Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Pop quiz, hotshot.........."

Dennis Hopper
5/17/1936 - 5/29/2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Something for meeeeee.....

I've been looking for a old Centerline 19x2.50" Frontrunner wheel for a long time, to match up with my Dick Allen 15" Centerline rear wheel. All the 19" front Centerlines I could find were either bent or trashed, or they were snapped up by the nostalgia drag racers before I could buy them.

So, I decided to see what Centerline had in their catalog as a replacement for this rim. The closest I could come was their Convo-Pro front wheel, but it was only available in a 17" size. I knew there were 17" front tires out there, so I set my sights on getting one, and I got lucky.

Once I found the wheel new, I knew that there would be machining that needed to be done to run it. There's only two people I know of that I trust to do this work here in town - Rick Labriola, and Bob Schenck. While Rick does a lot of one-off machining for me like this, I knew he was eyeball-deep in welding up his foot clutches and jockey shifter handles. Bob has done some very cool machine work for me in the past, so I tapped Bob for this project. Bob has been doing custom bike stuff like this for longer than both Rick and I have been around, so what does that tell you? I knew I'd be in good hands with this, and I knew it would come out exact and killer, and it did.
Here's what we started with - a brand-new 17"x2.50" spindle mount Centerline Convo-Pro, that I found during a closeout sale at one of the big speed equipment stores. I had to wait for a couple weeks while Bob finished up some other projects, so he could switch out his lathe chucks to accommodate machining the wheel itself. See, when Centerline makes this wheel, they take their hub and sandwich it between the wheel halves, then they rivet it together, then they seal the rim so it's tubeless. You can't get the hub out of the wheel without undoing the rivets or breaking the wheel's sealing.

So, what Bob had to do was mount up the wheel in his lathe, and machine the existing hub out of the center, leaving the rest of the original hub captured in the wheel. While Bob completed this, I ran over to Alreco Aluminum here in town, and found a 6061 T6 aluminum billet that was 6" in Diameter, and approx. 7" long. That 18 lb. piece of billet was $60.00! That billet was the one Bob whittled down for me for the new hub, and you can see the results below......
R/H side of the wheel. Anybody can make something that functions in its intended purpose, but the artistry of the machinist comes to life in the execution of the part as it's shaped. Bob is a true craftsman, who knows his trade extremely well.

Because I wanted to use the later H-D style double row sealed 3/4" axle wheel bearings, Bob cut the hub center to accept the '00-up rotors. The sealed bearings are the Timkin cross reference for the OEM bearings that I had my trusty bearing house get for me, at about 1/3 the cost vs. Harley's parts prices.

The rotor is on the R/H side of the wheel, because I have a 39mm front end that was formally a Sportster Sport with dual discs. I trimmed off the caliper mount on the left slider, and saved the right slider for the caliper mounting, so I could run the brake line straight up the fork tube, and not have to cross the line under the lower tree from the left.

L/H side of the wheel, showing Bob's machining on this side. The nice thing about this hub is that it's totally reversible - I can unbolt the hub, and turn it around (along with the tire, of course!) so the rotor is on the left, should I decide to run a H-D offset springer later on - which I may do. That way, I can keep the rivet heads of both wheels on the right side of the bike, and the huck side of the rivets on the left.

Bob also drilled the L/H side of the rim for a valve stem, and you can see it at about the 2:00 position on the rim. I gave him a new H-D mag wheel stem, and it was the perfect size to fit in between the convolutions on the rim.

The next hardest thing was finding the tire itself. When you're talking 17" tires, you're in spotbike territory. I looked for weeks to find a front tire that was not only a non-radial 17", but one that was narrower than a 140, 120, or a 110. All these narrower 17" tires were either not available in the USA (most were available in the UK, Germany, or Japan, but the import duties and shipping would have killed me), or they were shown in the manufacturer's website catalogs, but when I asked about availability, I found they were discontinued sizes. I finally found a 100/70-17, and I'm not talking on where it came from! But, it's perfect.

I'm super-stoked! Now I have a set of matching Centerline wheels, ready to go for my VL framed project.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ok, this is just whack.........

As everybody hits the highway this year, I want you to look at the results of a recent study that asked drivers to classify activities other than driving that they do behind the wheel while operating their vehicles. This is what you're up against as you try and negotiate our Nation's highways on your bike.


If you wonder what other drivers consider dangerous, here are the 31 activities classified by your peers on the highway:

Low Risk:
Listening to music.
Listening to radio.
Talking with passengers.
Changing CDs, tapes, MP3 tracks, etc.
Drinking beverages

Yelling at other drivers.
Operating a GPS system.
Listening to audio books. Eating food

Medium Risk:
Talking on the phone (without a hands-free device).
Changing shoes.
Applying makeup.
Taking off clothes.

Reading road maps.
Combing/doing hair.
Applying deodorant/perfume.
Brushing teeth.
Taking off jewelry.

High Risk:
Writing/reading e-mails.
Sexual activity.
Working on laptop.
Reading newspapers or magazines.
Reading books.

Watching a movie.
Playing video games.
Browsing the Web.
Putting on clothes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kung Fu Tap & Taco/ Dice Release Party - May 15, 2010

Part-timer Steve and I got a later start out of here on Friday than we wanted, due to the fact we had some late-night work to do on Steve's bike the night before we hadn't counted on. We had the vital fluids changed and all Thursday afternoon, but Steve wanted to replace the rubber mounting isolators on his oil tank that evening. They had 10,000 mi. on them, and were beginning to shred themselves. Good thing he decided to do them before we left - in more ways than one.

