Hog.

My new ride – 2008 FXDB ‘Street Bob’ See a couple more shots from the dealer’s web side here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/karlelvis/5934551594/ When I was a kid, my Aunt Penny used to date a biker, a guy in some bike club vaguely connected to the Hell’s Angels. His truck as always full of harley parts, and his […]

Street Bob

My new ride – 2008 FXDB ‘Street Bob’

See a couple more shots from the dealer’s web side here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/karlelvis/5934551594/

When I was a kid, my Aunt Penny used to date a biker, a guy in some bike club vaguely connected to the Hell’s Angels. His truck as always full of harley parts, and his friends user to show up at all hours, dressed in leathers and riding outlandish chopped and bobbed machines.

I loved him, I loved his friends, and most of all, I loved their bikes.

Not long ago, when I was cleaning out Mom’s house, I ran across some saved xmas wish lists in one of mom’s journals. My brother wanted typical kid toys; tricycle, hoppity-hop, pogo-stick, games. Mine? Weapons (new pocket knife), toy guns, and on almost every list, the words “motorcycle” or “chopper”.

I’ve loved motorcycles almost since I could walk. My father rode – vespas when I was little, and then honda and suzuki 250/350 class bikes (bikes I’d love to own now, what great cafe racers they’d make!). My Aunt’s friends rode. my mom’s bosses road (they owned a bookstore, and rode BMW’s, and used to take me out on errands when I was hanging around the bookstore).

Honestly, it’s a suprise it took me so long to get my first bike – I just kind of got distracted in my early twenties. I don’t think I actually got my first motorcycle ’til I was close to 30, but I’ve been a dedicated, almost every-day rider ever since.

I’ve never stopped wanting a harley. But you know, it’s not just harleys.

My first bike was a clapped-out ’83 yamaha Virago 920, that I bought for $800; it was worth maybe half that, and had mechanical problems in almost every part of it. It sucked; it was heavy as hell, ran like shit. And I loved it to pieces. Since, I’ve been through a half dozen or more bikes, in all styles. Yamahas, kawasakis, triumphs; cruisers, standards, sport bikes, touring bikes, cafe racers. I just plain love motrcycles. And I’ve never had a motorcycle I loved as much as my Triumph Thuxton, best bike I’ve ever owned.

But you know, there’s something just plan beautiful/stupid about a harley.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t love Harley-Davidson�. I don’t love the brand, or the logo, or the image. Not as it is today, not with the gloss and the eliteism and the air of superiority. I don’t love the logos, and as much as I love harleys, I kind of hate when people ask me if i ride harleys (they assume shaved head and tattoos and beard and shades and boots and skull rings has to mean harley).

I almost universally dislike anything that says ‘Harley-Davidson�’ if it isn’t a motorcycle. But god dammit, I love the moyorcycles. I love the machines themselves.

I’ve had severa go-rounds with almost buying a harley. In the 90’s I was on a waiting list (back when you had to get on a waiting list for harleys) for an ‘low rider sport’ (a sapphire blue FXR with factory low drag bars), but bagged out at the last second because 1) I really could not afford it at the time, and 2) there were spousal approval issues. I’ve had a couple of near-missing with H-D’s since, the last being two years or so back when my doctor (who’s a huge motorcycle freak) had his bike, dripping with extras, up for sale for a steal of a price. But i forgot the whole thing during a minor work crisis, and he’d sold it before I got my head back on to it.

Like all great chance things though, a harley just walked back into my life the other day – though not this harley.

My doctor knew I was vaguely considering a harley; we talk bikes every time I see him. So when one of his riding buddies mentioned he was selling a harley, Doc thought of me and gave my contact info to said buddy.

You’ll laugh, and maybe weep, at this fucking monstrosity. It’s a labor of love (maybe bad love). The seller and his pal bought matching FXSTC Softail Customs in ’99, and set about chroming the living fuck out of everything. Both bikes had custom paint, custom matched seats, even helmets painted to match. They did a spectacular job, and loved the hell out of these bikes at one time. But recently, they’d both moved on to new hobbies, and just sort of quit riding much. One of the pair (that one in relatively understated purple/blue flames) sold last year, and this create just went up for sale in the last week.

Thing is though, my aesthetic, almost universally, isn’t garish. My favorite colors are gray, army green, and black. I like things one color, not shiny. I generally hate chrome. My aesthetic for cars runs to primer gray, and my clothing is mostly black, gray and green. If a t-shirt decoration has more than one color, I generally won’t wear it. So this? It’s just NOT ME.

