Monday, June 1, 2020
This is one of Arlen Ness's best builds. The more that you look at it, the more you appreciate the work that was involved.
As I study his builds it seems that some were pure custom bikes like this Knucklehead and some were more "bolt together" bikes. Arlen Ness was a genius when it came to business. He figured out very early that the real money was not in building choppers, it was in selling the parts so we could build them ourselves. His parts were far better than some of the stuff floating around back in the 1970's. It's amazing that some of us are still alive with the bikes we were building then ! He found local artisans and craftsmen and established relationships that lasted a life time.
He was an innovator in the custom bike scene and I always admired him. I only met him one time when he was showing some bikes at the Vallejo water front when I worked for Vallejo Fire Dept. I talked my captain into going down there so I could look everything over. He was a very genuinely courteous person.
Here is a digger project that I have for sale on EBay. It is mostly all original Arlen Ness GoodNess
Original Ness springer in really nice condition. His springers were very well built and this one survived well, not show quality chrome but very nice indeed. I modified a set of big twin neck cups with built in stops and they work well. It is the exact perfect length for a 21" front wheel.
The frame came out of Phoenix but was originally out of the Bay Area and I am quite sure it is correct. The down tubes are 7/8" which was used by Arlen quite a bit. The rear wheel is an 18" setup and needs to be refurbished.
The square rear struts are also correct.
The rear fender is fiberglass and I am pretty sure it is also from Ness.
I fabricated a seat pan with blind mounts. The bolts come up from the bottom so they are not easily seen.
I believe the tank is from Santee and not from Arlens' catalog. However, it is NOS and has never been drilled or mounted. It fits perfectly.
I am asking around $3500 give or take a nickel !
I also have a cherry set of XLCH cases that I could sell at a reasonable price if a person purchased the chassis.
Some of my best memories of working in the Fire Service was working for and with the American Canyon Fire Protection District. American Canyon is just North of Vallejo, California in Napa county.
I worked as a reserve for many years and then was picked up as a full time permanent firefighter. There were a lot of great people that worked there and it was in AmCan that I received my initial fire and EMS training. We were encouraged to go to school and so I did, achieving my California state Fire Officers Certification.
Later on a went to work for Vallejo Fire Department which is a whole other story..... I loved working for Vallejo Fire, some of the greatest guys and gals I ever worked with !
Wishing all the best to the professionals who work in the fire service, EMS and police at this time of great civil unrest. Be safe and remember to be courteous and professional......
Thursday, May 28, 2020
I first saw one of these in the late 1980's. I was coming out of the hardware store and one was parked right where it stood out for the first time. They came out in the early 1980's so I had to have seen one before. To my eye it was just "right".
I have always wanted one and perhaps I shall....
2020 Suzuki Katatna.. again this bike is "right"...
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
A Return to Excellence
As I go about my day and interact with people I have noticed a change in attitudes. In general, I am seeing a spirit of not caring about excellence and good customer service. This may be just my experience. Maybe people are numb or just tired of being cooped up ?
However...I am also not taking for granted any longer those who are gracious and want to do a good job. I really appreciate the barista at Starbucks, my farrier Katherine who is always on time, my friend Tom who does our pest control and all of the other folks really trying to do their best and being professional and pleasant while they do it.
Now is the time, more than ever, to really be "the cream of the crop", so to speak. As we go through all the changes taking place in society today I really do believe that the best in any profession will really shine.
When Robert Persig wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance he was astonished that people no longer cared to pursue quality. Quality will always be what anyone remembers. Think about George Brough who built the Brough Superior motorcycles, Phil Vincent who designed the Vincent mototorcycle and all the craftsmen and women who did not base their product on the profit they made, but on how good the product could really be.