Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Return with us now, to those thrilling days of yesteryear....."

OK, we're not going that far back, but we are going back a little more than 14 years ago, to the March '96 issue of Iron Horse, #140. David Snow takes us into Psycho Cycles, and gives us a glimpse of what Indian Larry - along with Steg and Knucklehead Steve - were up to at the time. This is back in the "dark ages", and chances are, if you weren't reading IH at the time, or you didn't live on the East coast, most people probably didn't know who Indian Larry was! How things were going to change.......

What we saw in this article (along with glimpses in previous, and future IH articles to come, along with a full cover and feature) was the raw birth of what would eventually become one of Larry's best known bikes, The Grease Monkey........

It's not what you see in this picture that counts, it's what you don't see. Larry machined off the inner primary bosses from the case, and filled the alternator plug hole. The alternator wires now exit the cavity at about the 5 o'clock position.

Note also that Larry has machined, stoned, and polished every mating surface of the cases to match up exactly.


The Rt. side shot of the engine coming together. STD oiler heads, '81 Shovel cases, JIMS lifters and blocks, Joe Hunt magneto, and Evo oil pump. You can also see the simple, drilled carb support made by Knucklehead Steve.

Larry machined the base of the Hunt mag so he could manually advance and retard it, vs. the original locked down mounting. Larry never gave up the bore/stroke, or the cam specs, and would only say it "was a moderately healthy" engine.

Lt. side of the engine shows a good shot of the HPC coated, Hyperformance finless barrels, and the external drain setup. One time Steg told me that those barrels were originally his, and he gave them to Larry because "he needed them, and I didn't....." . If you would have taken the timing plug out of the case, you would have seen the copper plated flywheels. Wow.

Also, we get a clear shot of Larry's iconic, often copied genuine 12ga. double-barreled jockey shift handle. Larry stated in the article that the rest of the shotgun previously "was confiscated....". Also note that Larry hasn't made the brass Swazi insert for his front belt pulley yet.

Larry fitting up the Ceriani front forks. Larry also adapted a Milwaukee Iron hidden fork stop kit to the Ceriani lower tree, and machined a stainless offset bar that ran thru the original handlebar mounting bosses to adapt his 4" brass dogbone risers, ala Fonda's setup on the Capt. America bike. Take note, you "leg shavers"...Larry never cut the fender mounts off the sliders, I always remember them being there.

The frame started out as a hacked-up '48, and Larry and Steg stretched the bottom rails 2" at the back of the tranny, jacked up the rear legs to match a new backbone, windowed the neck, and added in a new seatpost and relocated rear trans crossmember. I patterned my frame table from photos of Larry and Stegs' table I saw in IH, from an earlier article that documented the step-by-step frame modifications.

5 comments:

Peter said...

I think those pictures were taken at Psycocycles when it was on 47th St in the same building that SD cycles had been in. In the background of the last pic you can see Stevie and Rick (or was it rich?) the shop apprentice.

Cicero said...

Thank you.

Irish Rich said...

Peter, the ads in IH #140, that had this article show Psycho Cycles at 177 Riverton St., and SD Cycles at 523 W.37th .

Yeah, I'm pretty sure too that the guy with the long curly hair, with his back to the camera in picture #4 here is Knucklehead Steve. It didn't say it in the caption, though.

Noel,NYC said...

Thanks Rich... those days were special in the East Coast, creative chopper building from those who lived the life!

Peter said...

Right 37th st. To me it doesn't look like the way I remember the Rivington st lay out to be. For one the Linde welder was behind Larrys frame table because there was a sink there and he ran the water directly from it for the tig torch. Larry didn't have a separate water cooler for the tig in those days. FWIW there was a brief time after psyco cycles got kicked out of rivington st where they wound up on 37th st. before they moved out to south 8th st in Williamsburg Brooklyn. That was another lifetime though. My memory aint what it used to be.