Bad Luck Comes In Threes: Brakes, Belts and Drums

Vintage motorcycles have a way of testing a rider’s mechanical abilities when they least expect it.  Even with a strict maintenance schedule and proper preparation, there is still a chance that you might find yourself pushing your motorcycle down the side of the highway in the middle of the night.    Keeping these motorcycles road worthy takes dedication, but for those who have caught the vintage “bug”, there is nothing more satisfying than a successful adventure on old iron.  Last autumn, my 1964 Duo-Glide put my skills and patience to the test on a trip from North Carolina all the way up to Concord, New Hampshire to attend the Pewter Run.   In the end, I completed the trip, but I had a number of “adventures” along the way…

Building a 1933 Harley-Davidson VL: Springer Front End Rebuild


For some reason, the previous owner of my springer decided to paint the entire thing with tan spray paint. Springs, fork legs, rockers, alemite fittings and even the inside bearings surfaces all got a good coat of paint.  I wanted to return the front end to a more correct look, which meant that the springs needed to be parkerized and the rest of the parts needed a coating of black enamel.  I'm not much of a painter, so I decided to send out the black parts for powder coating while I tackled the springs.

Do It Yourself Tools for Rebuilding Harley-Davidson Springer Front Ends


When I was rebuilding the springer front end for my '33 Harley-Davidson VL, I found it necessary to build a few tools to get the job done correctly.  I'll be the first to admit that two of the tools could easily be replaced with a hydraulic press, but the simple tools I designed take up a lot less floor space than even a small press.  The only hitch being you'll need a lathe to make these tools or better yet, a friend with a lathe in his shop...

How to Parkerize Motorcycle Parts


If you've ever looked closely at the fasteners on an old Harley-Davidson, you'll have noticed that many of them are dark grey or black in color.  This is not the result of age or weathering, but was purposely done at the factory to prevent the corrosion of steel parts.  The process is known as parkerizing and for the chemists out there, it is an electrochemical phosphate conversion process using either a zinc or manganese base.  Even though that may sound complex, the actual process is cheap and easy to perform at home which just a few supplies.  Most of which you can pick up at your local Walmart.

The Motorcycles of the 2014 Kickstart Classic


This year's Kickstart Classic was the biggest yet, with over 100 motorcycles registered for the run.  Here's photos of about a quarter of the motorcycles that attended.