August 2011 Readers’ Rides Winner

//August 2011 Readers’ Rides Winner

August 2011 Readers’ Rides Winner

Editor’s Note:  We’ve got some really good news for this month’s Readers’ Ride winner — as well as all future winners of this friendly competition. In addition to all the incredible notoriety and prestige you gain, we’re giving each winner a one-year membership in the J&P Gold Club.

Don’t have an award-winning ride? You can still join the club anytime you want, and here’s what you get when you do: Up to ten percent savings on discountable parts every day; up to 15 percent on sale days; a $15 coupon; free ground shipping on orders over $99.99; the ability to earn member points; and a free J&P Cycles tire pressure gauge. Some exclusions do apply so visit for more information.

Now let’s move on to this month’s winner. Our August ride is a 1974 Harley-Davidson XLCH belonging to Ray Rusaw of Juneau, Alaska. I usually write a little intro here but in this case, I can’t top what Ray has to say about the bike himself.  So, take it away, Ray!

I’m a Body Man, Captain Kirk, Not a Wrencher!

Hi J&P! Wow! And thanks for your interest. I could talk about this bike forever and not get tired. Almost every piece on this bike was bought from J&P. I always told myself that as soon as my youngest son graduated from high school, I would start building my very own chopper. Sure enough, a rare deal fell into my hands in 2005 and the build began. I have been in the auto body industry almost all my life and so was my father.  There are so many custom features that I made.

On the front forks, I did the twisting and layout, but I will admit that I had a professional welding shop here in Juneau do the welding. My brother, who was working at a machine shop in Wrangell, completely redid the head set that was one inch down to 3/4 inch with custom-built Timken bearing seats.

The frame had a crack just at the front tank mount, so I got some 3/16-inch plate and built some scalloped gussets. While I was scalloping, I built the rear foot-peg mounts.

Then I had a great big spot on my frame that needed decorating. I didn’t have any foot pegs yet, so I took some 1/4-inch plate and carved out six identical H-D bar and shields, then some 1/16-inch plate for the checkered flags.

My dad always bragged to me that when he built his chopper, he only used a thimble full of Bondo since his metal work was so good. Well, I decided to one up him and built a large enough powder-coat oven at my house and I finished off everything on the steel so that no Bondo appears on my chopper — anywhere!

As if this wasn’t good enough to suit my needs, I read about converting a Sportster to two front heads. Man, I’m here to tell you that is a major pain in the ass for a guy that isn’t all that good at mechanical work. I might be a great body man, but I suck as a wrench.

For those who might be interested, here are some of the highlights. 

1. I purchased two new jugs and pistons from J&P, but when I went to use the front head on the rear jug I discovered that I needed to heavily grind the fins since the push rods no longer lined up.

2. I found out that I needed a full new set of front rocker arms to put in my rear rocker boxes since there is an oil port for the exhaust valve to keep it cool.

3.  Next came the cams.  Man, I have had that cover off hundreds of times. You don’t have to change your cams, just retime them. I would suggest using factory stock since supposedly the lift and duration is all the same. I only say this because I currently have PB+ cams and I think they are affecting the performance. 

4. Now that you have your cams retimed, guess what? Your points are screwed! You’re going to have to grind out new plate-mounting holes. I would suggest that while your cam cover is off, go have new mounting holes welded and taped on the left and right sides of the opening. Forget the factory top and bottom holes. That will save you from grinding the new holes in the points plate and give you two bolting spots. I’m stuck with one bolt and no points cover, which means no riding in the rain for me.

Well, that’s kind of the long and the short of my XR1000 chopper. I really have to give a big shout out to the J&P tech dudes. They stuck by me the whole time and I would absolutely crap myself to see my bike in Readers’ Rides.

SPECIFICATIONS (supplied by Ray Rusaw)


  • Year: 1974
  • Make: Harley-Davidson
  • Model: XLCH 1000 Sportster


  • Year: 1974
  • Make: H-D
  • Model/Size: 1000cc
  • Cases: H-D
  • Flywheels: H-D
  • Cams: Andrews
  • Cylinders: J&P
  • Pistons: J&P
  • Pushrods: Andrews
  • Heads: Twin Front Heads by Sporty Specialties
  • Carb: Twin CV’s
  • Air Cleaner: Twin Kuryakyn Hyperchargers w/ Stinger Trap Doors
  • Exhaust: SR71 Tailgunner Blackbird — courtesy of my buddy Cal
  • Ignition: Points


  • Year: 1974
  • Make: H-D
  • Type: 4-Speed


  • Make: H-D
  • Model: XLCH
  • Clutch: Barnett


  • Year: 2006
  • Make: Paughco
  • Type: Rigid
  • Rake: Hell if I know!
  • Stretch: ’Til the bike sat right

Front Suspension

  • Type: Durfee
  • Triple Trees: Custom made by my brother at Freeman and Son
  • Fork Tubes: Twisted 3/4-inch key stock twisted by me and my buddy Oz
  • Lower Legs: Jigged and forged by me

Rear Suspension

  • Type: My ass

Front Wheel, Tire & Brakes

Rear Wheel, Tire & Brakes


  • Handlebars: Twisted 7/8-inch off of my buddy’s Honda 750 chopper
  • Grips: J&P
  • Mirror: J&P
  • Foot Controls: Custom made w/ brass toe pegs by Freeman & Sons
  • Pegs: Custom made by me
  • Fender: H-D
  • Gas Tank: Paughco
  • Oil Tank: J&P
  • Headlight: Stole this one from my brother’s bike
  • Taillight:  J&P, although my wife doesn’t care for it
  • Seat: This is an ongoing project that has been a pain in my ass and I’m still not happy with it


Editor’s Note: If you’ve got a beautiful bike you’re just dying for us to see, send us some pix and a description and we’ll go and get all judgmental on you. We’re also looking for readers who have some great video of their bikes. Just post your video to YouTube, then email the link to us at blogmemberservices [at] jpcycles [dot] com. We’ll handle it from there.

By |2015-04-15T14:16:45+00:00August 15th, 2011|Categories: News/Events Articles|Tags: , , |1 Comment

About the Author:

One Comment

  1. Ray Rusaw August 17, 2011 at 10:05 am

    This is so cool !! there has been so many hours put into building my bike and look here it is fetured in the largest motercycle parts people in the USA. So many people have asked me Why would you do that to the engine well !! A sportster has a history of racing, And as I built a Chopper that will never be a race bike I had to give it the look of a sportster that just won the checkered Flag. I really need to give a huge shout out to my best friend and wrenching buddie Craig Orsborne AKA OZ who more than once told me- Ray just turn it back to the stock set up, but we stayed the corse and it now breaths fire. SigneD Ray Rusaw Juneau Alaska

Comments are closed.