Progressive 412 Shocks TECH:

If you want to lower your Ironhead (or K-Model) using 13 1/2" shocks . . . 

 The best way to mount them is to tighten up the top where you want them, and leave the bottom loose and see where it wants to locate on the lower shock stud.  Then make spacers and shim it, so you don't pull your shocks one way or the other.  No Binding.  I had to design a spacer the correct width to be just about in-line with the step, and then I use a heavy washer.  These shock ends were a bit narrower than the stock -52 OEM shocks I still had on the bike.

The first problem I noticed after I tried setting the spring tension was . . . These 75/120 Rated Springs are way, way, way too soft.  On the stiffest setting, I could bottom the fender on the tire with my hands.  Shit.
This sucks.  Of coarse, Progressive tech support will tell you "these really aren't the correct application" but, running 13 1/2" shocks on your ironhead is one of the most common things to do to these bikes since the early 60's . . .  Back then they just used panhead shocks.   I think they just send these so you have to buy another set of springs (so search for a great deal on your 412s, preferably with 120/170 springs).
 Too Weak (above)
This is what you want (or stiffer) 120/170
One thing that's kinda cool . . . you can shit-can the ugly, top spring covers since the springs have a beehive
type wind at the top to hold the spring retainer.  I think they look best with all that spring showing.
 Now I want to lower the front about 3/4-1" by maybe cutting down the springs, shortening the tubes, or maybe the Progressive Forks Springs . . .
Get this thing down . . . a bit 'n da weeds
Low for Go Bro

K Model Rear Hub

Still missing that little center washer between the 2 bearings . . .
Anybody got a spare one ?

Rockers & Rollers

These funky rocker boxes were slightly warped (especially on the little center boss) from most likely a variety of causes, ie; heat, sanding, polishing, etc.  You want them flat against the gasket surface so you aren't binding or pulling when torquing the rocker bolts.  After fly cutting, a fine burr was removed.

These Strociek rocker arms were touching the upper collars slightly on the exhaust.  I first checked without the gaskets . . . we'll be ok with that extra gasket height.  Assemble, check, disassemble, clearance, reassemble, check, disassemble, clearance, reassemble, check, disassemble . . . etc etc . . . . I'm buying common stock in the Sharpie Marker Company (which I use instead of bluing)


Motorhead in the player last night and didn't even know it. 

Blizzard of Ozz

There are thousands of different types of snow.  This was the blowing, "sting your face" snow.  It was already a foot deep, late into the night.  I had a beer . . . and needed to pee outside.  Well, here goes.  I was facing the wrong way a little - and that snow was stinging Nice to have a heated shop with a couple projects.
I fired up some CDs.  Nebula, Fu, Motorhead, Faster Pussycat, Great White, Bullet Boys, LA Guns and some Blizzard of Ozz.  An old friend came by and we chatted & jammed while I worked.
 I got some cylinders bored +.060 over. Piston Size was 3.4965.  It was dark and windy, but not real cold.  Probably around 27F.  Real life Star Wars type shit out here . . . Nebula vibes . . .
Worked on my frame too . . . Vintage Flat Track 
I was up this morning at 4:45am with the sound of local trucks with blades pushing snow.  My street always gets plowed first by the city, usually done by 6:00am.  My driveway was drifted shut big time (almost got stuck), but the Super Dodge broke free.  I had to park at the local Kwik Star station since no vehicles on the streets during "snow alerts."  I walked down this morning and got my coffee while my truck warmed up.  A couple tired travelers (license Arkansas) were sleeping in their idling Lexus.  I walked home and fired up my vintage, early 70s dual stage snow blower with it's tired 6hp motor.  2nd pull it was running so I did the whole block, drive and walkways - went into the house and did this post.  I feel energized from this morning outdoor winter workout.  Fresh air gets that heart pumpin' . . .

