Iowa's Island City

Did you know my late aunt was the mayor of this town once...?
The good 'ol days !
Rollin' on the River !

Steel Primary Adjuster Shoe

The early primary chain adjusters didn't have the "nylon shoe" on the adjuster just had this soft metal pad, permanently attached.  The pad wore just a tiny bit(where the chain grooves started to show) and you didn't want to run your chain over tight..  The face of the adjuster was a bit narrower to fit a KR(XLCH type) tin primary cover.  The clutch basket was narrower, so the shoe had to be a bit narrower too.  I've found those nylon pads aren't always the best since the retainers often come loose, and the nylon shavings from the pad can clog your countershaft needle bearing oiler.

I built this motor...tuning by Hartman...

Hartman's mill.  I went thru this ripper years ago - and it still runs pretty good.  You do your best, try not to skip steps or cut corners...and sometimes you get lucky.  He runs 2 carbs on everything - and he's good at it.  Tuning, jetting - he makes it work.  This bike is insane with details !

Nathan's Shop (he's on the right)

Full Moon Cycle in Dubuque, Iowa.  I stopped for a quick visit one year on my way to the Meltdown Drags in Byron, Illinois.  My chopper was packed !  Still runnin' that old, vintage square air cleaner.  PS. I'm not in this photo...I'm better lookin' than these two blokes...

NOTE: If you ever need a wheel laced and trued, Nathan is your guy.  He specializes in chopper wheels, spools, Sportster wheels of all types, hamburger and half-brake front wheels, super narrow stuff...also he builds (and rebuilds) old Sportster front ends of all types. 

The Supersuckers

She used to be Pretty - 
Now she's Pretty fucked up...

My favorite country band !
(well, he wears a cowboy hat...)

Pre-Ride Checks

 First thing I always do before a trip is a run with the Battery Tender to get that battery up-to-snuff.
I check the push rods, take a look at the points/condenser...and check the tires and air pressure.  I adjusted the chain a touch.  A twice around shot of my Amsoil chain lube (I like best).

My mousetrap (clutch) wasn't goin' all the way forward on some operations - so I adjusted that a bit - lubed the springs and all joints with my Lincoln Spray Grease - now everything works all nice and quiet !  No squeaks !  I removed both plugs - and they look exactly the same, you can't tell which cylinder they came from - but I switch 'em anyway each time.  Oil level is good in tank and tranny(just about 1/3 way up the throw-out bearing).

Haggle of a Start . . .

Had a fun day at Dubuque Speedway !
The ol' K Model just keeps rippin' !

Honing / Surface Grinding

Attempting to restore some panhead rocker blocks.  Surface grind the lowers - Bolt on a top - Sunnen hone the bore til' your check pin fits !  Give 'em .0008-.001 clearance seems to work !  It just sucks holding these damn things when you're honing (I made a handle jig deal) but still a good way to jam a finger, bust a knuckle or loose a fingernail !  But I love it !  Restoration of old H-D parts - the best on mother earth . . .

1961 XLCH - 12 Volt Electrics

Gas it up...Hit the Street !
I did a 12V conversion with 
Bosch Regulator...
Now I can see where I'm going..!

1950 Harley WR (Rebuilt)

These WR engines are rare.  The only way to buy one was through a dealer(of coarse) and you had to have a racing license.  Class C via AMA, American Motorcycle Association
This is a 1950. 
Special features (different from standard WL/45" engines include:
Sprocket Shaft (special for ball bearing)
Pinion Shaft w/oil groove (special for ball bearing)
Crank Pin (special size for WR rollers)
Drilled Connecting Rods
Special Lightened Flywheels
Special Cams (for WR only)
Special Ball Bearing Idler Gear and Spacer
Special Gear Cover for Ball Bearings and Wico
Ball bearings on #3 and #4 cams(both ends)
Ball bearings on #1 and #2 cams (case end only)
Special Angled Tappet Blocks
Flat Show Angled Tappets
Special Tappet Covers
Right Case (special casting for magneto idler gear stud)
Left and Right Case with special machining for Ball Bearings
Right Case machined and drilled for Wico/Edison Magneto
Special Cast Iron Cylinders with larger cooling fins, larger valves,
smoothed ports, and special valve angles...
Special Pop-Up Pistons (same as K, KH, KR)
Special Valve Springs
Special Cylinder Heads and Combustion Chamber 
No Head Gaskets !
...and it all must be hand-fitted, must spin free, no binding with correct race
clearances and tolerances for high speed race situations...

