Tuesday, March 31, 2009

'72 XLCH Update

I shot the tank and at first wasn't too happy with the shade of orange (not as red as H-D's), but it's growing on me so, it will probably be fine for now. MC art is Photoshop, graphics to be determined (hmmm...). It's interesting how the combination of an orange tank and no front fender makes the bike take on a street tracker look but I'll be running a fender.

A future notion I may explore: bob a very small front fender (cut even or just a bit in front of mounts and very short in the back), then paint it flat black to minimize it further.

These are not the bike's original tanks so, at some point, I'll probably paint the other set of tanks and fenders white (homage to my first bike), then I can switch them back and forth when I crave a change.

As this previously posted art shows, I've had orange in mind for awhile.

For now I'm going with the bobbed rear fender. With it, I can reach the rear bolt that holds the cobra seat instead of having to remove the wheel. Then, I can switch out the two seats as the mood strikes. I've even thought about a solo and pillion.

I'd always thought to make this a convertible bike. When you like so many styles, having a bunch of spare parts is great alternative to owning several bikes. Less cost and less space needed. Now, where did I stash that turtle tank and boat tail?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Da Devil Made Him Do It

Krazy Kevin sent over some pictures of his very wicked '41 chop. You might say it's a 41-41, cause he's owned it for 41 years. I had already admired this cool chop on his blog, and was only too happy to oblige in sharing it with those that may not have burned their retinas on it.

Old School Cool,... aaa.... make that, HOT. This scoot looks like it leaped right off of a early David Mann painting. Note the rare anti-vibe brace in the sidecar loops

Showing Class 101: Although it's chopped, Kevin maintained RESPECT for the old frame by fabricating a tunnel on the axed Harley tanks that does not disturb the stock frame brackets beneath it.

Have you ever seen one of these? Out of sight basket weave oil tank.

Is this full floating seat cool, I mean HOT, or what?

Need I say more?

Features and Credits: 21/16 rims-Avon Speedmasters. Stock drum brakes. XA springer. Sportster mag. One piece/one off exhaust system with Superior megaphones. Basket weave oil tank and pitchfork sissy rail with nickel plating. Free floating seat. 4 speed trans w/suicide shifter. Calif "stomper" brake pedal. Much thanks to Bob McQueen (motor&trans), "Sparkie"(welding&fab), Wendy(pinstriping), His loving wife Sue-Z-Q for all the hours in those cold & damp garages!

The Devil may have made Kevin build it but, I'm glad he sent it over, no matter what the motivation was.

For some East Coast Chopper History and Perspective, go check out Kevin and crew's blog.
White Knights in the House of Colors

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Decisions Decisions?

I REALLY! need to finish my '72 XLCH, and the only thing holding me up is paint. I'm building it on the cheap as just a simple bike for buzzing around town. It's been sort of a personal challenge to build it with as little money spent as possible and I've always thought, If I don't like the way it rides when it's finished, I'll just sell it. so again the less spent, the better.

I have spares of just about everything including three sets of tanks and fenders.

Should I keep it a classic '72 with the stock front and rear fender, air cleaner, original H-D cobra style seat, and Gary bang sissy bar?

Or, the same except with bobbed fenders? Rear ain't bobbed here. This what I originally had in mind.


Lately, I've been leaning to a more vintage look. Bobbed fenders, round air cleaner, and an old buddy seat? I could also do it this way but with stock fenders.

I grow tired of colors fast so, paint will be one of the following: Black, Gray, White, or Orange (how'd that get in there?), with depending on color, Orange, Black, or White pin stripping.

Yeah, '72's didn't come with fork boots but, I like them.

To make matters worse, I also have the early '61-'66 4 gallon turtle tank and a boat tail.

I shouldn't ask but,...
Any thoughts?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wallet Size Panhead

The loves of one's life. A perfect example of what a lot of guys carried in their wallet. The aging of the photo, the picket fence, and background now takes on an impressionist (artistic), feeling.

I have a friend that likes to make fun of guys (the "yeah, I used to have a bike" types), who still carry pictures like this 20-40 years after the bike (and the woman), is long gone.

Attack of the Dressers

Tony and Toni looking sharp

Go check this out:

He just posted some unreal photos from a dresser road trip circa 1965. The colors and styles will blow your lid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top n' Tails


Class act. It's amazing what a set of handlebars can do. That, and the small headlight starts to move it from a bob to a chop. I found this image long before all these blogs got started. Where?, I don't know.


This should have made the Dresser post. There's a lot going on here. Lights are one thing but, when guys start adding those chrome balls everywhere? They must weigh at least a pound each. Who cares when your dragging a 200 lb. bumper? Ahhh, the good old days, when you could put a bike in the trunk. Don't remember where I grabbed this beauty.

