Monthly Archives: January 2010
This guy seems to think so…
One of the things that fell apart after Vietnam was Harley-Davidson’s business. All those war surplus bikes got used up. The new bikes were no longer cheap or particularly good. Only the outlaw mystique endured and when Harley came back to life in the 1980s it was because the company was selling the idea of the outlaw as much as it was selling motorcycles. Harleys became the Outlaw Machine because that is what Harley-Davidson wanted you to think.
If you couldn’t afford a motorcycle, the official outlaw company would sell you a tee-shirt. They cost more than just ordinary tee-shirts but that was only because they included a magic ingredient. The magic was, when you put them on you became an outlaw, too.
The simple fact is, Harley stopped being a motorcycle manufacturer long ago. For decades Harley has been a company that sells magic on credit.
Harsh, but not without some truth. A lot of truth, in fact. Harley is flailing around in a death spasm, trying all kinds of crazy stuff, like axing Buell, ditching Lehman Trikes and bringing trike production in-house, and frantically expanding into foreign markets. It all comes off as desperation. Just because I’m a huge fan of Triumph doesn’t mean I want to see Harley go away. No worries on Triumph, however, they’re the only motorcycle company that actually made more money last year, with a substantial increase in sales.
Well these are a blast from the past…
And two more…
Read the rest of this entry
I’m still adding pictures occasionally to my two gallery pages, one for what I consider to be cool bikes (mostly Triumphs-not that there aren’t other brands that are cool), and the other for my own scoot. As far as the latter goes, I’ve added a few separate galleries toward the bottom of the page showing some of the minor fabrication work I’ve done, brackets for relocating the battery, brackets for some quick-disconnect Ameritex bags I used to have and a custom lightbar bracket I created to replace the one that came with the factory Triumph lightbar kit. I’ve got a few pictures of my Harley Hardbags in the main gallery on my bike page, but no real good one showing how I combined them with EasyBrackets to mount on my bike. I’ll see about taking some snapshots of that next time I’m in the garage.
[Updated 4/2/2010 --FJ]
Okay, since I got through the recap of last year, I’m looking forward now. Specifically thinking about my bike and all my failed plans for modifications, and trying not to beat myself up too much. Taking stock of all the parts and supplies I have accumulated since I decided to give my bike an “Extreme Bobber Makeover™” a few years ago and upgrade the braking, I have the following:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the CF that was 2009. I need to get my thoughts down. I also need fodder for my blog, so here goes.
I tried to take control of my health early in 2009. I ‘m not usually proactive but I went to the doctor for a physical in April. Other than high cholesterol I was in decent shape for a sedentary cubicle drone. One week later an infection kicked my ass and put me in the hospital for 12 days. My leg still isn’t better, my left leg is now “acting up.” The only bright side to that experience was losing 17lbs., but I’m still on the hook for a few grand after my insurance paid 90%. I tried Weight Watchers and had some success but I’ve plateaued and now have to figure out what to do next.
I’m still dating Sherri. December 1, 2009 was the second anniversary of our first date. It hasn’t all been wine and roses (what relationship is?), but we seem to be making a go of it.
Okay, he won’t be riding for a couple months at least, but he has a new steed. Dale from Billings, who some of you may know as Roadtrip, is selling all his earthly possessions and moving to Kosova permanently. When I heard he was selling his low mileage 2007 Speedmaster, knowing that John (“Freedom” on BA.com) wanted a Speedmaster next, I played Chuck Woolery and hooked them up. Yesterday John came through Helena to pick me up and we went to Billings to pick up his new bike. It was a killer deal, even without all the accessories. If John didn’t buy it, I would have.
We got back to Helena around 8:30 last night and John crashed (oooh, bad turn of phrase there) in my spare room. After a little Helena hospitality at Steve’s Cafe this morning, I shot some pics and sent him on his way.
2007 Speedmaster, approx. 5600 miles, 2 baffles drilled out, driving lights, clearview windshield, Corbin seat and backrest, K-drive quick release sidebags, Biker’s Friend rollbag, Kuryakyn tourbag, Haynes manual, etc. etc. etc. Poor thing isn’t even broken in yet. Heck, Dale even threw in a gallon of oil and a filter. John is set up for a while. Needs to ditch that AI, though.
Today I received, for the first time ever as far as I can remember, an email newsletter from TriumphRAT.net (TRat). Didn’t know I opted-in for that, but whatever.
