As Garth used to say… “I Got Friends In Low Places!” …and thankfully my friend Scooter likes to help out his ‘ole buddy Swag. We were talking about rattle-can paint the other day and he mentioned that he had some Emerald Green flake lying around and some clear “poly” he needed to use up. Coincidentally, I had a tank that needed paint! So, I spent the evening at his place tonight while he delivered the goods. These pics are horrible quality, (bad camera phone) but hopefully you get the idea. He shot a metallic silver base coat and then the Emerald Green flake over it. It looks killer! Emerald Green Flake it is! (Better pix coming soon.) I’m going to have to name this bike “Scooter” since the real Scooter has done so much work on it!
This weekend was all about sanding. It’s not a lot of fun, but a necessary “evil” before paint… and I finally got it done. Since my stock tank was already painted, I didn’t take it down to the bare metal… and instead, just knocked the sheen off, roughing it up with 400 grit paper. I was careful to make sure the existing logos were sanded completely flat (they will later be primed) and followed with a round of 800 grit all over the tank. I’m not sure if you can tell from the picture below… but the result is a roughed up, dulled-out stock tank that I think (hope!) is ready for spray.
DISCLAIMER: So at this point I know that all the “real” painters out there are probably cringing but remember… my purpose is to do this on the “lo-budget” right now and also learn what the heck I am doing… so bear with me pros!
BTW… Here’s a picture for all the Harley-Davidson snobs out there who go out of their way to proclaim their bikes are 100% USA. Maybe not. This is on the bottom of my stock fuel petcock.
Crazy storms again here in Nashvegas tonight. But despite the winds, rain and pebble sized hail, I still got a bit done on the Sporty project. My license plate bracket is now mounted. I’m getting really close now to having something ride-able. Still a huge step awaits… PAINT! If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a major tightwad and paint is going to be a bit tricky. I’m not going for an “Easter Egg” look, by any means, but I also don’t want it to look like a kindergarten finger painting. I’m not sure how this is going to go. Wish me luck!
To the naked eye… it might not look like much is getting done on the Sporty Project but the little things are adding up. I got the new re-bar sissy-bar painted black and I also painted the new speedo mount my buddy Scooter made for me and got the speedo locked down in place. It’s getting there… but I still have some major things to accomplish. I had hoped to have the bike ride-able by March 24th (Spring Thaw Bike Show Day) but I’m not sure I’m going to make it by then.
Got a lot done on the Sporty Project today… but I can’t take credit for any of it. My brother-from-another-mother, Scooter, dropped by this afternoon and we loaded the bike up and hauled it to his shop where some “real stuff” was accomplished. The rear fender is now installed, courtesy of Scooter’s mad welding skills, and after a trip to the local Gil’s Hardware store for some reinforced bar, the Sporty now sports a cool little hand-made sissy-bar. It was a good day.
It was a gorgeous, sunshine-filled day in the mid 50s here in Nashvegas… so I took advantage of the great February weather to get a little more done on the Sporty Project. The major accomplishment was getting the tank pulled but before that I dropped the battery back in to check the wiring I did a couple of weeks ago. I even fired it up and rode down the road and back a few times. (Man… it was good to hear that potato-potato again!) Fatty Headlight lo and hi Beams, Speedo, Starter… everything seems to be working just fine. Now it’s on to the rear fender and paint!
As a kid in the early 70s I was more concerned with mini-bikes than Harley-Davidson Sportsters. But as I’ve gotten older… that is exactly the era that I find speaking to my motorized soul. For some reason, the cars, trucks, and motorcycles from the 1970’s seem to have a personality and spirit that I identify with. I have a buddy that says he was born about 20 years too late and I find myself often feeling the same way.
So of course… when I first started hearing rumors about the Motor Company coming out with a new Sportster that goes by the name “Seventy-Two” I was, to say the least, very interested. Today I made my way down to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to check one out for myself at Bumpus Harley-Davidson.
