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In this final installment of the Lowbrow Panhead project, bike owner/builder Tyler Malinky takes us through the processes involved with modifying and mounting a sweet Bates taillight he found at a swap meet. After wrapping things up in the rear, Tyler moved onto one of the most fun and rewarding projects any home builder can tackle with a welder and some simple tools in his own garage: fabricating a custom exhaust. Tyler used Biltwell Inc.’s popular and affordable builder’s exhaust kit for this project, and the tips he shares in this photo essay are super handy.
Button It Up, Shake It Down
It took Tyler just over three months of evenings and weekends to get the Lowbrow Panhead ready for a shakedown at last spring’s El Diablo Run. On that ill-fated adventure the motor launched a NOS rocker, so Tyler finished the four-day hell ride on a borrowed BMW enduro. Two months later Lowbrow’s founder debuted his rebuilt and painted Panhead at Born Free 3, and celebrated that accomplishment with three days of cruising under the SoCal sun.
We saw Tyler aboard his no-frills chopper at the Lowbrow Holeshot in Ohio last September, where both builder and bike were doing fine. We love success stories like these, and hope Tyler’s gumption and creativity inspires HOT BIKE readers to do something equally fun and rewarding in their own garages. Thanks to Lowbrow Customs, Biltwell Inc., Gasbox Fabrication, Trumpnut Nick, and all the other bootstrap capitalists and underground craftsmen who donated time and treasure to Tyler’s labor of love.
By Tyler Malinky
Keep in mind it’s very important to ensure that you cruise with your motorbike with caution. Always make sure you put on original carbon fiber helmets.
Matthew Schnurr won our custom fly by wire grips from a Facebook contest we held a few months back. The prize was a set of gray and black grips with large stitching kinda like the character Jack from Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas”. Matt suggested the name Tim Burton grips. Turns out, Matt needed dual throttle cable grips instead of the fly by wire. As long as we’re re-doing them, he requested orange and black to match his bike. Since the original gray and black Tim Burton style stitching was not going to be used, Ralph decided to field test them. Good thing, because the large stitching allowed for the fabric to become loose from the twisting motion of the throttle. We changed the pattern and used orange and black Matt suggested.
Making your own high quality battery cables is simple to do. I like to use car audio power cable in either 4 or 8 gauge size. Car audio wire has hundreds of strands of wire that will flow more current vs. a standard cable with just a few strands. See, current flows on the outside of each strand of wire in a cable, not through the center of it like you might think. There for, the more strands in a cable, the better the current flow. This makes a car audio power cable a great choice; it’s also very flexible which makes it easy to route.
On a final note, most car audio places have scraps of this stuff lying around that are big enough to make your battery cables with, and that can save you some dough. So for this month we are going to make a set of custom battery cables for Chris’ “Ticket To Ride” Panhead. You can see more of this build in the book Custom Motorcycle Building Basics that will be on newsstands shortly. Let’s get started!
Keep in mind it is vital to be sure you drive your bike with safety. Make certain you use real carbon fiber helmets.
It’s a no-brainer that Harley will never launch a CVO Sportster, but with the company’s new H-D1 factory customization program, who needs one? The Sportster 1200 Custom (starting at $10,299) has lived in Harley’s stable for years, yet this incarnation is the first to fully live up to its name. Previous models were only custom in the sense that they came with a few different parts than other XLs. H-D1 factory customization lets prospective Sportster Custom owners choose from several options on seven aspects of the bike—wheels, handlebars, seats, paint, foot control position, security system, and engine finish.
H-D1 factory customization is the newest element of Harley-Davidson customization that allows customers to build the 1200 Custom from a selection of options that are installed as the motorcycle is assembled on the line by Harley-Davidson’s factory workers. H-D1 factory customization enables personalized fit, function, and style. By selecting different wheels, seats, handlebars, paint, and engine finishes, the customer can dramatically alter the look of the motorcycle. Different combinations of foot-control location, seats, and handlebars can be selected to adjust the fit of the motorcycle to a rider’s stature. With H-D1’s factory customization Bike Builder tool, the customer will have the opportunity to order a 1200 Custom in more than 2,600 combinations.
