Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Morthodites-"Non Factory" Early 45 four speed.

Early 45 four speed.

Built something weird, one-off or want to? Ask or tell us about it here.
Post Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:12 pm

Posts: 492
Location: Six miles East of Cheney, Wa.
I posted this pic on another thread, kind of off topic, so I thought I'd post it here and give a little more detail and background. This is the only surviving picture of the bike, and as you can see some of the bike is not in the picture. Excuse the background clutter. Also, "gun safety" wasn't my top priority in those days.

I built this in 1974 I believe. I wasn't happy with the short wheel base of the 45, or the 3-speed transmission, but at the time I had a friend that was just getting into building frames. So, he built me a double down tube frame which would take a big twin four speed, and the 45 engine.

Once the frame was built, we started at the rear of the bike, put on the rear wheel, then mounted the tranny, lining up the sprockets by eye. Then we mounted the engine, and lined the motor sprocket up with the clutch hub, again by eye. We used square tubing to mount the engine, I don't remember how we mounted the trans. I believe the frame was a little longer than a knuckle/pan frame, which is what I wanted.

There was no cross tube for the brakes, so I used a cable, and it worked fine. The front end I had, was I believe a VL. Had a guy hack it up and extend it quite a bit. Sure wish I could jump in the time machine, go back, and NOT do that!! Rake was adjusted to let the bike sit pretty level with the extended VL front end.

Used a hand clutch, and made a heel-toe shifter, and that worked pretty good with a little practice. Hadn't fallen in love with the foot clutch yet. I remember that I had a machine shop bore the center out of a splined big twin motor sprocket, and then make a tapered center to fit on the 45 engine. Later I looked at a knuck sprocket, and decided I had just duplicated a....knuck sprocket. But perhaps the offsets were different. ??

The bike worked great, tracked great...sure had plenty of wheelbase! I put a lot of miles on it before it got stolen. The engine was completely stock, and I never felt a lack of power. The bike weighed in at 490 pounds wet. Even going up long hills it pulled fine, even with two-up, although my girlfriend, now my wife, only weighed in at 85 pounds soaking wet, and I probably only weighed around 160 at that time. Anyhow...loved the bike.

As an aside, I bought the bike from the Harley dealer, and it turned out to be a stolen bike. State patrol put new numbers on it and gave it back, but I never could get a title for it. They did give me registration, and would sell me tags.

So there you have it, possibly the first four-speed 45? Know of any done before 1974?


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