Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Garage Pic

 My garage is starting to take on a proper summer look. That is, the bikes parked in there are not in storage. They look like they are parked for the night and ready to roll tomorrow, as it should be.

 Well, except for the BSA frame but thats a project, not a bike in storage. I still need to roll the Rat Turd out of the living room but theres time for that because the weather forecast is crap. The reason I'm posting this is because the Ultra came out of storage just last night. The bike had been on a battery tender all winter and after a few basic checks it started right up. I put about fifty miles on it, just enough to run some errands and get back in the groove. I admit it took a few attempts to remember what all the buttons do but it came back to me quick enough.
 I'm looking forward to getting out with my wife on some bike adventures this summer. We still haven't made any plans where those adventures might be but just wandering can be fun.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


 Here we are at Easter again. Another lap around the calendar. The difference today is that its the first Easter without my mom. I have three daughters and they all grew up going to grandmas house for an egg hunt. I have every one of those on video and they make a yearly record of our kids growing up. Old traditions have ended and I kinda feel lost. I miss mom and it will never be the same without her here. My daughters have some kind of plan for the family today and we are going to drive down to Milwaukee to find out what it is. Maybe the start of a new tradition?

 Yesterday I attended a motorcycle swap meet. I went with a big wad of cash in my pocket and came home with most of it. Not because the event was a flop. No, they put on a good show and I heard rumor of moving to a bigger location for next year. I simply didn't see too many things I felt I needed for bike projects.

 I did find a t shirt that I liked. It will spend the rest of its days on this hanger in my shop because I never looked at the size. I saw bsa on black and bought it.
 I also picked up some bar end mirrors for my cafĂ© racer project that only exists in my if I don't already have enough real life projects.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Odorous Maximus

 I work in an environment where I can be exposed to a variety of nasty smells. The shop has all the usual odors associated with grease, oil, welding and burnt rubber (from cutting hydraulic hoses to length). I'm also exposed to fertilizers and lawn chemicals. I'm ok with most of those but there are certain smells that really get to me. The top three starting with the least offensive include FDS (frickin dog shit). I hate it when a piece of equipment that I need to work on has got FDS packed in the tread of the tires. I'm not a princess but that's just nasty. There are a few people at work that can destroy the bathroom in a similar manner. You know who you are. Go see a doctor or something. Next is old fuel that has turned into whatever that stinky green/black crap is that it becomes. Sometimes it can travel across the shop in seconds and drop me to my knees as I crawl to the door for fresh air. The worst is used gear oil, like that from the axle of a truck. As soon as that drain plug comes out its like a knock out punch right to the sniffer. I know there are worse smells but these are ones I deal with regularly.
 In my home shop I try to keep the stink to a minimum because the room is connected to the laundry room and then through a door to the kitchen. This past weekend I was dealing with the Rebel fuel petcock.
 The one that belongs to the black tank needed to be replaced so I pulled the petcock out of the parts bike for inspection. There was fuel, or at least some type of liquid that used to be gasoline, still in the tank. Wow that stuff is ripe. I pulled it apart in the garage then brought it into the shop for inspection. I literally spilled two drops in the shop and stunk up the whole place!
 Later I was working on changing the fork oil and was shocked to see what was coming out of the drain hole.
 My nose was even more shocked! This stuff was bad and combined with the bad gas stink I had to leave the room for a while. I know this isn't smellovision but lets see if I can describe it to you. Imagine something crawls up a rabid skunks back side and dies. The skunk then gets hit on the highway and bakes in the sun for a few days. Now a hungry coyote comes by and eats that skunk then gets sick and drops a big steaming deuce in your lawn. Next our lawn crew runs over that squishy pile right before returning to the shop to maintain their equipment. As they roll into the shop, Al is draining the rear axle of a truck, Greg just dropped the float bowl on a carb with old gas, Jake is making a hydraulic hose, somebody just walked out of the bathroom and I'm working on a spray rig. Ya, powerful stuff.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday Blog

 I bet you're all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to find out what kind of exciting motorcycle news I have to report. If your thinking maybe I finished up the Rebel this week then you'd be wrong. How about that BSA engine that needs to be put together? Nope. Maybe I rolled the Rat Turd out of the living room and installed that new clutch or took it on a spring adventure? No sir. Repaint the sportster? Uh no. Well then I must have installed the new handlebars on the Ultra, right? Sadly, no but we're getting warm. The only motorcycle related activity this past week was to size up an accessory that my wife bought. Actually she bought two.

