So my Sporty Project has been on somewhat of a “hold” lately, due to a lot of work being done on the Stepside. But out-of-site, does not mean out-of-mind. There are still some things I want to get done and I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week. Vintage white grips (like these) are coming soon… and I think I may have found the answer to my plain tank. Initially, I had just planned on having a buddy do a little pin-striping but I found the bike pictured below on the Harley-Davidson “Dark Custom” website.
The bike is owned by a cat in Wisconsin who IMHO has really good taste! I freakin’ love this tank graphic. Something similar may be in order. Maybe not gold-leaf per se, but something with this feel and vibe would be cool. What do you think? I already have a couple ideas for what it might say.
So… today I got the glove compartment I ordered from LMC installed. Oddly enough, it’s made out of fiberboard. I thought this was just a “cheapo” fix but apparently, this is how they really were back in the day. At least that is what I was told by the old guy at the local mom & pop hardware store. At any rate, I got it installed and all I can say is: Finally… somewhere to put my gloves!
Before I sign off… here’s a pic I took today of my two favorite toys. The sun was shining and since the Dark Months* are upon us, I thought I better take advantage of the photo op while I could!
* NOTE: For the uneducated… The Dark Months are what I call the period in Middle Tennessee from November 1 to March 1 — when the days are short, the air is cold, precipitation transforms into solids and good riding days are few-and-far between. They SUCK!
The good people at Both Barrels Promotions, here in Middle Tennessee, held their annual Flat Track Races last Sunday. This is one of my favorite motorcycle events of the year. Here’s a few pics… maybe next year I’ll be on a ride!
I’ve been living in Tennessee for 22 years but had never made a visit to Coker Tire in Chattanooga… until yesterday. The legendary tire and wheel company supplies authentic, reproduction tires and wheels to classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts around the world. If you are in the area, it’s worth a stop for the free tour. Here are some pics for those who can’t make it!
The Coker family saved Honest Charley Speed Shop.
A hand signed standup from original Miss Hurst… Linda Vaughn.
Corky Coker is all about bikes too.
Honest Charley Rat Rod… The only Rat Rod I saw on the premises.
1903 Excelsior Auto Cycle
The famous Double Exposure 32 Roadster… you’ve probably seen this car on TV.
Wrong brand… but cool signs. 🙂
This original Indian neon is huge… Id’ say about 15′ x 20′.
Another you’ve probably seen on TV.
These are all barn-finds… in the front is a 1968 Camaro Rally Sport convertible. All original. WOW!
I was not supposed to go in the shop but… I snuck this photo. See that huge lathe? This guy is actually cutting wheels…and I was told, he is the only guy in the country that still does this.
Ever heard of a Nyberg? Me either until this day. I was told that this model was manufactured in Chattanooga in the early 1900’s and there are only three remaining in the world.
Got a little more accomplished on the ’66 Stepside this weekend. A very good thing was that we discovered what was making the brakes grab and pull to the right. The inner axle seal, on the right rear, was leaking onto the brake pads… making a gooey mess. My buddy Dale took care of it by cleaning things up and replacing the seal. Thought I’d grab a pic of the innards while the differential cover was off.
One thing I’m discovering quickly… is that the parts on these old trucks (or at least mine) are sometimes a mystery. Found that out with the carb, the column, speedo cable and now with the gasket for the diff cover. I’m not sure what this rear end is out of, but the gasket that ended up fitting was for a later model Chevelle. It’s a 12-bolt pattern while all the parts houses list a 10-bolt pattern for the 1966 C-10. Go figure.
My buddy Dale also installed a couple of wheel studs to replace a missing one and a broken one. I’m such a rookie at all this stuff and I’m so thankful to have friends that are willing to help me out. I’m learning a lot and having some buddies involved (that know what they are doing) makes not having my dad around to help out a little easier to tolerate… and a little less lonely. Man, I can’t believe how much I miss him!
More to come soon… The truck should be on the road very soon!
