Donnie Smith Show

Nice weather, cool bikes, not a lot of people, not many old parts, a few deals, long drive, good ice cream, had a little fun - that about sums it up. Can you believe I restrained myself from buying another t-shirt? A good mix of old and new iron. We didn't even see Donnie Smith (he must be too important to be at his own show all the time)??? The best bike(if I could have any one) was probably a 1922 Harley-Davidson JD Model (fuel tank pictured)

Hux gets some paint . . . .

'Bout a month back, a bro from Rochester giv me his lid. Wanted some paint. Jazz'd it up a bit - you dig? Now he ain't square no mo. He be kool now. Git it on - Ride Free - Live to Ride - Ride to Live - Drink Guinness !

WLA Engine Installation

It's always a great feeling when the time comes to install your newly rebuilt mill into the frame. You get all the proper fasteners ready. You clear a path from the bench to the motorcycle. You grab the cylinders, and hold the engine against your chest. It's heavy. 45s are rather light. Knuckles are heavy. Sportsters are the heaviest (especially ironheads) You gently set the engine in place - line up all the holes. Get it straight with the trans, snug up the back, check the front with a feeler gauge (shim if necessary), snug up the front . . . . away we go. Now sit back and crack a cold one and stare at your work. It's a beautiful thing !

Ironhead Digger

This neat little ironhead Sportster chopper was spotted at the Sturgis 1/2 mile. A bit dusty - it looked the part. This bike had a cool Paughco-style tank with nice paint and leather work. Chopper fender, customized frame, cool pipes, springer . . . "Can you dig it?" I'm diggin' it - you dig?

White Flag

J. Mees - Nat'l No. 21 - 2008 Gypsie 1/2 Mile - Sturgis, SD - Final Lap !


Morty says it's about time Rick gets this car running again !


Pictured is Bruce Penhall, former professional speedway champion. Speedway bikes run on alcohol and make tons of horsepower - in a light chassis - these things are brutal. Crossed up and sliding, they make quick work of 1/4 or 3/8 mile indoor tracks and coliseums. Penhall cleaned up in the USA, then went to Europe and kicked ass. Then he was on C.H.I.P.S. with John and Ponch for a few episodes. Speedway is still hot - especially in So. Cal. But, it's hard to read the sponsers on the rear wheel when they're racing.

Tiny & Wally

Two friends at Davenport just before goin' in to see the flat-track. Bromie let us park at his swap booth and he'd watch the bikes. We sat in the stands with Noot, Dave T, DA, Cyn, Miller & Co., Wezie and Frost. We watched Bake race - he kicked ass and got 2nd behind that fucking Jawa. It was fun. I plan on doing it again this year. If you never been to the Chief Blackhawk Chapter AMCA Swap Meet and Races in Davenport, Iowa over Labor Day weekend . . . get your plane ticket or gas up your scoot and go check it out. Camping at the event. Spring has sprung !


I saw a commercial finally for the new Yamaha V-Max. They had one on display at Sturgis . . . and Cycle City in Rochester has one in the window. I think the new ones are kinda ugly - too gawdy. Our little town has like 10 registered V-Max motorcycles running around town (for only 7,000 people - that's a lot) They should get together and start a club. The V-Max above apparantly wasn't fast enough - needed nitrous oxide (and a now a new back tire).
Photo: Courtesy of Noot's Custom Cycles archives

Bart Markel

1972 Sportster

When Harley-Davidson introduced the Sportster for 1972, it now had a 1000cc engine. Same stroke of 3 13/16, just a little bigger bore and slightly redesigned heads. A lot of guys went and bought one or traded their older "900" bikes. However, the '72 just didn't have the power for some reason. The clutch was now a wet system. Just not the same.
Well, Noot went and got himself one, tweaked it a little with some porting and carb work, played with the gearing - and the thing ran low 13s. Not too bad. 1973 saw a disc brake up front and the 1000 Sporty was here to stay. Check the custom manual bike lift and sissy bar - must be getting ready for Indy or Sturgis??? (Note: Noot sold this particular bike to a family friend in Clear Lake - and I worked on it and got the thing running again last year)


Ask anyone that runs "old iron" and they'll tell you they got spares. I'm talkin' extra sets of contact breaker points, spark plugs (I like Autolight 4316s), masterlinks, tubes, cables, gears, bushings, etc, etc, etc. You've just got to have some extra parts if you need them, since the local HD shop probably don't carry it. Since you have to buy the stuff when you see it - and not necessarily when you need it - you forget what you have in stock. So, I like to go look at all my spares in the basement - and get a "mental inventory." Hmmmmm - I see I'm running low on 4.00-18 metal center valve tubes . . .

Las Vegas early days . . .

A scene from the early days of Vegas. The days before 10% unemployment, foreclosures and the population boom. Las Vegas was featured on CBS Good Morning on Sunday. It featured the showgirls of Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino and their story about the show ending after 50 some years. The Las Vegas economy may be slow - but, it'll be back. People like to have fun. It's in their nature. Just the like group of friends above. Choppers, friends and good times. Have a great week everybody !

