Thursday, January 29, 2015


Airbrush, Flake, Lettering, Striping, Leaf . . . so many options.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The "Neighbor-Guy" across the street . . .

. . . is from Queens, NY and has lived in New York City most of his life.  Lenny doesn't know much about motorcycles or anything mechanical. He's an accomplished impressionistic artist - and has showings of his work in NY.  He wants to buy a good used car (hasn't needed one in about 20 years) and asked if I'd help him pick out a good, used one.  Since Lenny watches me come and go on these unique motorcycles, it has made him more aware of motorcycles in general.  "All these other motorcycles I see seem 'overstuffed' or too fat . . . your machines have more soul - more spirit."  He's quite observant with style, paint and even the shape and configuration of the engine (which is most interesting to me about Lenny).   I have to explain to him the difference, and more "the significance" of each particular Harley engine model.  Why do I like them so much?   I told him for the same reason he likes them.  Here's how I explained it . . .

Lenny,  all I really ever cared about was old Harleys.  I got what I could afford, money wise.  I got what other people didn't want at the time.  I liked the early 900 Iron Sportster - the introductory hot-rod, cool bike.  A powerful motor with style.  A versatile machine.  There's one called a Shovelhead.  Better on the road, still cool, a little heavier, but smoother with more power without revving the motor up too much to get the power.  Since I worked on these things a lot in my dad's shop, and they were broken a lot.  Not always the motor itself, just everything else.  I never really wanted one - always thought they were (not really junk) but weaker, just wasn't the greatest - and still do, sorry.  Then, when you are really getting into old bikes, and have established yourself as a vintage Harley enthusiast - you start looking at the Panhead since it's such a beautiful engine, excellent cruiser - and the customers that brought in the panheads for service were old-school riders and wouldn't trade it for anything - and that left an impression on me.  The panheads were beautiful when clean, and looked the absolute worst when dirty and oily - but they just kept running and running.  Now if you're lucky enough to get a knucklehead - they are like the "holy one."  The Harley that usually stays in the family the longest.  There's a lot of knuckles out there still owned by widows, daughters, grandmothers and step-brothers that will never ride it and don't care about motorcycles - but, they'll never sell that knuckle 'cause they've had about 1000 people try to buy it - or force them to sell it with every story you've ever heard of - "why they aren't any good, old, break down, etc . . . so, why does everyone want to buy it ?"   Lenny, all these bikes are awesome (oh, there's some good shovels) - and they emit a certain aura.  Like any painting, the canvas can be painted over - an early Harley can be rebuilt. But, these machines are rolling art, rolling sculpture with smoke and sound - and most important Lenny -
A ride you never forget.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kenny Roberts

Are those wheels magnesium?  They sure are neat.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Honing 1939 Knucklehead Cylinders

Advanced Cycle sleeved these cylinders for me . . . and I bored and honed them for new pistons.  Nicest set of 4-Fin cylinders in the country !

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Harley Racers

Road Racing, Flat Track and TT . . . with basically the same engine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Random Stuff . . .

80" Flywheel Casting Number
Hawbaker had a great couple weeks . . . 
Won a motorcycle ice race in Wisconsin
and a snowmobile race in Clear Lake !
Harley VL Cylinders: They need valves, guides & a fresh bore.
Iowa can be very barren in the winter.
 Rochester Harley-Davidson Schedule:
MC 10.5:1 Forged Pistons w/Offset Pins
Now this is a 4 X 4 !
Always a good time in Des Moines

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

McFarland's Micro Machine Shop

My friend Jeff does a lot of my machine work - and it's great to see him progress from a hobby - to a skilled machinist.  He's old-school all the way.  This type of machinist is formed from old-time techniques.  No fancy shit.  It's a dying breed - and we need to keep it alive.  Making jigs and fixtures to assist in the machining process.  We've tackled all types of broken and battered parts - and put them back into service.  I have a workin' knowledge I've acquired from my dad.  I bring measuring devices, indicators and some of my our fixtures - so it's allowed us to basically fix-a-lot-of-shit - and make it reliable and functional again.  Pictured above is his Mini-Bridgeport he's built from scratch.  He's currently working on the lead screw and belt drive system.  It will run - and actually machine, small micro parts - mostly brass and aluminum.  The Micro-V-Twin engine was also built from scratch.  The arm on the front will advance the timing - it will actually run.  He's working on the fuel system.  His shop is heated with this big wood burner, old machines . . . a metal storage bin full of steel bars, brass, aluminum . . . shavings everywhere.  Cold beer - cigarette smoke.  Fun stuff !

