Friday, December 23, 2011

Putting the Soul back into Solstice

The Original Reason for the Season

All things are connected. Did you know that this is the origin of The Yin and Yang symbol? The ancient Chinese projected the line that the shadow of a pole makes on a gridded circle for a period of a year and then darked one side.

The days will now be getting longer!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Joe Hurst Blog presents: The Blue Bike

Since becoming friends, Joe has sent me a lot of cool photos and for awhile there, the blog was in danger of a coup d'├ętat. Since it's been awhile, and the threat has subsided, it's time to share some more from his archives.

Circa 1970. Joe just calls it the Blue Bike but, it's actually the Hustler redone with less rake, a shorter springer, a Harley Sprint tank, and of course, blue paint.


Great roadside shot. I'm loving the pan too.


A bit later with fish tail up-sweeps.


Joe out on the road. This photo is interesting for two reasons. 1. Joe's wearing one of those cool Harley shirts with the psychedelic font from a page in a 1970 parts and accessories catalog as posted here in Dec. 2009. 2. He's also wearing one of those heavy duty wide leather wrist/watch bands. Joe says he had it made with a cover to protect his watch, and as far as he knows, was the first to wear one. Did Joe invent them? At one time they were quite the rage. I could easily see how they might make a comeback... at least within the retro chopper scene.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

TMH Part 2 The Stripped Dresser Part 1

Here's my painting that I modified for This Month's Header.

The Harley art (below), for the 1958 model brochure served as inspiration. At the time I only had a postage stamp sized image for reference and thought it was cool so, wanted to do something like it only with more of a 60's look. The bike was made a 1960 model by changing the gas tank paint, emblem, and a headlight nacelle. I used the rocket graphic from that eras saddlebags along with some stars for the background which sort of gives it a Jetsons feel.

I call this style of Harley a "stripped dresser" since from about the 60's onward, FL's were pretty much sold with windshields, saddlebags, luggage racks, spot lamps, parking lights/turn signals, etc.

Rigid frame bikes definitely make the best choppers and bob jobs but, in my opinion, the Duo-Glides look even better when it comes to this stripped down elemental form.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Prescription For A Bob Job

Dr. Sprocket (aka Rich Ostrander), recently set a couple of photos of a knucklehead he just finished for his old friend Chuck V. He didn't give any info but it looks to be a '47 with various rare sourced vintage parts.

Note the front twin leading shoe brake and at the rockers suspension dampeners. Aluminum tool box and taillight are both Crocker parts.


Hollywood bars, 18" wheels, front hub cap, 6" inch air cleaner and rectangular foot boards from the late '30's are all nice touches. I'm guessing that the pipes are vintage Superior.

Being stripped down and yet retaining so much of a Harley's vintage styling just might make Bob Jobs the best all around bikes of them all.
Bobber!
Bobber!
Bobber!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Doc Holiday's Witch Street Chopper May 1970

Back in November of 2010 I posted The Witch as featured in Roth's Choppers Magazine (click Here to view it), and also used it for this last October's Header. Therefore, I figured some of you might like to see the Street Chopper feature since it has better details and shows how the bike changed some. I reformatted the article so that it would fit the blog and make it easier to read the captions.

Once again it was also the cover bike. Instead of the original metal flake, the bike was repainted a candy orange. I like the former better.


Check the custom touches like the peanut tank's chromed side panels, the hex down tubes and pin striping as you view the photos. Very much like the stuff you'd see on a Von Dutch custom.




Custom Cycle Engineering Finned Dish Pans were now installed.


Randy of Gardena as in Smith repainted the witch again but I like his first witch better. Go back to my October 2011 header post to compare.


Note the very high position of the brake pedal. Back in the 60's, a lot of guys liked the radical (but not very practical), look it gave. The small photo shows a high clutch pedal as well.


The sissy bar now sports what I call the South Bay Swoop. Again, the paint and the metal work looks Von Dutch inspired.


The bullet taillights are cool, but note the broken license plate frame.

This bike may relate to more posts than any other to date. As evidence, check the Labels/links below.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This Month's Header-Merry F'ing Christmas

Can you believe it's already December?

Sorry about the lack of post but, being busy and leaving town for the Thanksgiving holiday, not much could be done about it. It's so bad that I'm posting this month's header back to back with last month's somewhat late explanation.


