General Posts

1964 Pan Head part 4 (frame)

Well, here we are, past the point of no return. In this chapter I cover the reassembly of the 1964FL restoration. I have been working on this classic for the past nine months. I know it says frame above, but the frame was bone stock, no dings, or mods. The customer requested paint over powder, so off it went. We sandblasted it clean, checked for cracks, magna-fluxed the frame for imperfections, and checked all dimensions for tweaks. This puppy was straight. With new neck bearings and cups from J&P the frame flew back together. We cleaned the paint off the engine and transmission mounts and went to work. Assembly was straight forward, almost the reverse of the disassembly. Engine goes in first, followed by the transmission.   Primary with belt drive is next. However before the inner primary goes on, make sure you hook up the shift linkage, otherwise there’s not enough room to install the pin and cotter pin. After the linkage and inner primary are on, you can install the main shaft pulley and belt drive clutch. Loosen the transmission and adjust it all the way forward to ease the belt installation. After the belt is on, adjust the transmission rearward to achieve the proper belt tension.   I figured this was a good time to install the rear wheel and chain, making sure the proper alignment and chain tension are acquired. Oil tank and lines were next on my agenda. I opted for a more modern spin on oil filter adapter, it looks nice and makes oil changes a snap. I kept the original oil filter that was polished just in case the owner wants to go all original some day. The front forks have been completely rebuilt with all new modern seals, I had them polished […]

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Mudflap Girl FXRs Build, part 9

Here’s a link to the last chapter: What a year, and we’re cranking on so many two-wheeled fronts. Both Mudflap Girl bikes are running and one is in the wind, but I’d better back up. You’re going to love this tech, and the ending. I took the Mudflap Girl bike to Saddlemen during the holidays, at just the wrong time. They faced the holiday schedule, then dealer shows, including the Easyriders V-twin show, then Daytona, before the dust settled and the shop was calm enough to focus on a couple of custom seats. Sure, the economy sucks, but you wouldn’t know it if you stumbled into their brick manufacturing facility in a Los Angles industrial community. The shop is cooking, building twice as many seats as last year, and adding 420 new seat part numbers. Tom Seymour, his partner, Dave Echert, and Avery Innis have stepped into the luggage arena for touring bikes, cruisers, and sport bikes. They designed a line of bag inserts, sissybar pads, tank and fender trim, you name it. If you’re going for a long ride, they have the product for you. That’s just the tip of the chrome and leather iceberg. The Saddlemen team will attend 78 shows, and events this year, from Sturgis to flat track racing, with the marketing director, Ron Benfield in the lead. The family atmosphere in their facility started to impress me after a couple of visits. I met 25-year team members and their sons and cousins. In fact, Avery kindly took a liking to an old Bikernet buddy, Buster Cates, and offered him a position on the team. Buster owns and rides our Shrunken FXR to work every day. Let’s cut to the seat-building chase. The Saddlemen team turned motorcycle seats into an engineered art form. They don’t

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Bennett’s Performance 2004 Dyna Build 106-Incher

Eric Bennett grabbed the shop door chain and hoisted the roll up door for the first time, in 2000. He started his mechanical career as a certified diesel mechanic with 60-weight always flowing through his blood stream. Finally, he gave into his entrepreneurial spirit and his desire to make motorcycles his life—he opened his own shop on Signal Hill. The rest is motorcycle history, much of it spent at the Bonneville Salt Flats with his dad, Bob. S&S JIMS Branch O’Keefe      

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Bikernet/Cycle Source Sweeps Build, Part 3, Sponsored by Xpress

Hang onto your asses. This is going to rock your boat, or your solo seat springs. We are building a bike just for you. That’s right. A Cycle Source or Bikernet reader will own this one-off custom at the end of this year. No, I’m not kidding. This world-class team of builders, lead by Prince Najar, the vast and all-powerful organizer is headed-up by builder/designer Gary Maurer of Kustoms Inc, and Ron Harris of Chop Docs. We have the Texas Bike Works frame, the magnificent Crazy Horse 100-inch engine, and Jules, of Kustoms Inc. hand-made an oil tank. This issue we welcomed another state of the chrome-arts team into the fray, 3Guyz, a manufacturing shop capable of anything. They work out of a former aerospace manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon. Their mantra is as follows: Providing specialized customizing and performance solutions for American V-Twin and sport motorcycles, Smart cars, and industrial clients. I spoke to Andy, one of the guys, who introduced me to the boss, Bob, and the other guy, John. Around 2004, they needed a springer, and although they were big fans of Sugar Bear, they decided it was time to manufacturer their own. “We started by building a dozen all stainless springers,” Andy said. “We still have a few.” Then they discovered the need to build springers for builders who sought flexible units for various finishes. Each springer is custom-made for whatever application any builder needs. In this segment, we will reprint the 3Guyz tech on how to measure a roller for the perfect length springer. They also published a tech on tearing a 3Guyz springer down for finish work. For more details about fork design and handling, take a few minutes to read through their “Fundamentals of Front Fork Geometry” in the tech section. So