'52 WLA Bobber Update !

I've been busy working on the WLA every night the past 3 weeks. The M88 Linkert Carburetor is detailed, rebuilt with military air horn installed(see header photo). The cylinders have been bored .030 oversize for "nos" Harley pistons. The generator is rebuilt, front and rear brakes, oil pump and scavenger pump installed. This is a shitload of work and time. Bead blasting, cleaning, measuring, fitting, cleaning again, re-measuring . . . very tedious work. But, it will hopefully be the most bitchin' military on the block. Have a nice weekend ! (PS. I'm taking a break from motorcycles and paintin' the kitchen)

Good Reading

Every night before I turn in - it's always nice to read a little to help clear your mind. I really like The Bikeriders by Danny Lyon. It's a series of photographs and manuscript taken from his journey with The Chicago Outlaws. He hangs with the Outlaws on runs, races, cafes and at the bars throughout Chicago and the state of Illinois. Leanings and Leanings 2 are by Peter Egan from Cycle World. It's a series of short stories. Great reading for any motorcycle enthusiast. Motley Crue: The Dirt and Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries? Hey, it's interesting stuff. Biker Billy Cooks with Fire (he uses no meat in his recipes) huh? My Side of the Mountain - I liked it in grade school - and I still like it!

Scenes from the Road to Sturgis '08

Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Can that be such a bad thing? The past is best for fond memories and forget all the bad ones. The days are getting longer - and soon it will be that time of the year to get out on the road and leave home - journey out into the big grasslands of the midwestern plains. The time will come to travel across the lands of the native Americans and to respect their soil. The days are getting longer - the time is nearing. Mark your calenders: August 3rd thru 8th, 2009.

Cedar Rapids Swap Meet

Pictured: Bill & Noot selling off the excess inventory. The swap was good. Parts Girl Promotions does a swell job with this one. We made a little cash, got rid of some extras, bought some more shit . . . but, most of all - had fun. The weather was a little nasty - but, hey - this is Iowa - not California. The house was packed. Who needs Ebay???

Another Girl and a Knuckle

I liked this photo first time I saw it. Perfect old time, period correct knuckle chopper. Springer, Z bars, spool, Paughco tank, Avon, shotguns - you know the jargon. The gal ain't bad either. She just might be as much maintenance as the bike. I believe this photo was shot by Nelson Kanno, photojournalist and contributor to Church of Choppers, The Horse Magazine, and many other publications. I met Nelson this past Summer in LaCrosse for the S&S 50th Tribute. The scene reminds me of a good old midwestern fairgrounds. Animal barns, 4H, blue ribbons, apple pie, pig calling contests - and a sweet chic on her old man's knuck !

Shoppin' at the Small Shops

The small, custom shops are becoming a dying breed again. I went to stop by two different shops on the way to the swap - and they were both closed. Closed forever. They both sold parts and did repair work. The poor economy will be hard on the little guy, unless they have a good following. You can buy so much online, ebay, mail order - even some manufacturers now sell direct to the public. High insurance costs, liability, taxes, rent, payroll . . . it's a wonder the little guy can stay in business? I've always try to support the small shops. Prices are usually more negotiable. You can dig through their used parts. Plus, many have cool t-shirts (so you don't have the same Harley dealer shirts everyone and their dog has . . .) Maybe I'll see you at the Shovel Shed, Hawg Shed, Wheels Unlimited or Jay Jay's?

Ronnie's old tank

A local ruffian used to run this Superglide Tank on his bike around town for many years. It was a spin-off of art by David Mann. (famous Easyrider Magazine centerfold artist) The top of the tank (not shown) had a light shining on a sign that read Colwell's (the name of the infamous biker bar on Main St.) This tank was sold, traded a few hands - and Noot somehow ended up with it. It now hangs proudly on his garage wall. A guy named Pattschull hand painted it and it's really cool. He did a sweet job. We saw him the other day and told him we had the tank. He didn't know where it ever went. "Know ye that this is the . . . . . . . . drugs & chics !"

Jackpiners on Knuckleheads

When's the last time you rode your Screamin' Eagle FLHTCU, Nightrod, Bad Bones, etc. through the water crossing at your last club meeting???? These guys rock . . . who needs a dual sport when you have a '41 Knuckle?

Warranty ?

I attended Micky & Gringo's Swap Meet this past weekend in St. Paul. It was packed with used parts and people. All kinds of bikers looking to get a good deal on some parts for their motorcycle. These were old parts. Not in new Harley packages. Lots of old, rusty stuff. Chrome that was a little scratched. Some new stuff - but very little. My wife went with me(her first swap meet) and she commented that most of the attendees looked like "do-it-yourselfers" who are probably not riding new motorcycles . . . or at least they knew their way around an old one. There's still many riders out there that don't need a "warranty" to keep them on the road. I've never had a warranty on any of my Harleys - only the Kaw (and I sold that). The warranty above didn't stop men and women from buying those early model Harley-Davidsons. I believe many of those same people were at the meet . . . where friends with old bikes share a common thread - No Warranty anymore.