Juice Brake on a Rigid

You'll need to weld a "backing plate stay" on the lower frame tail for the backing plate anchor stud to bolt to . . . (you can see the narrow, nylon insert lock nut I use).  I left the original (mechanical brake) stay (front middle) in case I want to go back to mechanical brake sometime.

I run a continuous (Russell brand) stainless, braided brake line all the way to a triple junction mounted off my rocker clutch up front.  The top outlet of my 3-way junction has the hydraulic brake light switch.(I use that late model little bugger, availaable at any H-D dealership.  They run 'em on all the new bikes.(I keep a spare in my tool kit in-case the switch would leak, you'd have no brakes !
The opposite side of the 3-way junction has another braided line to my master cylinder.

This is the larger(later) version of the Harley hydraulic brake drum.  Maybe 1968-1972, I think?

The round hook-deal is a bungee hook for when I load it up for travel !

1961 XLCH

CHECK: Tire pressure, oil, primary oil, nut & bolt all the 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, etc.  Make sure everything is sorta tight.  Checked the hose clamps.  Fresh fuel.  Ran it up to about 85-90mph a couple times on some long stretches.  Took some fast, sweeping curves. I kinda hate beating on the thing like that....but it sounds so good when the r's get up there and it starts to sing !   If you had this bike in the'd be one of the faster ones.  105+ miles in the books for a sunny Sunday.

Favorite Places....

Sitting on these rocks trying to figure out how to use a few media devices...and on the ground, all around me were feathers, a bird leg, various animal entrails - and a Bald Eagle was circling above me.  I think he just has a meal...?
1952 Harley-Davidson Model K

Baffle Plate / Glyptal / Case Alignment

Here's an early panhead gear cover that's been repaired.  A common problem - they crack around the timer stud boss.  To weld it correctly, the baffle plate must be removed.  I didn't want to assemble the guy's motor without the plate,(or it would puke massive oil into the primary probably) - so I made a cardboard pattern - and my buddy McFarland whittled me out an aluminum plate, drilled out the old solid rivets, and tapped me some holes for screws.  (The S&S gear cover baffle plates are screwed on and they here goes)

...then I masked and painted everything(sealing up any weld porosity) and made it all look so pretty.
The right case needs an over sized race, since it's all oval, and out-of-round.  I'll bolt the case together and align everything the way I want it.  Then we'll mount on a Bridgeport Mill table with the Left Side up.  He'll indicate in the case race to zero, dead center, and note the coordinates.  Then remove the left case - and indicate the Right case race insert to the same coordinates - and bore it for the perfect press-fit of my new +.016 over stock OD case race.  I have this kid McFarland do it for me- he measures like 50 times - and finally does it - and it works.  Then I'll line lap everything and have a nice straight shot for both flywheel shafts.  Makes a smooth running engine - for long life too.

Mike Wilson - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Here's a photo of Mike sitting on Leo Payne's old "street" bike....a machine he restored - and had much input in the creation of, back in the early days of Cedar Rapids street racing.  I talked to Mike only about 3 times my entire life.  Each one I learned something, 'cause he told me a trick, or tip on each subject matter.  One I can't quite remember was setting the Linkert DC butterfly opening in just the perfect position - and it was a simple, yet complex operation - I should have written it down.  It had to do with filing or positioning the small butterfly bevel.  Hmmmm?? Maybe Wiley knows????  He autographed my dad's History of Motorcycle Drag Racing hard cover book on the inside - with a short note.  These old timers that knew how to make a Harley-Davidson perform are slipping away - so I try to learn as much as I can.  We just need some new young dudes that'll hold that throttle wide open - to test our ideas.  Like Mike had Leo.

