Your First Big Bike Trip . . .

Badlands Nat'l Park - Interior, South Dakota Aug. 2017
Zac Starkey went on his first "Sturgis Run" this year.  He sent me some photos from the trip. When a guy takes his first long motorcycle trips, you always like to capture the moment.  After so many years, I just whiz through and past all the unique scenes and views, so sometimes it brings back some excitement when a new-kid goes along.  It brings back the memories of your youth, as time waits for no one.
Field of Sunflowers - near Winner, South Dakota Aug. 2017

National No. 91

I believe this is Mikey Martin of California lettin' it hang WFO on the cushion . . . ?  When I first started following professional flat track racing, Scott Drake had the #91 on his leathers.  After his retirement, the late (and great) TT and short track racer Andy Tresser wore the #91.

There they go . . .

Chris and Sarah hittin' the road on Warren's reliable panhead.  The motor was leakin' (I should say gushing) oil out the top of the gear cover.  We met at O'Reilly Auto Parts and bought a can of brake kleen.  After spraying down the oil, wiping clean . . . we used The Right Stuff sealer (in silver) to smear over the leak . . . let it dry a couple hours in the sun while we strutted around - came back, started the bike, and it wasn't leaking anymore!  It sealed.  The Right Stuff should be in every workin' man's tool arsenal.  No more oil on her boot. . .

Oil Tank Mounting Hardware

The feed line and battery tray are original H-D pieces.  The rest is reproduction.  To me, when I hear the words "reproduction" I get ready FOR A FIGHT !  'Cause many times it sucks with these parts.

Hi-Fi Blue

TECH: Main Drive Gear Seal Modification

Have you ever used the "fully enclosed - with metal Front and Backside" Main Drive Gear Seals?????  They press in really hard, and they're almost impossible to remove with sheet metal screws.  I think it's because the backside is enclosed, and they can't crush a bit.
I chucked it in the lathe and cut the back side out . . . now it should press in with a reasonable amount of press fit, and I can still get it back out with "a reasonable amount of effort."  It's like the old style stock seals now.  Remember: Always install your seal with the inner seal spring towards the oil, or on the same side as the oil you're trying to keep from coming out . . .

Magneto? YES or NO

The "Magic Box" is what a local kid called my magneto when he couldn't think of what it was called . . . He stated, "My electronic junk is toast and I just want points again, or one of those magic box things."  Here's the best way to explain magnetos for your application: from my own personal experience:    Assuming your carburetor, engine timing and valves are correctly adjusted, set your magneto timing in the same manner as you would a common points & condenser system.

Harley 45 (WL), UL, ULH, K Models, Knuckleheads and Panheads:  Magneto in solid "advanced position" at all times.  It will cold start and hot start.  I bolt my magneto solid in the "fully advanced position" and don't mess with it.  The points last 5 times longer in a magneto than a conventional system. (don't ask me why, they just do)  When you're cold kick starting, if the engine is poppin' through the carb periodically(not all the time) you're probably ok.  You could barely retard your spark to help, but once it's running and hot, these engines like a little extra advance timing I've found for performance, mileage and "it just runs better."

Harley XLCH Ironheads and Shovelheads:  You need the capability to retard (for cold starts) and advance (for running position) for best results.  Kick starting a fully advanced magneto on an XLCH can be difficult with popping, kick backs, slips, and feeling the need to sell this thing . . .
Above:  I've utilized a "solid mount" factory stock magneto base plate from an XLCH on my Harley WLA.  This magneto has been in the bike for about 6 years.  The bike gets ridden (starts and stops) more than any of my other motorcycles.  I've never had the cap off since I put it together (I should probably lube the points cam) but it still runs perfect.  Fairbanks Morse magneto head and shaft with Morris points and condenser.  FM cap painted olive drab.

Born 30 Years Too Late . . .

 Trying to convince her to sit on the fender . . .

The Original Pacman

This guy got really excited about my "Pacman Symbol" on my frame.  Original H-D frames with all the markings can transform a relatively calm, bearded, slightly over-weight, 6'3" tall H-D motorcycle enthusiast into a salivating little kid, giddy with excitement !  Jeeezzzzz! 

Robbie Knievel on CHiPs

I just happened to catch the episode where he jumped the airplane.  That was a few years ago (showin' my age) since I watched CHiPs as a kid . .
 Bruce Penhall (far far right) zoom in . . .
Robbie is a damn good motorcycle rider who didn't seem to get a whole lot of credit, but he made some incredible jumps, set all the records - and drank whiskey and kicked ass like his ol' man.

Z Bars in Spearfish Canyon

Fact . . .

Heck, Darrel Huxsol built one of these things over 20 years ago . . .

Kurpius capturing the moment . . .

