Thursday, October 29, 2009

IronWorks Magazine Announces Expansion of Senior Editorial Team (Way to go Steve B!!!!)

Just when you thought that every ray of hope was lost and that it was a waste of time to curb jump and park at the local B&M motorcycle magazine establishments, a frakin' miracle happens and a real world FXR riding hero gets hired at one of the few great magazines left on the market...This is huge...really folks!

Monday, October 19, 2009

4th day of nightshift...reading...

I spent about a half an hour trying to process all the editorializing about Buell, the President of Harley Davidson, greed, and the future of Harley Davidson...geeze I'm thinking Harley should have killed Buell off a long time ago, no one has talked about Buell this much since...anyway my eyeballs are bleeding from the felt like reading Neolib's 100mph ranting as soon as I can process my own thoughts about Erik Buell, Eddie Willers and Keith Wandell, I will editorialize my own self...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

NFK fix of the day, A reminder for Tom to take pictures and what needs not be explained!

CB350 Lament

Of all my warm feelings about Capitalism, my favorite is the feeling when a manufacturer sees a need and fills it. Even when they are ripping off an obvious style or product. It is no secret that the early Honda styling of their twins were aimed at those who bought British bikes and the current Cruiser styling is aimed at those who want to buy a Harley. But for whatever reason, the need that the customer needed filling was not being met and another manufacturer saw the need, stepped in and filled that need.

The hatred toward Walmarts is an obvious example. It is stated that Walmarts makes it tough for small businesses in small towns to compete with them. Not true, all they have to do is try to compete. For years mid-size grocery stores took advantage of farm communities who would had to drive many miles for groceries and supplies. They had a limited selection and didn't care. The town I live in has just such a store, I pass it by and drive an hour to Walmarts, not just for price and selection, and they are open hours I can shop there, but because they saw a need and filled it. My local grocery store still refuses to listen to the customers who WANT to shop locally. My local grocery refuses to add items I have requested, (there is a multitude of factories that work around the clock right across the river from them, and they refuse to stock foods like protein bars and healthy foods that can carry workers thru the night. And their prices are at least 40% higher. Walmarts does not carry that much clout that they can save 40% over what the smaller chains can purchase.) The smaller chains set back and watch Walmarts grow into a giant, only because of their philosophy of giving the customer what they want. (I do find it interesting that when the working class makes a purchasing decision with their money that it is looked at as low class, but when the upper class makes a like minded decision not frequent one business over another, it's "just business.")

I found it to be an interesting juxtaposition when Ben sent me a couple photos and was telling me about his adventure with his friend Shawn's CB350 and compared it to his Vulcan. I'll let Ben tell it in his own words.

... So my buddy Shawn from Omaha just got back from his 10 day trip on his KZ750 to the Salt Flats. He rode his CB350 Honda down last week to tell us about the trip and got here about 5 pm.
I wanted him to check out my project Vulcan so we traded bikes for about a half hour.
I rode the CB so he could try my Vulcan.

The CB would not idle at stop lights, the electric starter quit working 2 weeks earlier. And it took a lot of kicks to start it every time it died.
Power was bad, (I have owned a pile of Cb350’s and a great CL360 so I know what the power should be like.) it was terrible off the line, really weak everywhere. (that didn’t stop me from flogging it however! Fun bike! I forgot how much I can enjoy one!)

He WAS going to ride home to Omaha that night, until I told him that something was wrong with his bike and we needed to work on it.
I wasn't about to let him ride it back home like that.
So we fired up the cigars, and went to work.
So, we pulled his plugs... rich.
Checked his points...Off.
And his starter may have actually been dragging 100% of the time.

I pulled the drive chain and gear from the starter out, and I actually got Tom Rose on the speaker phone and tired to get him to convince Shawn to toss his starter… didn’t work. But I think Shawn will come around in time.
Cleaned his plugs, filed, cleaned and set his points.
So, we finally got done at 12:15 am... it started with ONE kick, and idle perfectly.
HUGE power increase, didn't try to stall at all.
Epic win!

We had a cold snap that night, and the next morning when he went to leave it was about 40 degrees. He wasn’t really dressed for it, but thought he could make it ok. He left at 5:30 stopped and bought some rain gear at the Wal-Mart (He couldn’t have gotten that stuff ANYWHERE else in town! Flynch is totally right about Wal-Mart) ...he then hit the truck stop for breakfast and to wait for the sun to come up…then he realized that he had lost 1 quart of oil all over his motor and the road.