Knuckle Couple

Dresser riders aren't the only happy couples. Great pose and stance. Would love to know the year.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Knuckle Sandwhiched

Here's a very cool and interesting old photo

Pre-war? Bob Jobs, does it get any cooler?

I don't know the date of this photo but we can somewhat date the bikes.

The first hint is they all have rectangular foot boards, making them '39 or older. the Knuckle's paint (tank panel), doesn't look quite right (to me), for a '39 but, it does have '39 and up fender trim. The tank panel may be the police type patern. All the 45's have RL tanks ('36 and earlier) and I beam springers. Two have air horns. The farthest bike has the old top of tank mounted speedo and a custom air cleaner instead of the air horn. You can also see the pre- '41, flatter derby cover on the closest bike. It also looks like it has a '34 (single) or '33 and earlier taillight mounted up on the tip of the rear fender. All three 45's have cool old style flamed paint jobs.

Did I miss something? Maybe the good doctor has something to say.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Full Dressers, the Other Custom Bike

Some of you might think I've lost it.

I shouldn't like this bike but I do, and I don't even like red bikes.

Most of us bike enthusiast dig Choppers, Bobbers, Racers, and Antiques, but Full Dressers? They are quite possibly one of the most maligned types of bikes there is. After all, the term garbage wagon ain't exactly flattering.

For Dressers, these two are pretty tastefully done. I prefer the one on the left.

Who can't smile when looking at these bikes?

Because of the chopper, I got into this whole motorcycle thing and over the years my appreciation of all things motorcycle grew. Okay, maybe not all things but, many.

This is what happens when you're born with an extra Chromosome, also known as a Chromosexual.

One of the acquired tastes was the Full Dresser. I went from yuck!, to that's sort of interesting, to later, bitchen! Now I'm not saying I'm going to build one but, there's something in a American folk art sort of way that I love about them.

I like the Dressers from the Duo-Glide era the best. The lights and accessories have a more organic feeling than the later ones.

Is it just me, or is there something kind of beautiful going on here?

Think about this. The Chopper rider generally thinks of themselves as a rebel or an outsider but, it's the dresser riders that never really got any media attention or much published about them. After all you never saw Dresser magazine. (I know, there's a Bagger magazine now but, it's really a different animal) Also, check the blogs, you hardley see any of pictures of them. Full Dressers are sort of the outsider to the outsider.

Even Chopper Dave posted a Dresser. Did he like it, or was he poking fun? It's another bike from the era I like.

Ed Roth was one who tried to reached out. Even though he got flack for it, he tried to include them in his magazine. He went on the major bike runs so, he got to know those folks and appreciated what they did to their bikes.

Here's a mild but sharp customized Dresser. It was restored to it's former glory.

Another mild one, set up more for touring than glitz. I can't help thinking Land Yacht when I look at it. I guess it's no surprise, it's original owner was a truck driver.

Yes, things can go overboard but, that's true of Choppers too. It's just human nature to take things over the limit. You can partly blame that on competition, sometimes just known as, plain old fashioned one ups man-ship.

Some don't know when to stop. If some is good, then more is better? It's funny to think about a guy in his garage adding the latest light or do-dad, then stepping back and thinking... now thats much better!

Anybody remember this one? This Gold Plated bike was in the window of George's Round Up, the country western bar that used to be in Long Beach, Ca.

Some guys get obsessive and can't stop. This one's in the Harley Museum.

Don't tell this proud guy his bike ain't cool... or is that a flying carpet?

"You guys better stop making fun of my bike"!
The rift between bikers was once much larger than it is today. Things have really changed. Just look at the popularity of custom Baggers today. Most of us would have never thought we might one day ride a bike with saddlebags and a fairing. Okay, I admit it, were all getting old.

Because of the rarity of photos and existing examples, I think it makes the old Full Dresser more fascinating than ever.

Keep in mind, many custom bikes, even those you think are ugly, can still be fun to look at.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cop Call #1

I always had a thing for old Cop Bikes (not cops), and think I know pretty much on the subject of Harleys so, it's alway interesting to see something new.

Seeing double? I've seen cop bikes that had springers with dual headlights but, I don't remember seeing them on glides. From Oct. 1959 Enthusiast.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paddy's Day

This month's header wasn't green for nothing!

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Sort of Woman Reads MC ART?

A confident woman. A take charge woman that doesn't depend on a man to ride. The kind of gal who pursues the kind of MotorCycle entertainment that nourishes her independent streak.

What Sort of Man Reads MC ART?