Never Judge a Book By It's Cover

This ol' 1957FL was a real crud when I got it.  I scraped for 3 days as I tore it down.  Soaked most of the parts.  It still destroyed the solvent in 2 different parts washers.  I'd never seen anything so dirty.  Never washed in over 60 years apparently.
Now it's shiny on the inside - still "krusty" on the outside to match the rest of the bike.  Crusty, but clean.  The rods were toast - crank pin was breaking up, rod races where rough and pitted.  Now the lower end has new rod races, new crank pin, everything fit with proper end play and factory clearances - nice.  NOS Sonnax rollers(gettin' rare) all measured perfect.  Oem steel rod cages.  I line lapped the pinion race(just to barely true it up) and fitted +.0002 rollers.  The flywheels trued up sweet, and roll so smooth now. The threads for the aluminum rocker covers didn't need a single heli-coil or repair - they were all perfect - that's incredible !
Even though the parts are rusty, these old, original Harley-Davidson parts fit the best !  They had great quality control back then... the Motor Co. in the 40s, 50s and 60s was hittin' on both cylinders...
The factory timer runs a Blue Streak condenser(I like 'em) and oem points/with an nos shielded coil wire.
I like these original band-type manifold clamps.  Kinda cheesy, but fit nice, and hold tight. I bored the cylinders .040, new cast pistons and Hastings Moly 1/16, 1/16, 3/16(3-piece) oil rings.
I stuck a new Colony sprocket shaft seal in it - the threads were still perfect !  You can take an original seal(steel part) and machine it for a new seal (from your seal supplier) - but these Colony seals are really nice.

IOWA ! Water Slide Decals

There were these postcards you could buy when you traveled to different places - states, national parks, places-of-interest, etc.   The postcard came in a paper sleeve and included a water slide decal for outside (or inside a window).  You could write a nice letter to your family or friends and mail the postcard - then sticker the decal on your camper, station wagon, car or suitcase !  Neato !  This is one of those decals....  Most Iowa decals I see have corn, farms, pigs, cows, barns, tractors, maybe some places of interest - or a pretty country girl. 

If You're Reading This....

....It indicates you are HOME.  Stay at home.  Don't make any unneeded trips to the grocery story, gas station, stay away from your friends . . . just stay away.  THINK before you travel.  If you are in an area where there is no virus, it's coming for you.  No place is immune to this.

I'm doing my part 100%.

- Washing my hands properly with hot soapy water for 30 secs.

- Washing outside door handles and mailbox with bleach mixture

- Spraying all counter tops in my home
(and letting sit for 10 minutes)
...then drying off
 (I save the towel to use with bleach later outside, then throw it)

-Take a hot shower everyday
-Wash Your Towels

-Keep the TV off !  (watch local news once a day)

-Read a book, or all those old magazines

Take a nap.

- Play games, Work in garage, Look at your bike(s)

View blogs/instagrams

-Exercise in your home: Do stretching.  Lift Weights

- Jump rope in your driveway

- Eat the right foods (don't over eat)

- Calm your nerves

-Clean out your tool box, closets, chest of drawers

- Vacuum, dust, wash windows, clean bathroom

Just stay home if you can - Stay away from everyone at work.

Reinforce it - Stay away from me - Thank you !

No disrespect - If I'm sick, I don't want you to get it . . .

I don't want to lose a single NOOT blog follower or family member
due to carelessness . . .

No Italians, No Japanese, No Swedes, No Finns, No Germans,
No Brits, No Aussies, No Kiwis, No Canadians, No Mexicans,
No Brazilians, No Hawaiians, No Spanish,
and even No Russians....
and especially No Americans !
(if I left someone out, I apologize)

I love you all - Now practice it !

-Respectfully and Good Luck  -Noot

Bushings Over Needle Bearings

1952 K Model Case RIGHT Case.  
- Lower repair (by Crooks Motorsports)
-New Oil Pump Studs
- Blasting (by Gelner)
- Washing and Blow Drying (by Noot)

Jerry Branch Ported Cylinder Heads

I keep viewing ironhead Sportster heads on Ebay - and the seller describes them as "Branch heads" and they aren't...not even close.  Branch heads (at least all the one's I've seen):

1. Have numbers stamped near the intakes (on the bottom)
2. Have micro, knife edge cut valve seats
3. Have mirror polished ports (both intake and exhaust) 
 Later heads have a smooth intake, but unpolished as much...
4. The head gasket surfaces AND rocker box surfaces 
are both surface ground (parallel)
for straightness and squareness

4 Gallon

This thing started right up after sittin' 3 1/2 months in the cold, with temps below freezing most of the time.  I looked all over for the battery that goes in it.  Not near the Battery Tender with the others - and then I realized I forgot to take it out !  Shit !  It's a 5+ year old acid-type battery, and it hasn't given up yet, since it had 12.2 volts and started the bike.  It's life is helped by the Cycle Electric DG5000 and a steady 13.5 pretty much all the time.  My 4 gallon tank is ready for fuel - and I'm ready for a road trip - but we should all be sittin' tight for now.  