He called me up and came back... turns out his starter drive cover gasket was leaking. The whole back of the bike was covered in oil. Including his back tire!
Epic fail!
Not sure if we got the gasket bunched up, or what happened, but I cleaned it all up real good, (gasket remover and sharp razor blades folks!) used some very carefully applied amounts of RTV silicon and buttoned it up... TIGHT.
I went back to work and told him to give it an hour to dry and then try it.

IT worked and he rode it home... it 50 degree weather and rain. It’s a 2.5 hour ride on the interstate back to Omaha from here.
He was cold. He survived. Bike runs beautiful now.

That cigar was real good though.

So Ben are you ready to trade Shawn for is CB350? And is Shawn ready to get a late model Jap cruiser to fill his traveling needs?

Still missing summer...

This sport kicks ass!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The ever capable FXR.

I think one of the biggest sins committed against the FXR is that of trying to make it look to “Harleyish.” I have seen Wide Glide front ends, springers, 21” front wheels, (even the factory attempted this, though I did like the Super glide style tank they used with the offset gas bung,) I have seen raked out front ends, fringe covering the side panels, ape hangers, forward controls, and in the case of the former owner of my FXR, chrome side covers slathered with “Live to Ride” googaw from stem to stern.

When I discovered Steve B’s FXR, I bookmarked and kept going backto it as a blueprint of how I wanted to re-engineer my FXR. Badass and functional. Serious and stylish. While I won’t build mine as a replica/tribute, he sure built a FXR which inspires me…and just like me, he isn’t afraid to change things around to see what works and find what does.

Steve B. can relate. When he bought his FXRSP from the original owner who was selling it because of a divorce, it was covered in LTR treatment. Steve, living in both the IH era and Connecticut, wasn’t about to build his FXR as if he were trying to get laid at Hooters’ bike night in North Hollywood. He lived in the greater NYC area, he had to build a bike that suited his riding and sheet metal battling environment. He started building and experimenting with modifications to his bike to make it what Erik Buell had originally designed to be, the do everything and never let them see you sweat bike.

Dual Sport touring bike…before there was such a thing? Check.

Convertible touring bike? Check.

Lane splitting NYC curb jumper? Check.

Blacked out and Classy enough to take the wife to the local Valet parking required restaurant…hey it’s a FXR! Fucking eh!

Blacked out in a manner that causes the over-done user-repellent flat black crowd to scratch their head and wonder what kind of motorcycle it is… “Yo dude, is that like a new Honda Nightstar/ShadesofCustom…hey I’m wearing my new Dickies and Work Jacket…did you see my bias plied tires?” Yeah Steve, I’m afraid either we were ahead of our time or we were trendsetters. I’m going to blame you; you worked for a magazine that had more readers than I did. (Can we just blame Buzz? The obvious trendsetter!)

Fast and great handling curve carver, (well it is a FXR, that’s kind of a given, but the 89” S&S stroker kit installed by Tom Haner of H&L Performance really upped the ante.) You know that Erik is secretly reading my blog right? You know he is! How proud he must be!

I really dig the blacked out treatment on his FXR. I’ve joked about my driveway, but it really is rough and my shortcut to work is a downhill, (or uphill on the way home,) gravel road and I leave my bike outside in the rain at work…black works for me the same way it works for Steve… polyester aesthetics; rinse and ride. Plus it looks great. But what really stands out is that Steve’s bike was built as a real rider, you can look at the changes and see that he messed around with what worked and changed it according to what suited his need. I really dig his Cut-up Gunfighter solo seat…those Gunfighter seats were butt ugly to start with; another weak attempt at making an FXR look Harleyish…just like that gawd awful Warbird fairing kit Hamsters used to install on their FXRs. (I should have my readers dig thru their old mags, and scan pictures of the gawd awful renditions of FXRs the Hamsters did…) However, Steve made the Gunfighter seat actually attractive thanks to a Sawzall and a good fling!

Steve can been found at (where you can also find a updated version of Walt Siegl’s Shovelhead…the very same Walt Siegl featured years ago in IH with a primer grey shovelhead built by English Don, Steg and Indian Larry.) You can also find Steve at SteveB’s leatherworks;

Hopefully next spring Steve will give us here at the Chronicle a curb jumping epic celebration of Industrial NYC …stayed tuned!

AtlasFlynched indeed!