This art (re-worked for the season), is based on a piece I did several years ago. Why do I bother since, for the most part, I dread Christmas?

Later in the month, I'll reveal the art it is based on plus some ramblings on a related topic. I'll try to make up for the recent lack of post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Month's Header-First Ride


WTF? This Month's Header explanation is a bit late, but is about and dedicated to First Rides. (Since no photos exist of this machine, I decided to illustrate this story)

When I say First Rides, I'm talking about that first time you rode a two wheeler powered by something other than your own two feet.

Here's how my story goes....

I'm the youngest of 3 boys, all two years apart. My oldest brother Lewy says the year was either 1964 or '65. This would mean he was about 13 or 14 years old, my next brother was 11 or 12, and I was 9 or 10.

He says that a friend from school with the last name Cruise had a homemade mini-bike and was in the process of upgrading to a better one. He told my brother if he bought 2 wheels with solid rubber tires for $5 dollars he'd give him the frame.


The Beast. A bicycle framed, lawnmower engine powered, push started, clutch-less/direct belt drive, solid rubber wheeled, no brakes suicide machine, on sesame seed bun.

While I don't remember every detail of what went down when my brother first brought it home , I seem to recall that dad was a bit pissed off and it taking him a few days to be OK with it.

A deal was made. If my brothers and I agreed to use the old push mower, then he could borrow the Briggs and Stratton engine from the Craftsman power mower. It was a second hand mower also on the older side, made in the early fifties.


Dad lays down the ground rules before the trial run.

I'll never forget the last part of how that first trial run went. I believe dad tried it out first, deemed it sound, and assembled the troops in the driveway. He then says to my oldest brother, "Take it out around the block... (turning to my brother John), and when he gets back... you can ride it." He pauses a moment, turns to me and says, "You can't ride it... you're to little!"

Since it had no clutch, we pushed Lewy to get it started and off he went. When he returned he shut it down to stop, John climbed aboard, and again we pushed to start it for his turn.


The running hand off. Before long, we came up with a better system. Since it had no clutch, you'd go as slow as possible, jump off and hand it over to the next rider who'd run up beside you. To stop you would kill the throttle lever and let it chug to a halt.

I don't know if it was the disappointment on my face or what, but when my brother John came back, dad said, "Oh... alright, you can try it.... just don't move the throttle lever past here."

What that says about my dad, I'm not sure, but for the next few days we were chasing each other riding what had to be one of the most dangerous vehicles a kid could have fun on... yelling for our turn and smiling ear to ear.


Flatheads Forever. Several years ago, I found the exact same type of engine off another Craftsman mower at a local swap meet for $10. I'd love to recreate that first bike but, with a clutch, pneumatic tires, and brakes. I failed to mention, while riding that deathtrap you had to keep your leg away from the spinning, sock eating, rope starter.

It doesn't seem like we rode it for long and I can't recall why we stopped, or what became of the frame. I do know my oldest brother soon got a better unfinished frame, but that project never got done.

Later, we had proper mini bikes. I got a new Taco 44 and then my brother John got a Flexo Big Bear Scrambler from a friend. That got crazy!

For a lot of us, it's in our blood. Once you get a taste of 2 wheel power, there's no turning back.

I'm sure many of you got your own start in a very similar way.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

El Camino 2011 Part 1 Sportsters Only?

I'm real late in posting anything from this years show.

If you go to the promoters website, it says that this years show was the biggest and best ever!... "Really?"

When I was asked what it was like, my reply was, "it sucked"! ... and think it has been in decline for sometime. My reason... for the last several years there has been a shrinking amount of American bikes entered in the show. Sure, there are always some interesting ones in the vendor's booths or rode in, but actually entered, very few. I do have some ideas why, but won't get in to that.

That's All Folks! This photo shows ALL of the bikes entered in two classes of American bikes, 1936-64 and 1965-89. Way back is Ty's very nice panhead , a K-model (cool, but of not show bike quality), and some sort of modified scooter that was completely out of place. To top it off, I overhead that the show officials had to ask 2 vendors to bring their bikes over to the show. There were 3 or 4 more Harleys in the custom class.


