Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Busy Weekend...

I took what I had over to my parents place for some serious progress.

This is the cork board in my dad's garage showing all the past projects, bikes, vw's etc. I didn't get a shot of the impala from when I was a kid, but oh well.

Here are the unwanted/needed tabs on the frame. The one on the left was for the rear fender, and the one on the right was a bottom mount for a horseshoe style oil tank.

I grabbed a quick shot of my Dad tacking some mounts in place. Don't worry we used a helmet for finish welds. I was outside mostly making brackets from the 1/4 plate, using the real tools.

Real tools part 1
Metal Chop Saw
Bench Grinder with Wire Weel

Real tools part 2
Cutting Torch
Angle Grinder with Coarse Pad

Made things A LOT easier.

Raw plate with markings

Drilling the holes after shaping it on the bench grinder

With the welds.

My Dad's exact words:

"Don't take a picture of that, those welds are real ugly."

I have nothing but time to shape all the welds and make them a little nicer. You might never see them, but I'll know they're there.

Top view of new brackets:
Seat hinge pivot
seat spring perches
oil tank top brackets
oil tank back bracket fabed and welded

Wider shot of the new brackets

This one shows the fabed and welded bracket for the bottom of the oil tank.

That's what I get for putting in a custom tank, and not just using a horseshoe tank that was meant for the frame.

We also welded up the old tank mount holes.
Ground smooth, ready for new ones.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The seat...

So i bought a seat pan and foam from Biltwell, along with their seat hinge.

I have also purchased a dual choppershox kit for suspension, as well as a kit to cover it with leather.

The leather kit came with a large piece of leather, some foam padding (not needed), brass screw rivets, choice of leather dye, and a sealer for when it's done. The kit in black came predyed, so I got natural and bought some black dye from the shoe store. The kit was $85. The closest bid from the pros was around $800. They are much better, and do it for a living, but I can't swing the loot.

The shock kit came with two shocks (for 200lb or over) and all the hardware and tabs to weld to the seat and frame. It was $149. The word on the street is these pay for themselves through skipped trips to the back doctor. My kidneys will thank me.

How I learned to tool?

I watched all the videos by this chick on the expert village youtube channel. The info is good, but nothing is going to make up for just doing it. Trial and error. Here is the link to the youtube stuff.

I couldn't get the leather to stretch over the curve of the back of the seat without showing dimples visible from the top (I can't care how the bottom looks, not a professional here). I improvised with a leather tool belt and leather boot laces bought at OSH. I cut the belt to fit the area I needed, laced it up with the leather by punching holes with an awl and drill bit when I could, and dyed the whole thing to blend together well. Real McGyver stuff. Leather Belt and laces were around $20. Still around $100 spent for a custom tooled seat. Plus it falls into the overall theme of the bike - "Blame Me, I Built It." The seat is mostly black, tan for the hockey mask, some laquer pens were used and sanded down later to get the weathered blue and gold on the mask rivets. We shall see if the color lasts. Even if the whole thing wears down, I can do another one, learn from past mistakes, and still do it for around $100 bucks. I could probably do one for someone else if I was inclined. And I thought my BA in Art was wasted. Ha!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pressing in the neck cups...

I check magazines, seen some weak TV shows, and scoured the internet for the right way to press the neck cups into my frame without messing them up and keeping them flush. This may seem random or out of place, but I have to accomplish what I can on my own. I was outside filing down welds and noticed how freaking hot it was outside. The bulb went off to get some cold water and the two went together. Hot Day, Ice Tray, press my neck cups in?

If I follow the TV method I would just hit them with a hammer then go argue with my Dad...

I found this article from Fabkevin, and am following it to the letter: Tech Tips

In addition I have read it helps to freeze the cups (shrinkage) and put the frame out in the sun (expansion). This is California and the sun is out today so here we go. Yay!

The cups and the tool.

With these, and a little body english, you can muscle it in with zero damage to the cups or frame.

I don't have a welder, so I used JB Weld on the threads and endcap of the set nut.

frame outside

cups in the freezer

ice cold

bottom cup, set,

top cup, set

I'm Not "Old School" on Purpose...

I have started the trudge.

