Sunday, May 31, 2015

Street Cannons

 The new ride is great. Too bad it sounds like someone put a gag on it. Not to worry, The Motor Company offers everything a rider could want and then some. I spent some time on you-tube listening to different exhaust systems and narrowed my search down to the Screaming Eagle Street Cannons. They have the sound I wanted and were 20% off when I purchased them with the new bike.

 The stock mufflers look fine but sound wimpy. Time for an upgrade.

After removing the saddlebag it was just a matter of removing two bolts and a clamp.

 Here I have slipped on the new muffler. Yes that's why they call them "slip ons".

  Another way HD has found to empty your pockets is to offer a multitude of end caps. I chose black covers over "revolver" caps. I'll live with them but there may have been a better choice out there.

 Here is a comparison of the stock muffler vs. the Street Cannon.
 I've put 500 miles on them since the install and really enjoy the sound. They are quiet enough when idling or light cruising but when you roll on the throttle they bark pretty good. I can basically control when I want to annoy people. How wonderfully childish! Ya, I'm enjoying the bike.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Story Board

Here is my sporty. A fun machine by any standard. This is where it died.

This is the trailer I used to get it home. The efforts I made installing all that E-track really paid off. It was a breeze loading and hauling the bike home.

Here is a rats nest of wires. In this mess is the reason for the failure. I suspect a 26 year old circuit breaker is the culprit.

Oops! Even Busch Light deserves to be treated better than this. No problem. There's a lot more where that one came from!

 The bike isn't fixed yet. I had to pick up some breakers the next day and then I got side buying a new bike.
 Lets see. The Rat Turd needs a fuel tank. The sporty needs this repair. And now my daughter wants to learn to ride. She thinks she's getting the sporty but what she really needs is something lighter to learn on. I've replied to a few craigslist ads but haven't found the right bike for her yet. Let me know if you hear of a cheap 250-400cc starter bike in central Wisconsin.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Test Ride

 Thursday I drove up to Harley Davidson of Appleton. A salesman there named Brian told me to stop in anytime I wanted to take a bike for a test ride. When I got there I asked to ride a new Ultra Limited. After they photocopied my drivers license and made sure I had a helmet, they let me loose on this:

 The 103 cubic inch engine has some decent torque. You can pretty much just let the clutch out without throttle and the bike will take off without killing. Once rolling the big pig feels pretty nimble. Dare I say light. I checked the abs brakes a few times in the parking lot just so I knew what to expect then I leaned her over pretty good as I left the lot onto the road. It felt very natural.
 I am not familiar with the back roads in the Appleton area so getting lost was easy. I remember the salesman telling me that all HD dealership locations are pre loaded in the gps so I thumbed through the menus till I found what I needed and the gps talked me back to the dealer. Nice. This bike gets the Greasy Shop Rag stamp of approval!
 So now I'm hooked. All that was left to do was decide what color I wanted. Blue is out. Ya I know my truck is blue but I don't like that either. That amber whiskey colored one is ok I guess. Vivid Black would be just too hard for a high miler like me to keep clean. The maroon one might look good in the sunlight but I didn't care for it in the showroom. What does that leave?

 Silver and black. They had a few of these and were willing to work on the price in order to move one.

 It worked because there it is sitting in my driveway. My brand new 2015 HD Ultra Limited. Yesterday after work I managed to put about 250 miles on it. It's so sweet. A nice combination of comfort/power and hi tech. Originally I thought I wanted to remove the trunk for that Street Glide look. Ain't gonna happen. I don't know its back there when I'm riding and it holds a lot of crap. I know it will hold a full face and two half helmets plus gloves and glasses and other crap.
 Stay tuned for posts on a few upgrades I plan to make. The first will be to the exhaust. Harley builds these things to sound crappy so they can make an instant sale to suckers like me that want a more traditional sound from their v-twin.
 I'll see you out on the road. You'll know it's me. I'll be the one with the ear to ear grin.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-To Dive or Not To Dive...

 That really is the question. We cleaned out a corner of the back shop that was full of weed wackers, blowers and chainsaws. These were all trade in units that we were saving just to harvest parts. Well at some point you have to decide if having the parts or the space is more important. We decided having more space was important and we threw out about fifty pieces of equipment.
 I've been out to the dumpster twice since that stuff was put in there. Both times I knew what I wanted was in there but it was buried so deep I couldn't even see it.

 Just look at all those goodies. I stood up on the top rail of the dumpster and just imagined all the projects that could be made from the stuff in here. I kicked a few pieces around then started thinking about what we had here. Is it a waste to toss this equipment? Maybe it's a waste to have it laying around and not get recycled into new equipment. I started thinking about building vs. buying new and my desire to buy a new bike. Should I build a kick ass bike over the summer or should I just buy the bike I want and enjoy it now?
 I jumped down and walked away without looking back. I've said it before. I'm just a few bad decisions away from being on an episode of Hoarders.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

No Street Glide For Me

 My last few posts were about my desire to buy a Harley Street Glide. I've been to a few dealerships since then and kicked the tires on a few. What I found was that if I want the daymaker led head lamp and fog lamps, intercom/headset/cb, and heated grips, it would cost a bundle to add them. It was pointed out to me that they all come as standard equipment on this:

 It's the Ultra Limited. I've owned touring bikes this size but holy crap thats a lot of bike. It weighs like twice as much as my sporty. And what am I gonna do about that trunk? Well, they make a kit to take that trunk off when you want the Street Glide look.
 But here's the best part. My wife hasn't rode with me since I hit that deer in 2000. She said someone needed to stay alive and raise the kids. Guess what? The last kid is flying the nest real soon. If you want to keep a passenger happy this is the bike that can do it and she has agreed to give it a chance.