A full throttle man. The sort of man whose desire for adventure knows no boundaries. The kind of guy who knows where to find the MotorCycle entertainment that feeds his wild spirit.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Roth's Custom Bike Magazine Part 2

Blog reader Bjorn 81 sent the following:

Greeting from the UK.
In reference to Choppers Magazine:
"and I could swear I've also seen the July cover with the Choppers Magazine masthead."
Yes you are right.. I've got 1 earlier issue (No1 1967) and about 10 later ones (March69 -Feb70=)
in my collection... attached is a mail from a reader that explains it all...
Anyway, I do like your blog very much so keep up the good work!
Kind Regards
Bjorn81 Kent England
Contributor to

I think Bjorn meant to say I was right about the magazine reader's influence on the process of changing the name back. I've yet to find any hard evidence for two version of the July issue.

Read Irish Rich's comments in the last post.

I went back to check my archives and found the covers below. They along with the ones in the last post validate Rich's commnets.

In the letter at the top of the blog, I think Roth meant to say he slyly changed it back to Custom Bike in Sept. Did he justify doing it for this issue because it featured a dresser? We'll probably never know.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Roth's Custom Bike Magazine?

Until a couple of years ago, I had forgotten about this.
Ever notice how Roth's Choppers Magazine was changed to Custom Bike Magazine for 2 months and then changed back?

I could swear I've also seen the July cover with the Choppers Magazine masthead.

It seems he was reaching out to a broader audience by including all types of customs from dirt and drag machines to dressers. Ed went on lots of bike runs and appreciated the dresser crowd and their bikes. He solicited readers, and I suspect they didn't like it. He did continue to feature all types of customs in the later issues.

Have a

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hollister Photo Exposed

The following was inspired by some recent discussions on the Wing Nuts site.

By now I would think that anybody who's into motorcycles knows this famous photo was staged.

July 7, 1947, staged photo of Eddie Davenport in Hollister, CA. Somewhere I once saw the other unused photos from the photo shoot.

What's always interested me about the photo was the bike. The chromed headlight with Flanders bars and risers was the first thing I noticed. Then I noticed the missing tank shifter. No biggie, lots of dudes updated their bikes. Then I realized that the year was 1947 and Harley's didn't have foot shifts until 1952! A closer look revealed that the owner of the bike had installed a B&H foot shift set up.

Clues that something interesting was a foot (pun intended).

B&H had only started making these kits in 1946, making this bike one of the few around that had the hot set up. What were the chances that of all the bikes at Hollister, they would grab one that had this somewhat rare and cool modification?

The B&H kit. I was originally shocked and disappointed to see that B&H had invented the clutch booster (mouse trap), that H-D later used. The list of innovations that Harley has adopted/ripped from the after market is a long one.

In case you never heard the story of the staged photo here's what happened according to August 'Gus' Deserpa, the guy standing behind the bike with hands in pockets.

"I was projectionist by trade. I worked at the Granada Theater, which was on the corner of Seventh and San Benito. I would have got off work around 11 p.m.. My wife came to pick me up, and we decided to walk up Main Street to see what was going on.

I saw two guys scraping all these bottles together, that had been lying in the street. Then they positioned a motorcycle in the middle of the pile. After a while this drunk guy comes staggering out of the bar, and they got him to sit on the motorcycle, and started to take his picture.

I thought 'That isn't right', and I got around against the wall, where I'd be in the picture, thinking that they wouldn't take it if someone else was in there. But they did anyway. A few days later the papers came out and I was right there in the background.

They weren't doing anything bad, just riding up and down whooping and hollering; not really doing any harm at all."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hardly David #2

From Choppers Magazine 5/68

Why does this gag seem familiar? I feel like I've seen it used somewhere else.

Note: At this time it's spelled Hardly. The last one I posted (from CM 10/68), was spelled Hardley. Still wondering who Luke was? I thought it might be a pen name for Ed Newton but, based on this one I'm beginning to re think that notion.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Big Daddy Roth Fan Club

Two Heroes for the price of one

Ed Roth by Pete Millar, Drag Cartoons 12/64

March Mate

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Gumption Trap, Sportster Names

Many times during mock ups, you'll see that builders will goof with ideas with a sharpie. Since my Sportster was being built right behind the chair in my studio, it's almost impossible to resist the urge to doodle on the bike.

This started as a Sharpie doodle and one day while painting, I added to it.

As the project sat, it had this doodle on it for sometime. I liked the idea but wanted to do something that better fit the theme of the build. I've come to calling the bike "The Gumption Trap" (as in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), because during it's endless construction I've lost my gumption several times from one set back after another.

I'll probably refine and paint a variation of this design. The "all seeing eye" is more "Zen" like and pays homage to the Then Came Bronson gas tank emblem. I put "front" on it as a joke like Von Dutch would often do.

I've always thought it would be fun to put a list of Sportster names on the the bike. Sort of a hall of shame. The more derogatory the better.

Just thought of a new name. Since some call Sportsters a Girl's bike, how about Vagina-Glide?

Here's where you come in. If you can think of any other Sportster names, drop me a comment.