The frame came with some tabs for a seat hinge and springs I don't want/need.

The seat hinge mount from Biltwell is much beefier and slick looking.

And Choppershox come with tabs to weld to the cross tubes.

So the weekend checklist goes as follows:

- Delete unwanted tabs/mounts
- Fabricate seat bracket for choppershox (1.25 by .25 thick steel plate)
- Press in neck cups

The tools: minimal

safety glasses

sawzall with metal blade.

I know I should get a grinder or a cutoff wheel setup to replace the sawzall/dremell and the file.

You got one for free?


A little sweat and the results are the same.

old seat hinge gone.

seat spring mounts cut down substantially.

Now I see I need to smooth out the unwanted tank mounts (mine will be frisco mounted) so break out the file and the sweat.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Choose your weapons...

I have already laid the bread on a lot of stuff, but I will post a blog, with photos, for each one with progress.

This is just a rough overview of what I have, and what I want.

My main weapon is a stack of The Horse Backstreet Chopper Magazines. I have every issue from #12 on up. I have been reading this for a long time, taking notes, and brainwashing myself on the coolest bikes in the world. I took my already vintage work ethic and found out it really is cool to do it yourself, figure it out, or fuck it up along the way.

My frame, bars, oilbag, rear brake, springer, and kickstand are all from flyrite. Since most of my family resides in Texas, it just felt right. I have a Reach For the Sky frame - no up, no out, 30° rake. 12 inch narrow apes, sprotor polishe brake kit, and a DNA 2 under spring front end. The oilbag was a clearance steal with all the necessary mounts.

I got a seat pan and foam setup from Biltwell along with their black seat hinge and stash tube, and decided I was going to learn to tool leather. Yay! I have zero experience with it, but I wanted it to be one of a kind, and done by me. The general theme of the bike might be "blame me, I built it." I may just get a helmet from them, as well as their kit for building your own pipes. I am asking for the punishment I suppose.

I sent the photos of the finished setup over to Biltwell so they could laugh at me, instead (holy shit) they posted it on their blog! I literally went from 6 to 12. The Link: Jason

I got my seat shocks (no stock springs for my 250 lb ass) and screw it up yourself leather kit from choppershox. Dual shocks with all the tabs along with the leather, rivets, and dye. I really tried to price out a leather job from the pros but couldn't afford their greatness. I will post a blog detailing the process of making an adapter plate for the seat (I am NOT messing up the nice powdercoated pan) and welding the remaining tabs on the frame, sourcing the nylon washers, and welding the hinge mount to the frame. Should be a blast.

I found a local company in Santa Clara making some kick ass risers with very bad intentions included in the price. They have the "Fuck Off," "Fuck You," and an "SS" available imbedded in the tops of the clamps. These all come in aluminum and brass, shorty or three inch rise. Since I have to be different and I plan to frisco my Indian Larry tank I got the 3 inchers with a custom touch. Josh is putting "KILL" on the tops of my clamps. So you can see a "Kill, Kill." Think Jason, think Friday the 13th, and think creepy music before he strikes. Did I mention I have two screen accurate Jason costumes from part 3 and part 5? And I have masks from those two films tattooed on my left arm? I may get to those in a blog, they aren't technichaly part of the deal, but part of the inspiration. I will put "Kill" in every tastefull part of the bike I can.

I have been a huge fan of Indian Larry for a long time. I even have his logo with his neck tattoo below my throat tattooed in full color. With this in mind I convinced my then girlfriend (now fiance) to buy me an Indian Larry dished 3.5 gallon tank for christmas. It has been waiting for this moment for a really long time. I got it when Larry was still alive, pre Legacy. I have no beef with the legacy stuff, just glad I got in before the TV cameras did, and everyone found out Larry was the king. I take a lot of inspiration for how a bike should look from his bikes. He's hauling ass around heaven right now.


Now the Wishing begins...

I want to get custom "kill" pegs from chopper dave. And I would like a custom points cover sporting the ASPO logo and a "blame me, I built it" in there. We shall see. He is might busy by the looks of his blog. I may settle for one of the points covers he did for death machine corpse, and maybe a church of choppers air cleaner, time will tell.