Thing is, though, that I absolutely LOVED riding it. I didn’t want to give it back. Paint or no, if I’d had a checkbook in my hand, or if it’d been a grand cheaper, I might have bought it on the spot. But I wasn’t quite committed.

I left thinking, I am probably going to buy that.

Only, the more I looked at the picture, the more I realized the paint was going to make me crazy, and so was all that shiny-shiny chrome. And it just seems criminal to change it.

I waffled, with each waffle-cycle getting closer to ‘no’.

And then I though, well, fuck, I really want want a harley, and always have. Not that harley, but really. Why don’t i have one yet?

And I made the mistake of perusing current models.

What I did not want: fussy, complicated, full-dress, touring, or small small starter bikes. What I did want: stark, simple, as non-shiny as possible. This quickly got me to the Street Bob. And I started looking for used bikes.

Alas, I found the exact thing I wanted, at my nearest dealer. When I talked to him later, he said “your mail came in at 3am, what were you doing, midnight shopping?”

This bike has exactly what I wanted: bobber style, almost all black, no chrome to speak of, matte-finish paint (Harley’s low-gloss ‘Denim’ paint). It even has an amazing rinehart 2-into-1 pipe which is both unique looking, and sounds awesome (a bit louder than I’d ideally want, but wow, beautiful).

I didn’t intend to go buy a harley. But sometimes one just has to give in to lust.

Oh, and no, I did not get rid of the Triumph. Not on your fucking life. I’m keeping that bike, probably forever. Funny, though; when I was picking up the Street Bob, I left my Thruxton at the harley shop for a while. All the mechanics came over and looked at it, wanting to know if it was coming in as a trade, and when I said no, if I wanted to sell it. When the harley mechanics want your bike, well, that’s just cool..

Thruxton mods: FEK and flashers

You may think I’m obsessed. It’s true, I’m obsessed. It’s been a really, really long time since I had fun wrenching on a vehicle. I think the last time I actually had fun working on my car, I mean really working on it, was my first Toyota truck (a 1979 SR5 long bed). I used […]

You may think I’m obsessed.

It’s true, I’m obsessed.

It’s been a really, really long time since I had fun wrenching on a vehicle. I think the last time I actually had fun working on my car, I mean really working on it, was my first Toyota truck (a 1979 SR5 long bed). I used to do all kinds of crap to it, because it was so easy to work on. More recently, the only car I’ve really spent any time on was my red Jeep wrangler; mostly minor bolt-ons or removals.

I’ve never worked on my own motorcycles significantly; never really a been a big customizer. But when I set out to replace my Trophy (a big beast of a bike, all covered in full-body plastic), I had a couple of criteria: light, nimble, and most of all, no fucking plastic. I wanted to be able to work on it, whatever bike I chose.

When I settled, after considerable thought and research, on a Bonneville, I couldn’t have picked a much more customization-friendly platform. All the bikes in the bonneville family (The original Bonnie, the Scrambler, and the Thruxton) share a uniform frame, engine, and geometry; so parts are almost completely interchangeable. Being the product of a long history of chopping, bobbing, and café-ing, there’s also a huge market out there for parks, kits and gear.

There are literally dozens of vendors making and selling parts, and hundreds of easy bolt-on options. For a beginner, one could spend thousands before getting up into the range of work that’s actually difficult, and for experienced wrenchers, there’s really no limit to what you can do to these things. Like the original 60s Triumphs, they’re made to be re-made.

To say I’m having fun with this is an understatement; I’m having an absolute fucking ball.

My list of things to do is just getting longer and longer, from changes to the air intake (air box removal kit and air injection removal), to the exhaust (black pipes, predator cans), to the rear wheel (fatter tire), to a new tank to replace that tiny teacup of a tank the Thruxton comes with. There are about a hundred other things I could do, ranging from power increases to paint; time and money are my limits.

But here’s my next customization.

ugly_bonneville_taillight.jpg
One of the common objections to the Bonneville family is the ugly-ass tail light and signal cluster, which looks like something off of a ’50s scooter or the back of an Edsel. There are many after-market tail-light and turn signal options that are more in line with the bike’s sixties/seventies styling.

Alternately, particularly among Café Racer enthusiasts, one of the most common mods is what’s called a Fender Removal Kit, or FEK, which removes the rear fender entirely, replacing it with a plate under the seat (to protect wiring), and a minimal tail-light and license bracket.

Every major Triumph parts dealer offers an option for this, each approaching it a bit differently. I wound up with the kit from British Customs, mainly because I liked the ‘cats-eye’ tail light (though also because the wiring harness they provide is particularly user-friendly).