First of all, let me say, the pictures I snapped in no way do this bike justice. You should go check one out for yourself… and let the vibe grab you in person. And that’s exactly what it did to me. It grabbed me and took me to that “lala” motorcycle land where I kind of lose touch with the reality around me. In short… this bike is way-cool and definitely captures the early 70s vibe.
Contributing to that vibe are a smaller 2.1 gallon peanut tank, a great looking 8-inch vintage-look round air cleaner cover, mini apes and laced wheels (21″ front) with whitewall tires. The bobbed rear fender is not necessarily authentic, but it still looks great.
Look for a complete review of the Seventy-Two from me very soon. Until then, enjoy these pics.
Well… I didn’t get anything real exciting accomplished on the Sporty Project this weekend but I did make a little more progress. I got the Fatboy headlight spliced in and ready to light my way. I also got the speedo flipped in its housing. I had to grind off a metal clip and some of the plastic for the reset button to clear, but mission accomplished and it’s now ready to install… as soon as I get the mounting bracket back which is being fab’d by a buddy of mine. The last picture shows the approximate position the speedo will be in. Again… not real exciting stuff but any progress is good!
Saws are buzzing… Chunks of metal frame are hitting the garage floor… It’s total mayhem! Well, not really… but my buddy Scooter did drop by with his beast of a saw to take care of those pesky fender struts for me. We got the new (and longer) clutch cable installed as well. All in all, a pretty good bit of progress on the Sporty Project. I’d really like to get this done in the next few weeks.
Despite the fact that I wasn’t feeling real great this morning, I made a little more progress on the Sporty Project today. You know… the deeper I get into this… the more respect I have for the guys out there who do this on a regular basis and make it look so easy. Guys like my buddy Scooter at Both Barrels, Josh over at Confederate Customs and my Northeastern buddy Jamie Dykeman at Black Frame Cycle Projects in Sandwich, Mass (and many others) shall receive a whole new level of respect from me now that I am attempting this minor customization on my own! It ain’t easy folks… but I’m learning a lot and with any luck will finish this puppy within the next century or so…haha! It seems like there is an unexpected challenge with every step and most of them I am at a loss on how to resolve! Still… I keep plugging along and finally figure it out. I got the belt guard and the old shocks off today and the Burly Slammers installed. I also managed to get the rear fender off and started thinking about placement of the new rear fender. And speaking of challenges… that rear fender is going to be a doozy. Not sure how that’s going to work yet. Here’s some pics of today’s mayhem.
Well… not really but I did go to a car show today which happened to have a huge swap meet… and while I was there I saw this center hub cover off of an American Racing wheel. Got it for 2 bucks and it will soon become the gas cap on the Sporty project. (Hmmm… the dog seems to like it too.) Here’s what I mean… of course the tank will be a different color but you get the idea.
I’ve always loved the look of big, huge headlights and the Sporty project would not be complete if one were not added. The new Fatboy illuminate adds about 2 inches in diameter and a much fatter shape to the stock vibe. I REALLY love this look. The front-end is getting closer. Another baby step completed. Below is a before and after look.
And here’s a side view of the new light… followed by a side by side comparison. (Sorry for the crummy photo. They are both actually chrome… flash photography with the point-and-shoot sucks!) Obviously the new light (left) is FATTTTTT!!!!!!!
Here’s another update on my Sporty project. I know I’m bombarding you with these lately but I’m trying to make some progress before I have to get back to the grind next week. Actually, I had hoped to get a couple things done today but Murphy set in and I had a few problems. I made some really dumb mistakes but I guess that’s part of the fun of doing it yourself… right??? The most costly one was when I inadvertently rounded off the head of the bleeder screw while I was bleeding the line. (The previous guy got it started!) No biggie I guess since I was able to pick up a replacement piece from the local H-D dealership for $5.52.
After I got the problem resolved I decided it was time to test out the Biltwell Frisco bars and see just how they felt. I shot a video, and though it is pretty poor quality, it does give a pretty good picture (if you look close) of the new riding position. This was the best part of the day and got my blood pumping to get this sucker done. I’m lovin’ the Friscos!
