Royal Bubblebags

 . . . now I got this thing for these saddlebags. 
Isn't that Red KH super cool !  I love those bags, the rack, seat, tank and low bars(it's just a beautiful motorcycle).
I'm thinkin' maybe a black set for my panhead touring bike/bobber thing I'm buildin' . ?

Nemo Guest Ranch

I see Jeff Wright and crew rode out of Nemo Guest Ranch and had a great time as planned.  The photos looked really fun.  Nemo, South Dakota (to me) is a magical place.  About 20+ years ago my "Sturgis Landlord" by the name of Alva, suggested I take a day and pack up my Kawasaki 250 and ride to Nemo via Vanocker Canyon Road, and ride some trails.  It was about 80 degrees already at 10am when I took off.  I wasn't dressed with proper gear, since I found myself freezing as I rode through the lows and highs of the (then unpaved) Vanocker Canyon Road.  The smell of pine is always with you.  This year there was an epidemic of grasshoppers which covered the roads.  The terrain around you looks like (I call it) miner's rocks.  A land of caves, streams, large rocks, fallen pine trees, pine needles and red colored clay.  Some trees are bare from fires.  It's a beautiful area, but it can catch up with you quick.  I was soon lost after selecting a trail off the main road.  Gold miner stake claim signs read "We Will Shoot Trespassers - Try Us !"  Now I was scared and edgy.  My riding ability was being tested as the trails turned to rough openings, and you had to find the trail to stay on it.  After being lost(and panicked) for about an hour, I came to a main road, and I was only about 2 miles from Nemo. 
I was so hungry.  I rode up to the main building.  It was me, my bike and 50 horses.  No motorcycles.  I was tired and needed water from hulking this "street bike that looks like a dirt bike" through the early morning hills, through fog and grasshoppers.  Black flies are also a problem.  Don't tuck in your shirt !  These flies will get under your shirt, and if they can't get out, they get pissed off and bite the shit out of you, actually taking a small chunk of flesh with them.  It hurts.  Then it itches. 
The Guest Ranch had a sign (written on a paper plate) and nailed to a pole that read: BISCUITS AND GRAVY $5.00 . . The bar has a tree growing on the inside and up through the roof (a main attraction) and I asked what else they had to eat?  She had one of those green order-taker pads flipped open with a pencil ready to write.  I asked, "What, uh, do you have a menu?"  She said, "We got biscuits and gravy." . . . Hmmm, do you have pancakes or eggs?  She said, "Well sir, we got biscuits and gravy, no eggs, no pancakes."  Uh, How about sausage?  Toast? . . . She said it again, kinda chuckled and firmly stating, "We have biscuits and gravy for 5 bucks . . with coffee or water."  I guess I'll have the ________________.  You know it.  It was kinda funny.
After breakfast, I filled my water and took a map.  After a guided direction from a horse rancher suggesting a motorcycle route around Nemo I set out and explored Box Elder Creek and a cave, and some beautiful lookouts.  It was one of the most memorable days of my entire life.  I saw a dead deer that was probably killed & eaten by a mountain lion.  I saw a coyote.  I saw trout - I saw frogs and thousands of grasshoppers.  The beautiful green hills and valleys are anything but black.  The sky is the bluest of blue.  It's just an incredible place on earth. Nemo, SD is a true gem.  The biscuits and gravy were delicious, and stuck-to-my-ribs all day - a great ride.

Jay Springsteen Does It Best . . .

 . . . and still doin' it.  I heard he looked great at Wauseon.

Bring Back Some Color !

The last few years, H-D just doesn't have the unique tank designs as in the past.  The 2018 "Eagle Emblem" isn't too bad . . . but it's like they just decided to give you a choice of plain jane, flames or tribal?  Wouldn't it be cool to have a 1971 Sportster like this one !?!?

