Paughco Springer Install On the Funky Panhead

Article By: Bandit

Photos By: Wrench

Originally Published In the June- July 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine


I spent a lot of money and time rebuilding an old 41mm wide glide for my 1969 Panhead. It was one of those crazy builds, fulla twists and turns, but the glide haunted me. Then I got a call from the masterminds at Paughco. They recently developed a new springer configuration because so many overseas manufacturers stole their classic, flat side design. They came up with a round-leg springer sort of in keeping with the early springers, before the VL or the Big Twin tapered-leg springers. These front ends are meant to be ridden long and hard.

They also make a stock length front end and a 3-over in this configuration, which I is what I chose. I requested the front end without chrome or powder because of my patina effort. I painted the bare parts with a light coat of Rust-oleum primer and then a coat or two of Rust-oleum satin black.

Paughco designed a new top tree to allow their risers to be installed in the rear legs with 1/2-fine thread studs or bolt common risers to the 3.5-inch center-to-center glide-like holes. I decided to go with the rear legs mounting and cut the heads off ½-inch fine stainless bolts to make studs.

I screwed 1-inch of the studs into the rear legs and had an inch for the Paughco classic brass risers. I used stud-green Loctite in the legs and ran a nut down to hold them firmly into place overnight. I removed the nut  when I installed the brass risers.

I installed the bottom bearing over the small dust shield against the bottom tree. I found a piece of thick 1/8-inch wall, 1.25 O.D. tubing, and used it as a tool to drive the Timken bearing over the raised bearing surface on the solid neck stem. I also fed as much grease into the bearing as possible. For some odd reason, I had to clearance the dust shields to make them fit over the solid Paughco stem.

Okay, so I slipped the neck shaft with the lower greased bearing into place against the greased race in the neck cup and spun on the crown nut against the top bearing

and upper dust shield after it was clearance. Here’s another benefit of classic Paughco construction. A lot of frontend manufacturers dodge using a threaded nut between the top tree and the neck bearing.

It comes in so handy while installing a front end. It holds it in place to allow you to position the top tree comfortably. It also allows you to adjust the bearing tension. Then you can install the top tree and the top nut and tightened the hell out of it without messing with your bearing adjustment.

The Paughco front end comes with the rockers mounted and in place. No adjustment is necessary. They are lubed and ready to rock.

I removed the solid brass, 4-inch Paughco dogbone risers from my old stainless-steel bars, and was careful to install them on the stainless studs watching for the studs to turn or not. I tightened them down and adjusted the rubber-mounted dogbone to align with the bars. Then I installed the bars once more.

Steve Massicotte from Paughco recommended a left ‘88- ‘99 singlepiston H-D Softail caliper on an 11.5- inch rotor with a 2-inch center hole to fit a pre-’99 Harley hub. I am working with Black Bike Wheels on a spoked wheel set up to run the disc Steve recommended.

I mounted a temporary Dyna Mag wheel for a test ride. We’re getting close, but I had to take it out on the road and see how it handled with the sprung seat.

Okay, so this puppy hasn’t run in a couple of months but fired right to life. I maneuvered around the shop and into the street for a test run. The turning radius was way better, and it blasted around the rough roads without an issue. What an amazing difference in ride and handling.

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