Two of my favorite things in the world are classic automobiles and vintage motorcycles. And when you combine them both into one event… well, that’s a pretty good day. Today I made my way to The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee for the 27th Annual Antique & Classic Car Show, sponsored by the Battlefield Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. But it get’s better… this years show was held in conjunction with the Music City Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. That’s right… a beautiful day filled with classic automobiles and vintage motorcycles…. all in the same place. I could go on about how heavenly that is, but I’ll just shut up and let you enjoy some of my photos.
Please allow me to brag on my hometown for just a minute. Widely known for county music, Nashville is much more than most people think and among other things, has a rich history in the hotrod and motorcycle culture. Those traditions continue today and there are a host of talented builders (of both the 4-wheeled and two-wheeled kind) that currently call The Music City home.
One of those talented individuals is J Ryan of Gusher Cycles. I first met J Ryan about 8 years ago at a local bike show and since then have seen him out and about once or twice a year. It’s to the point now that I look for him at any show I think he might be at… just because I know he will have something stellar on display.
Last weekend I attended a show at the Nashville Fairgrounds and sure enough, J Ryan was there with another one of his smokin’ hot creations. You’re going to have to believe me when I tell you that these photos don’t come close to accurately reproducing the gorgeous paint job on this bike (show lighting is always so awesome!) but even so, you can see that J Ryan has perfected his painting and fabrication skills to a level that most will never reach.
Take a look and then jump on over to gushercycles.com to see more of J Ryans creations. I’m jonesin’ hard to have him paint my Sporty project bike for me and if you’re looking for custom work yourself (paint, fabrication, bars, etc.) you should definitely check out what Gusher Cycles has to offer.
Issue #13 of Grease Monkey Magazine is in the stores now. Be sure to grab a copy and check out my photos of the DoMaCo Norton, as well as re-cap photos of the 2013 Spring Thaw bike and Rat Show. You can view the entire magazine here.
I did a photo session with this cool hybrid Norton a couple weeks ago. It was built by local builder Lance Dodson, out of his Dodson Machine Company (DoMaCo) shop here in Nashville. Images from this shoot can be seen in the current issue of Grease Monkey Magazine.
In case you missed my review of the Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two last year… HERE’S A LINK TO IT.
Every year in March, my good friends over at Both Barrels Promotions put on a great bike show in Shelbyville, Tennessee called The Spring Thaw. Each year it marks the onset of Spring for me…and more importantly , the end of Winter! Well, today was the day, and the event, as usual, was awesome. I took a bunch of photos but one bike in particular caught my eye. Check out this gorgeous 1976 FLH from Harlot Motorcycles.
Check out more of my pics of the Spring Thaw at swag.zenfolio.com.
What! Are you kidding me? The Sporty has gotten out of the garage 2 weekends in a row now. It’s almost like riding season… and Spring is so close you can smell it in the air. Bring it!
The Dark Months have been up and down here in Middle Tennessee. Ice storms followed by temps in the 60’s are probably why I’ve contracted 2 head colds already this winter. But, I’m not complaining. I’ll gladly tolerate some harsh weather if it calms down every few days. That’s much better than the extended periods of doom and gloom we’ve had in the past.
Today was January 26, and by all accounts right smack dab in the heart of the Dark Months. The good news is that and we were blessed with sunshine all day long and temps in the upper 40s. To make things even better, our local H-D dealership (Bumpus Harley-Davidson of Murfreesboro) held an indoor mini tattoo convention, so I drove Otis down to check out the festivities. I saw some fantastic artwork and got to combine three of my favorite things in the process, Old Trucks, Harley’s and Ink. I snapped the pic above of Otis in the parking lot.
I even got back early enough to get the Sporty out for a bit before nightfall. Put about 30 miles on it before returning to the house. Frankly, the cold was pretty painful! But, it was a blast and I’m happy to say, the Eagle is still Screamin’!
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.
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.
I got to hang out with a buddy today. He always has a cool project going and I caught him just as he was starting work on a Yamaha Maxim 550. The parts were flying off… and in a few weeks, this bike is going to look radically different. I’ll get some more pics when he is done.
Well… tonight I decided I would create some faux white letters on my rear tire. I’ve heard this discussed on various forums and also have a buddy that has done this to his bike. It sounds simple enough. You get a Duplicolor paint pen in white, or whatever color you fancy, and go to town on the outline of the existing letters on your tire. No problem… uh, well, not really. It is incredibly tedious and takes forever. Then when you are finally done, it doesn’t look all that great. It’s nearly impossible to stay on target with your tiny brush… as you can see in these pictures! Seriously kiddies… my advice would be not to try this at home unless you are a lot more precise than I am. The good news is… the farther you get away from it, the better it looks!
Last night I painted the chrome air cleaner cover on my Sporty rattle-can-black. Too much chrome is a bad thing to me. The chrome oil filter went away with last weeks oil change as well. I think some other chrome parts might disappear soon also. Stay tuned.
Here’s another bike that caught my eye at the Spring Thaw. The cool thing about it is… this bike was actually built in the ’70s. It’s the real-deal with a ’74 Santee frame and KZ1000 motor.
I made my way to a local bike show today. They call it the Spring Thaw and it represents the end of winter and the beginning of riding season for many of us here in Middle Tennessee. The show includes a huge swap meet as well, and for $30 bucks I scored what you see above. A low-profile mirror, a set of “coke bottle” grips, LED license plate bolts and a super-cool, old-school helmet! Of course the main draw of the Spring Thaw is the bikes… and here is one of my favorites on the day. Enjoy!
Just thought I would share some of my recent design projects with you. I did the layout on these show posters for my friends over at Both Barrels Promotions. They are GOOD people and know how to put on a great show. If you are anywhere near the Middle Tennessee area, you should attend all three of these upcoming events. (FYI: The illustration in the second poster below was hand drawn by Gary Mizar. He’s the best! Check him out at garymizar.com)
Late night in the garage…tank’s back on.
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.