HHI’s Builder’s Kit includes everything a person might need to add the correct rake to an
Super wide rear tires mounted on choppers were popular six years ago. Now, tall front wheels on baggers is the modification du jour. Sure, they’re not for everyone, but a 21-inch wheel on a bagger used to be uncommon, but now a person would have to be walking around with his/her eyes closed in order to miss the 23-, 26-, and 30-inch front wheel equipped bikes at any show across the nation.
And now, just as then, there is a right way and a wrong way to make big wheels of any dimension look right and function on everyday riders in real world applications. According to Hawg Halters Inc. (HHI), geometry and testing were the main items that went into creating its neck rake kits ($1,190) that are specifically designed to modify a stock FL frame for a 23-, 26-, or 30-inch wheel the correct way. They have a weld-on replacement neck section for all FL framed bagger and/or touring models—and it doesn’t require removing the drivetrain! Chopping off the original neck and replacing it with HHI’s neck changes the rake angle in order to create the correct geometry when used in conjunction with its raked triple trees. Options for its rake-adders (sounds like a garden snake—haha) include the neck section by itself or as a “Builder’s Kit” with the correct raked triple trees for the wheel size specified, along with a template for cutting the neck, necessary hardware, and steering neck bearings.
In our frequent visits to Freedom Cycles, located in Orange, California, we received word from Devin, the shop’s owner, about how he was working on a 2009 Electra Glide and in the process of converting it into a Road Glide. During the course of the conversion, the owner of the bike decided he wanted to add a 26-inch front wheel, and therefore had the perfect bike for HHI’s neck rake Builder’s Kit. With about two dozen big wheel bagger conversions raging in size from 21 to 30 inches under the shop’s collective belt, Freedom was the ideal location for the project, and it had the neck chopped and the HHI replacement welded in place in just a few days.
1. The original rake of the neck: 28 degrees
2. Also included in the kit is a template designed to line up the area to be cut.
3. Devin placed the template on the side of the neck and lined up the holes in the template with the mounting holes for the fairing and marked the cut line with blue masking tape.
4. A cut-off wheel mounted on an angle grinder and a pneumatic cut-off wheel were used to chop off the neck.
5. The stock neck was off the frame in a matter of minutes.
6. No corners are cut at Freedom Cycles, just frame necks. The sharp edges that were created by cutting off the neck were smoothed down and readied for welding.
7. Here’s a close-up of the neck after the finished cuts.
8. The raw steel neck piece built specifically for a 26-inch wheel as it sent from HHI.
9. HHI’s replacement neck is a tight fit on the frame, and that’s a good thing. It had to be lightly tapped onto the frame with a rubber mallet to check how it was going to fit the frame’s backbone.
10. Once it was fit onto the frame, the replacement neck overlapped the front tank mount bolt hole welds. As with most custom applications, the replacement neck had to be slightly modified before it could be permanently connected to the frame.
11. The area below the red line was to be removed. It was a small piece, but it could have made the difference between a strong and weak weld.