This tech tip is specifically for helping when installing a 1982-2003 Harley Sportster Hardtail Frame, though the same idea could potentially be used on different frames as well.

This is an alternative method to measuring and marking your stock Sportster frame, as shown in the How-To Sportster Hardtail Install Instructions. You can also watch our Sportster Hardtail Install Video here. Check out our Harley Sportster Hardtail and see why it is the best one out there!

Its easier if you fully strip your bike down to the bare frame. Gather a plate of steel, 3 sticks of steel, (tube, rod, rebar or all-thread), 4 nuts / bolts, a drill, a grinder, a cut-off wheel, a round file, masking tape and a welder or, know an excellent welder.

Grab a piece of cardboard, push it up to the mount surface of the hardtail and stab a screwdriver through all 4 holes. Use this template to create and drill your steel mount plate. Use your nuts / bolts to mount the plate to your hardtail. Make sure its centered and tight.

Next, make sure your 3 steel rods are long enough. Grind one end of each at an angled point. Make sure the pointed end is pointing at the end of the frame tube, not the plug. Holding the tip to the frame, weld the rod to the base plate.

Remove the Jig from your hardtail and bolt it to your stock frame. Use some tape to wrap around your 3 frame tubes. Once all tubes are taped, remove the jig and cut your stock frame. Smile and take pictures!

Now, clean up the inside tubes with a file. Test fit each hardtail plug into the frame tubes it will go into. Bevel the stock frame tubes for an excellent weld. Drill holes in the stock frame to plug weld. You may need to squeeze or spread the lower legs to line up your hardtail. Push your hardtail into your frame. You can use a 2x4 and a hammer for encouragement if needed. Never strike the frame with the hammer directly.

Lay your engine on its side, lower the frame over it and bolt it all up tight. Stand the frame up and begin welding. Make sure all frame welds are pro! Plug weld the holes and joints you can reach. Remove the engine to finish weld. Congrats on your new hardtail!

Download a PDF of this Lowbrow Learnin' by Cycle Monster by clicking here!

A version of this article was first published on Lowbrow Learnins: How-To Make A Hardtail Cut Jig for Harley Sportsters.

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Commented on 7-19-2020 At 03:56 pm

Awesome write up

Commented on 8-12-2020 At 07:46 am

Transfer punch sets are cheap and much more accurate than a screwdriver. They're great to have around the shop for transferring bolt holes from one part to another. Cheap is fine as they're marking tools. You can also use a scrap bolt (the closer it fits in yer hole the better) ground to a point to make a punch to fit any hole. Random example shows how to grind the end accurately:

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