Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Randy's oil tank......

Came out pretty nice, if you ask me.

Now, to order his 5 in a 4 speed case, and get his battery mounted under his transmission plate. Then, his belt drive and starter system worked out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Greasy Kulture #14

GK # 14 is on its way out to everybody this week, hitting the outlets and mailboxes around the world. All the usual goodness, and my ongoing column, of course.

Hey, how cool is this? Dean, from Dice! Magazine's '57 Panhead chop is on the cover, and featured inside. Two magazines working together via mutual appreciation, a rarity in today's custom bike magazine world.

Check for it at your local motorcycle shop, and if they don't have, ask why! Otherwise, you can go to the GK site, and order #14, or any back issues (sorry, #'s 1 and 3 are sold out!) - no, better yet.....subscribe!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Randy Rides Again.......

I got a call from a guy a few months ago, on a referral from Dennis Goodson. The guy (Randy) had this Shovel swingarm bike in pieces in his barn, and he wanted to get it back on the road. 2Wheelers had just gone thru the engine, and they referred him to Dennis, because Randy wanted his frame stretched out a little. Dennis does excellent frame work, but he was too bogged down with doing his air cleaners, so he referred Randy to me.

Originally, Randy just wanted a lot of air between his rocker boxes and his upper frame. He was thinking of stretching the downtubes 4", but I thought that would be too much. I made up some 4", and 2" downtube pieces, and let Randy make the decision. As I thought he would, he chose the 2" stretch in the downtubes. The rake is about 32 degrees now.

To give him a little more space over the rear rocker, I made him a new backbone, placed on top of his seatpost forging, and bent new seat area rails to connect everything. Once Randy saw his new frame work, he asked me if I'd like to continue on with the rest of the build, on to the final finished bike, and I agreed.

Randy wanted the bike to sit as level as possible, but wanted some ground clearance as well. I added 11" shocks in the rear, and went with a 1 1/2" over fork tubes. It looks higher in the front in the picture, because the front wheel is sitting in the wheel chock, and that raises the front about 1 1/2" from sitting with both wheels flat on the lift.

Randy also had a Knuckle solo seat that belonged to his brother, and it meant a lot to him, so he was adamant that it go on this bike. I made him a new seat "T" for it, and used a pair of Choppershox for suspension. It's not mounted in the photos, but you can see it behind the rear tire on the lift. It matches in pretty well with the lines of the tank, and works with the back fender. I'll get some photos with it mounted for you later. Next on the "major" list is a 5 in a 4 speed gearbox w/kicker, and a combination 2" Primo belt drive w/Tech Cycle starter plate, and I'll handle the motor plate to connect them.

The framework came out great, the seat "T" and suspension works with the bike, but what I'm reall proud of is this, that I'm in the process of fabbing up.......

Randy wanted a small, bare steel oil tank w/o a battery box, that he could get painted to match the sheetmetal. He looked at all the tanks out there, and they all looked the same. So, I dug around in the "I'll use this some day" pile, and found the materials to built this tank for him. I surprised Randy with it, and he's stoked!

It's about 5 1/2" in dia. and should hold a little more than 3 1/2 qts. It's rubber mounted, and if all goes well, I should have his lower rubber mount tank support, filler neck, the oil line and drain bungs welded in, within the next day or so.

Check out the nice domed ends. The ends match the front radius of Randy's Mustang tank perfectly.
The nice part is I can fab tanks just like this any dia., any length, and I could add an inset battery box for any size battery - from a small kicker, up to softail-sized Estart batteries. I could also spin the ends around, and make them convex as well. Truly modular, if you will. I'm seriously thinking of doing these for others on a "special order" basis......

A couple frames to the sandblaster........

The wishbone in the back needs a new backbone, seat crossover tube, and the sidehack loops restored. Now....the VL frame in the front is for Part-timer Steve's new bike project.