 That's right, fishing poles.

 So the only motorcycle related activity this past week was to see if two fishing poles fit in the saddlebag of the big Ultra. I'm happy to report that they do. I'm sad to report that I have nothing else to report.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Workshop Wednesday-Spring Has Sprung?

 I haven't talked much about work lately. We had some very warm weather last week and that made things pretty dang busy around here. Everyone was rushing around trying to get ready for Spring. I'm about three projects behind and it's the same story with each tech in every corner of the shop. Add to that the fact that some of us need to balance landscaping projects with shop work. Then there are customers in the store front that demand attention. On top of all that we are having a big sale next week and have to prep for it. Luckily, it cooled back down to near normal temps and it has been raining. That bought us more time.
 So enough whining, ya we're busy but not so much that we can't take a minute to add some fun to our day. This guy showed up on my bench the other day.

I'll keep him around for now.
 I was visiting my Dad yesterday and he showed me a few of his most recent wood carvings. I've featured some of his pieces on this blog and they amaze me. Here is a vase that really blows me away.

The light colored wood is poplar. When I first spotted the piece I thought it was marble. I can't believe how polished and deep the appearance is of this wood. This pic only hints at its true beauty. The old man really has got some talent.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Two Wheeler Tank Sealer

 I'm a little late getting todays post out. I was gonna write it last night but my wife and I went out to dinner and I was introduced for the first time to martinis. Of course in my uncouth ways, I was chasing that with beer. I'm sure that didn't go unnoticed. Anyway, when I got home I was in no mood to write a blog.
 Yesterday was one of those rare warm march days that are becoming less rare around here. I started out by fixing the rattling front brake caliper on the sporty. I bought the part last spring and just got around to the repair. Ya. The second pic shows the bent "anti rattle clip" or whatever HD calls it. Not sure how it got bent but the noise is gone.

 After that I strapped a new rear tire to my sissy bar and rode to the shop to do one last burnout and swap it out. The tire change went fine but trying to seat the bead was a pain. The tire would fill up but one spot of the tire wouldn't push tight to the edge of the rim evenly. I had to deflate and clean/inspect that section of tire a few times and it finally took once I got aggressive on how much pressure I was willing to use to get it to seat.
 A new tire means a test ride and I took advantage of the nice weather. I broke in that tire with a 200 mile tour of area back roads. Some of the lesser roads still have sand on them so I wasn't testing lean angles. I did not balance that tire, just lined the yellow dot on the Dunlop with the valve stem and everything feels fine (for a sportster).

 When I got home I decided another warm weather activity that needed doing was coating the fuel tank on Brookes Rebel. Traditionally I do this with Kreem. The process involves degreasing the tank, using acid to remove the rust, another rinse, a chemical that removes water and then quickly adding the actual coating product. I've had good luck but have heard a lot of people complain that Kreem doesn't work and I suspect that they had issues with one of the steps. Like many tasks, prep work is the most important step.
 This time I wouldn't be using Kreem. Brooke bought a product called Caswell Tank Sealer and this would be my first experience with it. This is a two part epoxy. The main difference on a metal tank is that you don't etch the tank to bare metal. Get the loose rust out and call it good. According to the instructions the most important thing is accurately and completely mixing the two parts if your not using all of it. I had a kit for sealing something much bigger than a two gallon Rebel tank but mixed all of it when I discovered how thick the mixture was. Even after adding a splash of xylene to thin the mix it still moved like cold syrup. The Rebel tank doesn't let me see much at all inside the tank so I had to imagine where the mix was flowing. This is much easier when the mix is thin and flowing evenly.

 After feeling confident everything was coated, I removed the plug on the tank petcock and propped the tank to drain the excess. We went to dinner and when we came back hours later I noticed a lot of epoxy had drained and it was kinda gummy. I was nervous I hadn't done something right and it wasn't going to set up. The martinis insured I would sleep well despite my concerns. This morning when I inspected the tank I was pleased to see a rock hard 1/2" thick layer of epoxy in my catch bucket. I'll bring home an inspection camera tomorrow and see if I lined the entire tank.

