'38 and '48

Now have everything needed for final assemblies.  At 10 years apart, not much engineering change.  If it's not broken - don't fix it. 


My dad knows a guy with this '77 XLCR (H-D made a few '78s too).  He brought it up for a tune-up; timing, carb cleaning, fix starter switch, adjustments, etc.  It's in rather rough shape, a bit wore out - but runs ok.  The photos make it look good.   After about a week, ol' Noot had it straightened out.  Now he wanted the "test pilot" to run it up the street.
While "my tuner & lead mechanic" prepared my bike for testing, I stood off to the side with my full-face, gloves and boots . . . ready to hit the track.  I felt a bit like Rossi when he handed off the machine.
A quick check of clutch, throttle, brakes and seating position - I was given the GREEN to hit the track.
After warming the engine, a few short passes, I ventured out and hit the highway.  I came back with mental notes . . . adjustments were made - improving overall performance.  Communication between the rider and mechanic is crucial.  The mechanics hardly get any recognition.  All I got to do is ride-the-thing . . . the best part ! 
I hate to see it go . . .
1977 XLCR = Awesome Motorcycle.

52K Model Test Flight

The first real run-o-the year on this since I swapped the 19" rear for an updated 18" with factory rim and -54 hub.  Buchanan's stainless spokes.  This particular steel rim was drilled for screws (I didn't think they were drilled on steel rims?) maybe somebody did it?  The Goodyear All-Traction with it's flat sidewalls gives up a vintage look.  It's got the low, slung down in the weeds, street vibe . . . Let's hit the streets !

Ricky Graham

"When he was at his best, 
he was the best that's ever been." -Chris Carr

I know Ricky Graham would be retired by now.  Or would he???  But seriously, I've got to tell you, I really miss R.G.  I was lucky enough to see him race quite a few times, especially on The Mile at Springfield, Illinois.  If his life wasn't cut short by a stupid house fire, I'm almost sure he had more racing years left in him.  His career was up and down, trials and tribulations with all kinds of drama in between . . . however, as many of us already know . . . R.G. would try stuff, outside the ordinary, run it in harder, different lines, different combinations - he had that drive to win, with the skills to match.  I would cuss Graham after he cut-off Parker, dammit !  Just beat that Honda !  The other riders had to "up" their game when Graham was in that 25 lap main event. It didn't really matter if Graham was racing that Honda or whatever.  He just needed a fairly competitive motorcycle, and what it lacked, he made up for it.  I'd be so pissed after Ricky would work a slightly dangerous and risky move to win (the other rider thinking he had it won), but then you'd hear Graham and his victory speech, he wore his heart on his sleeve.  Ricky just wanted to win, and be on that box.  On top of the box.  Other times Graham was so far ahead it didn't matter.  Fastest time of the day, holeshot . . . 1st to Turn 1 . . . and he did what we all call "checked out" to a half-track lead at the checkered flags.  I study how Ricky Graham sits on a motorcycle, in racing situations, and I try to emulate him.  Right shoulder up, Left elbow down. Keep left leg in, close.  Right knee hard against the bike to make it turn.  Head cocked.  Slide back on the seat, down the shoot !  It's the perfect stance for a taller rider - and it works.  Picture Perfect.

PS. I know Graham would be really surprised how many fans would show up at these banquets, legends events, autograph sessions, trade shows, etc . . . just to see Ricky Graham again and get a signed shirt or picture? 

Stripper Money

I went to the local farm store and bought my favorite kind of stripper.  The first can didn't work, the second can just dribbled . . . and this can has almost TOO MUCH PRESSURE.  It is eatin' off the VHT wrinkle black and (under that) the black Imron, and I got a little on the house siding, whoops. 
Strip it, hose it off, blow dry, tape & plug, press out a couple more things
 Machine it, then blast it . . . onward.
We missed the big storm.  My friends Bill (Sioux City) and Pat (Plainview, MN) took a direct hit with 12"+ . . . we got 1.5" and it melted by the afternoon.

A man and his PAN . . .

Toby Davis
Toby comes up from Montrose, Iowa to pick up his rebuilt '48 motor.  74 cu.in. with STD heads and Andrews camshaft.  New lifters, blocks, new bore, new shaft, new crank pin - she's fresh - it'll be a runner.  Each time he comes up, we run down to The Pub, get some food and cold PBRs.  We talk choppers and history.  Toby is pretty darn sharp about all the vintage H-D motors . . . and actually started ridin' Harleys before he could get a valid driver's license. 
 Built to the smooth sounds of Daredevil



I took Ricky's advice . . .