I've been holding onto this VL frame for a while, and Steve finally talked me out of it. It's a little tweaked, but no big deal. If everything goes well, you should see TWO VL-framed bikes with Big Twins in them from Steve and I at the GNRS next year.

We'll be showing you the progress on both bikes here from time to time, so don't go anywhere.

Steve already has visions of a Panhead and 4sp, 35mm front end, and a narrow Frisco'd Sporty tank.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hey! I got another cover! (sorta)

This is the cover of the soon-to-be-on-the-newstands May/June '10 issue of IronWorks magazine, with the feature article on the 93" Shovel I built for Chris W. in New Jersey. Haven't seen the contents yet, but I got a place on the cover, well....sorta.

If you look in the lower L/H side of the cover, in my blue circle, you can see Chris' bike. Hey, any cover exposure is good exposure, and I got a nice cover blast in the red banner. I'll take it!

Now that the snow melted.......

I can show you one of my birthday presents - my new front door mat.......

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Anybody have one of these?

Seeing as everybody failed me in my search for a 17" Centerline Front Runner (I found one), I'm going to give you a chance to redeem yourselves. I'm looking for one of these Superior rear chain enclosures.
It doesn't have to be chrome, it can be painted, but it needs to be as complete as possible, and can't be fuckered up beyond minor repairs - some of these things are mangled. I'll even take a mis-matched set, like a chrome front and a painted back for example, or just a front here,or back there. Let me know what you have a line on.......

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I used to have two blogs........

I had two blogs that I fed - this one, and another one called Homage. I thought it was kinda redundant to run two of them that were pretty much the same, so I removed Homage a few months ago.

I have a bunch of photos from there, and I thought I'd post them up here from time to time. Like these for example. How's about Frank Kaisler thru the years? Hey, Frank called me a day early (March 16th) this year to wish me a Happy Birthday. He said he did that, because he wanted to be the first guy to do so, and "....I didn't want to be stuck on 'call waiting' all day trying to get thru". Wadda guy!

Here's Frank cutting a dashing figure in a Custom Cycle magazine article on Maryland, around '71. Hey, check out those harnass strap boots. Frank was always stylin' even back then!
Here's the imfamous "ear warmer" shot for the Righteous Products ad, from '79 that ran in Easyriders magazine for a couple years. Most people don't recognize Frank in the ad. Frank was on staff at EZ for a long time, and did a stint as editor for good measure. Mike Lichter still calls Frank "My old Boss...."
And, here's Mr. Kaisler today, still that dashing figure that cuts a glorious swath across the L.A. basin wherever he goes. Ok, not really, but I just thought I'd build him up a little, because, he really is a good friend of mine, and that makes me a pretty lucky guy.

Salute, Frank!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Three years ago, when Part-timer Steve and I rode out for the Sinners July 4th Party, we stayed with Superco Trevelen for a couple days. Steve had a balkey solinoid on his '86 FXR, and Trev knew a place called Chuy's Auto Electric that could rebuild it for him.

The three of us drove over to Chuy's, and while we were waiting, Trev ran into an old friend, who he introduced to us. His name was Zarape', and he's got to be in his late 70's now. Zarape' is a walking history of East Los chopper builders and riders. He still rides a chopper, which he kicks over while standing backwards! He has this eyelit in the middle of his gas tank, that takes a hook that's teathered to his belt. He hooks himself to the bike, so he doesn't blow off when he's on the Freeways.

Trevelen was working on a book project involving all the old chopper and motorcycle riders from the early years in L.A., including Zarape'. Trev has photos that would blow your mind for this project, I hope he gets it finished one of these days.
Zarape' then......
Zarape' a couple years ago.
Photos cortesy of Trevelen/Superco

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day !

Today's the day that all good Irishmen (and women) honor the memory of the Patron Saint of Ireland by getting shitfaced on Irish whiskey and green beer, and throwing up in an alley.