This very nice '72 and the above orange '69 were automatically in contention for 1st and 2nd place in the '65-'89 class. I would have liked to have got the owner's names.


This is definitely the nicest '72 XLCH I've ever seen and makes me question selling mine.


Again this bike, is nice, so don't get me wrong!... For fun and a personal challenge, I like to play judge and see if I can detect anything slightly a miss on bikes like this.

Disclaimer: I realize that many times an owner will make some personal choices which they are fully aware of. That said, I came up with 10 small items that a judge might find plus 2 I'd have to double check.

1. Fork bearing cups should be cad plated not black. 2. Front fender should have rivets not acorn nuts. 3 Inner front fender mounts improperly positioned. 4. Kickstand should be cad not chrome. 5. Kicker should be black not chrome. 6 Battery lid should be chrome not black. 7. Wire loom should be plastic not fabric. 8. Speedo cable routed incorrect. 9. Rocker box plugs should be cad, not chrome. 10. Carb/Air cleaner support should be cad, not black.

Two questionable items. 1. I'm not sure this type of passenger pegs were an option for this year. Most had a mount bolted to the rear engine mount. 2. I don't think the #1 points/timer cover is correct for this year.

I know this post got sort of disjointed, but wtf?... and OK, the show wasn't all bad, so I'll be posting more.

One last thing, Hey Noot, How'd I do?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bobber Not A Bobber #4, Birth of the Chopper?

My Google stats consistently reveal that some of the most viewed pages on this blog are the Bobber Not A Bobber posts. That, and seeing how Jeff over on the Knuckle Buster 1939 blog just did a post on the use of the term "choppers" and "chopped cycles" from the March 1954 Cycle Magazine, it prompted me to post some photos I've been meaning to for sometime.

Two years ago Dr. Sprocket sent me a package and included the two photo copies in which he said were from a 1950 and 1951 Cycle Magazine letters to the editor section. The only problem is, they were both marked 1954 on the back! Hey Doc, what's up with that?


Below are photos and caption from a 1967 article entitled "Let's Build A Chopper"

The Missing Link? The caption calls it a chopper. This machine is prettier and has more custom touches than your average post war Bob Job.

Even if the Oklahoma and Alaska bikes are from 1954, the writer of the '67 article includes the above bike (built in '51), as an example of an early Chopper. This strongly implies that the term was in use back then.

As mentioned in the first post, the terms "chop" and "bob" are both used (and not just for cycles), to mean, cut. So, my guess is that the term "chop" came to be fashionably interchangeable with "bob" in the early 50's. Then later, as the styles evolved, the two terms also evolved to mean something quite different.

It's fun to discuss, argue, and investigate the correct or first use of such terms.
From today's viewpoint, and for effective communication, I still feel the bikes above (especially the first two), are best described as Bob Jobs, or Bobbers.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blog of the Month RHS

I read and have many more blogs bookmarked than just those listed in my right column. They are the most visited and therefore it's in dire need of updating.

Any blog with a header like this can't be all bad.

Nicke's Rigid Hips Stockholm is definitely one of the more intriguing blogs I read and should have been added long ago. Nicke is quite the fabricator and builds some cool vintage machinery, so it's always interesting to see what he's up to... but it's the Sorcerer's mystical writings that really take his blog to the next level. This does not comes without a caveat. To fully understand what the Wizard of Two Wheels speaks of, you may need a degree or at minimum a primer in the following subjects: Philosophy, Religion, Mythology, The Occult, Astrology, and Alchemy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Joe in Iowa

After the last post, it only seems natural to bookend it with this shot of Joe Hurst on White Bear.

Joe (circa 1973), in Iowa on a cross country trip with Dick Allen. Note the added double sissy bar with auxiliary fuel tank. White Bear is still the ultimate South Bay Chopper in my book.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bruce in New York


Bruce Parrish (circa 1972), rode his first chopper from CA to New York twice. While there, a friend made this poster. Bruce said only one poster was made but I could swear I've seen this image on a blog a few years ago. The Paul Newman poster in the window sure seems familiar. It might have been another bike with the same background.