Miller's Chopper

Our friend bought his first motorcycle when he was a teenager.  A 1954 panhead chopper.  He sold it after a few years, but always wished he could get it back.  Well, a deal was struck after about 20 years, and he got it back.  Rough shape, rebuilt (shade tree style) a few times.  But the same bike.  Now we're redoin' it right - gonna be a runner.  Cases welded (it was only held by one motor mount bolt in the front, the entire other case ear was gone !)  Heads done.  Flywheels done in the cases.  Top end is coming next . . .

4.00 X 19" Front Goodyear


I Got Panheads On The Brain . . .

If You Can Visualize This Picture . . .?

I've always liked the 1950s panheads.  It all started with a circa 1957-1958 photo (which I can't find, lost it) of a Korean War Veteran.  He stood proudly next to his stripped down 1954FL with a ragged shirt(smokes under his sleeve), a puffy hat(sitting crooked on his head), engineer boots and ragged Levis.  The bike was packed like he was going somewhere?  The rear fender hinge was removed, a '55 style tail light plopped on top, hacked off front fender, no front tins, buckhorn bars, funky muffler, with straight stripes on the tank sides, and metal stars and other trinkets here and there . . . It was just the toughest lookin' motorcycle.  That's what I'm trying to build . . . oh, and hopefully it's gonna be a hard and solid runner ?
 Got the brake all hooked up.  Original H-D drum, backing plate, nos rivets, nos sprocket and brake springs. 
"Keep your old Harley-Davidson ALL Harley-Davidson !"
 Big Noot drug out this window he bought from some old dude years ago . . . so I shined it up, and mounted a vintage bag.  I could use it today for all the no-see-um bugs - shit they're bad.

Magneto Hash Marks . .and other bits

This Hunt magneto base is movable, and has a "heavy drag" resistance to it, so you can manually move the mag and retard the spark for easier starting.  Once we got the base installed in the best position so it would break the points where we wanted it, we set the timing for the advanced spark running position.  THEN, I noticed these hash marks Chris has scribed in here - and they lined up perfect !  Good to see we're on the same page . . .  We also made a special lock nut for the retard stop set screw.  Point gap set at .016   I glued the cork cap gasket to the magneto body.

Ride Your Fat Sporty Day . . .

I'm thinkin' for the Hell On Wheels deal in October . . ?   Maybe put this in my truck, drive to Franklin, Iowa - Take a little ride through Montrose, Keokuk, Nauvoo, The Great River Road, Maybe cross at Fort Madison, Go see some scenery on the Mississippi . . . go see Michael, Steve and Tobias, do the Hell on Wheels Show . . . sound like a plan Stan?
That's just another great aspect of the Harley Sportster.  Light enough to get in your pick-up, or in/on a small trailer . . . and strong enough for a long trip.  Nimble enough for backroads, paved or dirt.  Not the greatest for 2-up, but if you're flyin' solo with a bit of gear, or a back pack - the classic ironhead is a great choice. 
I still use maps.  Can't beat a good map.

Time Management

When I got my frame back from Jordan Dickinson (after he straightened it) I set the bare cases and cylinder/head in the frame.  It fit about perfect with no shims needed.
The cases needed MAJOR work.  The heads too.  The cylinders needed modifications . . . one thing after another, and it's still occurring.  This thing has led an abusive life.
I call this my "gangster" fender style.  The front was damaged, so it got hacked.  It's come a long ways since a bare metal frame and hollow cases and heads . . .

Stock XLCH Dry Clutch

Hopefully this clutch works a bit better, and stays dry?  I set everything to factory specs, and upgraded to a nice set of (stock tension) springs. NOS Raybestos plates from my stash . . .

1968 Dresser Muffler

These things are funky lookin' . . . originally about 28 1/2" long and chrome.  I cut it in half to see what was inside, and found it pretty stuffed up.  After some careful consideration of air flow and back pressure, I modified the guts, cut it shorter and had it welded back up.  Acid etched it, roughed it up with 80 grit and painted it black.  Then gave it some patina.  Hope it works like it should????
More '54 build photos coming soon . . .

