Saturday, March 31, 2012

65 Panhead born free bike

As of yesterday there is only 3 months till Born Free. I have along way to go still but it's always a great feeling to get some things done.

I made some threaded bungs on the lathe and welded them to the top rear of my oil bag. I then made some tabs and welded those to my frame.

Friday, March 23, 2012

AT AT Attack !!!

Our friend Ez was able to take a really nerdy idea that Dave and I had and completely blow our minds. We will have shirts pretty soon of this design. Nerd Out everyone

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Look what I found

Well not really found. My friend The Nash was kind enough to sell it to me. Its a 6 over low bend in the front leg Ness springer. I have been looking for one for along time, and I have the perfect project for it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Requiem for .335"

I've been working day and night on my Born Free build and I thought I'd show a little piece of what goofy shit I've been doing. I'm running a stock inner primary and an old MPD finned outer primary cover on this bike. Problem is that the rest of the bike is super skinny and the '65-'69 cast inner makes the primary crazy wide. I am using a primo pro-clutch, which is in my opinion the hands-down best harley clutch on the market. The primo clutch can hold a ridiculous amount of horsepower--substantially more than what an 84" shovel will produce. So I decided to take out 4 clutch plates (two fiber and two steel) and narrow the clutch hub a corresponding amount. That would allow me to cut the inner primary down some to slim this thing up. Four plates stacked up to be .335" thick, so I decided to shave down the inner part of the clutch hub by that amount. I then had to machine down the standoffs and corresponding screws so that the whole clutch assembly had the same spring distance. Here are all the shaved down pieces:

To see how much the shave removed, look at the inner lip of the clutch hub before:

and then after the shave:

I know what you're thinking (because I thought the same thing): shit, that doesn't look like it created much room at all! Well, I mounted the rear hub up, and after measuring everything and leaving adequate clearance, I determined that I could shave a full 1.75" off of the inner primary-that is a significant reduction. Here is a pic for reference, the dotted lines show where I can cut the primary down:

Well worth the effort. Once I cut the inner primary down and modify the outer primary, I'll post some more pics.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Five Knuckleheads

This is in my friend Matt Olsen and his Dad Carl's shop this past summer. Such a Fun time getting to hang out and check out everything that Carls Cycle supply has to offer.

Unknown Pleasures

Bill Bryant recently took a bunch of pictures of my old shovelhead, Unknown Pleasues, which is now in Harpoon's filthy hands in sunny Orange, California. I bet she's happier out there in the sun. Anyway, Bill posted up the pics on Chop Cult in a pretty neat little article, go check it out:

Here she is this past summer with Harpoon stretching out. Josh Kurpius photo:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I'm Selling My Sporty

It's time for it to go. I don't ride it that much and I need the money. It looks and runs great. It's in the latest Show Class Mag, everything in it is brand new, Josh Kurpius shot it to run somewhere, sometime, blah blah blah. Go bid, fool!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Light Mockup

I was happy to be asked to build a bike for Born Free 4 as part of the builder invite. I have a full time jobby job and only work on bikes at night and on weekends, so to be included as a builder with all of the other incredibly talented dudes that were picked feels really good. I am building a digger. I have wanted to build one for 4 or 5 years now but never got around to finishing one. I got as far as a rolling chassis with one back in 2007:

I still have that entire chassis--I just got sidetracked building King Diamond and never got back to it. I decided to do the digger for the BF4 build, but I wanted to start fresh with a different chassis. My original plan was to make my own frame and front end for the bike, but I came across an original Arlen Ness digger frame and front end being sold by Vic up in the East Bay. I have literally never seen a big twin Ness digger frame in person, let alone for sale. This one had the EXACT same dimensions I was using to build a frame, except for a couple degrees more rake. I worked a cash and part trade deal with Vic and he shipped the stuff to me last week. All I can say is wow, the lines on the frame and craftsmanship is incredible. All of the tubing other than the backbone and seatpost is 7/8", just like I had wanted to do. Plus the whole frame is made out of chromoly, it is really light. It is stretched out about 6", no upstretch, and about 40 degrees of rake. Just an awesome frame:

In honor of the good professor and light mock-up king, Mike D AKA the Born Loser, I wanted to do a light mockup of the chassis for shits and giggles. I am using Kimtabs on this bike, 18" rear and 21" front. I made the rear fender out of two prismic-looking fenders, it also hides an oil tank. The gas tank is just for mockup, I am making my own tank for it that wil be a true prism/diamond tank (i.e., no square sides). The tank and fender are going to be welded to the frame and the whole deal will be molded. I am running a '66 FL motor, which will be completely show polished. Here's a rough idea of how it will sit:

Man, I am in love. Nothing but hustle from here on out so I can have her done in plenty of time.

