Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Take it easy out there, let's all have a safe and happy new year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Love Naked Bikes

And the new 2010 Z1000 pushes all the right buttons.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting Sorted

Curly almost has his bobber sorted out. All he has left before he tears it down for paint and powder coating is the battery box,rear fender placement, pseudo oilbag, and the electrical.
He has it almost to the point that you would be able to ride it. He had his rotors resurfaced and drilled by this guy and I don't think you could get a better job done for the money. I will be sending my rotors there. The bike shaping up great, and will be a real head turner when he is finished. After he is done sorting out the bike, He will be sending his motor to Thomas Racing Service for the big bore treatment. This place basically doubles the horsepower of the stock XS motor.

Till Next Time...............

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Grandpa and his '27 Harley

My Grandpa and his 1927 Harley. In this picture he was seventeen and just graduated high school. The ‘27 Harley was his graduation present. Shortly after this picture was taken, He and his buddy rode their matching Harley’s out to California from Michigan. This must have been quite an adventure as there was barely a paved road at this time. He is responsible for my interest in motorcycles, cars and the out doors. Although he passed away in May of 1975, I still think of him on a daily basis. He left quite an impression on me and was a big part in shaping me as I headed for adulthood.
My Dad had and still does not have any love for bikes, cars, hunting or fishing. That’s ok, he was into working, his hobby always working. He has been in the real-estate business since the age of eighteen (he just turned eighty). We all have different things that set our boats a sail. Although he never liked my motorcycle addiction, he at least understood it and did not discourage it. We all need a pursuit to pour ourselves into, My dad loves real estate, all aspects of it. It is a very time consuming endeavor, many times growing up, I would already have hit the sack by the time he returned from the day’s transactions. He pretty much still has this schedule although scaled back some.What his bike looked like with the sidecar.
So my Grandpa was somewhat of a surrogate, taking me fishing, hunting keeping my dirt bike up at his place in St. Helen. So when school was out I pretty much was in St. Helen exploring the State land that surrounded the area. I had been looking for this photo for quite a while, and it surfaced at my Aunt’s house in Chicago. There is another one out there with My Grandpa and his friend with their bikes decked out with sidecars full of their gear just before their epic journey. I suspect my Uncle in California is in possession of that photo, and is currently trying to scare it up. I hope he does, ‘cause it would make a fine book end for an old story that was passed on to me by someone I really respected.
I do have one very cool memento from this long ago trip. These are the very goggles my Grandpa wore on the California trip. One I will keep until it is time to pass on to my boy.
Till Next Time....................................

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let's Face It

You can probably do a better job than I did at this, but AGV is letting you order their helmets with your graphics on them. This includes your face. I think is is a great marketing idea. To see how your mug would look on AGV's latest lid, ride on over to AGV Valentino's face it. Pretty damn neat.

Till Next Time....................

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I Have a Dripping Suspicion

I had been reading on the XS boards that I need to replace my sump filter. Those in the know say the stock filter gets a rip in it early on in it's life and it lets all the debris it it supposed to filter circulate though your engine. Not a good thing. So I picked up a new filter and gasket from Mike's XS. After the parts arrived I scurried out to the garage to do the swap out. The first thing I noticed was this big old dollop of silicone on the edge of the sump plate. Well after cleaning it up, I found out the ol' XS had a minor oil leak that the previous owner failed to point out. Using my superior skills of deduction, I figured he knew about it, because the silicone did not find it's way there by accident. Not a big deal really, I would either ask Big Toe to tig it or find a new plate on ebay. I chose the latter and scored a used plate in excellent condition for the paltry sum of four dollars and twentyfive cents. The new one did not have the same problem as the original and solved the drip strait away. The original filter did not have the rip everyone on the message boards were talking about. At least the swap out gave me peace of mind and allowed me to find the shoddy patch work the previous owner did. I would have found it sooner or later as I need to pull the engine to paint the frame and do the street tracker transformation this winter. It also let me get a peek at the bottom end, all looks fine. The XT still needs it's side covers, but is running fine despite not having them. I'll find a set sooner or later on ebay, she looks unfinished without them. I have a new chain just haven't put it on yet. Procrastination isn't in the tag line for nothing.

Till Next Time.............

Monday, September 28, 2009

She's a Roller, A High Roller Baby.

Curly has his bobber in roller form and is currently working to fabricate the odds and ends that will separate his bobber from the rest of the pack. Curly and Big Toe have a assload of fabrication experience,so Curly dreams up and fabricates the parts he wants to use. Then BigToe with his big ol' tig setup can meld the pieces together. He also has access to quite a bit of heavy machinery, so he is able to whip up bits and pieces in no time flat. They made the tank mounts out of round stock, machined them to welcome the mounting bolts. Then Curly modified the frame to accept the new tank mounting slugs he whipped up. The result is a very clean setup that looks as if it came from the factory that way.He was not crazy about the seat mounting brackets the were out there, so he picked up a TC Bros. setup and modified it so it does not have half of the bracket sticking out in front of the seat. Curly also fabbed up a pretty trick mounting bracket to hang the front of the seat on. He is currently working on a setup for the seat springs. Curly is pretty much a perfectionist, so he is very methodical in the parts he makes. It may take a bit longer, but in the end he will be the proud owner of one hot machine.

