8 Ball In The Wind

Monday, July 29, 2013

Glutton For Punishment

I was sitting here this morning over a couple cups of coffee, and just thinking about the project in the front room of the house.  Didn't all those years riding nothing but Limey bikes teach me anything?  I mean, Hell, I could build a bullet-proof (idiot-proof?) Evo Sportster.  But no, I am planning on building an Ironhead.  Not just any Ironhead, but a 900cc pre-70 Ironhead.

I must be secretly feeling the need to buy more tools. Because when I'm done I'll have another bike I need to fill a saddlebag with tools for.  It's not that I am some sort of Master Mechanic.  I wasn't that even when I was wrenching on shit all the time.  It is just that I know I'll be needing to wrench on the bike somewhere along the road. And I have been stuck too many times needing a tool to fix it right (remember all those years riding Limey bikes, not to mention an old rat Panhead?), and I'm not looking forward to doing that again.  Even though I am sure I probably will at some point.

Maybe I just miss having my hands inside a bike, and learning how she feels inside.  Without all the emission control, and fuel injection, and other needless electronic bullshit that goes along with a modern bike. Maybe it's just that a part of me wants another bike that I can build up the way I want it.  Without all the extraneous crap that modern day society says I need. Just to build a bike the way I want it.  Stripped down, lean, and no frills.  Basically, if it doesn't make it go, make it stop, or make it so I can see where I am going, does it REALLY NEED to be on my bike?  Maybe thats why I'm trying to build an old Ironhead instead of rebuilding an Evo Sporty.

I have to admit, I miss my old Evo Sporty 'Miss Bettie'. But the only real wrenching she ever needed, was replacing minor cosmetic parts so she looked the way I wanted.  Except for when her drive belt snapped clean in front of the bar one day after getting back from a 1,000 mile run to Idaho and back.  But that was all covered under warranty, so I let the stealership repair it for free.

I really don't want to go back to the days when I needed all those tools in the saddlebag to go for a putt. And having to carry a complete set of SAE, Metric, Whitworth, and British Standard tools all to work on the same bike, just was a total pain in the ass. At least an old Ironhead will all be SAE, so I'll be down to one set of wrenches and sockets to carry along.  But I do want to get back to being much more intimately involved with my ride.  It's been early 30 years since I built a bike from the frame up.  Since I built what I consider a real 'chopper', and that is what I am wanting to do here.

It wont be a very long bike.  Maybe four inch over stock on the forks (or a decent springer if I can afford one that won't pogo stick all over the place), with no bigger than a 19 inch front tire. Maybe a 17 rear if I don't stay with the stock 16 inch H-D mag I have on it now to match the front 19 mag.  Narrowed, pullback bars, and a sprung seat on the rigid frame, and of crouse a sissy bar to lash my gear down to when I go tooling around on a longer over night run.

Thinking about it now, maybe I am a glutton for punishment. I know what I'll be having to deal with, but I am still figuring it'll be worth the hassles. Everything on this bike will be there for a reason, and that reason won't primarily be style or trying to look cool.  I am a firm believer in "Form Follows Function".  How something looks, should always be secondary to how it works.

Like the mag wheels I'm planning on running.  I prefer the look of laced wheels.  But, with the mags, if I have a flat tire, I can just use my plug kit and be back on the road in a matter of minutes, and there's not a chance of pinching the innertube trying to fit the tire back on the rim like with a tube tire.

I prefer a magneto with points to an electronic module, because carrying an extra set of points in the tool pouch is easy, and if the points go south on me, I can usually get them fixed.  The module takes a dump, well then I sit waiting for a rig to haul my ass somewhere to get it fixed.

I still haven't decided yet, if it's going to be kick only or not...at least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it...but focussing on a pre-70 motor does kind of limit my options in that regard.