I like the gloves !

Ricky (Anchor Moto) drove up from KC (through blinding snow at times) to bring up his cherished 1979 Ironhead Sportster Motor.  He's always wanted a stroker motor - and it's time to just do it.  A properly built ironhead stroker is a wonderful thing under you . . . with so much racing history from Leo Payne, Tony Daya, Warner Riley, Dave Campos, Dan Baisley . . . stories from Big Noot and Jeff Wiley - it's just something that every ironhead maniac needs to have in their stable of hot bikes.  

Hey dude, it was fun hangin' out, Comet Bowl . . . and I ate the remainder of your Ben & Jerrys !

Surface Treatments

WR rods surfaced, flat & true
. . . ditto on the shovel gasket surfaces . . .

S&S & NOS?

Swap meet scores . . . washed, blown, blasted, blown, solvent washed, blown, soapy washed, hot water rinsed, blown . . . it makes nice parts again.  It's a good system.  S&S B body will get the adjustable air bleed modification in the side (lower left of the cast-in-letter B)  I think the oil pump body might be NOS?
Original S&S backing plates are getting scarce.  $10 manifold was a no-brainer.

Longest Trip for Ricky Noot

For 2016 . . . I'd like to try a few new things.  One particular,  is a long motorcycle trip.  I wrote up some destinations on small pieces of paper on about January 2nd, and put them in a hat.  All 12 pieces of paper had places like Yellowstone, Bonneville, Florida, Maine, New York, Texas, California and Arizona.  I'm lucky enough to know people, and/or have some sort of relative or friend in about every place - on each piece of destination.  I feel the trip needs at least 3 full days of riding, a couple 1/2 day rides, a couple days rest in the middle, and back again.  3000 miles is a number.  Far enough on a motorcycle to let you feel it - and see some places I've never ridden through.  Like mountains, desert and differing climate change.  If it was easy, why do it?  Right?  I reached in the hat, and pulled out ARIZONA.  I was kinda excited since my son Eric and his wife live there - and so does Jeremiah (Love Cycles) and Sean . . . and Ricky, Amber, Dave & Shea & Co. on the way.  Actually 7 states in one week . . .
I decided to make the trip on my 1964 XLH.  It's been a proven motorcycle on many trips, and it deserves to make the trek.  I started preparing the Sporty in January, in the cold garage.  I've since geared it up, new chain and sprocket, new clutch plates(dry), lubed, checked wiring, checked spokes, it will get a new front Avon, bearings checked, brakes checked . . . new fluids.  I know there's not many 50 year old men who travel long distances on '64 Iron Sportsters . . . they'll be at least one.  I figure it might be best to travel early Spring or late Fall due to that Arizona heat . .  but, Hey - I got an oil cooler and a water bottle !

TECH: Tin Primary Cover 101

The old, BLACK cover appears to be an ordinary XLCH tin primary cover.  1958 up XLCH.  You ever notice how many of these covers have the extra (screw hole) provision in the top center for a screw, but it's not drilled - and there's no boss on the XLCH case for the screw threads???  I believe KR and XLR and Iron XR have this boss, and it's tapped for an extra screw.  This cover is actually drilled for it (I presume it was run on a KR, XLR or Iron XR)  This cover also has that "extra clutch reinforcement dome plate" over the top of the smooth cover itself.  I'm not sure what year they stopped production of this earlier cover?  Later covers have the ribs, with no extra dome reinforcement.
Below:  KR, XLR, Iron XR, possible early Aluminum XR Cover
1. Top Center Hole Provision and Drilled
2. Heavy Clutch Dome reinforced
3. Possibly used on early XLCH ?
Below: (Same as above cover)
1. Center Provision NOT drilled
Below: Later XLCH Cover
1. No Center Provision
2. No extra plate over clutch dome.
3. When did they start using this cover ?________
I've noticed the small "front sprocket shaft nut dome" is slightly different on these late covers also . .  maybe just an entirely different stamping, or die stamp?  Anybody know anything about this?  Many old Harley parts all look the same . . . to the untrained eye.