Till Next Time..............

Saturday, September 12, 2009

1/2 Scale R/C Plane Show

My nephew belongs to a RC plane club The Flying Pilgrims. My thing motorcycles his thing R/C Planes, go figure. I like 'em too, just don't need another pursuit to sink cash and time into. Plus, if I crashed my B-17 that I poured a ton of hours and cash into, I would pull what’s left of my hair out. Besides, you have to admit, it is way more fun to watch someone else destroy their pride and joy. This guy crashed this plane as soon as I got there and set up shop. You gotta feel sorry for him though. The plane was beautiful and he pretty much destroyed it. The right landing gear would not come down and when it finally did, he added too much power, stalled crashed. My Nephew shot these videos.
Thank fully this was the only mishap of the day. There was a lot of great pilots flying these beauties. Here are a few shots I got of the show. The helicopter pilots were doing indescribable stunts, you would have to see them to believe them.

This Stuka even had a functioning divebomb siren, just like it's big brother.

The right gear hung up

Things have gone terribly wrong

The unfortunate aftermath

A F-15 with a real jet engine. This thing was so fast, I could barely get pictures of it.

It even has the airbrake behind the cockpit like the real one.

A fifteen year old kid flew this Sukhoi 31 like a pro, he was the best pilot I saw besides the helicopter pilots.

This Loach was pretty damn nice.

These guys were doing things with these copters that had my hair standing up.

Hovering upside down four inches above the runway.

And to top it all off, some guy brought his lawn mower.

If you have a R/C flying club in your area, I highly recommend that you go check them out. I had a blast here today, I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be going back.

Till Next Time..............

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Justice of the Peace

To make sure the hard tail fit the main frame square, we reinstalled the motor to make sure the frame tubes were in their proper location. Then Curly whipped up a nice little template to match up with a piece of square tube he tacked to the backbone. This worked out great, and after measuring everything about thirty times, he was ready to tack the hardtail in place. Then after all the measurements and adjustments were made again, he married the front and rear frame sections together in a touching ceremony. I believe I saw a tear roll off my bikes headlight.
For the honeymoon, She becomes a roller and gets a new tank.
Till Next Time.............................

Saturday, August 29, 2009

For Those About To Chop

We started out this morning with two XS650's. One a 1980 Special II, the other a 1977 D model. By the end of the day we only had one working Xs left. That would be My ‘77. Curly and I took his bike out for one final ride before chopping it into a bobber. We are going separate directions with our builds. Curly is going the bobber route, I am going down Street Tracker Blvd. Curly has amassed his parts quicker, so we are starting off with his bike. Big Toe and Jimmy Jam stopped by to take part in the days festivities. The fabrication should be a breeze, as Curly and Big toe have around forty years of fab experience between the two of them. First things first, We proceeded to remove all the bikes clothes. When we had her stripped down to her petticoat, we removed the engine and started to carefully mark where all the wires go. With all the wiring marked and what goes where marked down in the build notebook, we set the wiring harness aside for future modification. Once we had a roller on our hands, all that was left to do was remove the rear tire and plug in the sawsall. Getting the bike to this point took most of the day, cutting the rear subframe took all of ten minutes.
All that was left to do for the day was to grind down the nubs where the sub frame was connected to the main frame. You want to leave a little bit of extra metal after your done with the saw to give yourself a little bit of fudge room. Curly tackled the nubs with his angle grinder, leaving the frame nice and smooth to mate with the new TC Bros. Hardtail. With the light getting low we dry fitted the hardtail and called it a day. We have to stick the motor back in and Curly is going to whip up a template so we make sure we have every thing square before he tacks the frame to the hardtail and we can do the final adjustments before he welds the whole enchilada together.

Till Next Time..............

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What’s the Combination?

Living with a thirty two year old bike has brought this phrase back into sharp focus for me. It used to be, when you loaned your car to someone or let a friend ride your bike, you had to give them the starting procedure or “the Combination” if you will. For all you young whipper snappers out there, who have not have the pleasure of driving, riding or owning a car or bike that was built before the early to mid eighties. Every car or bike seemed to have it’s own combination of actions you would have to go through to start them. For instance, my XS combo is turn both petcocks to the on position, set the start switch to run, twist the throttle three times, set the choke lever to full, thumb the starter or kick the bike once, whichever you prefer. Once the bike is started, set the choke to half for about thirty seconds while blipping the throttle to keep the revs up a bit. After this the bike should settle into a steady idle with out stalling. This is the procedure for this bike in warm weather, I will have to modify this a bit when those autumn breezes start blowing.

I have missed these combinations for most of the last twenty five years. Except for the RD’s I have owned in this time period, all the bike and cars I owned have had flawless carburetion or fuel injection. With the bikes, the only thing you would have to do is mess with the bar mounted choke. And this was just choke to start and adjust it down as you rode. Way back when, you expected your bike to be quirky, they all were. To ride you had to have at least rudimentary mechanical skills, because you never knew when your bike was going to leave you stranded somewhere. Clutch cable breaks, an electrical short, the chain snaps, a flat tire, you get the picture. That went for most bikes (most BMW’s excluded, they seemed to never break down, although you still had a starting combo for most of them, at least the bikes I was exposed to.)