The H-D1 Bike Builder online tool is available on harley-davidson.com and as an iPad app. The customer can view the bike they are creating as different options are selected. The customer can then print out a description of his or her bike and bring it to a Harley-Davidson dealer to review the motorcycle with trained staff, select additional accessories to be installed by the dealer to further customize the motorcycle, and then place an order. You can expect to be riding one in as little as four weeks from the time an order is placed with the dealer. Delivery timing may vary depending on demand, and will be communicated to customers at the time of order. H-D1 factory customization is available only through Harley-Davidson dealers in the United States and Canada.
H-D gave us a Sportster Custom to play with that had gone through the H-D1 treatment. It’s a copy of one that was ordered and sent out to a dealership. The original had other additional Harley parts added to it when it arrived at the dealership; it’s just part of the whole H-D1 process that keeps dealerships involved in the customization process while letting customers personalize their iron even further. We’ll talk about the road test next issue, but first we thought we’d give you a little look into what happens after you place your order with H-D1 factory customization.
By Mark Masker
Bear in mind it’s critical to always make sure you ride your motorbike with protection. Ensure that you keep on genuine carbon fiber helmets.
As we all know one of the easiest and best looking upgrades to a stock Harley-Davidson is to swap out the stock air cleaner for an aftermarket unit. While just about everybody under the sun makes a replacement, as of late Roland Sands Design (RSD) seems to have some of the best looking on the market.
The last time we were at RSD’s Southern California headquarters, Roland was telling us of his new Clarity Line, where each of the intakes and engine covers had see-through windowed compartments so each part can be see working in action. We thought the kid was nuts, but low and behold a few weeks later we got a box from RSD and inside it was an air cleaner with a clear faceplate. We tore it out of the box with much curiosity and studied it for a while with discerning eyes. After pulling it apart to investigate it further, we found it to be well built just like the other RSD parts we have been in contact with. The clear Lexan outer cover is permanently installed at the factory so that no worries regarding an airtight seal is achieved. The filter element is also made for RSD by K&N. We were happy about that fact due to K&N’s reputation of having great elements that last a lifetime if cared for correctly.
All of the rest of the machined parts and attachment hardware were top-notch making this one of the most interesting and well-built intakes we have seen.
We had the filter out of the box already. We also a nice bike with its stock breather box still on it within arms reach, so we decided to give you a window of opportunity to see this particular installation. Just so our readers could be crystal clear on how to properly install it.
by Jeff G. Holt
If you’re riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle you must know it is powered by a twin cylinder, reciprocating piston, internal combustion motor. Reciprocating pistons means the pistons are going up and down, or back and forth, or from side to side depending upon motor configuration.
Many factors determine the performance of the motor but one of the most important is the compression ratio of the cylinder/piston/head assembly. The higher the compression ratio is, the more bang or power per cylinder, up to a point.
A reciprocating piston motor (motorcycles are powered by motors, that’s why they are not called “engine cycles”) generates horsepower by burning an air-gasoline mix to push the piston down in the cylinder. This linear push is referred to as the power stroke. The straight-line motion of the connecting rod-piston assembly is transferred to the flywheel(s), which converts the linear motion into circular motion. This circular motion is then transferred to the transmission, and on to the rear wheel, creating forward motion. Sounds simple, but in reality is a bit more complicated.
The pistons in a Harley-Davidson V-twin are designed to produce a specific compression ratio in a given application for best operating efficiency. Experience and history have taught Harley-Davidson engineers the best compression ratios for motorcycles being operated on the street.
To simplify things let’s use a single cylinder motor as an example. A typical four-stroke single cylinder motor (half of a twin cylinder motor) operates in four distinct phases or cycles. That is why it is called it a 4-cycle or 4-stroke motor (or engine). During the intake stroke (1), air/fuel mix is taken in by vacuum through the open intake valve as the piston moves down. As the piston starts back up (2) the intake valve closes and the air/fuel mix is compressed. As the piston reaches the top of the stroke the air/fuel mixture is fired by the spark plug and the piston is pushed down violently by the exploding air/fuel mixture (3), creating the aforementioned linear motion which in converted by the flywheel(s) into circular energy. As the piston comes back up (4), it pushes the burnt mix out (exhaust gases). This is called the exhaust stroke.