Low Compression

Click Photo for Large Image

A guy needs about 6.5:1 Compression to run the total shit fuel produced by these places.  (no offense to any ethanol workers out there)  The "pot life" to that 86/87 is about 2 weeks and it's dead.  My lawnmower didn't want to run with that crap...

Lil' Digger Sportster '65 CH w/65" Displacement

Click Photo for Large View

Outside Oilers

I guess the reasoning was to keep the oil cooler and prevent the oil from gettin' all hot, and fried all over the top end as it was pumped up through the hot cylinders?  You take those old panheads apart, and the non-detergent oil is burnt all over everything... It worked.


The Search Box (IN THE UPPER LEFT) has a Magnifying Glass:

1. Type a search term or word of interest in the BOX
 2.  Click the magnifying glass
3. All posts of your interest will show up . . Magic !

Common search word examples are:

love cycles
mama tried
sturgis or rockford or davenport
hwy 44
church or ftwco
S&S Cycle
Super B or GBL
drags or flat track
spearfish or deadwood
babe or chic
TECH (for technical related posts)

. . . you get the picture

My Mama Tried Submission for 2020

This ol' K is just the best bike.  Not quite ready for a trike . . . 
Over back-roads or big-city streets - it's just neat.
Concrete or across the grass . . .
It's nothin' fast . . 
A postponement just for now . . .
You'll get to see it soon enough - anyhow . . 
So for now - just lay low . . 
The future holds many places to go.

At least it has TWO WHEELS

The Cedar River came up a bit with all the snow melt (in 2 days) - and now we're getting some heavy rain to wash all the salt and sand down the drain . . . I don't talk about it much, but the last 3 years, I've been into "fitness" and health and eating right and all that terrible crap.  I sure feel a lot better, but it takes commitment for sure.   I've been tryin' to dial in my new Fezzari bicycle - and with all these new Iowa trails everywhere - maybe get back out there and do some single-track?

It's like a Ferrari . . . But with ZZZZZZs . . . !

Bound for ????

( Click Photo for LARGE View )

Hopefully, I'll be able to pack this thing up again this year - and ride someplace ?  1. We need to get through this virus deal - and 2. The weather needs to straighten out.  I'm pretty sure #2 will happen eventually - but #1 will need everyone to work together, since all the fun things we do rely on other people to make them happen - and without everyone - it won't matter that you live in a rural farmhouse, or Montana wilderness . . . it's just gonna suck.  So do your part - stay away from people for a bit, hole it at home, bust out Easyrider (and watch it again).  Crack that old bottle of wine you 'been saving . .  Call all your long lost relatives and friends you never talk to . . . and just hold-the-line
for a month - and maybe it will all go away (along with your savings account)??

Hey, some of the best times of your life is when you had no money, but you had an Ironhead Sportster or a Honda 350 chopper - and all you did was ride ride ride - and your bed roll was it.  You roughed it and didn't know any better.  At least we still know how to do it if necessary.

Stay safe - and I'll try to post some most stuff to ward off boredom . . . -Noot


This is the invitation to the show...pretty neat.  It came in this heavy-duty box, all rolled up with one of those press-seal stamp deals (kinda like a Roman document).  It's a good time - and probably the best bike show I've ever been to.  It's the 7th year for the show.  I was lucky enough to have a bike in the 1st show back in 2014.  There's a VIMEO Video for the first show and I'm in it...they came to my dad's garage and did a filming and interview deal.

#94 George Roeder


A friend of mine gave me this old Cycle World magazine, so I framed it.  Neat picture of ol' George Roeder sliding in.... His son still has the bike and runs it for exhibition from time to time...
Great shot !