Monday, April 30, 2012


Levon Helm Has Passed On

I always liked The Band and I didn't realize how how good Levon sounded even as the years toiled on.  The video takes me back to my roots, I was born and raised in North Dakota and Montana.  My grandfather had a large cattle farm outside of Bismark, N.D.  that my cousin Carrie still operates. 

These people are tough. No wining and crying, just work from dawn to dark.  Carrie amazes me how she runs the whole deal all by herself.  Yes, that's right herself !  My hats off to all the "Poor Old Dirt Farmers" out there. 

I hear they are passing a bill to "protect" the kids raised up on farms because farm work is too dangerous.  It probably is better to plant them in front of video games, television and computers all day long and let them just kind of fatten up so they will be productive citizens.  Not to mention these maddening celllular devices that people can't put down long enough to even converse with you.  If the Lord tarries it should get real interesting with all these hard working people who are coming along these days.   GET REAL !

Couple More Indians

I don't remember where I found these two pictures, but they reminded me that I need to get back to my 101 Scout project.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


This David Mann picture really took me back, when I was in high school I ran smack into the back of a VW.  I was trying to impress the girls that were driving the bug, I was popping wheelies on my Honda when she hit the brakes.  You guessed it, I become one with the VW deck lid.  Long story short I had some explaining to do and a late night repair job to keep her father from giving her the blues.  The whole experience was interesting but not too romantic.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I got my magneto back from Joe Hunt yesterday and stayed up 'til past midnight putting it all back together.  After a bit of kicking it fired off and ran good for a few minutes, I had inadvertently shut the petcock off and it quit running.  I need to fine tune a few things and this bike is on its way to E Bay !!

Sold ( I think )

I just rode the bike up the street and back and it is a strong runner, needs the carb sorted out a bit.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Free Use of Content

I would like to respond to all the folks out there in cyber space about using pictures found on PUBLIC domains.  I use pictures on this blog that I find of interest to me as a motorcycle aficionado, some people have an issue with this as if a person were stealing from them.  I generally leave a comment on where I found the picture.  Fair play would dictate that I don't get upset when someone uses a picture of mine ( for years I have found pictures I posted on other people sites).

Feel free to re-use any of the content that you find interesting, just don't post a motorcycle that I own and try to sell it as your own to some unlucky individual.  Yes this has happened also.  I had a 1927 Scout that I sold years ago and right after it sold another person tried to scam someone into buying it.  I quickly responded that the seller did not have the bike to sell because it was still sitting in my garage.

So again, please help yourself.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Alma 4

Transcontinental Rider

Ole Martin Mobeck from Norway set a new Warsaw to Paris Transcontinental Record in 2011 - 1600 Km (1000 miles) in 19 hours and 30 minutes.

Photo and caption courtesy of Virtual Indian

Almost Finished with XLCH

Clutch is all buttoned up with new Rayspestos discs, new outer cover and retainer, new chain adjustment shoe, etc.

The new front end is miles ahead of the old one, looks right on a Sportster.  Not sure where the old one came from but I never liked it.  The eye brow headlight looks good also.
I just need my magneto back and this should be a running motorcycle.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Virtual Indian Site

If you are an Indian Moto-Cycle aficianado check out the Virtual Indian site.  Here is the link

The picture was taken from the Virtual Indian Site

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

1946 Chief

I really like the '46 Chiefs when they are built with 18" wheels.  When I first looked into buying an Indian there was a midnight blue 46 Chief for sale in Fairfield, CA.  The bike was immaculate and the owner had spent a lot of money getting it that way.  I don't remember why he was selling as the bike was perfect. 

I was a little short of his asking price so I spent $10k and bought a nice basket case with a rebuilt powerplant from Jim Troche.  By the time I was finished I spent much more that the 46 would have cost me.  Lesson to be learned... you can always buy a finished bike cheaper than you can build one yourself if you shop around and take your time.   Basket cases will break your heart and your wallet even when you get a good honest one.

'69 XLCH

It is coming back together.  It doesn't look like I have done much but have actually done quite a bit.  New brake shoes, new rear brake rod (the old rod was butt welded together, not good when your only brakes are in the rear), new rear tire, new steering head conversion and I have a new front end coming next week.  I have also repaired the kicker assembly and put in a new clutch.  Should be miles ahead of where it was when I purchased it.  Oh, and it will be a runner !   Just keep throwing money at them and eventually they run.

Sportster Head Bearing Conversion

I bought this steering head conversion kit on line that converts the older head bearing set up from the 7/8" neck to a later 1" neck.  It also makes the neck taller to accept the longer fork stem.  Nice quality.

I was able to get the ratchet bushing deal straightened out after Nick machined the bushing to fit the spacer.  He did a real nice job.

I put the clutch together but am waiting on a new clutch cover and new adjustment nuts.

If Joe Hunt gets my magneto done next week this should be a runner.  They are putting in the hotter racing magnet so it should run good.  I guess it will be going up for sale due the never ending flow of expenses.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Making a Little Progress

I have been trying to get the primary wrapped up on my Sportster and have a had a ratchet gear bushing on back order for about 3 weeks.  I finally got tired of waiting and called the local Harley Davidson dealership and low and behold they referred me to Mestminster Harley Davidson.  I didn't expect much as I have been this route before with old bikes,  to my surprise they had the bushing so I drove over to pick it up as I need to get this bike running.  When I got there the parts guys were extremely helpful and had the part ready.  I should have known this, but the bushing has to be reamed to fit and they didn't have anyone who could do it for me.  After being told that " everyone who works on these old bikes is dead",  even though I assured them that we are not dead but very alive.  These guys were about the best I have seen in a long while, they asked if I had tried Sporty Specialties which was about 10 miles from their shop.  They called over there and the owner had what I needed and after a bit more effort I had everything I needed (almost ).  It turns out that the later one piece ratchet gear and bushing do not work on a '69 XLCH so I had my son Nick take the bushing I bought from Harley to school and he is going to take care of it.  When he graduates from machinist school I would like to buy him a shop sized mill and lathe.  For both of us.

