Things seem like they are moving slowly with my Sportster project… but that’s OK. I’m in no hurry… and I took a major step forward today. The seat for this project is going to determine a lot of other things, like what size risers and bars will be used, if mid or forward controls will be better, if struts or low-profile shocks are the best option, etc. The seat kind of dictates how everything else will fit together. I did a lot of research and there really don’t seem to be a lot of options out there short of a custom seat… and given the fact that I hate the look of “spring” seats, the obvious choice was the LePera Bare Bones. I ordered one from Both Barrels and got it today! I didn’t have time to ride it but did get it installed. Here are a few pics… including a before and after.
After spending the last month in search of my next bike, I finally was able to locate “the one” this weekend. And honestly, I was beginning to think the day would never come! After selling the Electra Glide, I really thought it would be fairly easy to find a decent priced, used Sportster that I can play with and mildly customize but man… was I wrong. I scoured the local “Crai-zymans’s List” nearly every day and ended up on various wild-goose chases that did little more than piss me off. (Just a note: If your going to use the local “list” then answer people who inquire, stop trying to pull scams on intelligent people and show up when you say you will!) I tried “Flea-Bay” too but found that bikes are selling for ridiculous amounts this time of year. (I will never pay more than book value people!) Finally, when I was about to give up my buddy Scooter and I drug his trailer way up north of town to where we finally found a “99 Custom” that was in good shape, at a reasonable price so we brought it home. (I still owe him a tank of gas.) Thank God the search is over and I’m on to the task at hand. The first step was to take off the bags, windshield and backrest. (This weekends minor progress before and after below.) More stuff to come off soon… and some to be added. Stand by.
If you have read my post of December 27th you know that I am on a Sportster kick right now. It’s probably going to be my next bike and I’ve been looking at a lot of mods on-line lately for inspiration. Today I happen to recall a bike I saw at the local H-D dealer a couple years ago and dug up the images… which are posted here. Man, I LOVE this bike. Mine will probably end up with Progressive “short-shocks” and apes but this is pretty sweet!
As you know from my last post… I have sold the Electra Glide and am currently considering my next bike. I know for sure that I am down-sizing and I think it may be all the way to the Sportster level. If that’s what I end up with though, it will only remain a typical stock Sportster for a little while. I’ve always wanted a “bobber” Sportster and it may happen soon. For now I am just gathering information (aka pictures) to fuel my inspiration. Here are a few that I have found on-line recently. There are parts of each that I really like. What do you think?
The above image is courtesy of www.bikeexif.com. It reminds me of a Russell Mitchell creation… but it’s not. I love the “blacked-out” look and the “fatty” front tire. The “mid-level” exhaust works for me too.
The above image is courtesy of www.ironhead-bobbers.com. There is not much that I don’t like about this bike. WAY COOL! If I had one beef it is that I don’t usually care for spring mounted seats. Love the color scheme.
The above image is courtesy of www.xlforum.net. The minimalist vibe is cool… I like the rear fender a lot as well. Some cut fenders look like doggie-doo but this one works for me. This is a good argument for drag-bars too..
The above image is courtesy of www.sideroadcycles.com. I really like the exhaust here… and the “gators” are a nice touch. Bars are probably a little too high for my 5′-9″ frame.
The above image is courtesy of www.soflasportbikes.com. (Believe it or not!) Again… the minimalist vibe is appealing to me. Not crazy about the riser.
A couple of days ago a buddy and I hopped on the bikes and did a little riding. He’s a shop owner and his current bike is one that he built as a “Low Buck Chopper”. I love this bike! I gotta tell you, more than once I have considered dumping the touring bike and the sport bike and going back to a bare bones ride like this one. Is this riding in it’s purest form? I think it might be.
Here is some video footage I captured on our ride. Sorry about the wind noise but none of the music I came up with for this clip seemed to fit… so kind of like the bike, here is the video in its raw form.
The May issue of Thunder Roads Tennessee is now in the stores. My column this month features a review of the new Harley-Davidson 48 Sportster. You can pick-up a copy of Thunder Roads Tennessee at most motorcycle shops in the state of Tennessee.
Found out last night that Thunder Roads Kentucky picked up my article on the Black Sheep Sporty. Hey Kentucky… you just got Swag’d!
Hey Tennessee bikers… The August issue of Thunder Roads Tennessee is in the stores now. Be sure to pick up a copy and check out my article. This month I feature the 2001 Sporty that I RANTed about back on July 3rd.
I had the opportunity to shoot this cool Sporty this week. This bike is owned by a local Nashville guy and I really like it a lot. I don’t know why but I think I will always be partial to the Sportster. Yeah… I know it’s known as the “Little Harley” and I know some people call it a “Chik Bike”… but that’s a bunch of hooey! This bike is an American classic, fun to ride and with a little bit of effort can be made to stand out in a crowd… like this one. Honestly, of all the bikes I’ve owned over the years, the only one I really wish I had back is my ’95 Sportster. I loved that bike and one day hope to have another one.
For a long time we were hoping for rain in Middle Tennessee… now we can’t seem to turn it off. Things have been so bad this weekend that down in Aetna (about 80 miles southwest of Nashville) people are being evacuated in flat-bottom rescue boats. The National Weather Service even issued a statement, warning about “life-threatening” flooding. Crazy!
It’s not that bad where I live but still we are getting a ton of the wet stuff and my riding plans for the weekend have been completely trashed. (Sounds trivial compared to what the people in Aetna are facing… I know.) So… here I sit again on a Sunday morning at the local coffee shop, eating a little breakfast and writing about motorcycles instead of riding them.