I made my way to the local H-D dealership this afternoon to see the 2013 models revealed. Look close at the pic above and you’ll see my junkyard dog at the back of the pack in the parking lot. There was some nice stuff, and if you are interested, you can CLICK HERE to see the new models. (The new Bold Metal Flake finishes are smokin!) But… as is typical… the bike that really caught my eye was outside in the parking lot. I’m not normally a fan of the Softail but this ’03 has just the right amount of old-school vibe to make it way-cool! I love the minimalist approach, rounded old-school look rear fender, old-school seat, and big-ole wide bars. But I’m like that…
Issue #10 of Grease Monkey is out! Two features include my photography… a way cool 54 Ford Panel Van and a nicely restored 1946 Cab-Over that I got to shoot. You can read the issue on-line by CLICKING HERE.
Thought I would share one of my latest creations. I was hired to create the show poster for an upcoming Middle Tennessee indoor motorcycle race. This will be a good time… if you are close, come on out for the fun!
This post has nothing to do with motorcycles… but I did ride the Sporty to the airport this morning… if that counts. I had a great time hangar flying with the local airport bums. Here are a few of my favorite fly-in aircraft. The first one is a 1948 Ryan Navion, owned by a local pilot that I’ve known for some time. This guy is a retired engineer and has restored this airplane to an extreme level. It’s like new… and affectionately named “Ar Farce One” with appropriate color scheme. I actually got to fly this airplane a few years ago, on a short jump to Alabama and back.
This airplane below is one of my all-time favorites. It’s made by American Champion Aircraft and the model name is Citabria. They named it that because if you spell it backwards it spells Airbatic. Yes, this aircraft is certified for acrobatic flight! Rolls, loops and the like. There is a local company who rents one of these. One of these days I hope to get some time in it.
And finally… to the untrained eye, this might look like a vintage Piper Cub. Well, it is a Cub, but it’s not vintage. It’s brand new! You can still purchase these babies. Check out the panel. Mr. Piper sure didn’t envision that for the original Cubs!
The latest issue of Grease Monkey will be in the stores in just a few days… but you can get a sneak peek of the entire issue on-line… RIGHT NOW! My fingerprints are all over this issue. Photos in the Seventy-One Shovelhead spread and the Tennessee Motorama Re-Cap spread are mine, and I also did the layout and design on many of the full-page ads you will see. CLICK HERE now to check out the entire issue, cover-to-cover, and then pick up the real deal in most cycle & car shops across the state next week!
A few days ago I posted a few pics from the Nashville British Motorcycle Clubs vintage bike show. There were some cool bikes there but none so cool as this one… at least in my opinion. I never did find the owner to get the details about it but I’m guessing this is a mid to late 20’s Scout model. I’ve never seen an Indian with an “in-frame” mounted tank like this in person. What a great bike and an important part of two-wheel history.
The Ton Up Nashville British Motorcycle Club held their 11th annual vintage bike show on Sunday May 20. I try to make this show every year because it brings out some bikes (all kinds, not just British) that you don’t see at the other shows around town. Here are some of my favorites.
I went to the local cruise in tonight… (yes, this is another car show post!) … and when I do, I am always on the lookout for Chevy and GMC trucks from 1961 to 1966. I don’t know why, but that body style speaks to me. One day I shall own one… oh yes, I shall! In the mean time, I’ll just have to drool over those that belong to others… like this 62 model. Straight six, three-on-the-tree… what could be better? Well, maybe a short box, but other than that, this truck is pretty dang perfect, in my book. Maybe a little too perfect even. Check the last photo below… same body style, but a little more ratty. Love it!
And now… the not as perfect example, but maybe even cooler!
Wanna see more pics from this show? Click on the Facebook link below. I just posted more there.
I stumbled across this short film on-line a while back. It’s called MACHINE and was directed by a guy named Matt Harrington. It’s worth a watch.
Back on April 6, I gave you a behind the scenes look at my buddy Scooter’s latest project… a Yamaha Maxim 550. Well, he’s gone and chopped it all up and stuff. Here’s a before and after look at it. Took about a month and in the end, it just goes to show you… ugly bikes are cool!
This evening brought beautiful weather to the Middle Tennessee area and my “Sunday Evening Ride” was fantastic. I’ve been slowly pushing the Sporty further and further since I made all the changes and tonight I made a 100+ mile loop… by far my longest ride on it since the transformation. The good news is that nothing fell off… haha… and I’m really starting to get comfortable with the new feel.
On my way back home, I passed through the little town of Lascassas, Tennessee. I’ve ridden through it tons of times and there is a place there called Pearcy’s General Merchandise that I love… even though I’ve never been in it. It’s a small mom & pop style store that has tons of character. The kind of place that the big-box stores are slowly replacing across America. If I lived closer, I would buy everything from this place… regardless of price.