The worst part of the day kind of blind-sided me however. Some of the tools I’ve been using on this project were my dads. I’ve been doing pretty good dealing with his passing but for some reason at one point when I looked at those tools today I had a melt down. My friend Eric, who lost his dad last year, told me that I needed to cry and cry often as part of the grieving process. Well.. today I took your advice Eric. I miss you dad and I wish you were here to help me with this.
More updates to come…
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Back in 2007 my dad and I took an old Kawasaki LTD 550 and converted it into a bobber styled runabout. I created this YouTube video not long after and to my surprise, it has received nearly 200,000 views to date. I still own this bike and will probably never sell it… but even if I do… my memories of spending the time with my dad, working on this project will forever be near to my heart. I love you dad!
My Sporty Bobber project is officially in process. 1″ risers and Biltwell Frisco Bars now grace the front end. More complicated changes are on the way, so I’ve recruited my buddy Scooter to lend a hand and moral support. Stay tuned for coolness!
If you have followed my RANT at all over the years you no doubt know for sure that I am a HUGE fan of the old school/bobber look. I’m also a fan of small business. Well… not long ago I was doing a little snooping around the www, looking for inspiration and came across a guy named Jamie Dykeman in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Jamie owns a company called Black Frame Cycle Projects and is building what I consider some of the coolest bikes you will find anywhere. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jamie about his background and Black Frame Cycle Projects.
SWAG: Tell me what your earliest experience with motorcycles was.
JAMIE: I started riding when I was 5 years old. My uncles always had Harleys around and my cousins had mini bikes and go karts for me to thrash. I don’t remember anything in my life that “spoke” to me like motorcycles did. It was a strange craving that caused me to obsess over them from even before I rode one.
SWAG: I remember those same feelings… It was an unexplained obsession for me.
JAMIE: I remember always looking for motorcycle movies when I was a kid and loved Little Fauss and Big Halsy, Easy Rider, The Old “B” Biker Movies from the ’60’s and Sidewinder.
SWAG: When did your craving become reality for the first time?
JAMIE: My first bike I bought with lawnmowing money when I was 12. It was a 1970 Suzuki TS90 and it was a real turd. I have to admit I hit it with a hammer one day after pushing it through the woods back to my house. When it ran, however, I was in a state of consciousness that nothing else could provide. My family called it a “disease” that I caught from my uncles… I only know that bikes would straighten me out when something was bugging me or things weren’t going smooth enough with a girl! They still have a power over me (bikes and girls) and at 46 years old, the power is as strong as it ever was.
SWAG: Obviously, your passion for motorcycles eventually birthed a skill for taking a “normal” bike and creating a unique motorcycle. What inspired you to start building bikes?
JAMIE: When I was a kid, this black, rigid Shovelhead rode past me on my hometown’s main street and I was forever changed by it. I filed the mental memory of that Shovel (unknowingly) in my head and somehow knew it was important. Freedom is what bikes represent to me and I guess that dude looked free to me that day!
SWAG: Were there any specific builders that inspired you to start your own company?
JAMIE: When my dirt bike racing ended back in 2003, I was laid-up with an ACL injury and picked up a long saved article about Psycho Cycles with English Don, Steg, Walt Siegl and Indian Larry that I had pulled out of an Easyrider Mag in the ’90’s. Those guys were building in a way that resonated with me and that article was another big moment in my motorcycling life that I didn’t recognize at the time… only to find out later it would have a big influence in what I would find myself doing after racing.
SWAG: …And what you ended up doing is now Black Frame Cycle Projects. How did BFCP come about?
JAMIE: Black Frame Cycle Projects came about in 2004 after I built a Rigid Evo. I got a lot of positive feedback from people I respected and decided to build another bike and do it differently. The whole thing just escalated into a part time gig putting bikes together for sale and for customers.
SWAG: You can add me to that list of those offering positive feedback… Everything I’ve seen from you looks great to me. I love the minimalist vibe and old-school feel.
