Last issue, we told you the story of how the M8FXR project came to be and the amount of work it took to put a 2018 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine and transmission into a 1993 Harley-Davidson FXR police-model frame. And let’s just say getting that driveline into a 24-year-old frame wasn’t a vacation to Legoland. But thanks to Justin Coleman, of Torch Industries, and Big Chris at FXR Division, Danny Wilson, aka Motor Witch, and I beat all odds, and the team got the job done. Now it’s time to get this project the performance suspension and righteous rolling stock it deserves.
This bike is going to be fast. We can’t really tell you all of the details of just how fast it will be until we get the performance parts in it and roll it on the dyno, but we can tell you that it will have a fire-breathing powerplant like you have never seen once this machine is up and running.
With that said, we reached out to Race Tech for some real-deal suspension. After consulting the 30-plus-year suspension guru, world record holder, and owner of Race Tech, Paul Thede, we decided on using Race Tech’s G6 front end and G3-S rear shocks with remote reservoirs.
Sure, we had the choice of running literally any manufacturer of performance suspension the world over, and we chose Race Tech for this build. Why, you ask? They are made in the United States by a small group of die-hard riders, racers, and craftsmen. Another fact is that Race Tech is a built-to-order suspension company, meaning it has no pre-set off-the-shelf shocks in stock. Each G6 front end and G3-S set of rear shocks are built exactly to the individual rider’s weight, style of riding, and overall intended usage. Other aspects, such as percentage of time the bike will be loaded with gear or with a riding partner, also are taken into account. Of course, the weight of the bike, as well as that of the rider, are other very important parameters the engineers use to make this truly custom suspension just for you.
When filling out the suspension order form from Race Tech, we hit a major roadblock while going over the “extended and collapsed” swingarm measurement questions. These two factors are very important data for making the rear suspension work correctly. The bike originally had an aftermarket aluminum swingarm from C&S Customs that, once we measured, we learned wasn’t going to work. This was not because of any sort of quality or design issues from C&S. The problem lay in the fact that the swingarm was designed for a stock FXR and the bottom of the C&S unit came in contact with the Milwaukee-Eight transmission oil pan, which severely limited the full potential of the M8FXR’s suspension travel.
I then contacted Brock Davidson at Brock’s Performance. He, of course, had what we needed in the form of a Brock’s West Coast bagger swingarm. This piece of welded and machined art is made for late-model performance-style bagger builds, so it possessed much better clearance. This style of swingarm allowed us to use 14.5-inch shocks.
With the rear-suspension dilemma figured out, we then installed a set of Speed Merchant triple trees to the front of the FXR frame and installed the Race Tech G6 legs onto the bike.
Then, we got busy installing a set of Continental’s new Conti Tour performance tires on a set of Jade Affiliated wheels. The Conti Tour tires have been specifically designed for V-twin bikes, and feature a reinforced casing and a specially formulated compound for big bikes.
Jade Affiliated is a new company out of Anaheim, California. It carved us up a set of custom-designed 16- and 19-inch 13-spoke billet aluminum wheels and powdercoated them matte black for a sinister look.
Since this is a real-deal performance build with a high-powered motor, we had to go with some serious braking power. After looking at our choices, we chose Beringer Brakes. The French manufacturer has been an authority on braking for more than 30 years. Starting with motorcycle brake rotors back in the 1980s, the company now makes brake rotors and calipers for all types of two- and four-wheeled vehicles, including World Rally, MotoGP, and Formula 1.
We went with a radial caliper design over the standard axial calipers like the ones the bike came with. Sure, radial calipers look cool, but the design has major benefits as well. On a radial caliper, the mounting bolts are 90 degrees to the wheel axle. This means the radial-style caliper doesn’t rotate around the axle like an axial caliper does. A radial caliper’s design also distributes kinetic energy under braking along the same axis as the rotating wheel. This all but eliminates any torsional flex, which translates into some superior braking. We also went with a full set of Beringer’s stainless-steel Aeronal floating rotors to complete the big and badass braking system.
Once all of this was done, the M8FXR was officially in roller status, and it’s now ready for a wild mix of bars, risers, controls, and sheet metal to be installed next. Stay tuned!