I picked up a 45 springer front end, like the one pictured above on Flathead Jedd’s bike, for my winter project. I dig on springers, but know very little about them and there is an incredible amount to know if you want to be dangerous at a swap meet or just not be an ignorant tool.
My buddy Chris is a very bright dude and more of a walking Harley encyclopedia than he’ll ever admit, so I hit him up for a little info. Turns out there are hundreds of variations of these front ends from motor sizes, to bike models to the year which lead to different rocker locations, zerk positioning, fender mounting and length among other things. Digging around on the internet I’ve been unable to find a comprehensive history of Harley springer front ends so I’m going to compile one here. It’ll take a while and many cases a beer, but I’ll treat it like work-in-progress; I’ll make a page with info and constantly add to it as I gain more knowledge from readers and sources.
For starters, I’ll address the difference between an original springer (the popular 45 model) and it’s new, reproduction replacement. An original springer will have casting numbers on the front legs, facing forward, between the spring studs and the repops will not. The other distinguishing factor is that the rear legs are threaded up top for post style risers on the reproduction models, while the OEM ones are not.
Here’s a photo of some English approaches, which isn’t really relevant. I can picture a gentleman cruising cobblestone like a boss… spectacle on the eye, pipe in hand, cruisin’ two wheels and professing that pimpin’ ain’t easy even if your unpleasant vertical motion is suppressed through the employment of a spring operated suspension system.