 . . . brother Ives snatched the cash from Sarah !
The Ives Brothers travel all over the country performing their own Wall of Death Show with dad as the announcer . . . it's a full family show.  They're almost done building and testing another horse in the stable . . . a vintage Harley 45 twin - high on the wall soon.

It's Not Any Different Now

You should read all the bitchin' on the Harley Instagram site about the new 2018 models . . . it's really kinda gross.  People's thumbs start typing before anything else (like a brain) kicks in . . . I was always brought up, like if you can't say anything constructive, don't say shit.  But, in today's world, you know what I'm talkin' about . . . no disrespect, just saying.....

Here's why I might know something, 'cause I grew up with a dad who is one of the most respected mechanics in the area.  Where you were maybe around 1,2 or 10 Harley riders back-in-the-day . . . I was around hundreds.  Riders who needed work.  You got major feedback.  They were from all aspects of Harley-Davidson riders: Long distance, drag racers, dirt trackers, clubbers, touring, customizers, do-it-yourselfers . . . all of them. 

I remember when the FXR came out.  Rubber mount.  A rubber mounted shovelhead with a 5 speed transmission? (too much shifting) Belt drive (biker's called it "rubber band drive") What a joke.  "That belt won't hold."  "Now Harley took away "the mystique" and the vibration of what makes a Harley a Harley . . . bitch bitch bitch.  The FXR wasn't an immediate success.  It was kinda a "sissy bike"  No shit.  Wide Glide? YES - FXR? (not for real bikers).  The only dudes riding those silly FXRTs were guys who didn't want the BMW.  It was built to compete with the Windjammer equipped Honda's and Kawasaki's . . . no shit.  They didn't make a whole lot of 'em (that's why there ain't a lot of 'em around . . . A lighter weight (single guy rider) traveling Harley.  Before the FXRT your choice for light weight was a full dressed Sportster XLH (like my black one).  Soon the FXR got ridden, word got around.  The "old bikers" liked the cushion.  They liked low-maintenance. Away went the choppers, here came the FXRs and the rest is history.  Just like the history of the JD, the history of the VL, the 45, the history of the Knuckle, the Pan, the XLCH, the Softail, the Dyna, the Buell, the FLHX . . . it's just more history.  The history of Harley-Davidson Motor Co.

"Times Don't Change - Men Do."  I don't know who originally said that, but it's a solid statement.  If you like Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, and have a lifetime commitment towards them (like I do) different models come and go, and it's interesting to see what factory design changes happen every model year.  I see a lot of bitching, but you can't compare a sportbike to a Harley to a CRF to a Ural to a ???? They are different animals made for different purposes.  Half these bitchin' dudes can't even change their own head gaskets or know where the bolts go, so they have no idea what it takes to build a machine.  I say, ride one, strip it, jam it, stroke it, paint it . . . do whatever you want, but it's still a new H-D design with their latest engine, attempting to improve power and handling.  Fail or not, I'd like to see them succeed on the track and on the street.  I don't own a new Harley, but feel I help the company through promotion and feedback towards riders I talk with, who ride new Harleys.  I attend events where 95% of the motorcycles are Harley-Davidsons.  I still buy genuine Harley oil and run it in all my bikes. I frequent the local Harley dealership, and refer them to potential customers for sales and service.  I'll keep riding my old iron 'cause it's what I know and it's a tribute to the motorcycles Harley-Davidson once manufactured in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - and prove to the younger generations that you can ride old Harley iron and have a hell of a lot of fun. 
I wouldn't hesitate in a minute to pack this thing up, fill it with fuel, gear up . .  and hit the road for a multi-state tour of super slabs and back roads.  The headlight is ugly, but I'll bet it lights up the road through fog and darkness.  The bags look solid.  I'd ditch the reflectors - The blacked out lower windshield is neat.  Maybe a short sissybar . . . I'll bet it'd go 100,000 miles.   
But, I still like panheads.

Expensive Yamaha

This build had lots o' trick parts with the frame, forks, shocks, brakes and PM wheels, etc . . .

The Lineup

Get it up . . .

This is a great way to adjust your transmission (primary belt or chain) so you can see what the hell you're doin' under there.  Get some blocks under the rear wheel.

What is this bolt / spring thing?

I couldn't really figure it out after viewing my photos?  I thought maybe somebody would know?

Vintage Racer

 . . . at the Sturgis 1/2 Mile Fairgrounds. 
Hope they don't bulldoze the track and build apartments.


A couple for Chris K . . .

I like 'em too.  We both like a well done stocker.  Or a functional chopper.

Jiffy Trails

It didn't start right away . . . took a couple kicks.