The exhaust is going to be a modufied stock Evo Sporty exhaust with big slash cut slip-ons all in flat black.  I'll be getting rid of the baffles of course, and replacing them with a little gadget we used to use back in the day to give a bit of back pressure, and to keep the  cops night stick from sliding in all the way when he checked for baffles in the exhaust.  It's simply a bolt with a notch cut into the end of it threaded about half way into the slip-on from the back side.  A flat washer is placed into the slit in the end of the bolt (to give a bit of backpressure) and then welded in place.  The way these slip-ons expand in size in relation to the exhaust pipe, they ought to make outstanding expansion and echoe chambers for the exhaust note on a 900 Ironhead.

So thinking things over and knowing what I am in for, well kinda sort of, I figure Frankenbike is going to be a hot little bitch when she's done. Just hot enough to get the juices flowing with those "P" cams I've got waiting to put into the motor.  Yeah, I think she's gonna be a saucy little bitch.  I might even ahve to shorten her name to 'Frankie".  But that'll have to wait until after we put some miles behind us. So yeah, I suppose you could say I am a glutton for punishment. But that's the only way I know to truly find, and get to know what you can deal with, and what the inner spirit of your machine truly is.

Sort of like with Gypsy Rose...As Patrick called her yesterday, she's a "road warrior".  Ya just can't seem to kill the old girl.  She just keeps going, with a bit of TLC here and there, and she's back and ready to roll again.  That is sort of what I hope I can build into Frankenbike.  We'll see how it goes, and I'll keep you posted on the progress.  So from one glutton for punishment to another...

Catch you on the road sometime...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Trials & Tribulations...They Won't Keep Us Down

Yesterday, Patrick and I were suppose to ride down to the Bastard Bash on his Chopped Sportster that he just finished building the night before.  Spent 11 hours working and sweating to get it done.  We had to postpone the run down by a day, because it too so much longer to get everything finished. The the big day came, and we rolled out of patricks driveway.  But as I rolled on the throttle while pulling onto Dodge Rd from his driveway, the ass end of the bike began fishtailing.  I finished the turn and gave it a quick flick of throttle and the bike fishtailed once more.  I pulled over, as Patrick rolled up.  We looked at each other, and both said the same thing; "Flat tire."

We rode back across Patricks front yard to his driveway, and up to his garage.  Sure as shit, a 4 inch screw was embedded in the tread.  Not bad, since I had just said I had plugs incase we had a flat tire on his Chopsters maiden voyage.  But what was the killer, was the tip of the screw sticking out of the side wall.  Now what the fuck are we going to do?

After sitting there and looking at it for a few seconds, I suddenly remembered I had another 16 rear tire on a mag wheel on my Sportster rolling chassis.  So we jumped into his car and drove into town and pulled the wheel off the roller, and then grabbed my bead breaker out of my work shed.  So we thought we'd be back on the road in nearly no time.

We broke the bead on the new Metzeler that was on the mag rim of the roller, and had it off with 15-20 minutes.  We spent the next hour fighting the bead on the flat tire.  After about 20 minutes we had the bead on one side broke.  But the other side was like it had been glued in place.  Finally after using the bead breaker, a table mount vice, JB-80, and other implements of destruction; all to no avail, Patrick broke out his air chisel.  We figured that would break the bead in no time.  We figured wrong.  It took another 10 to 15 minutes with the air chisel before we finally began to get anywhere with that bead.  But once it broke, we had it off in another 5 or 6 minutes.

By the time we had the tire swapped onto Gypsy's rear rim, and back on the back, it had been almost 3 1/2 hours.  We looked at each other, and figured it was an hours ride out to where Patricks fellow members of the Quad Cam Bastards were having their annual "Bastard Bash".  We got back on the bikes and headed out for the 'maiden voyage' of Patricks chopster "El Jefe Stormtrooper".  We had only finished the bike (well, all except for a kickstand...but a 4"X4" block worked perfect, so thats what Patrick was going to use for now.) only the night before at about 7PM after an 11 hour flurry of wrenching and wiring, and what not.  Then we gave it about a two mile test run.  Today was going to be in the neighborhood of 110 miles or so (on a rigid framed bike, with only 1 1/2" seat springs).