Because we mounted Steve's oil tank in front of the rear wheel, Steve needed to remove the wheel to get to the bottom rubbers. I was over working on the welding table, when I hear "Holeee shit, Rich, look at this!" I walked over to the lift, and Steve was moving his rear sprocket back and forth in the drive direction about 3/8", and off his hub by about the same. The Nylocks were still on his bolts, but the bolts themselves were worn down to about 3/4" of their diameter. Fortunately, we found this before we hit the road. Let that be a lesson to everybody, to check everything before a long, sustained speed trip anywhere. I had some grade 8 sprocket bolts in the bins, so a good douching with Brakleen and a Loctite bath, the new hardware was installed, along with the tank isolators.

Friday we took off about 10:00am for Des Moines. It was a cold, overcast trip starting out (Denver had a cold rain/snow mix the night before), but the roads were clear, and the temps stayed in the low 40's all thru CO, and into NE. But, I'll take cold over rain or snow any day. Steve was running on about 3 hours sleep, but I was lucky, I got 4hours. We decided to cash it in in Lincoln, NE for the night.

We got a good night's sleep, a good breakfast, and headed out to Des Moines about 12:00 noon on Saturday. We arrived at our hotel about 3:30pm, cleaned up, and hit the Kung Fu about 5:00pm. The party was in full swing, and we dove in as soon as we arrived. It was really good to see so many diverse tribes that had descended on the scene - all my Sinner Brothers from SoCal, a group of riders from Mpls./St. Paul, another group from Chicago, and yet another group of riders from Milwaukee, just to name a few. Plus, a good showing of all of Iowa, along with people from as far away as The Dakotas and Montana - all coming together for a great time. No hassles, no attitudes, no nothin'.
It was nice to see Jeff and Fatty, along with a bunch of people I normally don't get to, because my travels are usually Westbound. It's been a long time since I've been East of the Missouri River. It was great to finally meet Dave Polgreen, Noot, and the countless other people that follow my blog, and have seen my bikes in the magazines. But, the highlight of the evening was finally meeting Tom Fugle, a man I've wanted to for 42 years.

Steve and I stayed until the "last dog was dead", then headed back to the hotel. We got up late, made a reservation in Kerney, NE for that night, and hit the road. The weather was windy, but sunny West of Des Moines, but that turned to windy and dark over Omaha/Council Bluffs. As we were going thru Lincoln, the rain we had dodged all during the trip caught up with us. It poured on us for the last 140 mi. that day.
While we were taking a break in Grand Island, NE at the Sapp Bros. truckstop, a conversion van rolled in, pulling a flatbed trailer with THREE dressers on it. I don't know if you've ever noticed this before, but when it's pouring outside, and the occupants of a tow rig like this finally get out, there isn't a lot of conversation between guys that are drenched to the bone, riding their bikes thru it all, and said dry occupants of the rig. Guilt, maybe - I dunno - I mean, they were DRESSERS on that trailer.

We made Kerney in the rain at dusk, checked in to the Super 8, had McDonald's for dinner, and dried everything out. We sleped in a little, ate breakfast at a Perkins, gassed up, and rode the last leg into Denver. From the NE border all the way into town it was windy as fuck (but sunny), and we were pretty tired when we rolled into my driveway by 7:00pm Monday night.

All in all - 1,400 mi., mostly good weather, no mechanical failures, a killer time, and the first long ride of the year for both of us. I tend to forget just how much fun it is to just hit the road for a long-distance party. I haven't done that for a long time, and we had a good adventure. I mean, that's what it's all about, right?

I know Steve shot some more video film, and shot pictures at the party, but I haven't seen any of it yet. In the mean time, check out these sites for some great pictures:

Cheesehead Cinema Verite'

Here's another couple "test" segments from Part-timer Steve's work on his "mini documentary". I dunno, all this video editing shiznit that Steve's been working on, he may be on to something here. The kid's got a talent for all of this!

From what I can tell, this segment has some of the Sinners July 4th Liberty bash, and some of us entering Nevada, going thru Vegas, and on to Primm.........

.....and this segment looks to be our night gas stop 3/4 of the way across Utah, in the section of I-70 I like to call "The Bermuda Shorts" - because it's the 120 mi. stretch between Green River and Salina that has no services (read gas), cell phones for the most part don't work, and you loose your radio station signals in. Steve took enough gas with him to get thru it, and that's what he's doing here, gassing-up under a full moon.

It also looks to be the Colorado I-70 trip section thru the Eisenhower Tunnel, Glenwood Canyon, Grand Jct., and some of the section of I-15 from Utah into Arizona and Nevada.

Pretty good, eh? I'm looking forward to the whole DVD when he's finished.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This Saturday........

Part-timer Steve and I are riding out of here Friday morning. 670 mi. to support a Brother, that's what it's all about.

You don't want to miss this. It's gonna be jam-packed in the Kung Fu, people are coming in from all over the country for this one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Denver/L.A. 2009

When Part-timer Steve and I rode out to L.A. for the Sinners July 4th Liberty Bash, Steve took his camera with him, and filmed almost the entire trip.

Steve's been working on this film for a long time, and has been taking classes at Apple to learn his editing software, and to get the visuals and the soundtrack all put together. He has about 30 segments that he's completed, and is in the process of stitching them all together in one cohesive package. The segments include everything from day and night road scenes there and back, tripping all over L.A., the Sinners Party, the Friday cruise night at Bob's Big Boy, Wes' 4 Aces shop, a stop at Frank Kaislers' place, and a really good, long segment on our visit with Mike Parti at his home and shop/museum, just to give a few examples.

This is one of his "test" segments he's put together for YouTube, and as he goes along, he'll add a few more there, and we'll have the link here, too. Steve's goal is to do a complete DVD of the whole trip. Let him know what you think.......