No. 1 Jacket

. . .  on Ebay

My "Arthur Davidson Ride"

Arthur Davidson died on December 30th, 1950.  In the Winter, not really that long ago actually.  He was there to see the very first Hydra-Glide . . . but, never really saw rear suspension. When I see pictures of Arthur (in particular) riding his motorcycles year-round in Milwaukee, Wisconsin . . . I'm impressed.  Arthur was a founder, but even more than that . . . he was a racer, and a full blown, addicted motorcycle rider - for all seasons.  I've read where all the top brass (whether they thought of themselves as brass or not) rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles to their jobs at the H-D factory - Year 'Round . . . even in the Winter.  On brutally cold days.  So, here's to Arthur Davidson . . .  and anybody else who doesn't have a car right now, and has no choice, but to ride their bike all Winter . . . those slippery spots . . . ahhhh, whoa !

1952-1953-Early 1954 TECH:

This is the first K-Model Rear Hub.  19" Rear Rim(non drop center).  Stock on 1952 and 1953 K Models (some say early '54 too)  It has a weird, extra-wide double ball bearing, short spacer and cork seal on the drive side (which was used until '62 actually).  If my measurements are correct, I could replace the wide bearing with 2ea thinner ball bearings (like the -54 part number hub)?  I'd run the 2 bearings with the small ring spacer on the bearing IDs - and the left side has the same bearing on all years.  This hub is unique since it's steel, with a larger flange on the drive-side - and a smaller flange on the left (which the spoke head hook into the hub, like a front 1/2 brake hub).  The left-hand-thread bearing retainer and dust shield,  is also the same part number as the 1/2 brake hub.  Confused now?  How about inside spokes opposite directions, outside spokes opposite directions, cross three, cross two . . . Where's my Sudoku ?

December Ride

Watch for slippery spots . . . (and use 5W-20)

Did I mention . . . I needed socks ?

Wow, this is awesome . . . maybe see me in Vans, high socks and Dickies shorts soon ! ?

Christmas Day Paint-A-Thon

While everyone was out either Christmas caroling, playing cards, conversation and puzzle building . . .
I decided to paint some stuff.  " 45s Spoken Here" for my buddy Rattlecan . . . and working on a Shoei for the Lady of Rochester . . . Paint, Mistake, Wipe Off, Paint, Mistake, Etc, Repeat.  Spina told me part of it - is being able to fix your mistakes.

Happy Holidays to All of You

Best Wishes to all of you . . . who I know personally, who are in my phone, who are in my email . . . who contact me in one way or another - family and friends and close acquaintances and people who read my blog from Iowa, to Minnesota, to Wisconsin, to Colorado, to Oregon, to Phoenix, to Vegas, to Utah, to DC too and to Florida and Mexico and my dudes from Canada . . . and you can't forget Keokuk, Kansas City, Coggon, Cedar Rapids,   . . . we all have a lot to appreciate in our lives.  Merry Christmas to you . . . . and may the spirit of the season be with you.

Safe travels and restful sleep for this giving season . . . 'cause then it's "back to work !"
 . . . . . AND "til we meet again" . . . . Merry Christmas and a Party'n Great New Year to the Great State of California !

TECH: 1948 Panhead FL Cylinders

I don't really notice the difference.  One cylinder has a -48 part number.  The guys that know will point to fins and a weird, little boss.  One thing for sure, these were pitted from "bad storage."  The gasket surface was very rough and pitted.  MFM (McFarland Machine I call him) . . . indicated, and utilized a live-center cone and turned these cylinders -.010 off the head gasket, and -.007 off the base to clean 'em up.  I had to check the fire-ring flange vs. the cylinder head chamber depth -  to verify depth to compress the head gasket fully . .  and we do - all ok . . . Now we have equal lengths and flat, true surfaces for our head and base gaskets.

Where Have You Been All My Life . . ?

Urban Commute
Johnny Stripes
Flip Up
She's Tight
Style Over Beauty
(Click it Photo)

Race Frame - Low Neck KH Version

This frame's condition was near a turning point.  Either restore it to stock status . . . or chop the shit out of it, and make it race worthy.  I've cut off all kinds of brackets and pipe dreams(apparently "on the pipe" during their dreams) from previous owners.  With help from Hawbaker, he removed the brazed brackets off the tomahawk, TIG'd holes in the front down-tube and neck forging . . . now she's lookin' lighter and faster.  Next, I'll fit the KR Loop . . . for tiny mounts & a tank bung.  McFarland spun me a new brake sleeve and bushing, aligned, pressed and welded for perfect fit . . .Thanks fellas !


