Friday, August 29, 2014

Ran When Parked

1946 Indian Chief - I like this one. Minimal chrome and minimal crap. I like the decals rather than tank badges too.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

More From Lemay 2014

I spotted these photos and thought they were too incredible not to share.

Instrument Restorations

Knowing when to do they work yourself and when to "outsource" is nothing short of an art form for the hobbyist custom bike builder or restoration guy. For me the balance is almost always $$$ vs quality of work. I consider myself a pretty capable guy from a technical perspective. More often than not I am happier with the quality of my own work than someone I might take something to if time is no object. Ultimately I just care about it more. Way too often I've decided to have an expert do some aspect of a restoration and it drags on for months because the guy won't/can't get too it. This can be unbelievably frustrating too. There are of course exceptions. For example, when I've had Trent help me with various fabrication and mechanical tasks the work ALWAYS exceeds my expectations. The guy is just amazingly talented and incredibly anal retentive. 

Some of the specialists this hobby creates are just fascinating to me.  There are tasks that even the most talented do-it-yourselfers among us just can't compete with. Some aren't all that technical, like Lee Lawson's license plate restorations. Others are incredibly technical. As an example, a friend of mine is having an original Stewart Warner speedometer rebuilt for his 1948 Indian Chief by Perry Ruiter. Based on his correspondence so far it appears Perry has skills, tools and and a sense of professionalism that make it very hard to justify doing the work yourself. I think you'll see what I mean...

 OK speedo is calibrated.  You're around 32 at 30 and 64 at 60. which is right in the range the SW factory called for (31-33 and 62-65).  You're a little bit slow at 90, indicating 93 when the factory called for 94-98.  But I always worry more about the 30-60 range than the 90 since that is where the vast majority of your riding will be.  A few pictures for you.  First a SW calibration chart, then the Stewart Warner magnet tester and hairspring selection kit.  This determined I should use a "white" magnet.  Next your speedcup with the hairspring installed (you can see the dab of white paint on the hub).  This is actually apart after initial assembly and testing to verify the white hairspring was the right one to use.  In this picture I still need to install the dampener cam on the speedcup shaft. Then finally, the speedcup assembly installed and in my holder allowing the "glue" to dry.  For motorcycle speedos, because of the vibration, the factory said to use Ambroid on all the screws so as to prevent them from vibrating out.  The hairpsring adjuster you made a new rivet for is supposed to have some resistance to movement from the rivet, but yours moves very easily now, so I also glued it in position.  You can also see the dampener cam above the hairspring.  Need to do the odometer next.
 OK I'll call you once I'm across the border on Monday night. Maybe around midnight.  I could met you at Southgate.  I could call when I get there (maybe 2am) ... Perry

 So, who is the unbelievably good guy you all are using to rebuild magnetos?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Indian Vertical Twins

The Indian vertical twins tend to be sort of a baby only a mother could love. They are a little awkward looking compared to most big British monikers and they were cursed with a pretty miserable reliability reputation (potentially ill deserved as is the case with much vintage MC folklore). According to Edward Turner's biography when he was asked to review drawings of the 248 Scout vertical he expressed unheeded concern over what he called an inadequate main bearing spec. Who knows what if any difference changing the design might have contributed to the products overall success. About all I know about them first-hand is a guy near my old stomping grounds is pretty crazy for them.

I noticed a couple verticals at the recent Lemay ACM Vintage Motorcycle show that I found pretty endearing.

This Warrior is a apparently a local guy's daily rider. The owner seemed like a cool guy and there's no question this bike is rad.

 No shame involved with admitting I was sorta smitten with this little racer too.

Needless to say when I spotted this Scout cafe on Bike EXIF I felt almost setup to like it. Pretty clever and well executed in my opinion. Given it's clear British influence it makes more sense than a Chief powered Featherbed might by some definitions.

I'm not sure I'm ready to drag any of them home with me but it wouldn't surprise me at all if the next one I see gets a closer look than it might have a couple of weeks ago. I love it when I can appreciate any motorcycle in a whole new light.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lemay Vintage Motorcycle Festival 2014

As expected Flathead Rob and I had a pretty good time at the Lemay Vintage Motorcycle Festival. Great turnout and the bikes on average were incredibly high caliber. We met some really cool people as well.  I find to some extent I have to force myself to snap a few photos at events like this because I don't feel like dealing with the destination it requires. Luckily Rob shot some photos too.

I had two thoughts after studying this photo for a few second. 1) I'm not that convinced she actually cares about the detail he's pointing out and 2) I'm not sure the guy with the hat and moustache is staring at Olivia
Birth of a Dream
The concern written on people's faces when a kid starts climbing all over show bikes is palpable. The funny part is the kid may well own the bikes he was climbing on one day
The Triumph turnout was unreal!