Monday, July 11, 2022

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Building be peaceful and calm

When restoring, building or repairing a motorcycle it really helps to be peaceful and calm.  Step back for a minute and breath deeply.  Look at what you are building and grom on it for a few.  With patience you won't wreck that bolt, carb or whatever you're working on.

When any motorcycle was created at the factory the engineer had to step back and feel what he or she was building.  They didn't always get it right and sometimes they got it right but the bean counters got involved.  Afterall they had to make a profit.

If it's your machine that you are working on it doesn't hurt to take a few liberties.  You may want to really breath deep before you take that torch to a Crocker frame!  Somethings can't be reversed.

Above all make it an enjoyable experience.. you may go the the national Vincent rally and be the one who stands out.  Afterall, it's not difficult to make a cookie cutter restoration if you have deep enough pockets.  Have fun or drive a Toyota!

John Donavon Built Indian Chief

Absolutely perfect !

Custom BMW R51 Build

If you have been following my blog posts then you know that I am building a 1952 BMW R51/3.  I am almost at the point where I need to decide how to to's a tough call because the R51 was an almost perfect motorcycle from the get go.

The motorcycle pictured is an R51/2 so it's a bit different from mine, but not by much.  The bike that is pictured was built by Kontrast Kreations out of Switzerland.  It has been posted all over the internet so I will use the pictures taken by Marc Schneider.

I have always had a problem with doing a total concours restoration-there is always  something to change on a motorcycle.  Jeff Decker built a Vincent Black Lightning a few years back which really perfected the lines of an already beautiful motorcycle.  Some folks liked it -me included- and some folks hated it.  Oh well, it wasn't their motorcycle!

Jeff Decker built Vincent motorcycle

I have always loved Indian motorcycles, especially the 74" Chiefs-the real ones- not the new ones.  When I lived in Vallejo a guy named John Donavon built a custom Chief that I really liked.  I have to admit that I almost abandoned my BMW the other day to pursue a Chief but the bike by Kontrast saved me !  I will move forward in a non-traditional vein but will not alter any of the existing bike in any way. is my motorcycle

I really like the rear fender set up, however, I do know from past experience that you can get the fender too close to the tire.  When you ride the bike for any distance  it gets hot and will expand.  I may not get this close.  I have a brand new fender left over from our Harley WL build and I just purchased a BMW R51/3 tank from Jeff Moore so all of a sudden I have my tins!

Photo by Marc Schneider

The leather seat on this build is perfect.  The rubber covered BMW seats are nice as well.  I believe that I will try to duplicate this seat but with aged black leather.  Kind of like an old Harley K Model seat.

Photo by Marc Schneider

Photo by Marc Schneider

I have done similar rear fender struts before so that's not too big of an obstacle.  If you look closely you will see that the fender support is attached to the final drive and not to the frame.  They solved the front mount by using a hinge that moves with the tire.  I may do something a bit different because I intend on riding this machine.  Soon I hope ?  I'll be 64 in October

Photo by Marc Schneider

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Saturday, June 25, 2022

I remember back in the day blasting down the road with no helmet..
I loved the feeling of the wind on my head.  The sounds, the smells and the sensation of freedom.  It was like flying...
California had no helmet laws in the 1970's and even into the 80's. I never even owned a helmet.
On January 1, 1992 it became the law to wear a helmet.   We fought hard against it, but....
Later in life I saw more than a few motorcycle accidents while working in the Fire Service.   I believe that a good helmet can save your life.


Monday, June 20, 2022

Flat Tank Norton by George Cohen

I have had this book for awhile but had not really read it other than perusing through it.  I have always been a big fan of Norton singles but haven't owned one that ran.
From what I understand George Cohen was a bit of a character.  He was a medical doctor but it seems that his true passion was Norton's.  He passed away due to cancer in 2016.  Individuals like this sure make the world a more colorful place......
Read his book-you will like it

It's kind of a limited edition book and copies can be pricey.  It's well worth the money though.

 Model 18 OHV single..too cool for school!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

4 Hour Kill Switch

It's amazing how much time it takes to build a really nice motorcycle.  I recently listed this bike for sale at a price of $26,500.00   Right away I got all kinds of comments on how over priced it is.  I have that much in parts, paint and engine work alone.  Of course the labor is that of love!  In this case it actually was.............

First thing this morning I started on the kill switch installation.  I installed the magneto yesterday- but alas- every magneto needs a kill switch!

I decided to use an old horn button that I had stashed away...problem is- the aftermarket bars were not drilled for a switch of any kind or for wiring.

I removed the bars and drilled and tapped them for the switch.  While I was at it, I cleaned up the bars for a more sanitary look. I like it....

One little wire....4 hours later!

 A cleaner look with the coins back in place.