JAMIE: There is a certain look and feel to bikes that I’m looking to “pull out” of them and make them more “real”. I respect and appreciate the engineering talent that many builders have, but I prefer to make a bike that looks like it could have came out of the minds of bikers from decades ago. Not re-inventing bikes here, just trying to get some cool ones on the streets! I’m a minimalist by nature and prefer the “less is more” approach.
SWAG: I would think that approach would strike a chord with a lot of customers.
JAMIE: My customers are mostly working-class guys like myself and tend to think like I do and appreciate the honesty and straight-forwardness they get when they come to me. If someone wants a particular style of bike that I don’t care for, I send them to another shop that specializes in their type of ride. I believe there’s a lot of people building many different styles and each customer should go to the shop that suits their style. Makes sense to me.
SWAG: My guess is that few of them go elsewhere!
JAMIE: I’m proud of the bikes I’ve built so far and look forward to making a lot more! Time is the enemy, so I don’t build many scoots in a year. I do what I can as I have a full time job and a wife and three kids under the age of eleven.
SWAG: I just saw a new build you’ve completed… a slammed 2000 Sporty XLC 1200 with a cool orange peanut tank. Tell me about that bike.
JAMIE: I built this bike in the shop this fall to do something with a little cleanliness to it after building a couple un-painted, greasy, down and dirty rides this year. These little Sporty Bobbers go like Hell and are a blast to ride. Short rakes make for some fun in the tight stuff! I lowered this bike using a Burley Slammer Kit that really gets it down there without losing too much ground clearance. Fast, light and quick handling put a goofy smile on your face while you’re splitting lanes!
SWAG: So what are your goals with BFCP?
JAMIE: I would like to see Black Frame Cycle Projects grow to a bigger shop and produce some of the parts I make for my builds. Things are going well here though, and I have a feature in Iron Works Magazine coming out in the July 2011 issue. That feature will be an accomplishment for me. Other than my own website, I’ve pretty much flown under the radar since I began the company in 2004, but I ‘m looking forward to more exposure this year. We’ll see where it takes us.
SWAG: My guess is that you might need some shades… it’s looking pretty bright from where I sit!
JAMIE: I want to thank you for this opportunity to introduce my company and myself. Anyone interested can contact me via my websites “contact” page or by phone at (508) 420-0750.
CLICK HERE to visit the Black Frame Cycle Projects website.
(All images courtesy of Black Frame Cycle Projects)
© 2011 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this article/interview may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.
I went to a local bike show today. It was at a local Harley-Davidson shop but the bike that caught my attention was not a Harley-Davidson… it was a Honda Shadow that had been customized to look like an old-school bobber. Take a look… what do you think? Does an old-school bobber have to be a Harley-Davidson? This is a pretty good argument that the answer is no… this bike looks great to me.
I must not be right… OK, before everyone jumps on the “ain’t that the truth” bandwagon… I’m talking about my tastes in motorcycles. It seems like a majority of people I come across have a habit of drooling over large amounts of Chrome and Easter Egg paint jobs… but the bikes that always grab my attention and put me into a “Homer-Simpson-Looking-At-A-Donut” kind of trance are the mutts. The outcasts. The Rats. The ugly Betty’s. The bikes that were obviously built with blood, sweat and tears, didn’t cost an arm-and-a-leg, are actually ridden and are never polished!
This weekend I ran across one such bike at a local bike show… and while many were walking past it to get to the “pretty” and “vintage” bikes… I took more pics of this Yamaha beauty than any other bike there. This bike is awesome!
One of the things that helps Nashville area bikers retain their sanity each winter is the annual Music City Bike Show. It’s taking place this weekend and it could not have come at a better time. The weather has been horrible this year and if for only a few hours today… I was able to forget about it and escape to the land of two-wheeled heaven! I’ve posted a few pics here of some of my favorites and… a video of the bike that I voted for as best in show. Now when you see it you may raise your eyebrow because it’s not pretty… but this bike is WAY cool! Check it out and let me know what you think!
Check out the guys responsible for the bike in the video HERE