Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More From Life

Frankenstein Pre Unit

What do you wanna bet this bike belongs to a machinist.

More New Mexico State Police

Knucklehead Steven pointed out some additional photos in the NM State Police Photo Archives. There is some pretty cool stuff there too.

Funeral escort for Investigator Street. Tucumcari 1937

Officers Frank Mann and K.K. Miller at the 1939 New Mexico State Fair

Lieutenant Penn Winston and Officer K.K. Miller, Santa Fe 1939

Officer Hal Kerr. Vaughn NM 1937

Officer Silas Anderson, 1942

Pancho Villa

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Crocker Spaniel

Granted there weren't a lot of Crockers built but new evidence suggests their scarcity has much to do with how popular they were with canine bike thieves.


My lovely wife found these in the 770 KKOB historical archives. They rule. Incidentally my wife is better than your wife but you probably already knew that.

OK H-D guys. The photo is supposed to be from 1937. Is that whole line U's?

New Mexico State Police - Santa Fe NM - May 1937

New Mexico Motor Patrolmen E.J. House and Charles Miller 1934 Harley Davidson VLD and 1932 Oldsmobile. NM Motor Patrol bought 10 of them in 1934, the first they had. They used stock decals with Harley Davidson removed from the center of the decal replaced by "NMMP"

Amal Monobloc

I'm only posting this because I think I might need it again sometime. Might need this too.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I found this Keith Winter drawing and thought of English Stephen. There's probably a drawing just like it on the title page of the book he's reading right now.

More Old Bike Adventures

Later in the day on Saturday I had the pleasure of accompanying the Ironhead Sportster purchased from Thunderbird HD up to it's new owner's house. The bike sounds great and it was super cool to see it running down the road after several years of collecting dust and being forgotten. The contingent of accompanying bikes was pretty cool too, most of them where pictured in the previous CAD post. Here's another.

Once we got the Sporty back home we had a great time hanging around and chatting. Several members of the group were actively preparing for a vintage ride in California (I think even the Sporty is going along on that one). As such a fair amount of test riding was involved. Several rides on some really amazing bikes were offered. As a rule I generally never ride any bike I couldn't afford to replace. That said when I was offered a ride on a 100 point 1950 Triumph Thunderbird I absolutely could not resist the chance for an A/B comparison with my '51 Tiger.

HUGE freaking mistake! That bike is wonderful. In addition to being absolutely beautiful the bike is just amazingly well sorted. It runs great, stops great, shifts great, everything is just perfect. I'm confident my Tiger will get there someday but that bike is just so finished. The additional torque of the 650 is really nice too. Power wise it is very similar to my Bonneville. I really wanted to take it home. Honestly if I was offered free of charge the Vincent or the T-bird at that moment I would have taken the T-bird. Just freakish and unnatural obsession.

I did manage to get a picture of my Tiger and the T-bird together. Pretty nice pair if I do say so myself. If you look closely in that picture you can just make out the ornamental Bultaco hanging on the wall behind the red mesh. Too damn cool.

Apparently the '47 Chief pictured above hadn't been started for awhile and sorta set it's mind on not starting. I assume the carb just dried out and it took a good bit of effort to get it all flowing again. It's a pretty interesting bike after working on Flathead Rob's '48. 80 C.I. Chief with loads of modernizations (Cycle Electric generator, solid state regulator, CV carb, etc). Once we got it started it sounded wonderful and it's supposed to be a total mile eater. I really enjoyed worked on it with Doug et al on it having just done the all same things with Flathead Rob to get his Chief going. Rob's bike sat 25 years and started second kick... he wins. Incidentally kicking an 80 C.I. Chief repeatedly for half an hour != fun.

All in all it was an outstanding day and my Tiger survived the trip. Sorry Justin wasn't able to stay for the whole thing. Knucklehead Steven and I both have a little wrenching to do.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nitro Top Fuel Bike

I'm met Top Fuel racer Doug Vancil today and got to peek around at his race bike.

The engineering on these bikes is almost inconceivable. You really have to have fabricated parts for your own bike and watched how they performed over time to have any concept of how hard predicting all the weird loads and stresses can be. Now imagine if your bike burned nitromethane and made 1000 HP. 5" bore with a 5" stock. Clutch adapted from a funny car. HUGE everything.

Below is but one example. Check out this drive chain with the duel plates on each side. It's just nuts.

The following are some excerpts from the article I referenced above.