Monday, March 5, 2012

We be swappin'

One of my favorite aspects of old motorcycles is going to swap meets. I love digging for gold, so I am usually one of the 6 a.m. guys digging through dudes' shit before their truck is parked. This past weekend, me Watermelon Pete and Demo decided to be retarded and hit two swaps, one in southern Minnesota and the other in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We left St. Paul on Saturday morning and on the way to the first swap we stopped at this old motorcycle graveyard to poke around quick. It was crazy cold out so we didn't dig for long. Then we jetted to the first swap, put on by the Flying Dutchmen Motorcycle Club. They have an incredible spread in New Ulm, Minnesota, with over 40 acres that includes a dirt flat track and a huge hillclimb area. The clubhouse was really badass as well. The swap turned out some good stuff too: I picked up this frame for SUPER cheap, it is a stretched cone shovel frame with what appears to be a Ness hardhead front section and a Donnie Smith fender strut combo:

I got a crazy frank fender last week for a really good price, so I am going to put together another cone shovel similar to the bike I traded to Harpoon, Unknown Pleasures. We loaded up and started for Cedar Rapids, which was about 4.5 hours from where we were. On the way there, I remembered that Luke from Uncle Pie lived about an hour from Cedar Rapids, in Davenport Iowa. If you don't know about Uncle Pie, well, I feel sorry for you: We rolled to Luke's dad's place and hung there for a while. Luke's dad, Wally, is a super cool dude and has two incredible knuckleheads that he built and painted himself. Luke was putting his awesome '59 pan back together, Wally had recently laid down some beautiful gloss black down on the frame:

We spent a night taking in the many pleasures of Davenport, including the best strip club in America, SoCo. We woke up crazy early the next morning and rolled out to the Cedar Rapids swap. It was a decent swap, although the vendors were real ball breakers on prices. We saw Noot, some of the Lords of Loud guys, Jeremiah, and some other familiar midwest swap faces, including Bald Paul, AKA Big Sexy. This swap ended like most swaps for me: finding tons of small shit that you can get for dirt at the swap but cost a grip at the last minute:

Shit, primary belts are like $70 at cost, I paid less than that for three. I picked up a neat Mikuni Solex two-throat carb with a Branch intake, a Cycle Electric 12 volt generator for $40, a magneto body. . .great scores. Pete ended up finding the correct cam cover for his '40 knucklehead motor and Demo got a good starhub and some other stuff he needed. All in all, it was well worth driving all over the place. I love swaps.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What a Glorious Day

For some reason I have had an odd obsession with 1965 Panhead motors. Today i was able to buy a fully rebuilt one. So many one year only parts on these motors. They look so amazing with that big flat cam cover and outside oiler heads. Can't wait to build the bike around this motor

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I thought it would be cool to show some pictures of some of my early bikes because, well, they sucked and are funny to look back at.  My first real road bike was a Yamaha XS-400 Special, which was the first vehicle I purchased when I turned 16 in 1990.  It was fully loaded down with a gigantic seat, little fairing, the whole nine. Even that far back, I knew that all the shit hanging off of it was lame, so I stripped it down to just the bare essentials for riding and nothing else.  It was a spartan, ugly bike.  I thought the norton cafe racers I saw around town were cool, so I spray-canned the tins a glossy yellow color that I thought was the shit, and put some little superbars on the bike.  That lasted for maybe one summer before I decided to paint it black again and start to make it into a "chopper".  I put on those apes, made a super crappy seat out of seat foam and a piece of plywood, and was so stoked.  I rode that thing everywhere.

In retrospect, wow, what a hunk of shit.  My favorite touch is the duct-taped battery holder, sweet.  Funny thing is, I still have that entire bike, albeit in pieces in my shed.  Someday I will put it back together as something a little nicer.

I moved to New York City for school in 1997.  I had no bike other than my Yamaha, which was stored back in Minnesota.  I joined ebay in 1999, and while I was trolling on there, I came across a funky little Triumph Bonneville chopper.  It was a 1968 in a rigid frame, just a cobbled-together pile of junk.  I was hyped on it and bought it, and had it shipped to my parent's place in Maryland.  I would ride it when I went down to visit them but didn't bring it to Manhattan because I had nowhere to park it.  I moved back to Minnesota in 2002 and brought it back with me.  As soon as I had a garage, I was redoing that bike to make it better.  I ended up with this:

I have a ton of funny stories about building this bike, but suffice it to say that I got the frame and springer front end from that joker Casey Tallon (anyone that has been in the chopper game for a minute will remember that name).  They were total junk, but I used them anyway.  For its time (2002), it was a pretty neat looking chopper, although those whitewalls bum me out every time I look at this picture.  I only rode this for half a summer, figured out it was a pile of junk, and sold off all of the parts piecemeal.

I'll keep going through my old bikes here on the blog, its fun to look back at these deathtraps.