To go with this, I chose a pair of turn signals from Harrison Specialties, which I just happened to stumble on via a Buell forum. They satisfied my taste for aggressive, bullet-shaped turn signals and super-bright LEDs. I admit it, I’m a whore for LEDs, I’ve replaced all the turns, all the idiot lights, the gauge illumination, and would replace all the lights on my car too, if I had the time.

Below are some pictures; compare the look of the rear fender here, to the new version, here and here. The difference in terms of a clean, classic, retro appearance is worlds apart, and I couldn’t be happier with it.

Other smaller mods are a ignition relocation kit from Joker Machine (who make the coolest shit ever), moving the ignition from next to the headlight (a dumb-ass place for it; it’s ugly there, and it’s awkward to reach), and small fairing-mount front turn signals, and a billet choke knob, also from Joker.

Below is a slide show; let me know if you can’t get to the whole set.

(this seems to be broken at the moment, it’s not clear why, but I’ll fix it shortly)

(Click to go to full-size photos)

There are a whole lot of other parts I installed as part of this, though most of that’s only interesting if you own a Triumph you’re working on. Read on if you’re interested in the hard details

Read more “Thruxton mods: FEK and flashers”

Thruxton mods: Emgo Viper fairing

Here’s my first significant attempt at customization on my Thruxton. (I’m trying a MobileMe embed here, it should be a slide show, let me know if it isn’t). (Click to go to full-size photos) After a ton of research and a ton of over-thinking, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a fairing for my […]

Here’s my first significant attempt at customization on my Thruxton.

(I’m trying a MobileMe embed here, it should be a slide show, let me know if it isn’t).

(Click to go to full-size photos)

After a ton of research and a ton of over-thinking, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a fairing for my Thruxton.

Sold by Bella Corse as the “Cafe Racer 1/4 “Bikini” Fairing”, it’s an Emgo “Viper”; your basic, old-school ABS plastic, universal mount fairing.

It’s more or less exactly what I had in mind when I first started thinking about fairings; reasonably cheap, really easy to install, and looks as retro as hell.

I’m pretty damned happy with it.

Next on the list to do is new turn signals; I had to remove the stockers to fit this, but I hate the stock signals, so it’s a win both ways. I have these beautiful billet LED lights from Joker Machine to install; that’s my next project (I need some additional wiring to convert things to LED).

I’m having far to much fun with this project; every little thing I do makes this motorcycle feel like mine.

More pix of the project as it progresses.

not for three weeks

I had these plans to post additional pictures for two of my last posts; better pix of the Thurxton, and of course, new pictures of my back once it was healed up.

Clearly we’re still waiting.

My back is, to the best of my ability to tell, completely healed. Which means it’s time for more ink, obviously. Only thing is, I have a conflict next week when I was scheduled to get the next session. So it’s going to be another month or so ’til we have progress.

The bike, though, is everything I’d hoped. It is, without question, the most fun ride I’ve ever had (at least the most fun ride that didn’t have a pulse). As I’ve gotten to know it, I’ve liked it more with each ride. The handling is fantastic, the exhaust note from the TOR pipes is gorgeous, and it’s got all the speed I need (no, it’s not the fastest bike I’ve ever owned, but I’m ok with that). I just need better weather to get on it and ride every day (I no longer own any rain gear for riding, so I’m still your basic fair weather rider).

However, both things need to get postponed for a while, since I’m going in next week for rotator cuff surgery; I’ll be off my bike for three weeks, and obviously the surgery conflicted with my tattoo schedule.

Honestly, that’s the main reason I’m bothered by the surgery. The repair in my shoulder will be minor, and the recovery should be reasonably quick. But for a boy with a brand new toy, hearing “not for three weeks” sounds like an eternity.

On the other hand, enforced time off work isn’t sounding that bad, even if it comes with pain. And there’s percocet. Mmm, percocet.

EDIT:

After spending the weekend working on clearing out mom’s house and my brother’s long-ignored storage space, I realize there’s no fucking way I can be down for three weeks right not. I’ve postponed the surgery (for a couple of months, I suspect).

Luckily, my tattoo appointment was still clear; which means I *can* get inked after all. Which is WAY better than getting cut open.

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Ok, here’s the new Koolknobs shift knob in place – plus custom shift boot by ShiftStyle, and hotrod flames on the console by Barb. (click for a larger view) Edit: For those who keep asking what the HELL is that?, it’s a rattlesnake’s rattle. Actually it will look great with my boots.

