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...