Land of the Rising Sun

Almost forgot about this one - in Japan
Peedro did the rocker Speed Grooves

Monday, January 19, 2015

New Club: The Side-Valve Sliders

Side-Valve Sliders
Must ride a side valve
Ride at least one time - every month of year
Members now include:
Noot Jr, Rattlecan, Pat 
and whoever wants to chime in . . .

Bud's Ironhead - No Warrants

It's finally done.  All gone through.  Ready for Action.  A bit more than 32 pennies, but the Down Boys will be Rockin' . . . Preserve our heritage - Rebuild Vintage !

Panhead Cylinders

Bored & honed for NOS H-D pistons . . .
Painted with H-D Hi-Heat Silver Barrel Paint

Good Swap Meets

Al's Stroker Motor

Noot checkin' piston clearance, overlap, endplay . . . all the checks you make when building these motors.  Al does his own final assembly.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weird 1952 Cases

My motor is a 1952.  It has a hydraulic lifter "clean-out" filter screen provision cast into the cases, which is strange since the oil passages for the hydraulic lifters have never been drilled (under the tappet blocks).  Panhead hydraulic lifters were moved from the pushrods to the tappet blocks in 1953. This clean-out screen was to filter debris from the lifters.  The factory apparently started casting the clean-out into the cases in 1952?  I have a clean-out that really doesn't function in the manner it was designed to . . . and since I run solid lifters, it doesn't really matter.  Huh.  Why do I dwell on such subjects????

Thursday, January 15, 2015

NOS, New Old Stock

I keep seeing parts listed as NOS, which, to me - means new, vintage, unused parts of oem, original equipment manufacturer's origin.  Made by the original companies like Harley-Davidson, Yamaha, etc.  I feel that "NOS" can also be from Performance Machine, old Gary Bang, Crazy Frank, etc.  But, now you got these bozos listing "NOS" and it's a Chinese part !  It's new, yes . . . but, it's Taiwan, India . . . come on !  If you are advertising a part as NOS for a vintage Harley . . . it should be USA.  (If I'm restoring my Chinese bicycle from 1973, that's different.)  The shaft above is the ultimate meaning of "NOS, New Old Stock."  When I opened the UPS shipping box, and pulled back the bubble wrap, I was like - freakin' aye dude ! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gene(son) and Joe Smith

Smith set many 1/4 mile ET records.  
Shovelheads have the potential to be incredibly fast.

. . . with a little help from my friends . . .

The countershaft (closed end) bearing boss of my KHK cases was cracked and oval.  The bearing just falls out.  Someone had tried to peen it in - it's just freaked up.  McFarland spun out an inner aluminum sleeve for the ID - and he made an aluminum "donut" for the outside.  Pat will weld all this up - creating a strong boss for the bearing.  With both case 1/2s together, with the trans door installed - McFarland will locate off the door bearing ID - and then remove the left case 1/2 - and using this dimension, line bore the closed bearing ID - to leave about a .0025 press fit for my new closed-end bearing.  Understand?  I do, but I've been running this through my head for about 10 days now . . . brain strain !

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The "New Way . . .

 I just love my Newway Seat Cutter.  The carbide cutters are adjustable, they give you the 46 and the 30 (just flip it over) and you can get a 60 degree too - and then you can achieve the seat width you want, and with some practice, you get a nice smooth seat finish by gradually decreasing the pressure on the spring-loaded handle.  It makes cutting seats fun, and it's not so messy.  I lap the valves in carefully with a low-speed drill (forward & reverse) and then hand-lap the final finish.  This is my KHK racer cylinders with big, honkin' valves.  They almost touch each other.  She's factory-ported and I just dig these K Models !

Monday, January 12, 2015

Retro Rewind Dubuque - "Yes, it was a blast !"

I'd have to rate it as one of the best indoor events in the Midwest - Great to see everybody again and make some plans for Vintage Torque (also in Dubuque) 1st weekend of May . . . See ya'll soon.