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Doug Coffey’s RetroMod Panhead Part 1

    Having been in the aftermarket Harley business since 1969, I have pretty much done everything  from lacing wheels and custom painting to establishing a performance specialty manufacturing company known as Head Quarters.     Over the years everything in Harley-Davidson aftermarket world has evolved. Today finds old timers like myself better skilled with better tools and far better parts to work with than we had back in the day.   I have built probably thirty motorcycles from the frame up  and they have all been builds that kept pace with what the current factory offerings were and the style of the day. The latter builds being Evos and Twin Cams in rubber mount swingarm frames.   That being said, I didn’t find I got the same buzz I used to get when I first started out building those rigid framed choppers back in the early 1970’s.   Some people count sheep to go to sleep. I found myself planning a new rigid frame chopper to send me off to La La Land for a good night’s sleep.   This went on for two or three years before I decided the time had come to act upon my dreams.   After twenty five years of manufacturing performance parts for my company Head Quarters, I realized most of the people I had met over that period had no idea I could actually build a custom bike completely by myself so I decided I would do everything possible in my own shop.   As I preferred the look of the choppers built in the 1960’s and early 70’s but preferred the technology of the parts offered today, I refer to my build as a Retro Mod Chopper combining both old style and new improved parts.   Allow me to show you

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Bikernet/Cycle Source Sweeps Build Part 4 Sponsored by Xpress

You’ve been watching this sweepstakes bike come together for four episodes. A terrific chopper industry team was established to build you a one-off, world-class custom motorcycle. What could be better? Just fill out a coupon or subscribe to Cycle Source or Bandit’s Cantina on Bikernet, and you could enjoy this puppy forever.   This segment will demonstrate again the level of quality craftsmanship and passion for our industry guiding this magnificent motorcycle project. We have some fun with these articles, but the level of talent and engineering directed at this motorcycle is impressive. Take for instance this Crazy horse engine from John White’s factory in Kent, Washington. A longterm passionate Indian fan, John is also a highly successful heavy construction equipment business owner. His main business is American Piledriving Equipment, the worlds largest provider of foundation construction equipment.   American Piledriving Equipment (APE) is the number one provider in research and development, production and sales of foundation construction equipment. APE has branch offices in Asia, Europe and every corner of the United States. But a big part of this man’s heart has been devoted to keeping the Indian heritage alive. When the Gilroy Indian factory stumbled in 2005 he purchased the remaining bottle cap Indian engines from the defunct facility. He began to study and refine this sharp looking air-cooled 45-degree V-twin. Crazy Horse Motorcycles LLC, based in Kent, Washington, is the manufacturer of the “V-Plus” V-Twin motorcycle engine. They are an OEM supplier of this engine to individuals and custom bike builders. Each engine is proudly made in America with American components. They are basically built around the Evo platform and will fit any Evo model. The only quirky aspect is the carburetor facing out the left side of the engine, which I like, and it creates no obstruction

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Doug Coffey’s RetroMod Panhead Part 2

    I’m using a Baker DD6 transmission and they mount on a 5 speed transmission plate as used in Evolution Softail frames. I don’t care for the flimsy stamped sheet metal trans mounting plates available commercially so I opted to make my own. Back in the day we used to have V shaped rear foot peg mounting brackets I always thought looked pretty cool and they helped fill in an empty spot in the frame for a ‘tighter’ look I prefer.      Here you see me getting started.      Four holes later     With a little machining, we have a transmission mounting plate.     Here we see the old style foot peg bracket bolted on.     Now the transmission is in and will line up perfectly with the engine using a Baker billet motor plate that comes with their 3 inch outside belt drive.    Hold on for part 3, when Doug turns a couple chunks of aluminum into a one of a kind OilTank — Richard Kranzler        

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Bikernet/Cycle Source Sweeps Build Part 5 Sponsored by Xpress

