Intro and Question

Production K Models

Re: Intro and Question

Postby Hammie13 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:35 am

I started out to build a K bobber last year,I found most of a '52 motor and collected the rest. Then,in a flash of brilliance,I decided to find a '54 left case so I would have the "trapdoor" trans. I now have,3 sets of KH cases,3 sets of lungs,6 sets of heads,and 3 K left cases. This all started with a top motor mount and a desire to build a K chop/bob in honor of a lost friend,who left me the motor mount among his FL parts stash. Be very careful,it's a DISEASE! Once you enter this realm,you lose your mind and soul,so unless your willing to face this demon,get an overhead and be blissfully ignorant of the dreaded K Model fever. My 2 cents on the matter. Good luck! Mike
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Re: Intro and Question

Postby EKHKHK56 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:57 am

Hi Z n all! A 52K is a beautiful rare Motorcycle. Webster's Dictionary and Encyclopedias used to show one as a reference for 'Motorcycle'! However most are a mix match of parts these days 'as found'. The price sounds good. Best thing would be to post photos so it can be scrutinized by our top secret identification team. Early Ks were often stripped for dirt or competition riding, blown up or wrecked. Complete survivors are rare. #1 Original or Restored 52Ks are valued at $25K by NADAguides. I have watched this value escalate from $5K in 1990 when I started buying every K part I could. Often these days you may see a 52K for sale that is actually a Sportster with K engine, or a hodge podge of parts assembled. For collectors the early Ks are desired, for out and out riders the 55 and newer Ks, XLs are easier to maintain and quite a bit stronger in many ways than early ones. Stronger cases, transmissions, frame, wheels, etc. Also grabbing a handfull of a 55" KH stroker is way more of a thrill than a std K. Much better handling especially 56 and newer. So pictures needed! Engine #s (vin) on unmolested pad, matching Belly #s, cases Blown and Welded? Often not done so well...hard to see inside. If speedo drive hole welded over or repaired inside you may not be able to run the stock speedo without a lot of work. Important for restorations. General detailed photos of entire motorcycle needed for any true opinion on value. Running and shifting correctly are top questions for any such bike/project. It sounds like a good deal but what is it?? Peace and Good Luck to all! Erik 'K'
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Re: Intro and Question

Postby hennesse » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:12 am

I have to agree with Doc. If you're new to the world of antique motorcycles, a 900cc Sportster will be a lot easier to own, fix, and find parts for. Ask your local independent motorcycle shop if they will work on an early Sportster. Then ask them if they will work on a K-model. Then ask them if they've actually worked on a K before.

The Sportster will be like owning a '32 Ford. The K will be like owning a '32 Chevy. They're really not all that different, but 32 Chevy parts are a LOT harder to come by. And the K's and KH's have a lot of 1-year-only and 0.5-year-only parts.

The Sportsters definitely go faster. The K's excel in coolness factor.

Why decide? Do what I did - get one of each!
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Re: Intro and Question

Postby EKHKHK56 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:50 am

Mike, you could not of said it better...In 1990 I started with a part basket 52K and part basket 56KHK. Now I have a 56KHK in pieces after taking it apart for the third time after accidently locating the correct 56 only frame. I have about 15 K baskets now. The K FEVER which is well documented even by medical experts had set in ten years before when I married a Gal with a 55KHK rat chopper. I rode it everwhere, all the time, even down to -20F. We split, she left and took it with..however the K Fever remained. That first pickup load of parts should have been a warning. Over 100 people looked it over and thought be nice but a long way to go before you would have an actual motorcycle. I didnt have the money, but knew he was selling out in three months so still broke, I called him with an offer two weeks before he had to leave. Yep, still got it he says, and took my offer. Than I had to hurry up and raise The $$!! This started a trend that lasted for 25 years! Find Ks, and parts, buy them by begging, borrowing or stealing and repeat. Not really but you get It...There were actually many times when I didnt eat, bills piled up and or got eviction notices or evicted feeding the fever. That first parts stash had some good K parts but was 90% junk, used, broken, worn out, parts of all types, including the few Chevy parts that often accompanied the H-D ones in these stashes. It had a Nice Old Bike Journal centerfold of a Rio Blue 52K. Ahh this is what I will have someday! Wrong. 25 years later I have around 15 basket cases, one Chopper thing, and no K put together like I want. After years of collecting parts I built a 61.5" BigK for a fellow and spent a year doing it. Burnout set in and everything stopped and went into storage containers when I downsized my shop in 2005. My Dad passed right than, and I locked everything K up in the containers in my yard and there everything sat until Jerry R contacted me last year with an offer to join the K XL 'list'. NOW the fever is back, so going to keep on attempting to build my 56KHK for the final time. One thing, careful what you wish for, a Rio Blue 52K all stock, barn fresh from 1973 when the transmission broke and it was chained to a tree for 40 years. His daughters liquidated 150 vehicles when he passed but had no home for his beloved K. They found me through the local H-D Dealer, they took my offer and once again I bought it on a handshake, than scrambled once again to find The $$ as I was late on rent again, etc. Some things change but beware, the all encompassing K Fever is a lifetime iillness treatable only by years of wanting that K and finally having it...a nice running Sportster is known to help as a placebo however, and more readily available.
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