The first bike I owned that did not come with a kick starter, was a ‘84 Honda Nighthawk S. This bike was almost maintenance free, hydraulic lifters, shaft drive, vacuum petcock. It freaked me out till I got used to the battery not dying while I was a couple of hundred miles from home and having to kick start the bike to start it and get back home. The headlight was always on, and that added to my anxiety. From my riding experience to this point, I simply did not trust the charging systems on motorcycles. Every bike I had ever owned in that era had some sort of weak charging system and would leave you kick or push starting your bike every now and then. Hell, after the vacuum petcock and fuel injection, you did not even have to remember to shut the fuel off after you shut your bike off.

I have become spoiled over the years, the vehicles I have owned since then have pretty much been bullet proof, almost soul less. I really don’t mind going back to the old combo system again, it kinda makes me a bit nostalgic. Even though the modern bikes I have owned have been bullet proof, I still liked to do my own maintenance on them. It always makes me feel closer to the bike somehow. The XS just needs a little more upkeep maintenance than my latest bikes needed. To me that’s not a bad thing. The hardest part for me is remembering to shut the fuel off when I park the bike. Now, I’m looking forward to finding out what the cold weather starting “Combination” is going to entail on the old XS.

Till Next Time.............

Sunday, August 9, 2009

They Don't Pay Me Enough To Ride That Thing

Kennt Roberts once said about this wicked TZ750 dirt tacker. But he truth is, he was probably the only racer who had the nerve and talent to ride this 120hp beast, winning the Indy mile in August 1975.

Till Next Time

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A 1977 Yamaha XS 650

I've been kicking around the idea for a few years now. Building a XS650 street tracker, basically because it cost thousands less than doing a Sporty street tracker. I am also very fond of bobbers, and I'm kinda stuck between wanting to build a bobber and wanting to do a street tracker.
Well I'm half way there, because I just bought the XS650 you see pictured here. It is a '77 as the title of the post implies, It was a second owner bike, the guy I bought it from purchased it from his cousin back in '83 and has owned it ever since.It only has 6,035 original miles on it, it is in pretty good shape for a thirty two year old bike, but it won't be winning any vintage bike shows. It has a few rough edges here and there. But it makes for a great starting point. If I go down the street tracker route, this is the look I would be looking to achieve.If I go the bobber way, this one makes the hair on my arms stand up. UPDATE: the bobber pictured above sold for $5,355.00. I will probably ride the bike like it is for a bit while I make my decision. The tracker offers racy good looks and the comfort of having rear shocks. The bobber looks bitchin' but the hard tail will have you pissing blood. Decisions, Decisions.

Till Next Time.................

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vintage Motorcycle Days

Spent the day Saturday at Vintage Motorcycle Days at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Had a pretty good time, except the weather kept things a bit on the interesting side. I had been hearing what a great event this is, I needed to pick up some parts for a XS650 project I have in the pipeline, so I figured what better time than now to take in this gathering.

BSA was the featured marque this year, but the weather had the owners scrambling to protect their prize possession's. By the time we made it to the show bike area, there were but a few bike left on display for us to take in. There were a couple more pristine examples in the AMA's Historical tent, but not many. I was bummed about missing most of the vintage BSA's but what are you going to do. We still had a damn fine time in the GIGANTIC swap meet area, and watching a few brave souls flog their vintage hardware around the road course in so shitty wet conditions. Only a couple of riders threw their bikes down the road while we were checking out the action. Most were taking it pretty easy, but a couple of hero's were beating the daylights out of their bikes.

I didn't want to be saddled down with dragging my DSLR and all it's paraphernalia all over, so I had to settle with using Mrs. Gymi's Canon point and shoot. Which is not too bad in most situations, but really sucks a taking pictures of high speed action. So I have to send most of the racing pics to the recycle bin. I did manage to squeeze off a couple of half way decent racing shots. Here a few shots from the bikes in the swap meet area, concours and race track. A '40 BSA before the owner could get it out of the rain.
A super clean '72 H2 that had me pining for my old H2, he was asking 7,800.00 for it so I wasn't pining that much. A beautiful Ariel Square four before it ran for shelter. Another sweet BSA 650 that didn't find shelter in time. A sweet but wet Firebird.
A wild ass vintage Honda Chopper in the swap meet area. A super clean bobber with a Harley KR motor. A sweet Macthless 500. A nice example of a sporty cafe' bike. A pretty clean Suzuki Re5 rotary bike, I saw a cleaner example, but did't get a shot of it. A few brave souls, the guy flat tracking it was absolutly flying around the track on his Kz750. He would fly down the back strait and do a tank slapper braking for the corner every lap. Until he tossed it away on the last lap. He was exciting to watch to say the least. All in all we had a damn fine time and plan on returning next year on our bikes (if they are done by then, they should be, but you never know) Hope to see Ya'll there next year.

Till Next Time.........................
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