Nah, just kidding. I'm proud to be a Mick, and very fortunate to be born on St. Patrick's Day as well. I remember my uncle coming over to my house on St. Patty's day, and he'd say "Oh, so it's your birthday, eh? Well, I guess you could say that's one year closer to the grave!" While it might seem a cruel thing to say to a little kid, what he meant was that every year needs to be lived to it's fullest, because you never know what the future holds for us. He meant do it now, because you might not get a another chance.

Here's a good one:
Q. How many Irishmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. It takes three - one to hold the light bulb, and two to drink until the room starts to spin....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

From Bob T......

In the beginning of Feb. on my blog I did a little piece on Bob Tronolone (Bob T), and in that I mentioned he still owns the bike in that old Supercycle article, and keeps it in streetworthy condition. Well, today I received an Emal from Bob T, and he was kind enough to roll it out, and shoot a picture for me.

How many guys do you, the reader, know that are still riding and tricking out the same bike they bought going on 38 years ago?

Thanks Bob, I really appreciate that. What a truly gorgeous bike!

Photo coutersy of Bob T

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Got a couple articles published.....

It's been awhile since I've had a chance to do any articles besides my column in Greasy Kulture. So, when Hammer gave me the OK last December to cover the Mooneyes Christmas Party at Irwindale speedway, and the David Mann Chopperfest in Ventura for The Horse, I was really looking forward to doing the articles.

Both events are in issue #97, April '10, and it should be hitting the newstands right about now. I think the photos they chose (shot for me by "Dame Digital" Kristina Pamias) were adequate, the articles are good, and we had a good time covering the events, and I saw a bunch of people I knew - some I haven't seen for years.

The magazine also has a good article by Nelson Kanno on their "last Saturday of every month" ride-in lunch gathering at Santa Fe Importers in The LBC, ChopperDave did a spread on this year's GNRS, and Dan Roedel does a good tech on the Baker N-1 shifter drum installation. Also, there's a killer feature on the bike Fab Kevin and "Poolboy" built - that's it on the cover.

And, my feature on the rigid shovel I built for Chris Worrell publishes in the next issue of IronWorks, and I have a tech article on the Led Sled Sporty hardtail install I just finished on Dan's bike coming up in IW in the near future, as well as my usual column in GKM, which should be going to print next week.

I have a ton of photos from both David Mann and The Mooneyes Christmas Party that The Horse didn't run, and I'll post up some of them for you from time to time. Kristina photographed some just georgous bikes at David Mann, and you can see how deep the water was at Mooneyes, from the monsoon that hit SoCal that weekend.

Now you see why I haven't been on here updating my blog?

Hi honey, I'm hooooome....

Yeah, I suck, it's been awhile since I've posted up on here. Work rolls in here at least weekly, and I've been busier than a one-legged man in an asskicking contest. '09 was a busy year for me, and '10 has been great so far, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Anyways, I'll try and get all you followers something to look at that's new up here on a more timely basis.

Remember when I asked Jaluv next time he went by Dick Allen's old Normandie shop to snap some photos of what it looked like today? If you'll search back some in the posts, you'll see some "then & now's" courtesy of Jahluv. Lookie what he sent me about a week ago.

Jahluv works in the City of Montery Park, CA , and he was going by the old site of Buchanans there in that city, before they moved up to Azusa. Monterey Park is framed by the 10, the 710, and the 60 in L.A.

This is the building where they used to make spokes, build wheels, straighten, repair, and rake frames, and extend glide and springer front ends. A lot of work going on inside this small building at one time, huh? Too bad they sold all the frame tables and the springer jigs when they made the move up to Azusa.
Jahluv, thanks for thinking of me, and sending these photos that I could share with everyone. I'll see you at the Born Free show!

I know I have some shots of the exterior of Buchanans as it looked in the late '60's someplace around this firetrap, but I can't find them! When I do, I'll post them up. In the meantime, here's a scan of the '71 catalog I have, and the inside page, showing the shop's interior.
If you'd like, take a look at Jahluv's blog, for a unique perspective:
And, here's the link to Buchanans, still the best spokes and wheels in the business: