Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why We Ride - Ed Kretz

Someone edited together the Ed Kretz related portions of the film Why We Ride in this little clip. I recall there was discussion of an official Ed Kretz movie at one point. I wonder what became of that.

Monday, December 28, 2015


I'm not the hugest fan of Motörhead's music but it's impossible not to love Lemmy. Living proof you don't have to be a self-absorbed douchebag (or Harley rider evidently) to be a heavy metal icon. Godspeed old friend.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Speedbird Update

I've mentioned here on numerous occasions that my friend English Stephen's "Speedbird" is going to be mind blowing from an attention to detail perspective. Sadly his project has drawn out for years longer than he'd hoped because of a dependency on a third party fabricator who is a flake of unparalleled proportions. That part has finally materialized and Stephen is back on the project again in full force.

When was the last time you drew a full-on professional blueprint and 3D printed prototype of a part you were preparing to make yourself. Did I mention attention to detail? Amazing.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Kretz Squared

Ed Kretz Sr. & Jr. I think I may have posted this before but that won't stop me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Single Cylinder Flathead Combustion Chamber

I've seen tons visualizations and stuff over the years but this actual combustion chamber footage is still just absolutely amazing. Thanks to Norton George for pointing it out.

The Race Of Gentlemen

Bucket list events. I absolutely have to make it to both the Race of Gentlemen and Goodwood one day. In the meantime I guess Allan Glanfield's incredible photos will have to scratch my itch.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Indian Four

Thanks to my old Albuquerque buddy Knucklehead Steven for sharing this Indian Four photo. The subject of the photo is one of Steven's neighbor's father. The was taken around 1940 with his Indian Four. The photo was taken around the Philly area and his neighbor said the bike went away when he got married. Great shot with all the correct era doo-dads.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Origins of Olivia

Lot's of folks know I call my blue bike "Olivia" but not a lot of people know why.

I've named pretty much every bike I've ever owned. When I finally finished my blue bike and had ridden it enough to feel like I really knew it I began trying to think of a name. A few years earlier we befriended a wonderful family from the UK. They had kids near the age of ours so they spent a lot of time playing together. In addition to being absolutely awesome friends we got a lot of enjoyment out some of the cultural differences between British and American kids.

Something about the English accent always made them seem so proper and refined. Their kids were remarkably even keeled too (this might have more to do with them having incredible parents than just being from the UK). One day I was running a carload of our kids somewhere when one of those entertaining moments emerged. I could hear the kids bickering on and off in the backseat and I was a little shocked when I heard their daughter Olivia completely lost her cool. I'd never seen her that upset before. I'd also never heard such a clear and polite threat to pound someone into next Tuesday. It took all I had not to burst immediately into laughter.

Ultimately I learned that while being very polite and refined if you pushed Olivia hard enough you might just find yourself in serious trouble. My Bonneville had those same qualities so it was a obvious choice. My bike's name also had to be "Olivia."

Sadly Olivia's family relocated to Australia when the kids were still quite small. Olivia (the young lady) graduated from high school recently and planned a winter trip to the US. When I heard she was coming I knew I HAD to try to arrange a photo of the two Olivias together.

Olivia & Olivia
Thanks so much to Olivia for humoring me and sitting for this photo. I'm glad she did. They make a pretty excellent pair.

Speedbird Update

It's been a while since I provided a Speedbird update. One of the primary features of the bike has always been a reproduction Triumph girder built by Jake Robbins. AIt can be frustrating but almost every project has some element of third party dependencies that fail to meet agreed delivery time lines. Jake is one of the worst cases of this I've ever been aware of. 3+ years is a long time to deal with repeatedly missed deadlines, excuses, hardships, ignored emails, unanswered phone calls, etc. Ultimately my buddy had to get a family to repeatedly show up onsite at Jake's shop to get him to complete the fork. That said he seemed to have zero trouble getting around to depositing the sizable payment checks. This is the sort of stuff that often torpedoes projects forever. I'm so glad the fork has finally been delivered. It's very difficult build a frame and do mock-up without a fork. I've said it dozens of times but despite the hardships the Speedbird is going to be an absolute work of art.

This photo of the fork's packaging as delivered is kinda representative of the whole experience. Jake does amazing work but I certainly wouldn't recommend doing business with him based on the Speedbird experience. The guy is just a flake of unparalleled proportions.

 Just for comparison sake here is the case Stephen built to ship the fork on it's final Trans-Atlantic shipping leg.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Daylight Holiday Express

My wife recently arranged tickets for the Holiday Express pulled by Southern Pacific 4449, more commonly known as the "Daylight." She made a childhood dream of mine a reality.

My family has some interesting history with 4449. In the early 1940's my grandfather was drafted into the US Navy. I believe he was 38 years old at the time. As a civilian he had been a mail carrier so he would up being stationed in San Francisco to handle military mail. At some point my Dad and his Mom rode the Daylight (4449) to San Fransisco for a visit. For him, being a gearhead, the steam locomotive capable of 110 MPH made a huge impression.

4449 was eventually retired as a static display in a Portland park in 1958. In 1974 4449 was extracted from the park and restored to operation for use as the American Freedom Train. The train then toured the 48 contiguous United States for the American Bicentennial celebrations. When the locomotive reached Albuquerque my Dad took my brother and I down the see the train roll in under power in 1976. I remember us waiting on the side of the road until the train rolled in. I recall being painfully bored initially, if memory serves the train did not arrive until around 2:00AM. The minute I saw and heard it that all changed. What a fabulous machine. It made a huge impression on me too.

I was very impressed with 4449 as the "Freedom Train" and it's mobile exhibits (I saw a real live moon rock!) but I really wanted a ride... Fast forward just shy of 40 years and thanks to my wife it happened!

4449 has been in restored running state in Portland, Oregon since 1981. Operational steam locomotives in the US are required to have extensive boiler testing and inspection every 15 years, a process that can take 2-3 years. 4449 just complected her's we were fortunate enough to get a ride. I was just as blown away as the first time I saw her. Fulfilling the dream was amazing but being able share the experience with my family was even better. I only wish my Dad had been able to be there. Thanks again to my wife for setting it all up and to everyone else that made the trek down to ride along with us. It was all pretty great.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stromberg Christmas

John Stromberg, the painter that painted Olivia, posted a sampling of the Christmas ornaments he painted this year. They are pretty damn cool.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hellmutts Update

I recently spotted Billy at Hellmutts most recent project. Pretty cool. Billy and his wife work their asses off on this stuff. This particular one is fairly simple but as I've posted here before the quality of their work just gets better and better. Every time I think I've seen the coolest helmet liner conceivable they just knock it out of the park yet again.

They are currently pretty back logged with custom work (unless you are Travis Pastrana maybe). That said they always have plenty of cool helmets and other stuff for sale at the shop. Go by and check them out some time.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holy Holes!

Holy SR 500. Here's a "speed hole" approach I've never seen before. Pretty creative.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Triumph Tiger Changes 1939-

Thanks to "British Ironworks" Brian for pointing this resource out. The site shows all the Triumph Tiger model changes year-by-year 1939-1959. Pretty cool. I've seen these sorts of resources disappear on occasion so I archived a copy here too.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cossacks Christmas Party

Flathead Rob and the Mrs. hosted the annual Cossacks Christmas party again last night. It's always fun event and last night was great. I got to spent a fair amount of time chatting with Mike Coski. Mike's Dad Bernard was a legendary local racer, I've posted a photos and content on him several times in the past. Mike is life long rider with limitless great stories. He mentioned last night was the first party he attended in 20 years. I think I can speak for the whole team and say we were really glad he came.

After talking with Mike I came home interesting in seeing if I could find any new photos of history on his Dad. This is Bernard Coski at the Jolly Roger's.

I also stumbled across this Mike Coski interview Dick Earle did for the VME newsletter back in 2010. It gives you a great feel for the sort of stories Mike has to tell. I normally wouldn't post VME content but this is too great not to share, it's exclusive to members. This is a pretty good example of why you should join the VME.

Thanks to Rob & Lynn for hosting the party again. Good times.

Give In To The Dodge Side

As I've mentioned here before Dodge's marketing is the best in the industry. Here's more proof.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Amal Slides

I spotted this write up on FB several months ago. I tried to find the original source but was unsuccessful. Seriously... just buy new carbs if you find yourself in this position. That said, if for some reason you can't get this could be worth a shot. Just don't kill yourself.

Anyone who's messed around with British bikes and Amal carburetors even a little has undoubtedly encountered an Amal Concentric with a sticking slide. Inevitably some ham-fisted gorilla along a poor bike's life over tightens the intake mounting bolts warping the carburetor bore. Naturally the slide typically sticks at wide open throttle! Amal is now selling brand new Concentrics that look identical externally but have been greatly improved. Do yourself a favor and just replace those boogered up old carbs. If however you can't follow that advice for some unknown reason, this is the best advice I've seen for attempting to fix one.

Remove the slide from the bore and take off all the attachments. Drop the slide back in and see where it jams. Then squeeze the carb body with your fingers in various places near the top and note where the slide then drops. The distortion will be at the top of the bore and that's where you will need to squeeze. Using a proper size vice-grips, open the jaws with the  adjuster screw to just fit around the carb body. Turn the screw in 1/2 turn increments and squeeze the top of the slide body where you found the slide to jam with the slide removed. If that doesn't cause the slide to drop smoothly, slowly continue to adjust the screw in small increments until you distort the carb body just enough to allow the slide to drop smoothly. The key here is to work carefully and progressively. Always check by squeezing with your fingers after each vise-grip squeeze. The illustrations show measuring a bore with the carburettor removed but you only need to check the slide in the bore while still in place. I hope this will help anyone with a sticky Amal!