Friday, April 30, 2010

Cops and Choppers

Cops interacting with choppers, a never ending struggle. Bill Ray LIFE photos from 1965.

This shot brings up a couple of things. 1. It's 1965 and that's a brand new first year Electra-Glide, so the biker could be getting one of his first up close and personal looks at Milwaukee's latest. 2. Some cops really dug their rides and took pride in their machines. The non standard chrome kicker lever, brake lever, and regulator cover means someone has customized this ride. Now I doubt the department would spring for such options (many P.D.s went for blacked out standard models), so what it may suggest is, the cop owns this bike and leases it to the city. This was once a fairly common practice with many Police Departments.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Doctor's Orders?

I was out of town and also got sick so I haven't been very active with the blog.

A strict medicinal regiment for wellness.

So where does the image of a medicine man/witch doctor with Top Hat originate? The latest Disney animated film "The Princess and the Frog", (set in New Orleans), features such a character as the villain.

The flip side is even cooler.

Mo better now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Today's Cost of Bobbing

I found this H-D product announcement a few weeks ago and thought it was kind of amusing. Is it just me?

Combine Chopped Rear Fender and Solo Spring Saddle for Classic Style

MILWAUKEE (March 26, 2010) – Owners of most 2006-later Harley-Davidson Dyna® models can achieve the hot bobber look with the installation of three new items from Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories that are easy to install with no cutting, welding, or fabrication necessary (and no fun!), my words.

The new Chopped Rear Fender Kit – Dyna® Models (P/N 59860-10BEO Primed, $349.95; P/N 59860-10DH Vivid Black, $449.95) is a complete “bolt-on” chopped fender kit. The chopped fender eliminates the traditional tail lamp and center-mount license plate, replaces the original equipment rear turn signals with the included stop-turn-tail lights for a clean, stripped-down appearance. Installation requires the separate purchase of the new Side Mount License Plate Kit (P/N 60938-10, $194.95), finished in brilliant chrome, with a durable steel mounting bracket that incorporates license plate illumination.

Complete the bobber transformation with the new Solo Spring Saddle – Black Leather (P/N 54373-10, $269.95), a 10.5-inch-wide solo seat with the minimalistic “just enough to ride” look. The torsion-style springs are designed for the optimal balance between spring suspension and support. The smooth metal seat pan and the simple frame cover leave a clean, finished appearance. The seat can be removed and replaced with a touring seat for a two-up riding. Installation requires separate purchase of Spring Seat Mounting Hardware Kit (P/N 54075-10, $229.95), sold separately.

Add it up and it only costs $1045.00 (plus $100 for black only), to bob your Dyna's fender , change seat and to relocate the license plate. Not counting tax or paying the dealer to install the kit. (we wouldn't want you to break a nail).

You too can have a unique customized bike... just like everybody else's.

Remember the days when Bobbing was done with a hacksaw, a file, surplus parts, some imagination, and little or no money?... me neither.

Factory Bolt ons? - Not a Bobber!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cops, Then and Now

LIFE March 1949, Los Angeles Coliseum. Photographer: Loomis Dean

Note the bottom left, you can see another photographer's hand holding his camera. Also notice the bottom right (LIFE logo),where the photo has been torn. Life Caption: "Los Angeles has world's biggest motorcycle police force, here lining up for review". Looks like 9 rows of 24. That would be 216 if thats all of them?

Maybe one of you can try counting them. I wonder how many of them have survived or how many were later bobbed and chopped? While they were getting their picture taken, it would have been a good day to be out on the streets raising hell.

"Los Angeles motorcycle police force during full scale inspection of cycle corps".

1949. That would mean a mixture of Knuckleheads (possibly some Flatheads), 48 Pans with springers, and '49 Hydra-Glides. Where's the Meter Maids and Servi-Cars?

Exact date and location not known.

A modern day line up of Twinkies just doesn't get me as excited. Yeah, I know, I stacked the deck in favor of the oldies.

It may be a regional bias but, a proper Police Special is painted Black and White, or as H-D liked, Silver.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Custom Chopper July '71 East of Eden

The style of this feature fits right in with this month's header. As in the header, the young lady is wearing hot pants, tall boots, a knitted sweater, and round sun glasses

One of the best Custom Chopper covers and a good issue overall. Note, it's the same issue that featured the Christian Chopper.

I should of saved this shot for my '"What sort of woman reads MC art?" series.

I'll let the article do most of the talking.

Not many guys run a single carb on the left side. In this case, an S.U.

One happy dude. How many 19 year olds have/had a bike this nice?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This Month's Header

Spring has Sprung

Some things don't change

This month's header is from a drawing I did in 1970 (only two things were on my mind). Long forks and small front wheels ruled the day. Indian style girders were very popular and off beat colors like pink or magenta started showing up. The theme of a chopper rider and a hitchhiking woman is a recurring theme throughout chopper/motorcycle history. Later art by David Mann or the end of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man come to mind. (8.5 "x 11" ink and color pencils)

Happy Re-Birthday Jesus

Redeem Yourself, Build a Chopper!

From July 71 Custom Chopper magazine.

Cool tank and art if your into this stuff.

I saw this bike at night back in '71, when a group of us went to a coffee house in Santa Monica to hear some beat poets rap. If my memory is correct the music and words spoken had a Christian slant. I got to say, seeing a chopper with that taillight was quite a sight, but I was already converted choppers that is.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Highlights from last weekend's Swap Meet.

Highly accessorized "Barn Fresh" (you sick of that term yet?), 1950 WL with original paint. Very cool, but 20K for a 45 seems like a pretty steep hill to climb.

Everyone needed a photo or a better look. From what I overheard, several guys had no idea of what they were looking at.

Classic. You'll never go wrong if you keep them clean and simple.

This Mustang looks like it would be fun, but for 5.5k, I'd opt for a real motorcycle. I don't really care for the modern wheels. These gas tanks were a source for many early choppers.

Every now and then, the talented Jimmy C. hocks his wares. Artist, sculpture, painter, striper, the guy is proficient at so many things.

Except for the lame tacked on fat bars, this Servi-Car will take you back. Looks like a relic from the Big Bike era.

Funny how the sun was lined up just about perfect when I shot it. I didn't ask the price, later in the day heard it sold for only $2,500.

Potentially a nice pan. What kind of mushrooms was he on? That color job won't help sell it.

As always, Slim was there with his wild van. It's his daily driver and those pipes just blow out the sun roof. Go check out his blog (in my list), to see his skills. If he keeps practicing, one of these days, he'll get his lettering down.

Flathead Fern displayed another one of his rebuilds. Very cool cam cover, I must say.

Overall it was a great day. It was the busiest and biggest meet there has been for a while. I had a good time wheeling and dealing, and talking shop with several friends.

Speaking of swap meets, I'm thinking of starting a new (linked), blog dedicated to the task of selling parts. What do you think, anybody interested?