1958 XLCH Racing Engine

"R" Pump Installed

The Rum Runner

 Dynamically balanced by: Jeff Wiley


Betty Blowtorch / Hell on Wheels

I didn't get to see Sharon (and her band Hells Belles) at Sturgis this year . . . but here she is back in the day with Betty (Bianca) Blowtorch sportin' her white tank  and rockin' rhythm guitar !  Go Sharon - she's a rocker !  It's Hell on Wheels - Have a great weekend - crank it and pop a top !

More ART (less words and war)

I once ate gigantic cheese burgers with Chase in Phoenix.
photo by: Narihiko Kumagae
paint by: Jody Perewitz
 . . . with glow-in-the-dark stripes.
Probably one of the most famous images of late . . .
photo by: Josh Kurpius
Watercolor Panhead
by: Claudia Liebenburg
Baja (ink drawing)
by: Cory Jarman
 Linocut (this was a very neat print)
by: Amy Hood


UPDATE (see comments)TECH: Clutch Basket Grease

If you run a dry clutch primary, you've probably noticed your grease doesn't last long (about 2000 miles in summer weather).  I run the individual, long roller bearings(no retainer) so it may be easier for the grease to liquefy and evaporate?  I found this Lucas X-TRA grease - good for 560 degrees
and "resists slinging out of fast moving parts." 

The test is officially in session . . . I'll let you know how it worked in the future . .  .
. . . it was only $10 bucks.

Storytime . . .

This guy was parked on Sturgis Main Street.  It was about 10:00pm.  He had a spark plug wrench in his hand, kneeling down near the front cylinder.  I said, "How's she runnin'?  and he replied with, "Well, right now it's not - on the front cylinder."  His gal was standing nearby, and she looked a bit concerned, but not really.  We talked for a minute, and I got my trusty flashlight to aid him with his work, trying to help, but not suggest.  He knew his bike.  They had a great ride all day through the Black Hills, and when he came into town at dusk, his shovelhead started running funny.  He replaced the front plug, put away the tools, and she fired on the first kick.  The motor had a healthy sound, and the throttle was blimped - the pipes had a sweet crack n' cackle.  They both thanked me for the assistance, he pulled his bike onto the street, she jumped on - they smiled - and away they went.  I hope I'm still goin' like they are in my years to come.  He was the genuine deal, with a sweet chopper and a sweeter gal . . . Nice folks out havin' some fun.

Chris Milanowski's '42 WLA

He runs an early model engine and stuffed it to an earlier (Model RL) frame.  Chris (at age 29) has succeeded in learning all aspects of custom motorcycle building.  Designing, metal smithing and forming, machining, pattern making, paint, upholstery . . . and marketing (hey, it's in the show with a great write up)
When I walked into the showroom area (very early on Monday) I was the 2nd visitor.  Sort of ironically, there just happened to be someone already looking at Chris's bike.  I had to wait, then I finally started talking to them about it, and said I knew the owner/builder.
The POSA (or originally promoted under the name "Positive Fuel" or something like that...?)  The carb has no-float-bowl, so fuel just keeps flowing to keep the engine fed.  The idle is a bit rough, and works best at mid to WFO throttle !
Snappy clutch pedal for rainy nights and slippery Vans. 
Czech da o' tank oak leaf bros . . .
I shot in Serpia and thought the photos added more character to the gloss and flat black, chrome, and brush aluminum.
I believe Kendal did the elegant gold leaf designs . . . ?   They're sharp.  Chris hand-formed all the sheet metal from patterns he designed and built.  This WL runs a little hand shifter (down low to the left).  I dig the comfy custom seat !
Early Sportster triple trees(smoothed and chromed) one-off risers . . . and he made the lower legs (complete with late 60s XL internals).  The bike looks almost too nice to ride . . . however, it's thin, lightweight and should be a quick urban assault weapon . . . "Here he comes now, slidin' sideways into the bike show!"

PS. I talked to Chris on the phone yesterday, and he said the bike made it to the show at Buffalo Chip (picked up by a shipping company for the event 2 weeks ago) and back to Milwaukee "without a scratch"  . . . so a deserving hats off to Michael Lichter's shipping and show crew for a job well done !

George Smith's - The TRAMP

When I walked into Michael's reception on Sunday night, there were so many people, I didn't notice The Tramp displayed in the entry-way.  I came back on Monday morning to take some pics when nobody was around (and I still didn't notice it, until I was leaving).  I couldn't believe my eyes.  There it was - to myself - the most historical racing motorcycle (besides the 1970 Manning streamliner) that I consider to be the ultimate for any collection.
Do you know what's going on here ? Those aren't stock cylinders?
Not a lot of "stock" here . . .

It's hard to comprehend the amount of time George spent thinking about this motorcycle and how to make it go faster - it totally consumed his time for a few years.  He put his knowledge and findings to good use . . . S&S Cycle
Get on and Lets' GO !
 1954 = 152mph