Friday, March 21, 2008

Bikes I Have Loved, My Old Hardtail

Oh yea! My little walk on the wild side. This is my old hard tail with a late style Shovel Head motor built by S&S. It had dual plug heads and high compression. You may notice that the exhaust pipes are straight and short, they were loud. The compression ratio was so high that I could barely kick start the thing. The seat had springs under it but when you hit a big bump it would stand you straight up and take your breath away.

Radical is a term that has changed over the years. Now, radical means cool, as in "radical ride, Dude." But to old hot rodders radical meant that the thing vibrated so much that parts worked loose all the time. All the safety wire and Locktite in the world would barely hold things together. This bike was radical in the "non-dude" sense of the term.

This was a beast of a bike, fast and loud, with all the primative nature that got Harley Davidson its bad boy reputation in the first place. When you started this bike it was like two hammers pounding on an anvil. It leaked oil and didn't apoligize for it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

Ever ride by a road killed skunk, does it stink? Not for me. I'm about to impart some wisdom. Don't smell it.

It came to me to write about dead skunks and other noxious odors when my daughter and I were riding between Bodega Bay and Guerneville. We passed by a flattened skunk and Lee said something to the effect of "Wow, does that stink. I noticed that it did not stink, not at all and that was because I had not attempted to smell it. I guess the non-motorcyclist version would be someone at church leaning over and whispering, "boy somebody _____," fill in the blank. Immediately the non-rider would start sniffing to find out the volume and intensity.

Now one of the best things about riding a bike is that you get to smell things. If you are riding past a field of onions you smell fresh onions. New mown hay, fields of vegetables, orchards of fruit, and the Budwseier Brewery in Fairfield, all are real treats that only motorcyclists get to enjoy full force. I have also learned, and here's the point, when you first see the dead skunk, just stop sniffing. Slowly let out your breath through your nose until you are well past the offensive area.

No need to thank me, I just enjoy enlightening people.

Monday, March 17, 2008

All God's Children Got Troubles

We went for a little ride and while on the freeway Marie tells me she feels a vibration. She says she feels it through the passenger floorboards and the backrest. She says at about 80 mph it is so strong that the vibration of the backrest makes her back itch and she can barely stand to keep her feet on the floorboards. I of course feel nothing.

But then as we ride, I notice that the engine does not sound quite right. I can see vibration in the fairing. When we get home I checked the plugs and they looked alright. Clean and a good tan color, which shows they are working alright. I'm pretty good with plugs after having all those two stroke bikes over the years. It's not plugs.

Tomorrow I will check the motor mounts and pull the timing cover and check the pads that tension the cam chain. The photo shows the pads. I have heard that they often wear out at the 25-30k mileage area. If its not one of these two things, I don't have a clue.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Strange But Somehow Compelling

Marie and I were at Santa Rosa V-Twin the other day and saw the new Victory Vision. You have to hand it to the Victory Motorcycle Company; the Vision is not a Harley clone. The big Japanese motorcycle manufacturers all make Harley clones, it’s blatant, obvious and obnoxious. The Vision is something else, the Vision is something very different.