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.
I love car and bike shows… probably a little too much since they seem to take up way more of my time than any normal person should allow. They are my obsession I suppose, but I just can’t help it. I love to see classic vehicles and all the things that their owners have done to preserve them. It’s educational, giving me a lot of ideas for my own projects. It’s nostalgic, reminding me of simpler times and the historical significance of the US auto and bike industries over the years. It’s therapeutic, captivating my thoughts for a few hours and allowing me to forget real-world issues and pressures that we all face in adult life. And it brings up fond memories of my youth that includes vehicles I’ve owned in years past and great times I’ve had working on them with my dad. IT’S FUN!!!
Yes… I’ve been known to wander a car or bike show from open to close many times, looking at the same vehicles over and over… but eventually the doors have to close and they kick me out for the night. Sometimes that’s when the fun starts though. I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of the best cars and bikes you will see at a show are not on the show floor but rather in the parking lot. All of the photos in this post were taken in the parking lot of shows I’ve been to. I hope you enjoy them and I also hope that the next time you’re leaving a show, you’ll keep your eyes open on the way back to the car. You might just see some of the best rides all day on the outside looking in.
So… here i sit in the middle of January with next weeks forecasted temperatures below the freezing mark. It’s not a good recipe for people like me who enjoy wandering through classic vehicles in the heat of the summer. Fortunately, I just came across a few pictures from a show I attended in Nashville back in September. It’s not exactly the same but at least I can re-live warmer times and some cool rods with these photos! Care to join me?
By the way… Alexander King & Hatfield Bloodline were the featured band at this particular show. If you’ve not seen them, I highly recommend you do when they hit your town. They are great and Alexander’s guitar player is the one and only Kenny Olson of “Kid Rock” fame.
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 got ambitious and decided to re-paint my vintage helmet. This is the third version of it so far… simple, homemade silver-flake!
In case you missed my review of the Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two last year… HERE’S A LINK TO IT.
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!
This morning I walked out into the garage, just to check on Otis and the Sporty. I do that more often than I should probably admit. I mean, who makes the effort to peek into the garage, just to stare at vehicles they’ve seen thousands of times before? Well… I do, and my guess is that if you have the right vehicle, a lot of you do too.
But… back to my point. It’s cold here in Middle Tennessee, like 21 degrees, but the sun is shining bright and is cascading through the windows…. bouncing off of Otis and painting the entire wall a glowing red. For some reason, it reminded me that the “Dark Months” are nearly over! I coined the phrase “Dark Months” a few years ago in an effort to describe the time between November 1 and March 1 when the days are short, the temperatures are low and good riding days are few and far between. They suck! But we’ve almost survived them again. It won’t be long before Otis and the Sporty start getting out way more often than they have been recently. Whoohoo… can’t wait!
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’!
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.
A buddy and I braved the cold and wet weather here in Middle Tennessee today… and got out on two wheels for a bit. This was the first time I’d had the Sporty out of the garage in a couple months and it was quite liberating! I thought I had a major problem at one point. I was tooling down the highway and my speedo started bumping from 60mph to 0 mph, back and forth… and every time the speedo hit 0, the bike would sputter and cough. Upon investigation, I discovered the positive battery cable was barely hanging onto the battery. Not sure how it got so loose but I’m glad it was nothing more serious!
On our way back home we stopped in to visit our friends at Bumpus Harley-Davidson in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where this beautiful Russian-built Ural Sidecar greeted us. It seems the good folks at Bumpus have become a Ural dealer. This thing is way cool. This particular model is the “Gear Up” which features the Ural 749cc OHV Air-cooled, 4-stroke Boxer engine. It’s a shaft drive with 4-speed tranny (plus 1-reverse) and features a Brembo full-floating front disc brake. Oh… and it also features “on-demand” 2-wheel drive, making it an off-road demon… as demonstrated in the video below. Like I said before… way cool! MSRP is $13,949… contact Tom at Bumpus Harley-Davidson for more details. (No… I don’t work for them! Haha)
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…
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.
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 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.
Although I don’t consider the Sporty done… I did take it out in public for the first time today. I dropped by the local H-D dealership and then decided to ride over to the local CMA Blessing of the Bikes. I had never been to a BOB before and it was pretty cool. I used to be very active in “church” but for the past few years have not found much there to like. That’s another story… but today it was just nice to have my bike and myself prayed over.