 So now what? I'm not a huge fan of the "lowers". They're kinda ugly but necessary as they hide the radiators for the "twin cooled" engine. Then again the other day I rode to work in a heavy fog and had wet pants from the knees down for most of the morning. I still need to take one for a test ride. Who knows, maybe I'll hate it. Ya right.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-Leave My Shit Alone

 It's that time of year again. One of my roles at work is "Lawn Care Tech". That means I (along with my trainee James) make fertilizer and weed control applications to commercial and residential properties. To do this we need water. I have a spot where I can park the truck and trailer along the building right in front of a water spigot. I keep a hose attached and use it daily. I'd spot weld the fitting to the spigot but you know some a-hole on a forklift will run over the hose and cut it or smash the end. My solution has been to threaten anyone caught messing around with my garden hose.
 Ya I know this sounds trivial but consider this. I use that hose every day. No one else parks there. There are many other hoses available. That hose is a tool just like a wrench on my work bench. If you found it on my bench put the fucking thing back. I shouldn't have to dig through four other tool boxes to find my tool that you were too lazy to return to the place you found it. Deep breath.
 I submit to you this years tag found hanging on the hose. It's not as bad as past years where I threaten to hunt down evil doers and cut their nuts off, but I think I get my point across.

 I just had a thought. I'm gonna have a lot of barbed wire left over from the Rat Turd project. Maybe I can come up with a physical deterrent.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Calling My Name

 Rattle rattle rattle. Thats what I hear when I'm riding the sportster and hit a bump. Rattle rattle. The front brake pads rattle in the caliper. I know there is supposed to be a part in there that prevents this from happening so after work yesterday I decided to ride to the dealer and get what I need to fix it.
 Going to a bike shop is exciting. All the shiny new iron just begging for my attention. It's almost like the animal shelter where all the lonely pets are crying out, "come pet me". The problem is those fuckers at the dealer got it figured out. You have to walk through this maze of temptation just to get to the parts counter for a three dollar part.
 I tell the parts jockey what I'm after and he's having to spend a little time figuring it out. While I'm waiting I hear someone call my name. "Scott, over here". I turn and look but don't see anyone. Whatever. Then I hear it again. Scotty, I'm over here". I turn faster but still don't see anyone. Am I losing it? I reach up and check to see if I removed my earplugs. Yep, we're good. "Scotty come sit on me". Wait, what? It was a Street Glide calling my name! Not a used SG, or even a new SG, but a new Street Glide Special. Crap.

 I pay $10 for what should have been a $3 part and wander over by the shiny new bike. In my last post I mentioned the street glide as a bike I have always liked. I like the batwing fairing and saddlebags with no trunk. Seems functional with just the right blend of touring and daily rider. Other than that I never really checked one over to see if it meets Greasy Shop Rag standards. As I'm spreading my dna all over this fine machine a salesman comes over to answer some questions. I quizzed him for half an hour comparing pre-2014 Rushmore Project bikes and then comparing the standard model to the "Special". I gotta tell ya, I'm hooked.
 That little brake part is gonna cost me a bundle. Now I need to sell everything and get my ass on a new hog.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-When Work Stops

 For a few years now I've been without a large touring bike. Actually now that I give it more thought, it's been ten years. That's fine. Once a year I make a big ride that amounts to about 3000 miles in one week. The rest of the year I'm pretty much just tooling around the state. Easily done on the rat turd or sportster.
  My back has been feeling a little better lately since the chiropractor discovered one of my legs is longer than the other. I've taken measures to correct that. This has made me think more about a bigger bike or kick starting the BSA. IF I were to pick up a touring bike I think it would be a Street Glide. I've always thought they were pretty cool. Anyway, yesterday a guy rolls into the shop with a 2010 'glide so naturally I dropped everything and went to check it out. Pretty nice but I think maybe a bit too nice. I'd be more interested in an older bike or even something with a roached motor that needs work. One that I could beat on and not feel guilty.
 So as I'm checking out one end of the bike, Al is combing over the other. Here is what he discovered.

 Do you see it? The owner admitted he mounted the tire himself and was a bit embarrassed I guess. No big deal. At least he's doing the work himself.

 I missed the Slimey Crud Run on Sunday. Not because I forgot about it. No, I had made plans to go with Dan. It's just that I've had other things going on and there just wasn't time. There must have been a huge turn out as the weather was beautiful. Maybe I'll have the Rat Turd ready for the fall 'Run.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


 First an update on the local High School kids that were building a high mileage car in the shop at work.

 These kids got a first place in their class! Their best mileage was 254mpg!

 Congrats to all the kids that busted ass to get this car built. Raspberries to the slackers that didn't do much. I think I heard they will now take the car to Road America. I'm not sure if that is more competition or just fun time. Then I guess the policy of the school is to salvage individual parts off the car, scrap the frame, and let next years class build something original. Cool.

 I'd also like to congratulate my daughter for her first place at the state solo and ensemble competition. Good job Parker!

 I mentioned last year that my foot pegs kept vibrating off the sportster. I wanted to make some new ones because the little chrome studs that are left aren't enough of a peg to hold my foot up. My boots keep sliding off. Unfortunately my need for pegs was greater than my ability to find the time to make some. Amazon to the rescue. I found some simple knurled one piece pegs that should do the trick.

  I like the pegs but wish I would have made something on my own. Like I said, I've been crazy busy and when I do have a little spare time I would like to spend it riding.