Off we rolled, down Dodge Rd., and out Highway 508 to Onalaska.  From there we headed south through Ethel, and down to Toledo, before heading east on Highway 505.  El Jefe was clicking easy, with just a minor throttle cable issue that Patrick fixed with a zip tie in Toledo.  When we rolled into Kid Valley, I turned into the campground and Patrick and I proceeded to putt through looking for everybody.  We found the Toutle Lake High School class reunion, including a couple of jap bikes, but nobody we were looking for.  So we rolled out of the campground and across the street to the Shell station to get something cold to drink.  We sat there figuring what to do next.

Patrick had seen the QCB banner in the first campsite we passed as we were rolling out of the campground so he knew we were at the right place.  We knew they had a ride planned that day, so we were figuring we'd just hang out for a while.  I told Patrick that just around the corner was a really cool little cafe with a view of the river where we could wait if we didnt want to sit here all day.  But, before we even got half way through our cold beverages, a guy walked over from the campground on a cane made of copper pipe.  He introduced himself as 'Matt' and asked Patrick if he could check out his bike.  Patrick introduced himself, and Matt laughed and said; "Dude, you're the one all those mutherfuckers ahve been waiting for!!"  It turned out Matt was one of the Bastards, but had been in a wreck awhile back and was still recovering.  He said everyone was on a run up to Mt St Helens, and should be back at any time.

So we climbed back onto the bikes and rode over to the Bastards campsite, sat around the firepit, and just hung out for awhile.  Talking with Matt, and another one of the Bastards and his wife.  We had a great time, and just hung out for about an hour or so.  Since it was Patricks anniversary weekend, and he didn't want to run the bike at night, just in case he had any problems, we were just about to leave when everyone rumbled into the campground and back into camp.

Everyone quickly intorudced themselves, and Bastards from as far away as Illinois and Arizona cam over to check out Patricks bike, and shake his hand.  I was really impressed by how welcoming they all were.  Since I wasn't a member, but mainly because I wasn't even riding a Sportster.  Some very cool, and fun loving folks to be sure.  

After about a half hour or so, Patrick asked if I was ready to go, and we said our farewells and headed back towards home.  As we snaked our way back the way we came; following old two lane backroads, I spent a lot of time going over how I wanted my Ironhead project to look.  All the bikes there at the 'Bastard Bash' has given me some good ideas.  I have the distinct feeling, that in another year or so, if I'm lucky and keep my heart to building another Sportster for myself, I might just be lucky enough to ride to another 'Bash' on my own garage built-Sportster powered-death machine.  Yeah, that sounds like a plan to me.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

El Jefe & The 'Bastard Bash'

We finished off Patrick's 'El Jefe Stormtrooper" last evening aftern about a 12 hr day.  Going over to his place in a few minutes to give it another check out run, and after that, we'll be heading down to the Quad Cam Bastards 'Bastard Bash' in Kid Valley.

Ought to be an EPIC first ride on Patricks new rigid hot rod Chopped Sporty.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Irons In The Fire

Man, I swear, I got one or two too many irons in the fire right now.  But that seems to be my normal existence.  Trying to raise money to hold a rally here next year, getting an ABATE chapter started, working on my Ironhead 'Frankenbike, helping Patrick with his chopster 'El Jefe Stormtrooper'...oh yeah, and i am looking for work and putting in about 10 apps a week.

It'll be nice when things begin to come together.  But then, if they really ever came together, and started flowing right, I'm not sure I'd know what to do with myself.