An aside: I don’t visit TRat very often. When I do it’s usually because one of my weekly Google News Alerts for either “Triumph Motorcycle” or “Triumph Rocket III” has indexed one of their forum posts. I have a little bit of a dubious history with TRat. I think I found them before I found BonnevilleAmerica.com (BA.com) and indeed, probably found BA.com because of TRat. I had contacted one of the owners, Shawn I believe, because we were using the same content management system, Post-Nuke. We had a few genial exchanges about the software. BA.com quickly started to eclipse TRat, both in amount and quality of information about the Triumph Bonneville America (and later Speedmaster), as TRat didn’t really cater to cruiser riders. I spent 99% of my online motorcycle surfing time on BA.com.
Over the years TRat went through many changes, good and bad. One of the bad changes, IMHO, was their draconian moderation and censorship policy, which I ran up against a few years ago. They don’t allow links in their forum posts to any other site, personal or otherwise. The mere mention of BA.com in one of my posts and in my profile saw the former deleted entirely and the latter “cleansed” of the “offending” information, all without my knowledge. This time my exchanges with Shawn weren’t quite as cordial. Eventually my account was deleted entirely. I do have a new account, and I still don’t use it much, but that explains why I received this email newsletter. Shouldn’t be too hard for them to figure out my username. If I get deleted again I’ll know they’ve found this post.
A HARLEY SPONSORED TRIUMPH WEB SITE!?! I don’t know who is more desperate, TRat for advertising revenue or Harley for market share. I’d say it’s a tie. I can’t fault TRat for taking the money, and I can’t help but think this has something to do with Harley’s latest trick, their “Competitive bike exchange” program:
Regardless, it’s all about eyeballs. Well money. But online eyeballs = money.
For the record, I have been a moderator on BA.com for over six years. We have a moderation policy but it’s not effected by money. The site isn’t monetized at all. We only edit posts for offensive content to make the site family-friendly, and limit discussions of politics and religion because they serve no purpose on the site and only end up offending people.
Got back in the shop (well, Gene’s shop) to start customizing my spare gas tank. Mods on tap:
- Shave stock dash and smooth top of tank.
- Move gas filler forward and right, utilizing a Harley filler bung.
- Fuel sight gauge on the left side.
I’ve got a brushed aluminum monza-style flip up gas cap from NYC Choppers for the new tank. The indicator lights from the dash will be moved to a new mini speedometer mounted up on the bars, with a matching mini tach.
Gene’s doing the metal work and welding while I’m doing all the grunt work, cutting, flanging, templating, etc. He’ll be squirting the paint and I’ll be doing the other grunt work, filling and sanding.
I’ve detailed elsewhere the calamity that was my July Vacation, and my friend’s accident. I’ve posted on Twitter about his recovery but I don’t believe I’ve blogged about it so here you go.
Not only is he up and walking (hobbling is more like it) without a walker or cane, but he’s back to work and driving (has been for a few months now). Pretty remarkable recovery after a fractured pelvis.
Here is the final bit of that recovery: Next week he travels to Billings (I’ll probably tag along) to pick up his new bike, a 2007 Speedmaster. This is probably the most desirable year: still has carburetors and the better looking gas tank. It’s deep red, low miles, loaded with accessories and a heck of a price. The best part is I get to tease him about only buying bikes that I ride first.
In the Fall of 2002 I rode a cardinal red demo Bonneville America while mine was getting its 4000mi tuneup at Tingley’s in Missoula. That’s the bike John bought and eventually wrecked (Here is John and our bikes in 2008, while we were traveling to NW Washington):
When the current owner of the ’07 Speedy came through Helena for lunch, he asked me to take it around the block because he thought he “heard a weird noise.” Sure thing. That was the largest block I think I’ve ever ridden around.
I know what John’s plans are for customizing this bike and I can’t wait to see it. Even more I can’t wait to see him riding again.
[Updated with picture 01/08/10]
The Corbin backrest/glovebox that I posted about finally arrived and it is much cooler than I would have guessed. Honestly, when I first saw it on the Corbin site many years ago I thought it looked a little gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that…meh). But in person it looks much better and it seems to be very well made. The lid seems to seal very well, and the hinge and lock are very good quality. There’s a solid click-thunk when you close it, like closing the door on a well made car.
I haven’t placed it on the bike because it’s -9 degrees and I’m not spending any more time outside than I absolutely have to. I will have to paint the glovebox, but it will probably just be solid black. I still can’t get over what an insane deal this was at $99.
Stay tuned for pictures of it on my bike and after it’s painted. Go back two posts for the pictures from ebay.
I also recently received a black stator engine cover (right-side) off ebay from a Speedmaster and I’m awaiting a clutch cover (left-side) from my buddy’s wrecked 2002 Bonneville America. Those two items, along with my stock silver cam cover, will get matching black powder-coating. Can’t decide which black I’m going for, gloss, semi-gloss, matte or crinkle finish.