitchen sink. That Ural car is a big airpusher but it is a very comfortable ride with lots of room. I have found no need at all for ballast when I ride alone. I am looking forward to putting a brake on it tho. The little deraked softail with the wideglide front end does not seem to have any problems with it when she is onboard   Chuck

Seems like the current starting fluid is treated not to go pop when you try to ignite it.  Being this is my first time going dark I will soldier on because if it should go, its gonna go. A wise soul once told me it aint what you eat but how you chew it so we will nibble around and find the right chew   Chuck