Probably just hit the road and get some wind therapy...that reminds me, I need to replace the fluid in Gypsy's forks.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Making A Little Progress

OK, yesterday I posted about painting the frame on the Frankenbike, after stripping all the old paint and bondo off.  It REALLY made a difference.  After applying almost a coat of flat black, the rattle can ran out.  I had a nearly half full can of gloss black, so I gave it a couple of coats with that.  I thought it looked pretty good for just a rattle can paint job.  One HELL of a lot better than it did before I started messing with it for sure!!

That got my mind going.   I didn't get to sleep until almost 4:00 am this morning thinking of what I wanted to do with the bike.  Including a few different paint jobs.  I knew I was getting rummy after a while because some of them paint designs I was coming up with were pretty far out there.

Anyway, I ran out of black paint.  So I had the choice of Bright Yellow, or a dark Red.  The tins on the bike before were all different colors, and reminded me of having a car with body parts from different colored cars.  It looked totally tacky and like shit.  So, I figured if they were at least the same color it wouldnt look so bad.  I can at least say they are the same color now.

I put the front forks back on, and then put the risers on the bike.  As well as the stock handlebars off of my '05 1200 Sportster, 'Miss Bettie'.  I even set the sprung solo seat I have been planning on putting on Gypsy on it just to see how it looked, and ya know what...I LIKE IT!

I've made more progress in the last two days, than I have in the past 4 months.  Things are looking like they are heading towards something the way I want.  I still want to put a sissy bar/fender brace on it, mount the oil tank, brake rotors and calipers, modify the battery box, and maybe...run either a 2" or 4" over set of fork tubes.  I'll have to wait until I have a 900cc pre-70 motor to modify the exhaust like I want.  But that will come with time.  Keeping my fingers crossed I can find a motor like I want when I have the cash to get it.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Change Of Plans

I have decided to change my plans on the Frankenbike a bit.  Mostly due to my lack of financially deep pockets, and my desire that the bike be a rigid. So I will be staying with the rolling chassis I have and getting a pre-'70 Ironhead motor (with title of course) when I can do so.  

Besides the headache of trying to get a title to match the '75 XLH cases I have; that would still leave me with no numbers on the frame, which in '75 is where the VIN was.  So, if I kept the cases I have, and then found a '75 frame with title, I'd still have to hardtail it.  OR, I could sell the cases, and related covers, and look for a pre-'70 motor with paperwork.

I already have a rigid roller.  So why not just build it the way I want and put a motor in it?  I can't think of a reason why not.  

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  Going to build the roller as if I already had the motor to go into it.  It is going to be a pretty bare bones ride anyway, so it isn't like I am going to be fabbing up a bunch of shit that I'll have to yard off later to fit the motor in place. All I am really going to need to put on the frame is a mount for the rear brake caliper (on the left side of course, so it won't be in the way of the chain), oil tank, and seat mounts.  I can't think of anything that will interfere with putting a pre-70 900cc motor in the frame.  But I am sure I'll run into something along the way, and I'll have to just adapt the plan a bit.

  I already have the fuel tank, fenders, and an oil tank. The front fork sliders are set up for dual disc, but I plan on only using one disc.  So I am going to mount the fender, front end, fuel and oil tanks, brake rotors  that I have to the frame.  Then I'll find and mount a pair of calipers, build a basic wiring harness, add head and taillight (and maybe a pair of carriage lights for old times sake?), and a set of 6 bend pullback handlebars.  Since I rode Limey bikes for many years, I shouldn't have too much difficulty with the shifter being on the right side. I do plan on making the kickstand from a bent wrench, but I think I'll have a spark plug socket welded into it to make it easier to put down and kick back up.

Since I decided all of this, I already added the first couple of coats of paint to the frame, and it doesn't look too bad.  I'll do some touch up tomorrow, and add another coat.  Then I'll start putting it all back together again.  

The look I have in my mind is something of a mix between what was running around here in the Pacific NW back in the late 70's and 80's, and what I like seeing today.  Which still kind of fits with the whole "Frankenbike" concept.  Bits and pieces from several bikes and era's combined into my version of a garage built, Sportster powered, death machine.