 My impressions of the Caswell product are good. It is easier to use than some other products and doesn't smell as bad (if at all). There are no chemicals left over to deal with either. A quick look at their site tells me pricing is comparable too. I think I'd be willing to try it again.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Resolutions and Cold Fingers

 Well we've got a few months in the books for this year and I'm wondering how many of us are sticking to whatever resolutions we made. I don't usually make these personal promises to myself and heres why...
They're hard to keep. I can justify to myself that dipping a doughnut in soup is healthier than eating it plain no matter how much bullshit that statement really is. It could be worse. At least this is just a glazed treat and not frosted or stuffed with cream, so I got that going for me.

 I got out for a ride on Sunday. Temps were in the mid thirties and that would seem bad if I were just coming off a few months of warm weather but the fact is we are just coming off winter and these temps feel good for now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of cold weather but I am a motorcycle junkie and that trumps a little cold misery.
 I filmed with the GoPro on this ride to continue experimenting with capturing the best video. This time I used the chest mount with a skeleton back cover (for better audio). The viewing angle sucked and wind noise was still a problem so I didn't really bother making a "ride" video. I need more experience editing so I just made a short film to get some practice.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lost and Found

 It seems lately that losing parts has become a regular pastime of mine. You know, kinda like a hobby.  Some people collect baseball cards or belly button lint. I misplace shit am I'm good at it. Oh sure I usually find the lost crap but its never in a timely manner. Because of this I decided to be very careful when I removed the steering neck from Brookes Rebel. I know the ball bearings are loose in there and they are small. I also doubt anyone has had this apart in thirty years so I'm not sure if they will stick in place or fall out easily.
 Despite my best attempts to not drop these bearings, I dropped a bunch of them from both the top and bottom. I was doing my best rain man impersonation trying to count them as I heard them bouncing off parts of the bike and landing on the lift table.

Been there, done that. Blogged about it. Next step was to take a head count and see how many actually went AWOL.

 I was missing five but they hadn't gone far. At least four of them were easy to locate. That leaves one. This is typical. If you can't find one then you might as well not have any and just buy new bearings.
 It was now time to go into search mode, a drill I'm all too familiar with. Break out the cheater glasses and a bright flashlight, start on one end and try not to disturb too much stuff. This particular search included a halftime break where I ran to the gas station for more refreshments. When I got back, after a lot more searching I finally found that one sneaky bearing hiding under the jack.

 Don't beat yourself up if you don't see it. I didn't see it the first two times I looked under there but because I have a lot of practice at this lost and found hobby of mine it eventually turned up.
 So thats it. The steering neck bearings have been serviced and the next step is dealing with the fork tubes.
 In other news...I woke up this morning checking the forecast and realized its about that time of year when my truck can sit outside. That means I can have that bay open for bikes. This is a good thing because I've got a lot of work to do on the ones that were in hibernation.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quick Ride On The Sporty

 Its O'darkthirty and I have to get out and plow snow so todays post may be a bit bland.

 Having skipped the 50 degree weather on Saturday left me wanting to ride so I decided to do it on Sunday. I also wanted to get some GoPro footage so I could school myself on that whole process. Its a good thing I'm practicing now because I made a lot of mistakes and had a few problems. This video isn't about picturesque riding, oh no. Its about my GoPro learning curve. I choose to share it cuz I don't really give a rats raw rump what anyone thinks about it, I just want to get better and I'm open to suggestions.
 One thing that went wrong right away was linking my phone to the camera. If I would have been able to accomplish that feat I would have been able to preview the video and prevented myself from filming everything upside down. The editing software allowed me to flip it but what a newbie mistake.
 Wind noise is something I'll have to work on too. If I would have had the camera on the other side of my helmet I'd still hear the wind but my drag pipes might have offset that a bit. Things may be much different on the Ultra with its windshield or the Rat with the muffler pointing at my helmet. I've seen riding video where they turn the camera on themselves for a bit and that makes things more interesting. I have enough different mounts that I can do this and I think I'll try it next time.
 GoPro provides free editing software but I dismissed it because I couldn't figure out if it was possible to add a lot of captions. I like captions so I chose something else that made adding captions easy. The program crashed about 5 times during the editing process and finally ate my entire project. Theres two hours I'll never get back. I ended up doing the basic editing on the GoPro software then using that video as the raw footage for Movie Maker and added my captions.
 All these problems and I still haven't addressed any of the available camera settings. Anyway, check it out.