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.
More parts arrived today for the Sporty Project. I picked up a retainer ring for the Fatboy headlight. It was missing on the unit I acquired via my buddy Scooter and the local H-D dealer scored one for me. I can also thank Scooter for snagging this rear fender for me. And last but not least, my Burly Slammer (eBay find) rear shocks arrived in the brown truck. Wouldn’t it be cool if I actually had time to install all of these cool parts? One day… one day…
Sometimes it’s the little things that make life grande. Today I was super-excited to get the new clutch cable for the Sporty project. Whoooohoooo!!!! Can’t wait to get it installed.
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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Call them Baby Harley’s, Girls Bikes… whatever you want… I don’t care. I am an unashamed fan of the Motor Company’s low-end two-wheeler and am convinced that the Sportster is the perfect bike for mods. As a result, I am always on the lookout for new and interesting work by those who feel the same as I do. I spotted this particular example at the 2011 “Spring Thaw” bike show in Shelbyville, Tennessee. The minimalist approach is smokin’ hot and I love that bobbed rear fender. Not sure if I have the CO JONES to cut my frame like that but I think the end look is killer! What do you think?
And… speaking of the “Spring Thaw”… 2012 marks the 10th Anniversary of the show. Anybody close to the Nashvegas area on March 24 should come out and celebrate the end of the “Dark Months” with me. My friends Scooter and Dorris over at Both Barrels Promotions do a great job of making this one of the best shows in the region and I wouldn’t miss it. Below is the show poster which I designed. Hope to see you there!
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Not long ago I took these casual photos of what I consider to be one of the finest examples of a minimalist Sporty Bobber. Here’s a look at them with just a hint of desaturation for mood. Love this bike!
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!
Those of you who have followed this blog over the years know how much I hate winter. It just doesn’t work for those of us who maintain our sanity by getting on two wheels as often as possible. In fact, I hate it so much that I coined a phrase a few years ago that has stuck. 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 — the “Dark Months” which is appropriate on many levels. But the good news is that the “Dark Months” are not a total loss, and it is possible to maintain some two-wheeled sanity during the worst time of the year if you have a plan! Here’s mine:
1 – Move south for the next 4 months. Preferably Arizona or Florida. OK… this one is not happening. Let me start over.
1 – One word… Supercross. I’ve been riding dirt bikes since I was 8 years old and watching the pros race to the wire each week gets the riding adrenalin pumping. The season starts in Anaheim, California on January 7 and concludes in Vegas on May 5 so it more than covers the DM. This year there will be 11 live broadcasts on SPEED/CBS with the others on delay. Watch once and you will be hooked! Better yet… if you are close to an event, go see James Stewart, Ryan Vilopoto, Chad Reed, and the others in person.
2 – Motorcycle Shows and events. Winter is the perfect time to hit the indoor motorcycle shows, regional indoor motocross races, swap meets, etc. I’m planning on hitting four events in the Nashville area this year to keep the two-wheeled juices flowing.
3 – And finally… a project! It’s the prefect time to finally get around to that bike project you’ve been putting off. Parts for mine started arriving this week (see pic above) and by March 1, the end of the “Dark Months,” my Sporty will be looking radically different. Wish me luck!
Not far from where I live is a 2-mile stretch of asphalt known as Paw Paw Springs Road. Most people in the area have never heard of it and even fewer would have any reason to travel to it, but I make specific trips to Paw Paw, literally 10 or 12 times a year and have been doing so for almost a decade now. The little winding back-road, filled with hills, over-hanging trees and beautiful scenery has become one of my goto destinations when I need a quick two-wheeled fix. I rode the Paw Paw tonight… and as usual, it was awesome!
My youngest daughter is enjoying Florida this weekend with some friends… and since the rest of my family has little time for me these days (but I’m not bitter…haha!) … I hopped on the bike and took off. I left at about 11:00am and didn’t get back until almost 8:00pm. It was a great day to ride in Middle Tennessee and I hit a ton of roads that I had never been on before.
And, speaking of hit… I also got hit about a million times today by Cicadas! (You people in the north can Google it.) One nailed me right on the cheek so hard I thought I was going to have to pull over. It literally left a bruise. (When are these psycho things supposed to dig themselves back into the ground?)