If it doesn't NEED to be on the bike to make it go, make it stop, or let me see and be seen as I roll down the road, it probably won't be on this thing.  

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cancelled The Run

I cancelled the Broke Bike Mountain Run on Saturday.  Bad timing on my part.  Two other big events in the area going on at the same time.  There were only four bikes that showed up (including mine), and two of them decided to head out on their own instead of taking part.  So I handed the other rider his entry fee back and told him if he wanted to ride along, I was going to make the run anyway.

So we headed out, just the two bikes and made the run for the hell of it.  We still made the meet-up with one of the other runs.  Enjoyed a great day on the road, and met a few new people.

Here are a few pics from the trip we took.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Broke Bike Mountain Run

Going to be busy the next few days getting things organized for the run.  I have to head up to Mineral here in a bit to pick up a couple of T shirts to raffle off from the Headquarters tavern.

I figure while I am there in Mineral, I'll stop in and see how Ryan's Sporty is coming back together after he went into the ditch the other evening.  I think they are both in about the same condition...a Little banged up, but still runnable.

Gonna head out of here and see what sort of trouble I can stir up.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hear El Jefe Roar pt 2

This is the second part of the post about todays test run of Pat's chopster El Jefe.  As you can see it flat gets up and moves.  The first pass I couldn't pan the camera fast enough to keep up with him.  But did better after that.  Pat is so very close to having the bike finished.  It's already a bad ass ride, and when he is finished, it's going to be a blast trying to keep him in sight on my old Evo.  

El Jefe is based on a '93 Evo Sportster 1200.  But it's been punched out to 94 inches, with Screaming Eagle dual plug heads.  It has so much compression, that when they first tried to fire it, they had to use a car battery to even turn El Jefe over.  That quickly killed the juice in the car battery.  Pat has an Anti-Gravity battery in El Jefe now.  That little thing has no problem firing up the bike.

With the low profile, balls out stance of this bike, I can imagine the fun Pat is going to have riding El Jefe.  Personally, I am looking forward to riding along with him.  Even if it means just seeing his backside pulling away every now and again.  

Maybe I should look at that as an incentive to enhance Gypsy's powerplant a bit?  We'll see...I still have an Ironhead project to deal with.  Until I get that figured out, I'll just be happy to ride wiht my firends, and share some road time.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Hear El Jefe Roar pt 1

After Pat and I replaced the fork bearings, and did a couple other minor things, Pat fired up El Jefe. Then took him out for a test ride.

When I figure out how to post more than one video on the same blog post I'll be happy...but until then I'll have to make this a two part blog I guess...shit happens, but all is good.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

El Jefe Is Bad Ass

Yesterday, a couple of us rode out to the shop that a Brother has been getting his chopped sportster dialed in at.  After a lot of false starts, and minor issues, Pats 94 inch, twin plug Evo Sporty is ready for it's 1st ride.

I took a couple of vids of him riding it with his camera, but apparently the vid settings on the camera werent right, so they didn't turn out.  Damn!!

El Jefe Stormtrooper is what Pat calls this bike he put together from a basketcase and many other parts he fabbed or traded for.  With parts from Led Sled, Lowbrow Customs, and a Dyna-Tek ignition Pat had a definite plan in mind for El Jefe.

On the 1st rub down the street, when Pat hit 2nd gear and grabbed a fist full of throttle while popping the clutch, the whole front end came a few inches off the ground...then they were off in a road of dirty thunder that echoed through the remote valley we were in.  Pat hit a pothole on the return leg, and in the rigid frame, and no springs on the seat, he siad it about 'exploded my nut sack"...but that wasn't enough to wipe the grin off his face from the ride.

