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Old 09-29-2008, 09:26 PM
Broken Leg Rider Broken Leg Rider is offline
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Default Ironhead - Shovelhead Which is it

Why call the 1000 cc Shovelhead Sportster an Ironhead? Been doing that myself but it is a Shovel after all - isn't it? Same shape heads as the bigger Shovel.
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:38 PM
Moon Wolf Moon Wolf is offline
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Nope, an Ironhead is not a Shovelhead. Period.
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:54 PM
wbogley wbogley is offline
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Nope, an Ironhead is not a Shovelhead. Period.
+1. A easy ways to tell. Shovels have the crossed push rods, Ironheads are paraell pushrods.
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:15 PM
Broken Leg Rider Broken Leg Rider is offline
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+1. A easy ways to tell. Shovels have the crossed push rods, Ironheads are paraell pushrods.
Yep. That's a clear difference. I guess it's the valve covers that look similar.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:25 AM
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Ironhead is sportster, transmission and engine in same case
Shovelhead is big twin, transmission and engine separate cases
Only common thing is that rocketbox looks same
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:48 AM
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I never heard Sportsters called Ironheads until the past few years. Back in the 70s and 80s, they were just called Sportsters.
I guess maybe when the Evos came out with their pot metal heads, someone came up with Ironhead for the older Sportsters.

The original Sportsters came out in 1957 , some years before the Shovelhead big twin. The BT was called a Shovelhead, some say because the heads shoveled the gas in better than the old Panheads, others say because that notched shape of the rocker boxes looked like the shape of a coal shovel viewed from the back or top or some such.

For some reason, in the UK they often seem to call Ironheads "Shovelhead Sportsters" I guess just because they share that same shaped rocker box. Always seems strange to me though. A shovel is a shovel is a big twin to me.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:43 AM
Moon Wolf Moon Wolf is offline
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It's just one of the ways ebay spreads misinformation. If one guy posts it that way on ebay, so does the next, and so on.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:42 PM
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It's just one of the ways ebay spreads misinformation. If one guy posts it that way on ebay, so does the next, and so on.
Better way to make a sale. Especially on a whole bike and not individual parts. If someone thinks they are getting a Shovelhead (which is a more common name than ironhead) Sportster compared to an Ironhead which one would sell quicker.
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:26 PM
sqdealgeorge sqdealgeorge is offline
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How about pre EVO sportsters had cast iron heads All shovels were aluminum!!!!!
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:00 AM
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They were always just Sportster. Then the EVO arrived.
They are called Ironheads, because they have, you guessed it, cast iron heads, vs aluminum
Has nothing to do with EBAY.
Flats, Knucks, Pans, Shovels, Blocks, Twinkies are all big twins. As noted, separate tranny from motor. Sportys are 'unit' type, meaning the motor and tranny are one unit.
I have over the years, heard ppl refer to Ironheads as Shovelheads, but they're not.
If you were to call me and tell me you needed a certain part for your 72 Shovelhead, and you have a Sporty, you are going to be vastly disappointed/surprised when you see what I hand you. Jus' sayin'.
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:00 AM
 
 
 
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1000cc, 81, andrews, call, case, complete, description, differences, gears, ironhead, motor, panhead, shovelhead, sportster, superglide, transmission


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