I’ve photographed nearly every bike I’ve owned in the past 5 years in front of this place, including this bike, pre-transformation (CLICK HERE) so I had to stop and grab a few of the new-look Sporty.
Our local H-D dealer held their annual spring bike show today. Every year, one bike seems to stand out to me, and this year, this 1971 Super Glide was hands-down my favorite of the day. To be honest with you, in the early 70’s I was too young to be interested in Harley-Davidson motorcycles (Suzuki dirt-bikes were more of a reality for me at that age) but the retro vibe of this thing speaks to the motorcycle enthusiast deep inside of me. Check out the recessed tail-light and stair-step seat. This thing is cool. (PS… I’d like to personally thank whomever invented disc brakes that we now enjoy on modern-day bikes.)
I took this photo at a local bike show today. That’s a lot of spokes, folks!
I was recently on a poker run with some people I didn’t know. One of the guys I rode with was on a Goldwing… possibly the quietest bike on the planet… who upon arriving at our final stop said to me, “I understand why you wear those earplugs… those pipes are loud!” Now… why he kept riding right behind me all day if he had a problem with my pipes is another story, but for the record… I don’t wear earplugs because of exhaust pipe noise. First of all, my pipes are not all that loud (this guy should ride behind some of my buddy’s) and secondly, they dump out well behind my ears. Nope, it’s not the loud pipes but rather the hearing damage from wind noise that I choose to protect myself from. The constant “white noise” created by the non-stop wind, while riding, is pretty dangerous and the reason why I wear earplugs EVERY time I ride. In fact, I never leave home without them. The good news is that just a few weeks ago I had an electronic hearing test administered by an FAA examiner. My hearing is excellent… thanks in part to my little orange friends above… and I plan to keep it that way. If you don’t ride with earplugs, you should consider doing so.
I love riding on Sunday evenings. It’s that final stress reliever of the weekend before the work week begins again… and I look forward to it. Tonight the weather was exceptional, so I took a little longer than usual. Here’s a few pics and a quick video.
(WARNING: TONS OF PICTURES)
Those who know me or frequent this blog know that I am a Sportster fanatic. It all started back in the 70s, when as a child, I watched a TV show by the name of Then Came Bronson which depicted an ultra-cool dude riding from town to town on an ultra-cool bike… a Harley-Davidson Sportster. Over the years I’ve owned just about every brand and size of motorcycle you can imagine, but I always seem to wind up back at Bronson’s choice of two-wheels. In fact, that’s where I am right now. Some thought I was crazy when I sold my Electra-Glide last year and got another Sporty. But that’s OK. I am perfectly happy with my choice. And if some don’t understand… well, in Jim Bronson rebel form, that makes it even better!
But enough about me. As a fan of the bike… I’ve been pretty happy to see the Motor Company giving the Sportster model some specific attention over the past few years. And in particular, their decision to try and capture some of its history and the retro vibe that I love. The Nightster, Iron 883 and the Forty-Eight were great steps in that direction and now here we are in 2012 and H-D has taken it to the next level with the introduction of the Seventy-Two.
Marketing blabber from Harley describes the newest member of the Sportster family like this: “Authentic ’70s chopper attitude meets modern power and premium H-D styling in this bare-bones, lowrider-inspired radical custom.” I don’t know how accurate that is and honestly, I don’t really care what a marketing team in a conference room in Milwaukee came up with to say about this bike. I’m only concerned with a couple of things. Does it look good, and does it function well. On the first count, I’ll have to admit that they immediately got me hook, line and sinker. The design team, in my opinion, nailed the retro vibe and I’ve wanted to climb on one of these bad boys since I first saw the sneak-peek photos coming out of the dealer meetings this winter. And today was my chance. Bumpus Harley-Davidson, a local dealer here in Middle Tennessee, is playing host to the Harley-Davidson factory truck this weekend and it offered the perfect opportunity for me to check out the Seventy-Two up close.