Ok, here’s the new Koolknobs shift knob in place – plus custom shift boot by ShiftStyle, and hotrod flames on the console by Barb.

shake_rattle.jpg
(click for a larger view)

Edit: For those who keep asking what the HELL is that?, it’s a rattlesnake’s rattle. Actually it will look great with my boots.

b-b-b-bad

Come on, you know you want to play with my knob. Admit it! I’m still filtering ideas about a full custom shift knob; there are too many great ideas, and I don’t wanna rush because then I’ll have a better idea the day my first one arrives, and need another. I found Bruce at Koolknobs […]

Come on, you know you want to play with my knob. Admit it!

rattle.jpg

I’m still filtering ideas about a full custom shift knob; there are too many great ideas, and I don’t wanna rush because then I’ll have a better idea the day my first one arrives, and need another. I found Bruce at Koolknobs can make ’em out of printed material also so I can use original artwork emailed as well as physical objects.

I’ve also considered using a MacRae clan badge, or even a piece of tartan fabric (I have a kilt sample in MacRae Red).

Too many ideas. Hence, I’m getting the above rattle-snake knob, because you know what I am?

B-b-b-Bad!

(sing it with me now)

Only as young as you drive

Shed a sad, sad tear for the death of the land yacht. (waves goodbye) A year ago, I made a silly, whim purchase. It was a deal, as they say, too good to pass up, on a vehicle I loved, but never really felt good about. Since buying my Titan, I’ve loved driving it, hated […]

Shed a sad, sad tear for the death of the land yacht.

(waves goodbye)

A year ago, I made a silly, whim purchase. It was a deal, as they say, too good to pass up, on a vehicle I loved, but never really felt good about.

Since buying my Titan, I’ve loved driving it, hated parking it, enjoyed it’s roominess, made great use of it’s functionality for hauling, and increasingly, raged at it in gas stations.

My friends asked to borrow it, asked me to help them move, and lambasted me over global warming, the death of polar bears, melting ice caps.

And I’ve never quite dealt with it being, you know, tan.

Today I gave up. Dinosaurs, inevitably, must seek tar pits.

You’re only as young as you drive, and my new ride is pretty fucking young.

xb.png

take it, torchwood, and my truck

I spent last night trying to write; my family were out, and I was alone, and reasonably free of urgent must-do tasks after having worked most of the weekend. I had in mind a short piece of erotica, something inspired by a scene in an episode of The Shield (the phrase ‘take it‘ has a […]

I spent last night trying to write; my family were out, and I was alone, and reasonably free of urgent must-do tasks after having worked most of the weekend.

I had in mind a short piece of erotica, something inspired by a scene in an episode of The Shield (the phrase ‘take it‘ has a way of inspiring my erotoc imagination). I have characters in mind and the barest bones of a story.

Alas, I had a can’t-sit-still moment. I felt like I’d been pounding Pimp Juice all evening;Iwound up fidgeting and twitching, couldn’t stay in my chair long enough to actually keep my hands on my keyboard. Instead, I did laundry, washed dishes, and then finally managed to watch the season two opener of Torchwood (James Marsters snoggin’ John Barrowman; I mean, come ON, how can you not love this show a little?).

At least I got something started, though, so we’ll see. By boss is on vacation, and that used to be a good time to write, back when I had a little leeway to goof off; but who knows, maybe I’ll find a couple of hours this week for producing slacking.

In other news, my truck is due back somewhere around the end of the week. I miss it like a walrus misses his bucket. I’m drivin’ a tan mini-van right now, and I could not feel more out of place than I do in this vehicle. The only good thing about vans is that when the seats come out, there’re a great place for a mid-day shag, but who has time for a mid day shag anymore? Plus, I just put a better stereo with ipod integration in my truck, and I’m about to tear off my own ears from having to listen to the radio.

truck carnage

How this happened is rather a long story. Let’s just say there was a lamp-post, and a concrete garbage can. Was, because they suffered sudden, catastrophic failure when introduced rather rudely to my truck. “Hello lamp-post, What cha knowin’?” This is the aftermath vis-à-vis y truck. The other parties faired less well and are now […]

How this happened is rather a long story. Let’s just say there was a lamp-post, and a concrete garbage can. Was, because they suffered sudden, catastrophic failure when introduced rather rudely to my truck.

“Hello lamp-post,
What cha knowin’?”

This is the aftermath vis-à-vis y truck. The other parties faired less well and are now more or less expensive land fill, but alas I seem to have no photographic evidence.

Truck Carnage-1

There was absolutely no intoxicant involved in this. I swear. Unless you count Hunnid Racks.