One-Two-Three-Four… lf the compression ratio is low, the motor makes minimal horsepower. lf the compression ratio is relatively high the motor can produce a great deal more power per cubic inch of displacement than an identical motor with a lower compression ratio. Many things influence the ability to be able to operate a motor with high compression, not the least of which is the availability of high octane gasoline. With out a supply of high octane gasoline, a high compression motor may be subjected to pre ignition (pinging), due to the fuel air mix firing prematurely. Pre ignition can be very destructive to a motor.
Compression ratio is defined quite simply as the volume above the piston at bottom-dead-center (BDC), divided by the volume above the piston at top-dead-center (TDC). The more compressed the fuel air mix is when ignited the bigger the bang. A bigger bang means more power, as well as additional stress on all the mechanical components involved. High compression motors require the use of high-octane gasoline to prevent pre-ignition and/or detonation, which can cause costly damage to pistons, valves, and piston rings or even worse, losing the race.
For average street riding most trained mechanics recommend a compression ratio somewhere between 8.5:1 and 9.5:1. Any higher and a higher octane fuel requirement is needed. With compression ratios lower than 7:1 a motor simply cannot operate efficiently. Hopefully you now understand what compression ratio means. “However, this is just static compression ratio. Cam lift and valve overlap along with other factors determine the actual or functional compression ratio. Also, remember that higher compression ratios while increasing power also increase wear and tear on the motor. High compression motors are not good commuter motors, just as lower compression motors are not good race motors.
This year, bike week are set to kick off from all over the country. A ton of bikers will undoubtedly be congregate for a week of festivity all sharing their fascination with bikes. You’ll enjoy a number of stories and building tricks to converse about with new friends as you drive the days with the bike week. Make sure to ride protected and wear the required safety equipment like carbon fiber helmets. Have fun and have a wonderful ride.
When our buddy Scott started talking about getting a new exhaust for his 2001 Road King he didn’t really want to spend much money, but he wanted a set of true dual pipes that looked and sounded good. After we stated laughing at him for wanting the world for a dollar, a challenge of sorts was made. How can we get true dual and sweet sounding mufflers on a bagger without breaking the bank?
A simple solution for the added benefits and rumble of a separated exhaust lies within the cost-effective Fullsac performance True Dual Conversion Kits. Fullsac’s two-piece conversion replaces the factory exhaust’s Y-pipe with a rear J-pipe, which directs 100 percent of the rear cylinder exhaust and heat to the left muffler where it belongs. A straight pipe on the right side finishes off the job eliminating the OEM Y-pipe altogether.
Once we replaced the plumbing upfront, we bolted on a set of the uber-sweet Von Braun Roadster Centerline mufflers in black. The USA-made 4-inch diameter mufflers feature a sleek satin finish topped off with silver accents and domed mesh end-caps, which are made of compression formed from 550-gauge stainless steel.
We banged out the pipe and muffler swap in less than an hour and found the newly separated pipes to work well in directing each cylinder’s exhaust where it should go. We really liked the upgrade in sound our Road King had once we installed the Roadster Centerlines. lt was a low and rumbly tone at idle without being over-the-top loud at full throttle.
All in all, this was a good exhaust swap that did as advertised and didn’t break the bank.
By Jeff G. Holt
So how did the Cruise-Mate come about? Necessity is the mother of invention and after years riding with an injury to his right hand, Tom Lane found he couldn’t hold the throttle open on his Harley for long periods of time without his right hand going numb. Having no luck finding a suitable solution in the aftermarket, Tom, a self-proclaimed lifelong gear head, decided to create a solution, and Cruise Mate was born.
