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Everything you need to know about installing a Springer on a Harley-Davidson

Springers Simplified

by Throttle Addiction

When it comes to customizing your Harley-Davidson, upgrading the front end with a Springer fork can be a game-changer. This classic design not only enhances the bike's aesthetic appeal but also provides a classic riding experience. In this article, we'll delve into everything you need to know about replacing your Harley's stock front end with a Springer.

We'll go over what springers will fit on your motorcycle, and all the different parts and pieces that go into running a springer on your bike.

Do I want an OEM replacement springer or will I be using a springer on a chopper or bobber?

When deciding between an OEM replacement Springer and a chopper or bobber-specific option, your choice ultimately hinges on your customization goals and intended bike style. If you're seeking a seamless, factory-like upgrade that adheres to Harley-Davidson's original specifications, an OEM replacement Springer is the ideal choice.

If you're leaning towards a chopper or bobber build, opting for a custom application Springer might be more suitable. Chopper springers are generally more cost-effective than ones that adhere to factory specs.

OEM REPLACEMENT Springer Options


-FLST: Black = SKU: 59133; Chrome = SKU: 54600

-FXST: Black=SKU: 59136


-SKU: 65248

Additional Parts for Harley-Davidson Softail Springers

Upgrade your Harley-Davidson Springer Softail front end with our extensive range of high-quality aftermarket parts. Explore the unparalleled performance and style enhancements offered by our selection of Springer risers, studs and top clamp handle bar adapters. Our aftermarket options are designed to elevate your riding experience, providing not only a sleek aesthetic but also improved handling and stability on the road. From precision-crafted risers to durable studs, each component is engineered to seamlessly integrate with your Springer Softail, ensuring a customized fit. Transform your bike into a true reflection of your unique style and preferences with our carefully curated collection of accessories for your Harley-Davidson Springer Softail.

Springers for Choppers and Bobbers - Standard or Vintage Style Springer front ends for custom applications

Explore our premium selection of Springer front ends tailored for choppers and bobbers, available in both standard and vintage styles. Our fitment guide encompasses a broad range, catering to 1957-2003 Sportsters, 1949-2017 Big Twins (most models), and 1952-1956 K Models. However, please note that these springers do not fit 2004-later Sportsters, Dynas, and FLT Touring models. Choose from an array of standard style options, including chrome, black and chrome, and black and copper, each featuring straightforward styling for a clean, no-frills look. Alternatively, opt for vintage style options in chrome, black and chrome, black and copper, or black and black, boasting classic details reminiscent of vintage Harley-Davidson springers. All styles are available in a variety of lengths, allowing you to customize your ride with ease. Elevate your motorcycle's aesthetics and performance with our high-quality Springer front ends designed for custom applications.

Our custom application springers fit: 

1957-2003 Sportsters

1949-2017 Big Twins (most models)

1952-1956 K Models

Our custom application springers WILL NOT FIT:

2004-later Sportsters


FLT Touring models

How to install a springer front end

Whether you're replacing a damaged springer front end, turning a big twin into a chopper, or you hardtailed a Sportster and want the classic springer look, the techniques shown in this video will help you get the job done. Seth will walk you through removing your bike's current front end, talk about some things to consider when purchasing a new springer, and show you how to install a brand new springer front end on your motorcycle.

How to choose the correct length for your springer

The lengths and measuring points on each springer is located on the individual product pages, and it's very important to measure properly and accurately before you break out your wallet and pull the trigger.

Everyone is excited to get their hands on such an important part of you bike build, but don't put the cart before the horse and end up with the wrong length. We suggest you have your wheels AND tires on hand, before purchasing your front end. Install your rear wheel, (with the tire mounted) then block up the bottom of your frame so its sits level or is raked to your liking. Then, we like to use a broom handle or piece of pipe to stick through the neck. Next, put your front wheel (with tire mounted) out where it intersects and take that measurement from the bottom of the neck to the center of your axle.

This will give you the most accurate measurement for your springer.

Its very important to remember that springer are measured in an uncompressed state, and once you put the weight of your bike on them, the springers will compress and drop down. So if you're in between, or even directly on a size, we suggest going up to the next increment.