"The thing about the titanium chest protector," Doug Vancil is telling me, "is that it spreads out the force of the explosion in case the engine grenades." The idea, obviously, is that a 2680cc, nitro-powered blast will do less bodily damage if distributed nicely over a Top Fuel racer's torso.

"Less" turns out to be a relative term, however, as Vancil begins to detail a fellow racer's post-engine-explosion injuries: a bruised heart and pancreas, busted-up ribs. A bruised heart? Vancil nods. "The strap over the engine holds in things pretty good," he adds, "but you're still sitting on a time bomb. These bikes are mean."

Someone asked Doug about the strap referenced above while looking the bike over. Doug mentioned rather nonchalantly "Yeah that strap is pretty effective but feel the shrapnel marks that engine explosions have left in the bottom of the frame top tube." Pretty gnarly.

The level of performance from a bike that does a 6.2xx 1/4 mile at 220- something MPH is still a little beyond a normal rider's grasp, from the same article:

Well, you might finally consider that a stock ZX-12R streetbike will run the quarter-mile in a pokey 9.96 seconds at approximately 143 mph. But let's say that you and your 12R had a flying start, and you crossed the dragstrip starting line holding a steady 130 mph. At that 130 mph, you'd cover the quarter-mile in about 6.90 seconds, which means that if Doug Vancil-from a standing start-left at the moment you flew by the Christmas tree at a buck thirty, he'd still beat you to the finish line by almost a quarter of a second and 80 mph.

Kinda wild.

Thunderbird Collection Revisited

I swear. When I wondered aloud what happened to the old bikes at Thunderbird I didn't expect it to turn into such a soap opera. That said, I did manage to find them today. Got to hear a few of them run too.

Harley K

You might think Ironhead Sportsters aren't all that excited. You'd be wrong... this bike is so cool.

You might think Aermacchi's aren't exotic. Again you'd be WAY wrong.

I heard this one won't be brought back to running condition. The parts are simply too irreplaceable to risk it.

I really wanna hear the XR run. Incidentally, it's not the same one I saw as a kid. Still super rad just like when I was a kid though. Huge thanks to the folks that facilitated the guided tour. Pretty awesome.

Emma's 1st CAD

Great motorcycle day today. It may take a couple of days to post all the pictures etc. but here are a few.

I've long been a pretty serious fan of PJ Johnson's '48 Norton International. I was pretty stoked to see my '51 and it together today. There was a day when they could have been track peers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pan Pan

Outstanding. I finally know what to get Nate for Christmas.

Collectors Item

Ah, they're sold out... How long do you think it would have taken for Flathead Rob to notice that I had substituted an Eazy E or Stormtrooper tail light lens onto his '33 Plymouth? Too damn funny.

Thunderbird Collection Update

In a previous post I mentioned that the vintage bikes in Thunderbird Harley Davidson had gone AWOL. A friend filled me in. It seems the previous owner of Chick's Harley Davidson bought them back. They won't be seen by as many people but they will have a great home. I suspect some of them may actually get ridden now which is even cooler.

I remember going into Alcon Harley Davidson when I was a little boy and being completely awestruck by an XR750 that I saw there. I suppose it was the first "real race bike" that I ever saw up close and in person. It could also be that I'd seen Evel Knievel on one, I honestly can't remember. I've always wondered if that was the same bike I saw as a kid.

1956 Triumph Tiger T110

I caught this Tiger on eBay yesterday. The price is pretty high, I'm curious to see if it sells.

It's story is pretty cool:

Purchased new by Mr. Mike Clairmont at the age of 37 in 1956 from Campbell & Cameron Ltd. (now Moto Montreal Cycle) in Montreal. After 44 years of careful ownership Mr. Clairmont returned his Tiger 110 to the selling dealer and commissioned a top-end engine rebuild. Upon completion, Mike enjoyed the bike for what was to be his last summer of riding. The following year Mr. Clairmont entered hospital and passed away at the age of 82. Having no immediate surviving family Mike left his motorcycle to his nephew, also named Mike Clairmont, who shipped the Triumph to his home in Florida and stored it in his garage until selling it in 2009.

In incredible original and complete condition, and still registered to its original Quebec registration, the Triumph then underwent a meticulous complete restoration culminating in the Best in Class award at the prestigious 11th annual Riding Into History motorcycle show the following year.

It almost sounds like it's a shame it got restored. It is pretty though.