Genuine Junk Parts

This S&S B carburetor was so stuck, gummed, and messed up - I heated, soaked, everything and it finally came apart.  The valves(in the back) were stuck in the guides, and each valve was rusted, and stuck to the seats . . . had to tap them out with a drift.  Oil pump parts are corroded and rusty.
These heads were assembled years ago with no oil on anything.  Somebody just used a wire wheel and made the combustion chamber look like it was fresh . . . anything but !
Cracked gear cover(needs welding) and more corroded parts, oily, dirty and need to be cleaned and blown dry before I can bead blast them and find out they are cracked or junk anyway . . . this is the way it goes - work and labor to find out you can't use it anyway . . .

RACE SHIT: 1.625

WR connecting rods on big end are WL width with XL (OD) . . . 
Will require surface grinding.  
Oh, and Von Dutch still hates you.

Fab by Bake

I buy this rare oil tank, have Gelner blast it - and all the hidden bondo and JB flies out - looks like it was hit with buck shot.  Big hole, pin holes, chain grooves . . .a mess.  Hawbaker comes to the rescue and preps the bad spots, removes more nickle plating (which causes welding spits and splatters) and he proceeds to fabricate a heavy-duty chain plate on the bottom, fills all pin holes.  Solid.  Again, it's up to me for more prep, filler, sanding and ready for paint.  Thanks Bake !  I really appreciate it. 
( Now I have to race it ! )  Hux as pit crew . . .

Sand, Buff & Polish

XLR motor mounts and S&S original, aluminum tear-drop cover.

KR "John Penner" Race Loop

Penner's brake-stay resembled a big egg.  It looked a little weird for my taste.  I had local L&J Welding plasma cut my design, then I smoothed it out.  Saturday, I laid out my hole templates, measured, drilled pilot holes, drilled holes to diameter, then beveled each.  Every time I had to realign, and secure the loop with c-clamps.  It took me forever.

Thrust Washer

S&S Flywheel machined for H-D thrust washer.

Workin' Hard or Hardly Workin' ?

If you keep it fun - Really not like work at all . . .

Above: Line up the heads for correct manifold placement
This '48 runs STD heads
Dad turns it over and we watch and measure all clearances . . . make sure everything is correct, no funny "clicks or clunks" . . . she's a smooth one !

The sky is falling . . .

I'm flyin' down the street on my motorcycle and a huge tree limb breaks off over my head . . . I duck, and it just barely hits my helmet.  I get home and part of my Speed Merchant sticker is gone?

Swap Meet Scores . . . Need Fixin'

I bought some unique parts last weekend . . . at some reasonable prices - BUT, all the parts need workThey all need fixed.  This pig snout kicker has a tight, solid outside bushing which Jeff will locate off and bore the inside for a steel sleeve with a flange.  Press in steel, then bore steel sleeve for the bronze bushing, hone to fit the shaft.  (steel sleeve will resemble the bronze piece pictured)

I picked up these early (E)series S&S flywheels.  S&S flywheels don't have thrust washers at the crank pin.  The wheels are made of a special forged steel, that if everything is set up correctly(key word: correctly) you don't need them.  This set was worn.  McFarland will set this up in a rotary table and machine it so the washer is just flush (or maybe a touch above) the flywheel surface.  He'll do it so the flush washer has a press-fit, I'll stake it, and she'll be good as new !
NOTE: Early pre-1955 motors(loose roller) with no left Timken, flywheel assemblies will move right to left (.012 endplay preferred) with engine revs.  This is why it's important to have the Left & Right case races aligned properly (lapped properly) so the contact made with the thrust washer areas are random and not constant contact on one side or the other.  Keep 'Em Rollin' - Keep 'Em in the Center !  

Cedar Rapids Swap Meet

Bound for Cedar Rapids . . . Trailer, bike, parts . . . 
Coffee stop with Dino.
 From Left:
Al, Bill, Noot & Zimmer . . .
Things get kinda weird . . .
I think it's rays from those huge electrical junction boxes they put us under every year ?
25+ years at this swap !
 It didn't mellow out much through-out the day . . .
THE "Jeremiah" of Cedar Rapids:
Married, dad with (3)crazy kids, bike builder, vintage historian,
bmx racer, hard ass worker, beer guzzler, pizza buyer . . .
Thanks dude - See ya'll soon !