Bottom line is that customer service pays off, if I ever buy a new Harley I know exactly where I am going.  Westminster Harley Davidson, thanks guys !

101 Race Bike

Here is a pretty heavily modified Scout built for racing, I found it on the Virtual Indian site and you can read the story here............

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Wanna Ride.............


I went over to check on my Scout today and I am a long way from having a running bike,  what I need right now is a running bike ........................  the rigid Chief is too clean, I believe it belonged to Jesse James at one time, maybe still does.

Tough as Nails

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Indian Chout Sprint Bike

It amazes me what a person is capable when they put their mind to the situation.  This is an early Indian Scout frame with an early Chief engine being built as a sprint bike in the UK.  The modifications are one thing but to do it on a budget with less than the best equipment it the part that really gets me.  Check it out here on IPE's site....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

John Donovan's Indian Bobber

This one of my all time favorite Indian Moto-Cycles, it was built by John Donovan of Vallejo, CA.  I believe it has a 1948 Chief frame and a 1947 engine, the engine was built by Jim Troche who has his shop in Indian Alley, Vallejo. 

John used to live right around the corner from me and I had the opportunity to meet him shortly before he passed away.  This bike was a neat little ride that was ridden as it was intended.  After he passed I contacted Jim who was helping sell J.D.'s bikes and he still had this one.  I looked at it and should have bought it, I had the money but just didn't recognize it for what a treasure it was at that time.  To me the lines are nearly as perfect as an Indian can get.

if you look at the 1938 Knuckle I built you will see how much I liked J.D.'s bike.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ride It Like You Stole It.............

I stole this picture from the North Los Angeles Motorcycle Club site.  This Chief is doing what is was intended to do, ride them like you stole them !!
Check out their site for some very cool knit jerseys.....

One Bad Sportster !!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been absolutely fascinated by early drag bikes for years, especially Sportsters.  This bike is so clean it hurts and I would like to think it is fast.  I want to do one of these.

Source : Jockey Journal

Indian Four

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Working On The Sportster

I have been working on the '69 Sportster for the last couple of days.  I have been waiting on clutch parts so I tore into the frame work of the bike and found a bunch of issues.  The rear fender was hard up against the tire so I modified it but cutting some off the bottom.  I will most likely go with a stock fender later but right now I have to stay focused.  The rear brake was a mess and the rear shocks are too short so I need to either install struts or a stock shock.  I hated the front fork so I removed it.  I think I will go with a later, cleaner looking front end with a spool wheel.   I just found a conversion kit to go from a 7/8" X 5" neck to a 1" X 7" neck so I can use a later set up.  I will shave the legs later when my son gets further along in machinists school.  Never thought Nick would be a machinist but he really likes it and no doubt I will get some benefit as well.
I think I will keep it a bit tattered looking and just get it in mechanically excellent condition. 

Gotta go, the UPS truck just came !

Monday, April 9, 2012

At The Drags

Cook Nielson

That is a great picture of Cook Nielson.  There was none like him before, none like him since and I believe it is safe to say none will ever be in the front office of a major motorcycle magazine during the week and out there racing the very riders he is writing about on the weekend. Truly a one of a kind.

Source: Jockey Journal

Yes Please.............

I would love to have this rear wheel assembly and tire...

Leo Payne's Turnip Eater

When an ordinary Harley-Davidson Sportster arrived at Mike Wilson’s Iowa dealership in 1957, there was no way of knowing it would become a legendary motorcycle.
Or that the man Wilson would sell it to, Leo Payne, would become a legendary racer. But that’s what ultimately happened to that Sportster, which became this top-level drag-racing machine. In more than 20 years of fierce competition, it claimed everything from local wins to national records.

Of course, this Harley’s story started small, when Payne bought the machine to campaign in club drag races. To find the speed he’d need to win, he turned to Wilson, who massaged the cylinders and bored out the Linkert carb to create a powerful sleeper that quickly ruled the local drag strip.

Buoyed by his success, Payne kept improving his machine and his skills. By the mid-’60s, when he headed for California to take on national-caliber riders, the Sportster was a nitro-burning monster that could run quarter miles in the nines. It had also earned a nickname—Turnip Eater—for its appetite for Triumphs.

Eventually, even beating national riders wasn’t enough, so Payne aimed his Harley at a new challenge: land speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Because the machine had been built for drag racing and had only one gear, though, Payne had to make a few adjustments for this new type of competition.

To get under way, Payne would hold onto the door handle of a car that would tow him up to about 75 mph. Then he’d let go, engage the clutch, aim at the timing lights and accelerate up to cruising speed. The technique obviously worked, since Payne was able to set a record of 202.379 mph on the salt in 1970 to become the first non-streamliner to go more than 200 mph.

Payne continued racing the machine through the mid-’70s, when he retired it. But his motorcycle’s incredible journey wasn’t over.

The legendary Harley came full circle years later, when Wilson again acquired it—34 years after he first sold it—upon Payne’s death in 1991. And as a tribute to his longtime friend, Wilson restored the bike and donated it to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum.

Source: Motorcycle Hall of Fame