It is only prudent that we mention that this product is not a traditional cruise control, but a throttle assist. This means that it has to be engaged and disengaged manually and will not shut off when the brakes are applied or the clutch is engaged. In essence, this product is an easy-to-use, lever-operated throttle assist, designed to replace the original Harley-Davidson idle adjustment thumbscrew. When properly installed and adjusted, a simple flip of your thumb (a quarter turn or less) sets the throttle where you ant it while still leaving you the ability to turn the throttle manually. Once installed, Cruise-Mate is extremely reliable and easy to operate. The genius behind this product is the fact that it takes the stock Harley-Davidson star wheel design and upgrades it in a way that is more than just putting on a handle. The original equipment star wheel utilizes a very fine pitch thread, which takes several turns of the star to engage or disengage the throttle lock feature. Cruise-Mate uses a solid, stainless steel cartridge assembly with much coarser internal threads, which nearly doubles the vertical action of the friction device with the same amount of rotary motion. This allows the Cruise-Mate to engage and disengage nearly twice as fast as the original star wheel device.
Though our installation was done on a 2004 Road King, the Cruise-Mate will fit any Harley from 1982 to present, including throttle-by-wire Touring bikes. The only exceptions are 2008 to present FLHR Road Kings. According to Cruise-Mate, this product, when properly installed, is guaranteed forever and is available in black or chrome for $49.95. A hand-polished, solid, stainless steel version is also available for $69.95. And now a note from our lawyers: Cruise-Mate is intended for motorcycle warm-up and servicing only. Under no circumstances do we or the manufacturer recommend removing your hands from the handlebars or locking your throttle while the motorcycle is moving. Though that’s why Tom designed it for his personal use, it’s not the correct or approved way to use a Cruise-Mate.
- Blue Loctite
- T-25 Torx
- Flat-bladed screwdriver (small)
- 3/8” wrench (2)
- 7/16” wrench (2)
- Electric drill
- 21/64” driII bit
- 3/8”-24 tap
1. Start by pulling both throttle cable boots down and slipping a 5/32”shim (or 5/32” Allen) between the brake lever and its perch (arrow). The shim keeps the lever from damaging the brake light switch while the switch housing is apart.
2. Use two 3/8” wrenches to loosen the throttle cable lock nuts. Then adjusts the cables so they have as much slack as possible. The front cable is the accelerator (go) cable, while the back one is the return cable.
3. Use a T-25 Torx to remove the top and bottom switch housing bolts.
4. Once the housing is open, slide the grip out. Then remove the back throttle cable from the throttle housing, followed by the front. Both brass ferules and the grip are then put aside for reinstallation later on.
5. Removes the plastic friction shoe that’s in the bottom half of the switch housing using a small flat-bladed screwdriver.
6. After removing a snap ring from the throttle adjustment screw that’s also in the bottom half of the housing using a small flat-bladed screwdriver, remove the throttle adjustment screw the snap ring was on.
7. Once you have sprayed some WD-40 on the front throttle cable, wiggle the cable as you pull it down to remove it from the housing.
8. Secure the supplied drill jig assembly onto the throttle housing through the front cable hole and tightens it in place using two 7/16” wrenches. The back hole on the jig is the alignment pin, which goes through the throttle adjustment screw hole.
9. After you remove the jig’s alignment pin and put in the drill guide, drill a hole in the bottom housing using a 21/64” drill bit.
10. Then remove the drill bit and drill guide. Using a 3/8”-24 tap and the supplied jig, make new threads in the hole you just drilled. Then remove the entire jig apparatus and clean all the shavings from the housing. Wear goggles!
11. After putting the stock throttle cable back into its hole and reinstalled the stock brass ferules on the cable ends, insert the cable ends/ferules in their holes in the throttle grip.
12. After positioning the grip in the bottom half of the housing, take the slack out of the back (return) cable so it’s snug, but not pulling on the grip.
13. You can now dose up the stock switch housings using a T-25 Torx on both of the stock bolts. Just tighten the bolts until they’re snug.
14. Tighten the adjuster of the front cable until there’s only1/16” of play in the movement of the grip. Then lock both adjusters down using two 3/8” wrenches and slide the rubber boots back over them.
15. Here is the order of assembly of the Cruise-Mate using the included hardware. The cartridge on the right comes pre-assembled. Put some blue Loctite on its threads to prep it for installation.