Don’t miss the last episode:   I’ve never had so much fun building a bike, and it’s not for me. This one-off custom, art object, long-run bobber, chopper, will be awarded to either a Cycles Source subscriber or a Bandit’s Cantina subscriber on There’s always a growing buzz around building any bike. The vibe could be associated to the deadline, like the run to Sturgis, or a Bonneville land speed record effort, or for many shops, it’s a particular customer’s dream project. In this case, Gary Maurer, and Jules, from Kustoms Inc., created the aura of the build. Okay, it started with Prince Najar and spread to the Crazy Horse Engine Company, and Jason from Texas Frame Works. I can feel it anytime I speak with Gary at Kustoms Inc., or John White from Crazy Horse. John runs a massive construction equipment company, but when we discuss his bottle cap engines, he glows and gets pumped. Gary and Jules built hotrods for years. Much of their fabrication codes come from building record-breaking dragster. They still hold a 6.51 second record at 209 mph with a Larry Morgan 500 cubic- inch pro stock engine. Kustoms Inc. is a talented team capable of almost anything mechanical, but it’s their level of passion for the craft and every element of the build that’s captivating. Take for instance, mounting these classic 3.5 gallon Biker’s Choice re-popped tanks. During the initial, design Gary planned the bike around classic H-D fatbobs, and bent the backbone of the frame to match the radius of the tank tops. “It’s basically a 12mm or ½-inch roll to match these tanks,” Gary said. “The tanks are almost flat at one point, but we work around them.” With a ring roller/radius machine containing two dies on the bottom and one

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Mudflap Girl FXRs, Part 10, Suspension Tuning and Le Pera Seat

Mudflap 8: 9: I’ve been riding and tuning Mudflap Girl FXR for a couple of months. We finally dialed in our rear shocks, maybe. David Zelma, from Progressive taught me the ropes regarding spring pressure and travel. We will get into that. We have also been monkeying with my Spitfire Girder shocks. Again, the problem is travel. My son’s FXR faces similar dilemmas, but hopefully we will be able to transfer knowledge from my bike to his. Fortunately, Progressive suspension is just down the street in Orange County, so David Zelma stopped by with a variety of springs. “Your shock angle is more like a Dyna Glide than an FXR,” David said, “which makes for much more severe spring rates.” I kept trying tougher and tougher FXR or touring H-D springs and the rate of sag was too much, indicating a too-soft spring. Also, I had to mess with additional bumpers, limiting the shock travel to prevent the fender from smacking the Avon tyre. It’s a humorous dilemma, one that any sport bike rider would scoff at, since he doesn’t care if there’s a foot of air between the rear tire and the fender. Ultimately, we ended up with 12.5-inch Progressive Dyna shocks, but my travel, with limiters, is just over ¾ of an inch, sort of the same as a lowered Softail. “I’m not happy with this system,” David said. “I want to see more travel for a comfortable ride.” I like the way the bike looks, and I will ride it to Mammoth Lake next weekend to hook up with the Hamsters on their long road to Sturgis from the West Coast. That’s the iron test. Next, I looked at the front Spitfire Girder shocks and discussed it with Rick Krost, who messes with bicycle seat

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Mudflap Girl FXRs, part 11: The First Road Test

Mudflap Girl, chapter 10: I can’t make it to Sturgis this year. We are focused Bonneville builds, like mad starving dogs, and the two events are only separated by two weeks. Ray is tuning and I still don’t have an engine, but we’ll cover that later. The engine could be running today, in Richmond, Virginia, at Departure Bike Works. Okay, so what’s a poor bastard to do, when he planned to make the run to the Badlands with his brother Hamsters? They ride out from the West Coast every year. Some of the members, including Arlen Ness are in their 70s and riding custom Victory bikes. Some rode from Spearfish, South Dakota, out to Mammoth Lakes, California, to ride back to the Badlands with their brothers. So, what’s the least I could do? Meet them at their first stop in Mammoth, just east of Yosemite?  We reached out to a couple of LA-based Hamsters and started making plans. When I say we, I mean my main man, Dr. Hamster, or Christian Reichardt, a chiropractor to the stars in Santa Monica. Dr. Hamster and I have been friends since my third wife, about 25 years. He’s German, the best chiropractor you’ll ever run across, and one of the best friends I’ve ever had. If he says he’ll be there, he’ll be there. So the good doctor and I said, “Yep, we’re going.” Others signed on and dropped off, but the doctor stuck with the initial plan, made reservations, and we peeled out from his Santa Monica office at 1:00 Friday afternoon.     The good doctor has owned several motorcycles, including a 1934 VL I helped get running, but one motorcycle stuck with him, a 1989 FLH. He had clocked over 200,000 miles when he decided to rebuild it. Bennett’s

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