I have every intention of getting a Fabkevin license plate bracket. It will either hold a reworked war eagle light or a rat fink head from mooneyes. I will be getting his remote oil filter bracket to bolt to my 4 speed, and the shit will last forever. I liked the style of his "fuck" kicker pedal over at irish rich's shamrock fabrication page. But alas, I want it to "kill" not "fuck". I will see if I can come up with a drawing he can work from, then find the money to pay him what he wants (I won't have the money his work is worth).

I am 99% sure I want to run the chain primary setup over at Bare Knuckle Choppers. It looks bad ass, I can make a custom guard myself, it's nice and narrow, and the package comes with either a baker or rivera clutch. I'm leaning toward the kick only setup with the rivera. They also sell the Baker 6 into 4 transmission I want. I have a revtech 4 speed out of the basket case I bought (another blog) it will work, but it's not a baker. I would only like parts cappable of outlasting the bike, me, and the earth if possible.

I have every intention of getting the "looky looky" sight guage kit for my tank from the boys over at Nash. They have a few other things that caught my eye, but we shall see where the money comes from. I also like their nasty ole bag products. Specifically the side bag for a rigid in black leather. maybe so.

I have decided on the baas metal craft remote oil filter kit. They have a reputation for quality and it's the same price as getting a morroso from jeggs. I would prefer to keep my business local, or at least in the chopper community.

That about covers it. Till the next blogs detailing the basket case I bought with a mad shovelhead motor and revtech trans. They guy had over 12k into the motor alone, a steal it was.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

So it begins...

I guess I'm starting a blog.

I have blogged in the past about random shit, to no avail, and only when the mood truly strikes me.

This is more of a record, a time capsule for the passage of time.

I have wanted a motorcycle for as long as I can remember. But not the kind you can go into a store and buy. I have wanted a motorcycle I built myself. I have a long history of doing things the hard way, so why should this be any different? I had a deal set up when I was 16 to sell my car and get a raked out extended sportster. This was 1994, and then it was nary the popular thing to do. Since I was serious my parents laid down two ground rules for such a purchase: I had to be 18, and out of the house. Well since I wasn't 18, nor was I out of their house for another 10 years or so, I wasn't getting a motorcycle any time soon.

My Dad on the other hand had a sportster, he tricked it out with whatever he could do himself or get his hands on. Chrome, paint, a king sporty tank, etc. I came along to every trip to Arlen Ness in San Leandro, Bob Dron's HD in Oakland, or even Ron Simms in Hayward. After that was a brief Honda Dresser shitbag, then a Heritage Softail. He tricked the motor out on that one, and did subtle things to make it a looker. It was sold to get my Mom a new car, and the garage was empty for a while. He had a vintage Honda racerish affair and finally moved on to the current Softail Deluxe with plenty of chrome and custom to boot. I to this point have only been able to weld ape hangers and pegs on to bicycles in order to get made fun of throughout high school. No real motorcycle to speak of - the rules you see.

Moving on to a few months ago, I was laid off from a longtime job. It being one of those start from scratch moments in my life: I was 30. I had graduated from college. I had worked my way to around 60k a year. And I had nothing to show for it. I took the severance my work gave me, filed for unemployment, took the European vacation I had already planned with my soon-to-be fiance (she didn't know that - Europe man) and did plenty of thinking on what I really wanted. The severance paid off all of our outstanding bills. I got a year of medical in the deal, and a steady state check to cover the monthly expenses of cars, insurance, rent, etc. I put a little aside to start my fiance's Masters Program, and I did something for myself. I haven't done anything major for myself in a while, so it came new to me. I trolled craigslist for choppers. I wanted to get a roller and slowly put together what I really wanted, to make every part special and one-of-a-kind, to gather from the best in the industry. I found a roller that was too good to pass up. A Flyrite Choppers "Reach For The Sky" Frame, Their rear sprotor brake, A DNA shorty springer, A set of beat shovel wheels, and half a 36 Ford spare tire strip for a fender. And so it begins...

If you have read this far, thank you.
I will try to post with photos as things develop.
I will try to include photos of every piece, every step of the way.
I have never built a motorcycle, I don't know how to weld.
I will have to learn everything.
But it will be mine. So will the blame.