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BOTM Winner, March 2015
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Discussion Starter #1
It's been a while since I've done any fabrication work on the bike... and I haven't really been happy with the front end appearance, so I've decided to go with a 23" heavy spoked rim and street sweeper style fender on the front just for fun. There definitely will be some machining involved, the list of obvious needs are as follows:

1) Fabricate a new 1" diameter axle for the Harley bearings. (Vulcans are 20mm)
2) Fabricate new wheel spacers to center the wheel between forks.
3) Adapt Vulcan brake disc to Harley disc bolt pattern.
4) Fabricate new fender mounts.
5) Fabricate standoffs to relocate the brake caliper.

I'll cover all of this in this post as I move forward... once I get the bike in the stand and the wheel mounted in a mock up fashion I'll better be able to tell if I have to make any fork rake or suspension adjustments. I'm fortunate to have a background in mechanical engineering and a very talented machinist for a brother to assist me in this project. I carried the wheel and fender into the driveway earlier (I haven't gotten the tire mounted yet...) and just sat them beside the bike for a quick sneak peak, and to motivate me to get this party started. Stay tuned...

 

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I am excited to see how this comes out. I went through something similar last summer when I put a VN800 21" spoked wheel on my custom. I played around with the idea of using a Harley front wheel but instead went with the 800 wheel just so I wouldn't have to mess with the brake disk/caliper situation. I ended up having to put VN900 wheel bearings in my VN800 wheel so it would fit the axle. I have always like the oversize wheels on beggars.
 

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BOTM Winner, March 2015
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
This project ran into delays when I ordered a 23" wheel and tire, but received a 26" wheel and 23" tire... so I opted to go with the 26" wheel and exchange the tire. THEN the shop I chose to mount the tire decided to randomly close for two weeks without notice, all the while my wheel and tire being locked up inside. :mad: I just got it back today... Fortunately before I took the tire to the shop to get mounted, I measured and drew up the wheel bushing adapters for my brother to machine for me. I decided that it was far less machining and less time consuming to just make wheel spacers and bushings to adapt the 1" Harley bearing to the 20mm Kawasaki axle. Really the only thing preventing this from being a completely bolt on installation (that I could market kits for) is the fact that the brake caliper mounts have to be machined down to move the caliper center outward toward the fork about 1/2". Everything is going as planned so far... I'm just going to finish the build before posting any kind of tutorial, that way I avoid posting anything I may have to make retractions on during the course of discovery during the build. My bike is completely in pieces at the moment because I'm repainting the bike and powder coating a lot of chromed components. Stay tuned... more to come!:peace:

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Bald Marine:
I am about to turn my 900 Custom into a Bagger as well. Swept & extended bags, fender, and a front fairing. I wanted to see about a big wheel too but was concerned about altering the trail and rake. Have you taken a look at that with the 26" wheel that you are putting on?
 

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BOTM Winner, March 2015
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Discussion Starter #5
Bald Marine:
I am about to turn my 900 Custom into a Bagger as well. Swept & extended bags, fender, and a front fairing. I wanted to see about a big wheel too but was concerned about altering the trail and rake. Have you taken a look at that with the 26" wheel that you are putting on?
Jorge, good question. Surprisingly even though a 26" wheel sounds massive compared to a 21" wheel... the geometries don't change that drastically. The 2007 VN900 Custom factory rake and trail specification is 33 degrees of rake and 6.3" of trail. (That's a lot of trail for a factory bike... typical trail is 3" to 4-1/2" on most cruisers.) The Vulcan's also have a positive fork offset (where the forks are positioned forward of the steering stem) of nearly 2". I drew up both the 21" wheel and the 26" wheel geometries in AutoCAD accounting for final tire size diameters and posted the specs below. With a combination of slightly lowering the front, and raising the rear, I will maintain the 33 degrees of rake, while increasing the trail to 7.6" due to the larger diameter. Coincidentally... if you look up the trail of a 2017 VN900 Custom... it's 7.3", this bike will only have a trail .3" longer than the current model year. The ride height increase in the front from the larger wheel is a fraction more than 2" over factory height. One item of note is that the fork travel clearance is reduced to about 3"... for me this isn't a problem as I only ride this bike to shows and light use, if I were to use this as a daily driver, I would most likely cut off and extend the neck of the frame at the steering stem by 3" to regain travel. (That's a tedious task that isn't recommended to the home DIYer and their Harbor Freight welder...we'll save that for another day.) If you want to go "big" and daily drive without neck alterations... go with a 23" wheel, in my humble opinion. Hope this helps...
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Bald Marine:
This helps out a lot. I will take your AutoCAD drawings over my tape measure as my measurements of the fork tube and steering head was about 1 1/2 inches instead of your 2. Not too much of a difference anyways. My shop manual shows my 2009 VN900C with a rake of 33 deg but a trail of 7.09 inches which is a lot as you said and I'd like to get it down to about 6" but may not be able to without sever machining. I am hoping not to break out the plasma torch and welder. I forgot about the fork travel so I will need to compensate for that, but maybe an extended fork tube may work instead of changing the neck mount on the frame. I don't have access to a machine shop, so if you plan on building bushings to go from 20mm to the 1" HD version let me know what the cost would be for an 'extra' set. Keep up the great work and keep us posted on the results.
 

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Marine:
Any update to your progress yet? I know you stated that you were going to complete the project first and then post, but inquiring minds want to know. Hope that it's going well.
 
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