This is one of the last photos from Bruce. Click the Bruce Parrish label below to see all the cool images he's sent... you'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This Month's Very Late Header


I was busy during the beginning of the month then left town for 2 1/2 weeks, so I couldn't post or put up a new header. While away, I started the header on my wife's laptop and thought I might post from a remote location but, it was too difficult to do good Photoshop work on her laptop.

The art for This Month's Header is borrowed from the tank of Doc Holiday's Panhead. The Witch was painted twice by none other than Randy Smith. The photo on the left is from the January 1969 Choppers Magazine (posted here last Nov.) and the right is from the May 1970 Street Chopper. I like the first version and the metal flake paint better. I'll try to post the Street Chopper Feature soon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It Takes a Lot of Balls #2

Another Balls to the Walls fully dressed Harley.


Sorry about the lack of posts (been busy), and it's probably going to stay that way until later this month. I'll catch up with photos from El Camino and other stuff as soon as I can.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

L.L.L. #5 A Denver's Chopper?


The bike in this image is from The Leather Works ad from the September 1975 Street Chopper I've had since new. I've looked at this bike many times and wondered about it since it appears to be a high quality build. I was just going to post it, then thought I better take another look at the photos below.


I had the Street Chopper with this feature on Bob Clark's bike but, never put the two together until now. Since I no longer have that magazine, I don't recall anything about the bike. (I don't recall which blog this and the 2 below photos are from)


This photo really shows it off well. I was never a fan of Invader 5 spoked wheels but got to admit they seem to go well on this bike.


A check of the 40th anniversary issue of Street Chopper revealed a page written by Bob with this photo. He used to be co-owner of Choppers Specialties but calls it his Denver's bike, so I guess that's who built it, or where the frame and forks came from, or was his inspiration.

Another one to make you wonder.... where is it now?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

German Helmets and Purple Shag Carpet


I always think folks from the past would be puzzled and or amazed by the strange combinations of stuff that emerges. Can you imagine telling a soldier during WWII, that in the future, there would be some guy wearing a German motorcycle helmet on a rig like this? What strangeness awaits us?

Monday, September 12, 2011

I have some Drag Specialties Holy Pegs for sale in my parts blog.

For more info and additional photos, click here or on the MC Parts banner at the top of the page.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Von Dutch Indian 4 in Color...

...found in Dudley's Basement ‹link

The Imposter was one of the coolest choppers of all time (in my opinion), and it ain't a Harley, but an Indian... and a Four at that!

Finally a color photo of the Imposter. It wasn't identified on Dudley's blog. I hadn't seen another post about this photo, so I wanted to get the word out. I'll bet more photos will some day emerge since it's picture was likely taken by many show goers. (photo is slightly enlarged, enhanced and restored)


Irish Rich did a post on this cool Indian when he used to do his Von Dutch Mondays series. Rich posted this and two other black and white photos from the Art of Von Dutch book. I too have the book, and have since been hoping that more information or color photos would emerge.

The Nostalgia on Wheels blog had the link to Dudley's awhile ago for old show bike photos. If you missed it, use the link at the top of this post to see more bikes from the same era.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This Month's Header, A Little Knucklehead


This months header's art is from a small painting I did of a friends bike back in 1995. If my memory is correct, it was a rare 1942 model. I used a H-D factory photo from a 1939 model for reference and then made changes to match his bike. He ran a 18" wheel in front and a 16" in the back. One mistake, I retained the smaller size of the earlier model's air cleaner.

Knuckleheads Rule. Ruler and penny for scale.


Getting old sucks. It even surprises me the level of detail I use to paint without the use of reading glasses.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Art of the Engine #3 & 4, Grime Time

It's been a long time since I last did an Art of the Engine post, so here's two old crusty nuggets.

A recent non running barn find. 1948 UL in a '51 frame.


A 1938 Knucklehead Bob Job at Born-Free 3. It features many chromed parts including the forks, which leads one to think it was a real pretty bike back when it was first bobbed.... It's still a beauty in my book.

I actually prefer old bikes with their "earned patina" over ones that have been freshly restored. At most gatherings, bikes like these usually get more onlookers than clean fresh bikes, but many still don't get it and hastily erase all the signs of time and originality. The guys that get my goat, are the ones that take real nice original bikes, and repaint and re-plate them just because they ain't perfect. Keep in mind, any old pile can be re-plated or painted but an old motorcycle or part is only original once!