The bike still needs to be painted, but at least it is running.  There are a couple of other minor things yet to do.  Like mount a headlight and taillight, wire the lights, put seat springs on, get new fork tube caps, and one or two other minor things.  But El Jefe is going to be getting plenty of attention from Pat in the coming days.  He wants to ride it to the Quad Cam Bastards 'Bastard Bash' in Kid Valley at the end of July.  So he doesnt have a lot of time to finish it up, and get it broke in.  Something tells me that I'll be getting more chances to video the two of them flying down the road soon...only with MY camera so I know how ot check the vids right away and make sure I got quality footage.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pre-Run Run

Headed out yesterday to do a pre-run check before we do the 'Broke Bike Mountain" Run on the 13th.  Hit all the stops, and checked out the roads.  The reason this run is called 'Broke Bike Mountain' is because of it going over Forest Road 52, a.k.a. Skate Creek Road.  Its a 24 mile long forest service road that snakes through the back country, is only open a few months of the year, and which the forest service doesnt have the budget to repair consistently.  Most of it is in good shape.  But roughly between milepost 13 and 14 the eastbound lane has subsided about 2 or 3 inches in spots.  Bad enough, but then you add the fact there isnt a shoulder, and the road sits on the top of a 50-80 foot high bank overlooking the creek.  As long as you dont fly through that part over about 30-35 you shouldn't have too much problem.  Riding much faster than that and you can easily bottom out on your frame hard, or get bounced sideways towards the drop-off alongside the road.   

Then about milepost 16, the road roughens up again for about a mile.  But this is more just old asphalt patches and dips in the pavement.  Again, if you just slow down a bit, the road won't reach up and try to take you down.  The rest of the road is easily taken at 45, or better.  And at least along this stretch, there are road signs warning about 'rough road'. There aren't any warning signs along the earlier stretch on the top of the bank.  So I made a couple and put them up. Nailing them into trees alongside the road.  The road along this mile or so long stretch is much closer to the creek.  Maybe 10 to 15 feet above the water as it follows the course of the creek down the valley.

There's some pretty good and remote campsites along the road too.  Plus they're free, which is always nice.  We took a shit load of pics, and even a video with Robins new Nikon digital camera.  But, when we got it home, it wouldn't download the photos to the computer.  Hell, I don't think the computer even knew the camera was attached.  So I'll have to post pics from this run later.

All in all, the run was a success.  Skate Creek Road is a nice, remote, narrow two lane mountain road.  The rough parts just had a little extra thrill into the mix.  If you ever find yourself here in the Pacific Northwest; riding along the southern side of Mt Rainier National Park, take the road from Ashford to Packwood, and give yourself a thrill.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hotter Than A Popcorn Fart

Damn, last Thursday it was a nice mid 60's day.  Friday the heat wave kicked in.  Now normally here in Washington, we get a week or so of 90 degree days in August.  Friday was the first in a so far four day street of 90+ degree  days.  What really hurts though is the humidity has been around 80-85%.

So, I havent been sitting here on the computer, in front of the sliding glass door, with the sun beating down on me very much.  What I have been doing, is trying to get a few things organized.  That and getting in as much riding as I can.  It is just too fucking muggy to sit at home in the house. I really feel for Knucklehead and the other two dogs.  That poor pup must be miserable in this shit, with all that German Shepherd hair on him.

I'm thinking the heat is getting to my brain.  I had to make a run to Chehalis to get some ink for the printer, so I could print up a few fliers .  After making the 100 mile round trip, I print a few up, and run out of paper in the printer.  Now I knew there was something else I needed when I got the ink...but I just couldnt remember what it was until I reached up to reload the paper...and found there wasnt any left.  Ended up getting stuck for $8 for a ream of paper at Radio Shack here in Morton.  Then found out that the grocery store a half block from home has paper for two bucks less.  And I rode right passed it to check everywhere else in town first.

Oh well, fuck it...I'm gonna get off this thing and go get some air blowing over me.

Catch ya on the road sometime.