The Uncommon: K-Model Chopper

The only Harley model more scarce may be the XA Chopper? 
Or the Sprint, Hummer or Scat Chopper?

Early Sportster Primary Drive

First, I installed the kicker shaft and gear.  The new "square style" black rubber kicker shaft seals are too tight and too square.  You can easily cut the seal when installing the shaft.  I turn the seal inside-out and bevel the sharp edge, so it doesn't get cut upon installation.  Grease it up good, don't forget the thrust washer (with flat side up).  New seal in the clutch basket, and lithium grease on the needle bearing.  It still had the original-style brass clutch hub nut lock (which kinda serves as a seal too).  The lock was in good shape, so I reused it.  Heavy washers under the adjuster bolt heads.  Now, it has the correct chain tensioner with NOS shoe and retainer.  My last one.  I installed the whole business with original, factory dealership issued Harley-Davidson tools - ie: gear locks, and hub to basket lock. I tightened everything by hand to facilitate removal "on the road."  No air impacts.  It's the way our H-D founders intended.
The Diamond brand primary chain is a good choice.  I also like the Tsubaki chain.  Do yourself a favor and stay away from all the other ones.

Steve Aseltine Nat'l No. 36

I was talking to a guy from Colorado, and the name Steve Aseltine came up.  I guess he still lives in Colorado?  He was a great flat track racer in his younger days.  He beat all the greatest riders when they were at their best . . . from Scott Parker to Chris Carr to Ricky Graham.  Steve won Daytona, won $10,000 Camel Challenges . . . he really flew on his Rotax.  Aseltine was a very smooth and consistent racer.  One of the best short trackers from the late 1980's and early 1990s. 
Above: Here's Aseltine hiding behind his big check, being interviewed by Dave Despain.

Two Strokes Not Dead Yet

In the 250cc class . . .  In about 2 laps, this guy had his 2-cycle just a gettin' it on . . .  totally pulling away from everyone else.  His jetting was perfect - on the pipe - checkin' out . . . bye bye ! 
250s are still pretty darn fast on a half mile.

Davenport Meet 2017

The races on Friday night are fun.  The track looked a bit rough, but most of the riders I talked to said it was great !  The stands were about full.
Ed was riding the best I'd ever seen him . . . he was fast and smooth on the groove all day.  After a slow start, he battled through the pack and ol' #7 slowly reeled 'em in . . . finishing a solid 2nd place - On the box ! 
Your pit pass is also good for grandstand seating . . . it's best to get down there early and check out the riders and the motorcycles.  Some fast riders like to race at Davenport.  Names like Baber, Kasten, Vestal, Bickerton . . . and Tibben ! 
Terry (wrench) and Jordan (rider) get on their race faces . . .
Davis checks out the WR . . .
Itchy (above) looked way fast in practice, but during the race something was a bit off . . ? 
Hey, if it was always easy, everybody would do it.  Right?
(Above) Erickson and Patterson duke'n it out.
The track officials have the "intermission" as the sun goes down (to keep the sun out of the rider's faces on the front shoot . . . good idea)
The guy on that yellow Yamaha (above) has been doin' this a long time.
yes, that's his original Sprint, still being raced by John Tibben. 
Mike Connell of Decorah, Iowa was running it this weekend . . .
Pabst Blue Ribbon !  Tobie went to buy a "few" beers and came back with a 30 pack on my seat . . . Holy shit, nobody left thirsty !

Danny Howe came riding up on his sweet, panhead stocker. 
He always looks the part. 

Chris burped around the fairgrounds, breakin' in his fresh 45 custom build.  It was covered with dust from rippin' through the pits, around the swap . . a very cool bike !  Thanks to everyone who showed me a great time: McCoy, Al, Tobie, Steve, Drew, Ryan, Michael, Pete, Chris, Klein, Emerson, Nathan, Will, Kurpius, D.A., Bromie . . . and the whole Hee Haw gang . . . see ya'll soon.  -Noot