This is my ultra-light 35mm Betor fork set.  The stem has been modified to work with my '54KH frame.  Special spacers were made for the 1" stem.  New fork seals (requires 2 thin seals, seating on top of each other) . . . When used with my factory "low neck" frame . . . this will derake my steering head angle about 1-2 degrees . . . she'll turn on a donut Oh, polished to a high luster . . . if it don't go, at least I'll look good in the pits . . .

Early Knuckle Case Race TECH:

When installing an updated style Left Case Race . . . I add the oiling hole, where a hole never existed.  The first thing I do is measure on the inner case insert where the oil will meet the new oil hole in the race.  Then I die grind a small spot (like center punching) where my drill bit will start, and drill a hole about 1/4 deep (with my chuck about touching the case).  Try to keep the angle (as minimal) as possible.
Next, I set up the case at about a 45-50 degree angle, and drill a 3/8" (approx. depth) hole to connect to my previous oil hole . . . so the oiling now works like the oiling on a panhead case . . . and we can use the modern sprocket shaft seal now . . . using this "late model-updated" case race.

I add a little oil-catcher bevel around the hole to help grab the lube to feed my new rollers . . . McFarland has already indicated in this insert, and bored the diameter for a clean, proper press fitment of our new race.
Simple procedures . . . but sometimes nerve racking . . . Don't fuck it up !

Sometimes I wonder if this trade, these procedures I've been trying to learn the last few years will eventually be lost and forgotten.  There's like all kinds of different things I could be doing with my life and time (still hip about time) . . . but, I feel I'm helping save a part of American-Made manufacturing that has a huge part in the glorious past of American Motorcycles, especially those wonderful years that Harley-Davidson was manufacturing an engine that would become so popular, that 70+ years later . . . youths in their 20s, 30s and early 40s were breakin' their backs and their bank accounts just to acquire one of these motors. 

Wheel Weights & Ham

I found a rim that had the hub cut out.  It still had (3)ea of the old-style, genuine LEAD wheel weights.  These new style "zinc" weights aren't heavy enough . . . and it takes twice as many !
 Two leads and two zincs (instead of 6 zincs) . . . now I'm making some Ham & Wax Bean Soup.  Maybe some cheddar biscuits???  We call it "Souper Sunday" . . . every Sunday evening, stay home and make some soup & maybe sandwich.........
Get that ham slow cooked . . . .
Garden frozen-in freshness . . . .
Chop 'em up . . . 
Slow cook - n simmer in the goodness . . .
Oh heck . . . We need biscuits with brushed on butter & olive oil !

PS. I'd sell the rim $70 shipped.  Needs cleaned.  Has sticker pinstripe.
Borrani rear 18" Sportster aluminum rim.  43008-70 I believe?
and it's straight . . .

Novice #14 National #23

A Michigan native, Atherton's grandfather was a BSA dealer who taught Kevin's dad the ropes of motorcycles and mechanics.  This family has many years of two-wheeled experience.
This "new kid" Kevin was really fast, fearless and smooth.  Kevin and his older brother Brian are both accomplished motorcycle racers.
Atherton turned pro and was soon offered a "factory ride" with the H-D Team, joining Scott Parker and Chris Carr.  Kevin was third-man . . . and tried his best, often upsetting the Parker/Carr championship battles with wins and podium finishes of his own.
He represented his sponsors and the factory team very well.  Later, Atherton teamed with TCR, Total Control Racing (a team with Ford family money) and continued to add victories.  Kevin Atherton was now a fan favorite.  His skill and determination (after a few serious injuries) didn't go unnoticed by his fans.  Always a threat to win until the end of his racing career.  Or was it?  Atherton can now be found in the pits mentoring other professional riders.
I was talking with an elderly man (at Springfield Red Roof Inn) this year who was from Atherton's neck-of-the-woods.  He followed the Atherton's racing careers.  Knew them personally.  I guess sometime recently 'ol Kevin jumped on a bike at a practice (or ice) weekender . . . and ran at the front of the pack - and about checked out.  Leaving everyone else racing for 2nd . . .