16. Screw the cartridge into the hole he just drilled and tapped. Then open the throttle, tighten the cartridge using a 7/16” wrench; then loosen the cartridge until the throttle snaps back. This is the correct setting.
17. After putting blue Loctite on the shoulder screw, slip the handle spring onto the shoulder screw. Then insert the shoulder screw assembly in the handle and attach the handle assembly to the cartridge using a small flat-bladed screwdriver.
TIPS AND TRICKS
If you’re having a tough time moving the throttle cable boots, spray a little WD-40 inside them and then twist them down and off the cable adjusters.
The supplied drill jig assembly, from the bottom up, goes onto the bottom switch housing like this: ¼” bolt, washer, jig block, spacer, switch housing, washer, and ¼” nut through the front throttle cable hole. The back hole on the jig is the alignment pin, which goes through the throttle adjuster screw hole. When removing the throttle cables, turn the throttle wide open to move the front (accelerator) cable. Then grab the cable as you return the throttle to idle in order to get the slack you need to remove the cable from the throttle grip.
After you re-adjust the cables and close up the housing, check your adjustments by rolling the throttle open and then letting it snap closed a few times to make sure its operation is smooth and there are no tight spots.
This season, bike runs are going to kick off from all over the country. Numerous riders will be partying for a week of celebration all expressing their passion for bikes. There will be many tales and building tips to recommend with new friends as you ride the days the time in while in the bike runs. Make sure you travel safe and slip on the necessary safety equipment such as carbon fiber helmets. Have a great time and have a wonderful run.
Like brake pads, the friction plates in a Harley clutch are designed to be consumable. That means that over time, even if the cables are always properly adjusted and you change the oil at regular intervals, these plates will eventually wear to the point your clutch will start to slip. When and how often replacement should happen depends on many factors with the two most important being riding style and how much power your engine produces. In the case of our test bike (a 2004 Super Glide), though it only has about 11,000 miles on it, the combination of the owner’s heavy throttle hand and a heavily modified engine led to an earlier friction plate replacement than usual.
After a close inspection of the entire clutch assembly, we found no wear in the stock clutch basket, so we did just a simple clutch plate and clutch spring upgrade. We started by getting the Screamin’ Eagle performance clutch friction disc kit (#37980-10/MSRP $169.95), which fits 1999 and later Twin Cams and 1998 and later Evo models. This kit includes new friction plates and precision-machined flat steel plates. The nice part is the newly developed friction material found in this kit has been designed to deliver longer life than the OE friction plates we’re replacing. While we were at it, we also opted to install the Screamin’ Eagle heavy duty clutch spring (#37951-98/MSRP $29.95) to increase the power-holding capacity of the clutch. As with the plate kit, this spring fits 1999 and later Twin Cams and 1998 and later Evos with the stock clutch hub.
With our parts, a new gasket primary cover gasket (#60539-94B), and two stick-on gaskets (#63859-95B) in hand, we set out to return our 2004 Super Glide to its former glory. On e you have the correct parts and tools, swapping out the clutch plates is a relatively simple procedure. And to show you how to do this job right, we went to see our buddy John over at Westchester Powersports. As usual, the installation went off without a glitch and the bike’s owner reports that the new clutch functions flawlessly and has no problem holding the engine’s power.
• Drain pan
• Blue Loctite
• Brake clean
• Ziploc bag
• Clean rags
• Snap ring pliers
• 3/16″ Allen
• 7/32″ Allen
• 10mm socket
• 1/2″ open-end wrench
• 9/16″ open-end wrench
• 11/16″ wrench
• Torque wrench (in-lbs.)
1. Our 2004 Dyna Super Glide is up on a lift with the clutch cable slacked out and the shifter arm, primary cover, derby cove, inspection cove, and left foot peg mount removed. The friction and spacer (steel) plates, damper spring, and damper spring seat are removed from the stock clutch assembly.
2. After cleaning off all the old gaskets, soak the new friction plates with some primary fluid in a Ziploc bag for 10 minutes.
3. After wiping off the excess fluid, he starts installing the new clutch by slipping a friction (fiber) plate into the clutch basket. It doesn’t matter which side goes in first.
