We use cookies for analytics, advertising and to improve our site. To find out more see our privacy policy.
Home
>
Shop
>
News and Specials
>
Bike Features
>
Introducing: The Leafspring-Forked Knucklehead
IF YOU LEAF ME NOW.

Introducing: The Leafspring-Forked Knucklehead

W&W CYCLES has always been about resurrecting and riding as fast as possible ancient Harley-Davidson machinery. A few of the dudes here have owned and ridden springer forks of all types. We even tried using ancient Indian springers on a 74 frame. Which proved to be less than satisfactory, as far as ride stability was concerned. The Harley and Indian frame geometries just don’t match up. So we decided to have our own forks exclusively built, combining interesting looks with state of the art geometry. The maker is situated in Italy; when they aren’t making our forks those guys are building replica frames for classic European bikes, which means they know what they’re doing.

The first prototype of the forks was tested under severe conditions. We had it on our rigid framed "Wrecking Crew" (which is a kind of W&W SpecOps) Shovelhead, and ran it in icy Finland, on a Canadian ice road and on Florida’s sandy beaches (big deal!).

The next step was to build a chopper using as many of the way cool products that live in our catalog and warehouse. Apart from the forks we used a 7Metal West fender and oil tank. The frame is OEM; this is the only way to get a legal vintage registration in Europe. Engine used is a S&S Knucklehead.

Most of the remainig parts come from small or medium sized fabricators in Europe, Japan, or the U.S. of A.: Baker N1 4-Speed K-Tech Handcontrols, Fork Air cleaner and exhaust guards, our own chain guard, race gas tanks, oil cooler/filter and experimental mid controls were used by our head wrencher, Paul.

Based on the experiences made with the two bikes, the production of the "Cannonball" springer was launched.

By now the forks have a German TÜV certificate, which makes us offer them with confidence and pride to riders who are looking for something different.

Parts used in the build:

Cannonball Leaf Spring Forks
Cannonball Leaf Spring Forks
The retro custom bike builder scene sometimes likes to experiment with parts of different brands on the same bike project. For example Indian parts are installed on Harleys and vice versa, with often astonishing results. Among the most positive mergings was the combination of an Indian leaf-spring fork with an H-D Big Twin rigid frame. This type of fork was used by the Wigwam in the 1910 to 1945 period which proves that this was a very successful suspension principle with excellent driving chracteristics.
Of course, the stock item doesn´t fit a Harley frame without major alterations, so W&W decided to produce its own version which allows such an installation without many difficulties. But, of course, not another quick and dirty copy with ugly welding seams and wrong rocker geometry. The Cannonball fork is a professionaly made part with a design as close as possible to its original pattern, manufactured by expert craftsmen in Italy. The first complete prototype was rigorously tested during W&W’s winter tour in Northern Canada and after that sent to the German TUV for a certificate of stability (included). Both tests were passed without any flaws. After that production started.
All test rides were performed with a rigid frame, 30° neck chassis, with which both handling and braking characteristics proved well balanced and stable.
The Cannonball leaf spring fork features a fork stem with two Ø1” bearing seats for the use of 1949-up Timken bearings and leg tops to accept the 36-up Springer handlebars (inline). A horizontal bracket to mount the headlamp is also there. The fork is wide enough to accept disc brake or drum brake systems. Rockers are drilled for 17 mm axles but can be enlarged to 19 mm. Neither axle, spacers nor brake are included and must be purchased or fabricated separately. Each fork is shipped preassembled to insure proper function and fitment, however, all components are bare and require painting or plating.
more …
S&S KN-Series Engines
S&S KN-Series Engines
Knucklehead - the name describes a true legend and this engine design is without a doubt one of the important milestones in the history of Harley-Davidson. Introduced in the year 1936 the ohv-engined models in short time became synonyms for sporting, fast and reliable touring machines. Economically this layout proved to be a huge success for the Motor Company, too, because brand followers - and many others - quickly realized the outstanding qualities of this motorcycle. Design and technology of the Knucklehead turned out to be supremely sound and it became the prototype of all Milwaukee Big Twins, which significantly influenced all successive model groups down to the present day. The KN-Series engines by S&S closely resemble the appearance of a stock Knucklehead engine. However, numerous reforms enhance power, engine life, and reliability. The main improvement in design is the 1958-65 style flywheel assembly, which uses a splined sprocket shaft and a Timken sprocket shaft bearing on the drive side. This increased flywheel stability and strenght became necessary to handle the significantly increased power development. The rocker arm cover “tins” are another modern improvement. They are made from die-cast aluminum, and instead of being held in place by the valve guide, they are held down by valve spring pressure. A special gasket on the bottom of the lower “tin” provides a positive seal, and is much easier to service if needed, since the valve guides do not have to be pressed.
The selection includes 74” (1200 cc) and 93” (1560 cc) engines with crankcases for early style chassis thru 1947, with 1955-64 tin primary and 1936-64 transmissions.
S&S KN-Series engines come completely assembled and ready to run with a electronic S&S Super Stock ignition system and Super E carburetor.
more …