Read more about how to install a springer and choosing length

By Throttle Addiction

Read More

Additional parts and pieces for Springers used in custom applications

Neck bearing kits

When installing a new springer on your Harley-Davidson, you are going to need a fresh set of neck bearings and races. This is because the lower bearing on the front end you are removing will not be able to be removed and reinstalled without damage. Not to mention they are most likely worn out anyway, and you might as well replace them. The bike you are installing the springer on will determine the set of bearings you will need.

Early Sportsters up until 1981 will need a neck cup conversion kit (SKU: 9030) to allow the use of a 1” stem springer. This is due to the smaller stem size that came on these Sportsters from the factory. Early Big Twin frames and most custom frames have removable neck cups. You can determine if you have removable cups by looking to see if your front end has a ½” chrome piece between the top and lower neck and triple tree. It is much simpler to replace the entire bearing cups than it is to remove and replace the races without damaging the cups.

Once the cups are removed replace them with new ones with races already installed and new bearings like the ones in our kit (SKU 9116). Later Big Twin frames as well as later Sportsters (1982-2003) have built-in bearing cups and will only require new bearings, races, and dust seals (SKU 9033).

Neck bearing kit for Big Twins - SKU: 9116

1952-1981 Sportster bearing conversion kit - SKU: 9030

1982-2003 Sportster - SKU: 9033

Brake Systems for Springer Front Ends

Brakes, who needs brakes! If you are like me and think front brakes are cool, then read on. Installing a front brake setup on your springer couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is grab yourself a caliper mounting bracket intended for our custom springer front ends, and one of our Mid USA calipers. These calipers are available in 2 piston or 4 piston as well as Black or Chrome. Caliper brackets are also available in Black and Chrome and are designed to work with 11.5” rotors.

Key factors in selecting Wheels, axles, and tires for custom springer applications

Our custom springers come with ¾” rockers installed, a ¾” axle and cut to length axle spacers. This makes it easy to slap on a ¾” bearing wheel and roll. If you are looking for a clean no frills front wheel option, a great choice is our 21” X 1.85” Chopper spool wheel (SKU 8090). If you want a front brake, we have options for that too. Snag one of our Black or Chrome 21” or 16” front wheels, Bolt on your rotor (SKU 98172) with a Colony hardware kit (SKU TBD) and you are golden.

Later Harley Big Twin and Sportster wheels switched from ¾” Timkin style wheel bearings, to ¾” sealed, to 1” sealed, and then again to 25MM sealed. These bearing changes occurred at different years for different models. ¾” bearings were run on Softails - 07, XL - 04, FXD -03 and FXR -07. 1” bearings where short lived. They’re found on Dynas 04-07 and XL 05-07. 25MM bearings are on Softail 08-, Dyna 08- and XL 08-.

If you are wanting to run your 1” or 25MM factory wheel, you will need to convert the springer ¾” rockers, axle and axle spacers to match your wheel.  We have parts for that! (SKU: 8084, 8170, 3548) As well as changing bearing sizes, in 2000 the inside diameter of rotors changed. Earlier rotors had a 2” ID, after 2000 they increased to 2 ¼”. In most cases it is easier and simpler to replace your wheel with one of our designated wheels (SKU: 68166, 68165, 68121, 68129, 68164, 8090, 51638, 51675) with the correct bearing size.

How to run handlebars on various kinds of Springer front ends

When choosing your handlebar setup for your custom springer, there are a couple key things to keep in mind. 

1. Riser mount spacing on a springer is 4.75” NOT the standard 3.5” that is found on Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide front ends. 

Because of this wider mounting spacing most standard Harley handlebars are too narrow to mount directly to the springer. This is especially true for bars with integrated risers such as T-bars and Rabbit ears. But don’t worry, if you are in love with your 3.5” spaced rabbit bars, we have a solution for you! Our Springer Top Clamp Handle Bar Adapter (SKU 9103) allows you to run these narrower bars. Another option is to run bars with a wider clamping area such as our Springer Apes. 

2. Risers on a springer mount with a bolt or stud that thread down into the springer leg. Risers on a Hydra-Glide front end mount with bolts coming from the bottom, through the triple tree and threading into the riser itself.

We offer a variety of riser setups designed specifically for springers. Top clamps with integrated risers such as our Hellings and Stelling setup, as well as springer specific risers. We also carry Flanders style post risers or dogbone style post risers. These risers are intended to be mounted with a bolt up through the bottom. However by installing our post riser top clamp (SKU 9131) and a set of riser mounting studs (SKU 3587) you are able to make it happen!