The Seventy-Two is available in three colors which are Black Denim, Big Blue Pearl and as in the test model I rode that you see here, Big Red Flake. For me, the gorgeous Big Red Flake is the only viable option if you really want to capture that 70s vibe. It looks gaudy and fantastic! Adding to the retro “look” is the 8-inch round mirror chrome air cleaner cover. It might seem like a small thing but it is a great period-correct touch. And while it may be debatable as to whether whitewall tires are authentic to the time period, they look great on the chrome laced wheels.
When I first threw a leg over the Seventy-Two, the shocks seemed pretty spongy. This could be because I have grown accustomed to riding Burly Slammer shocks on my own Sporty… I don’t know. More on the ride later. The next thing I noticed, and what the specs don’t tell you about, is the stance of the bike. The low 26.6 inch seat height, retro 2.1 gallon tapered peanut tank, mini-ape hanger handlebars, 30.1 rake and 21-inch front wheel all add up to a realistic chopper feel. Seriously, It feels like the front-end is up in the air where it belongs on any cool chopper!
Next came the demo ride… where the rubber hit the road, so to speak. At first, the mini-ape hangers seemed pretty wide. My hands were at about bicep level and a few inches wider than my shoulders. This was much different than my Biltwell Frisco bars that are very close together… but it took no time at all for me to get used to the wider feel and I soon found the low seat / ape-hangers / forward-control set-up to be very comfortable. We almost immediately turned on to a four-lane Interstate Highway and since I was the last rider in a line of 15 or so bikes, I had the opportunity to play a little catch-up. I won’t tell you how fast I got going, but let’s just say the 73.3 cubic inch, fuel injected air-cooled Evolution motor had no problem whatsoever getting me to… well at least the 70mph posted speed limit… in no time at all. The Seventy-Two had very good power and the 1-down, 4-up 5-speed tranny shifted and sounded just like any Sportster I’ve ever ridden. No surprises in the gear box.
Next came the curvy part of the demo ride and the Seventy-Two performed flawlessly. I was able to glide through every curve, hitting the apex smooth as silk. It was a joy to ride and very comfortable. This is where the bike shined for me. I would imagine that if I owned one, I would trade every Interstate route I had for the most winding backroads I could find. And as for the soft feel of the shocks? I didn’t really notice it while moving. The ride of the Seventy-Two was very comfortable while still maintaining a good feel of the road. No complaints whatsoever. One final thought on the demo ride. When pulling back into the parking lot of the dealer, I did some slow-speed maneuvering. When I did this on the Forty-Eight, the front-end was pretty “floppy” and a bit unstable but the Seventy-Two handled beautifully with no stability issues at low speed.
So what’s the verdict then? Here are my pro and con opinions of the Seventy-Two. Take them for what they are worth.
PROS: The bike looks FANTASTIC. Even better in real-life. It definitely captures the “chopper” vibe and feel and the Big Red Flake paint is drop-dead gorgeous! The bike has good power and handles well at high and low speeds. One other observation. While waiting my turn for a demo ride, I watched three other people ride off on the bike. A small lady, a stocky man and an older medium build rider. In all three cases, the bike looked killer going down the road. The lines are very nice and regardless of rider size, the vibe works well.
CONS: The most glaring con for me is the speedo location. When you are on the bike it feels like it is sticking straight up in a vertical position. In my opinion it would have made more aesthetic sense to tilt it down and out of the way a bit. If I owned this bike I would probably re-locate the speedo or at least find a different mounting option. The other issue I had is the same one I seem to have with all of the new Sportsters. The exhaust pipes are way too quiet. I literally struggled to hear any exhaust noise at all while riding. I don’t want to hear engine clatter when I’m going down the road. I want to hear that rumble that makes a Harley a Harley. If this were my bike, the stock pipes would have to go! The classic H-D sound should come with the classic H-D look but unfortunately that is only going to come via aftermarket.
Overall, I have to give this bike two big thumbs up! The Sportster haters are of course going to hate any Sportster and the sportbike crowd won’t be interested… but if you are like me and find the classic Sporty look appealing, you should check this bike out. And if the vintage/retro vibe is also your thing, then you definitely MUST check out the Seventy-Two.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.
This review indicates my own personal opinion of this product and should be taken as just that. Yours may vary and you should try this product yourself before drawing any conclusions about it.
© 2012 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.
Here’s a sneak peek at a photo shoot I did last weekend. This bike and images from this shoot will be featured in a regional magazine very soon. I love this bike… something about it just screams attitude.