MOOLIGAN - The Mule Hooligan
Words: Gary Inman
Photos: Mule Motorcycles
Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles is the undisputed king of street tracker builders, but he has also built a handful of hooligan race bikes in his time, including this one, his latest. We interrogated him about his hooligan principles, and the specific details of this H-D Sportster.
‘Weight reduction is the number one consideration,’ says Richard, ‘Followed by increased power, obviously handling improvements, simplicity, ease of maintenance, access to parts and reducing the amount of vulnerable parts sticking out in harm’s way.
‘I started with a 1987 X1100 frame and swingarm,’ he continues, ‘The earlier frames (Evo 4-speed and 5-speeds up to 1992) weigh 37lbs (16.8kg). The 5-speed frames from ’93 up to ’03 weigh 47lbs (21.3kg), and later the rubber mount frames weigh 72lbs (32.7kg), and have a matching, super-heavy swingarm. As weight reduction is my primary goal, I started with the lightest frame, the 4-speed type and de-tabbed, removed the side stand mount and anything else I could find that wasn’t needed. Yes, you need horsepower too, but weight just adds to the riding effort.
The rules that affect a GNHC (Grand National Hooligan Championship) bike build have evolved since the birth of hooligan racing, but they currently are:
Minimum 650cc road model, 4-stroke, 2 or more cylinders, 1986 or newer.
Min. weight 370lbs (168kg)
Min. wheelbase of 56in (1422mm)
Must retain original frame and the type of motor that comes in it
Can’t relocate the upper shock mounts unless it’s a bolt-on
Can’t cut and weld the steering head for better angle
Do anything you want to the motor, wheels, suspension and swingarm
Some of the things that make a big difference are a steering head bearing ‘re-angle kit’ which is a legal bolt-on, and brings the head angle in about three degrees. Also, I’ll make a chromoly, framer type swingarm or at the least, move the lower shock mounts forward. The new swingarm can reduce weight 4-7lbs (1.8-3.2kg), gives better quality, width and adjustability.
Better, longer shocks, which are almost always lighter; lithium battery (cuts as much as 11lbs! That’s 5kg); later model forks, focusing purely on weight and proper length. Once I set up my forks, with the proper oil and springs, I rarely touch them again. I’ll take the weight reduction all day long. Remember, we’re talkin’ a Sportster here! Stock Sportster forks are the heaviest on earth and the triple clamps aren’t wide enough for a flat track width of tyre, so I have my own wider clamps made, with proper offset. They're lighter, too.
'Then wheels and brake, lighter axles (stock are .75in (19mm) solid bar!). Brake rotor and caliper/bracket are all upgraded to lighter and better. Steel fuel tank is replaced by internally sealed fiberglass or aluminium.
'For ground clearance on the left side, you’ll need a new, higher footpeg, and another thing I do. which isn’t cheap, is cutting the clutch cover and rotating the portion where the clutch cable enters the cover up about 90˚ to get the cable way up out of the dirt [not seen on this bike].'
The bike is being built for Donny Moore, from California, who plans to have Austin Helzig compete on it in the GNHC.
‘Price?’ wonders Richard, ‘If I were to build one like this again, probably $28,000.’
CHASSIS: 1987 XL1100 Sportster frame and swingarm; 1993 Honda Hawk 650GT forks; Durelle triple clamps; K-Tech shocks,
ENGINE: 2001 Buell X-1 motor, converted
to carb; Force Winder intake; Twin-Tec single fire ignition; Mule Stainless exhaust, Randy Blevins muffler
WHEELS & BRAKES: Lowery Racing wheels; TZ750 Yamaha rear brake rotor; CB500 Honda front brake caliper; Triumph Bonneville swingarm pivot bolt, shorted to become the front axle
DETAILS: First Klass Glass Tank & seat; AFAM bars; Shorai battery; Mule battery box & wiring; Buell throttle/starter switch; Mule footpegs, peg plates and brake set-up; Motion Pro clutch cable and stock Buell clutch lever and perch. Paint by David Tovar at Superbike Paint