But seriously… there is something about the “lone-wolf/wanderer” rides that I totally dig. Getting somewhat lost (physically and mentally) and having to navigate unfamiliar roads is a kick for me and I find it refreshing. The picture at the top of this RANT was taken somewhere north of Nashville at a location where I didn’t know where I was. It didn’t matter… it was awesome… and I did eventually find my way back to civilization. I ended up at one of our Nashville H-D dealers at one point and they happen to be having a bike show. The pics below are from there. It was an awesome day!
I saw this Sporty last weekend at a local bike show. I’m not sure if it’s the coolest Sporty I’ve ever seen or the ugliest Sporty I’ve ever seen but… either way, I like it!
There is something special about the first Bike Night of the year… I love Spring! Here’s a few pics from a beautiful night in Middle Tennessee.
This weekend I attended a local air show and to take advantage of the “close-up” parking, I rode the Sporty. As the day was winding down, and the crowd was awaiting a stunning performance by the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, I decided I would have a seat on the Sporty to take a load off and have a leg up on the departing traffic. Not long after I sat down, I noticed a man approaching with his four-year-old son. The man asked if I minded if his son looked at my motorcycle and of course I was more than happy to accommodate the little guy… especially when I saw his eyes light up. He must of said the word “motorcycle” 10 times in the first 2 minutes. Then he whispered something to his dad that I couldn’t hear. His dad sheepishly told me he wanted to hear it and laughed it off but when I said I’d be glad to start it his dad got a big grin on his face… but the bigger grin came from the son when the Sporty cranked over. Talk about a kid in a candy store. After I shut it off and heard the word motorcycle about 10 more times the dad thanked me and started to walk off. That’s when the tears started to fall. This kid was genuinely distraught that he was having to leave the motorcycle. They stayed a little longer and then the scene was repeated. Despite the dads pleading to go watch the Thunderbirds, the son wanted none of it. The dad thanked me again and I watched them walk, the son crying, until they were out of sight. I hated that he was upset but to be honest, meeting that little guy made my day. I distinctly remember seeing a motorcycle at about that age and the passion for two wheels it cultivated. This little dude obviously has the passion for motorcycles built in already but I hope my few minutes with him made a memory that will last a lifetime.
I made a little (and I mean little) progress this weekend on the Sporty project. First… it’s official that nobody will ever be a passenger on this bike. See that big hole below? That’s where the passenger peg used to be. Gone!
… and I had to get rid of that straight-up license plate bracket. I installed the lay-down bracket below and even though it might be rendered useless if I end up bobbing the fender… for now it improves the looks of the bike.
Five people that I know have been impacted by a cancer diagnosis in the last couple years. A doctor told one of them that two out of every three men will face it in their lifetime and one out of every three women will. I’m not trying to bum you out but the reality is that this is a horrible disease that effects many people. And while great strides have been made in fighting it in recent years, there is still no cure. To be honest, I really didn’t think that much about it before it became a reality in the lives of people that I care about and I bet many of you are the same. So here is my plea to you. Help in any way you can. Think twice before shrugging off a donation request. Participate in local events that raise research funds. Personally help a cancer survivor with things that they are struggling with… could be as simple as mowing their lawn for them. Or maybe you could organize a poker run to benefit someone fighting cancer. That’s what some did for one of the five I talked about above. Today we rode for her and raised a decent amount of money to help with medical bills. I hope it helps. I’ll be looking for more ways to help and I hope this RANT will inspire you to do the same.
OK… that was the serious side of this RANT and now on to the not-so-serious. This was the first real ride I’ve made on the new Sporty. I clocked about 120 miles and of course there are big differences from the Electra Glide I just got rid of. I’ve had Sportsters and other smaller bikes in the past but I guess I had forgotten what the experience was like. Honestly, after some saddle time on the Sporty, riding the Electraglide doesn’t really seem like “real” riding at all. Yes, there is a reason why people call them the “Couch Glide” or the “Geezer Glide”… haha. I know, they have their purpose but so far I am totally digging having the wind in my face again and feeling every surface as I push a light and nimble two-wheeler through the curvies. Fun stuff and I’m loving it! The only thing I’m not happy with so far is the nerdy stock look… but that will be changing soon! Stay tuned.
Oh… and before one of my wiseguy friends says something… that is not a real vanity plate.
Baby Steps… that’s what I call it. I’m making progress on my Sportster project… one baby step at a time. Today I did a little more removing… as in the crash bar. My friend Chessie will be so happy! I can see where it’s going, it just may take a while to get there… one baby step at a time. Here’s some bad before and after pics on the crash bar.