Side Stand

Broken Side Stand (1977)

by Paul Rako
My 1977 Sportster started having side stand problems 10 years ago.  I remember the bracket splitting and having to have it welded back to the frame.  I good tip-- on kick-start Sportsters you can just kick the kick starter down and lean the bike over the other way on the kickstarter.  A year ago the original frame bracket just gave way and did this.  I cut it off with an angle grinder.  I then sawed up a junk frame to get a good bracket that I could weld on my frame.  I welded it once.  It lasted a week.  I welded it again.  It lasted 3 seconds.  I  plopped the bike on it's side and welded it again.  I guessed the angle wrong so the bike would tip over.  I took a torch to the side stand and bent it so the bike would be stable.  A real wino play.  I should have cut the bracket off and started over. 
At least my welding had improved.  This time it lasted six months before the bracket broke off again.  I was almost happy-- the bent side stand was so wino I was glad I would have another chance to fix it better.  If this side of the bike looks a little strange don't worry, it is a little strange.  My 1977 has a 1995 primary cover with the starter pocket cut off and welded up.  I run a 57 to 66 dry clutch setup with a custom lever and I welded a foot peg mount on the 77 frame so I can run the 76 and earlier foot pegs instead of the engine mounted foot pegs.  I run a 73 and earlier right-side shifter on the cut down shifter shaft.
Pathetic.  Not just the out of focus picture.  There were just two small places where the weld actually penetrated and held.  It's amazing the weld held at all.  Why all this problem with the side stand?  Well for one this bike is and XLCH kick start only model. For two it was my only transportation for five years and my primary ride for ten.  And then a lot of the side stand problems were caused by the front wheel.  Don't laugh.  Always look for causality elsewhere in a Harley, not at the thing that breaks.  Someone had put a 21 inch front tire in the bike (as well as a 16 inch rear).  The front raised the frame from the design position and caused it to lean more on the kickstand.  The 16 inch rear rubbed the taillight wiring raw and blew generators and regulators for two years before I figured it out.  I don't have side stand and generator problems on this bike.  I have customization problems.  Think hard about this. 
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