To feed my 2-wheeled addiction I thought I would take a gander at the 2009 offerings from five top manufacturers and see which one bike in particular from each is the no-brainer pick for Swag’s garage. You might be surprised at my choices but here are the bikes that excite me the most.
HONDA: Yeah, I know… everyone is buzzing about the new Fury but honestly; it doesn’t do much for me. And of course there is the awesome Gold Wing but if I can’t seem to get past the ST1300. The combination of sportbike looks and performance with touring comfort seems like a winning combination to me. This bike makes me want to take a month off and ride to the West Coast and back.
YAMAHA: I’ve been a distant fan of the mighty V-Max for several years now and the 2009 version is as bad as ever! I mean what’s not to like? Muscle car looks meets better than muscle car performance.
SUZUKI: Check out the new Gladius. An aggressive looking 650 with street fighter looks… this bike seems like it would be right at home… both in the canyons and on the morning commute to work.
KAWASAKI: Hands down… my choice from Big Green is the Ninja 250R. It’s been a long time since I got excited about a 250cc motorcycle that didn’t have knobby tires on it but this thing has all the “cool” of it’s big brother Ninja’s but is entry rider friendly with its 333lb dry weight and easy to digest MSRP of $3499. My guess is that Kawasaki is going to own the 2009 entry-level market… but may also gain a lot of “bike #2” business from the experienced rider looking for a commuter .
HARLEY-DAVIDSON: As I did with Kawasaki… again, I am foregoing the eye candy and all the bells-and-whistles to go with the entry level Iron 883. Are you telling me that a rider can get into a H-D bike that is dripping with Harley attitude for under 8 grand? Uh… yeah. H-D has a real winner here.
Today was a busy day and with the weather as nice as it was in Middle Tennessee I was more than ready for an early evening ride, so I hopped on the Electra Glide and made my way out of Nashville to Henry Horton State Park located in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. It was a pretty normal ride and I enjoyed every part of it… but one.
Those of you that know me well, know that I sing a lot… so much so that half the time I don’t even know I am doing it. At one point in my life I was a full-time musician and even today much of my work is related to the music industry so I guess it is natural that music runs through my head a lot.
Well anyway, as I rolled onto Tennessee State Highway 99 I immediately started singing a song from one of my all-time favorite bands… Toto.
“99… I’ve been waiting so long, oh 99 where did we go wrong… PWAAHHHH, SPIT, SPIT, SPIT”
Out of nowhere and completely unexpected… something happened to me that has never happened to me before. A bug flew in my mouth. That’s right… in 40 years of riding I have never had a bug fly in my mouth… until today. And this was no little nat either. Whatever it was was about the size of a peanut (for real) and luckily it hit my front tooth or it probably would have went straight down my throat.
My first instinct was to spit it out which I did in a split second.. and in fact I kept spitting for the next 10 miles or so. It was pretty gross and I brushed my teeth as soon as possible when I got home… in fact, thinking about all of this again, I’m going to stop writing and go brush my teeth again right now… be right back.
I feel better now. Anyway, I think I may start singing to myself more on the bike.
On the way back home I stopped off at Bumpus Harley-Davidson for my first Bike Night of the year. Man it felt good to just hang around all those bikes and bikers after the long winter. But I’m really glad I stopped for another reason too. The guy that owns and operates Mad Dog Customs in Murfreesboro, Tennessee was there with his latest project. He specializes in giving Sportsters an old-school/bobber look and if the bike below is any indication, he is really good at it. This bike is an ’02 with less than 5,000 miles on it but looks way retro and way cool. I FREAKIN’ LOVE IT! I took a bunch of pics so if you want to see them CLICK HERE.
The April issue of Thunder Roads Tennessee is now in the stores and this month my article is about the new Harley-Davidson Iron 883. So… all my fellow Tennessean’s… be sure to grab a copy at your local dealer!
Thunder Roads Tennessee has been in publication for 10 years now and is the primier motorcycle publication in the state of Tennessee… and the good news is that it is absolutely FREE!
A friend of mine is probably in contention for “husband of the year” honors. His wife recently completed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course and to celebrate her 4oth birthday today, he bought her a Sportster!
Since he doesn’t have an “M” endorsement, he asked me to go with him to pick it up and ride it back home. Of course I said yes! He got an ’01 with 2300 miles on it… a really sweet little Sporty. (I stole these pics from the local ad.) It was about a 35 mile ride back to his house and by the time I got there, I was Jonesing hard for my old Sportster. What a fun bike!
BTW… she was thrilled. Heck yeah… who wouldn’t be!
My friends over at Bost Harley-Davidson in Nashville got one of the new Iron 883’s in today so I ran over to check it out on my lunch break. Like I said in my RANT on January 28th this thing is really cool. The first thing that hit me was the “blacked-out” vibe this bike has. Pictures don’t really capture the flat-black-rat-bob vibe that is so in your face. The other thing is that the bike has a really low feel to it. I tell ya… if this thing had some wrapped pipes and 15″ apes, it just might be the perfect modern-day, old-school bobber. Click the link below to check out the pics I took.
I got an email from my friend Kelly at Harley-Davidson today. She keeps me up-to-date on the happenings at the Motor-Company and there is something cool going down again. H-D has added a model to the Dark Custom series and it’s called the Iron 883.
Bare bones for sure… this new model is much like a “baby” Nightster… and I like it A LOT! Features include… well not many features! There is lots’s of black, straight cut shorty exhaust, drag bars, solo seat… it’s right up my alley! Basic rat bike looks with modern day conveniences (like Fuel Injection and rubber mounted EVO) and the cool thing is that MSRP is only $7899. I have three words for you… I’m Diggin’ It!
You can check out more about the Iron 883 at
(Photos in today’s RANT courtesy of Harley-Davidson.)