4. Next in is a spacer (steel) plate. Again, it doesn’t matter which side goes in first.
5. Slip all the friction and spacer plates into the clutch basket in the same order. The last plate in should be and is a friction plate.
6. The stock pressure plate can then be reinstalled in the clutch basket on top of the new plates with its lipped side facing out.
7. A new diaphragm spring is positioned on top of the pressure plate, inside its outer lip.
8. After the diaphragm spring retainer is positioned on top of the diaphragm spring, secure it using the six stock bolts, which are torqued to 90-110 in-lbs. using a 10mm socket.
9. Slip the stock clutch release plate, complete with clutch adjuster and its locknut, into the middle of the clutch basket.
10. Use a snap ring pliers to install the stock clutch release plate snap ring. He then makes sure it is fully seated in its groove.
11. Using a 7/32″ Allen, screw the left clutch pushrod in until it seats against the right pushrod. He then backs the left pushrod out a half turn. While holding the Allen, tighten the lock nut with an 11/16″ wrench.
12. You can now adjust the clutch cable until there’s a 1/16″ play between the end of the clutch lever and its clutch perch (arrow).
13. With the cable properly adjusted, tighten the clutch cable adjuster locknut using a 1/2” open-end wrench and 9/16″ open-end wrench.
14. After slipping the cable boot over its adjuster, hang a new primary cover gasket on the two inner primary alignment studs.
15. After cleaning the inspection cover studs inside the primary with brake clean, he sticks the two new gaskets onto them.
16. Attach the outer primary cover using blue Loctite and a 3/16 Allen. The five long bolts go from the rear foot peg to the top center hole. The seven short ones go from the top front hole to the bottom.
17. Once the primary cover bolts are torqued to 108-120 in-lbs. as per the procedure in the manual, the stock drain plug is reinstalled in the bottom of the outer primary cover.
18. You can now refill the primary system with the proper type and grade of oil for this year and model of bike up to the correct level on the diaphragm spring as seen through the derby cover.
19. Once a new gasket is in place, the inspection cover is reinstalled using the four stock bolts and blue Loctite. The bolts are torqued to 84-108 in-lbs. using a T-27 Torx.
20. With a new gasket in place, the stock derby cover is reinstalled using the five stock bolt and blue Loctite. The bolts are torqued to 84-108 in-lbs. using a T-27 Torx.
Before heading out on the road to attend this season’s bike week, make sure to drive with safety gear on. Be sure to check out the coolest designs of carbon fiber helmets in the market today. Not only they are tough, they let you ride with style.
So many wonderful stories have been uncovered as decades gone by, chronicling the elusive“barn find” appears almost impossible that any more could exist. The years have taught uslots of stories and none are prevalent than the fact that old stories are retold. Certainly, givenplenty of time, anything is possible, however the story behind this ‘42 Harley-Davidson WLCappears to be a one time episode. A genuine barn find makes for a good story, but a WWIIHarley covered in Honda parts and hidden away in a barn in a rural region in England? Well that would make a great story.
Custom builder Nick Gale tells us, “I found it whilst visiting a loved one 10 years/ten years ago. I got to talk to a local farmer when I was strolling my dog one evening and the man said to mehe has a vintage motorbike his father had bought in 1945 from a soldier following the Second World War. The local farmer told me he knows it was a Harley, and that it is for sale. The bikehad stayed in his barn from 1945 until1981 he made a decision to customize it and make it work.”
Looking over the motorcycle, it had 18-inch front and rear wheels from Honda, an old Hondagas tank, Honda fenders, a Suzuki headlight, handlebars from an lronhead Sportster, a hand clutch, and a huge Vincent sprung seat. The farmer had coated the entire bike yellow, includingall the nuts and bolts. Nick goes on to say that the motorcycle had an expired registration and after checking the engine, forks, and frame making sure they were complete, he made the offerfor $1,200.
Nick said, “Once home, I got the motorcycle running and was glad to see there was nocrackling sounds, no smoke, and like all ’42s, once on the road, there are no breaks.”
To prep the Harley for its resurrection, it was stripped down and thoroughly gone through bolt by bolt. New 16-inch wheels were purchased to exchange the Honda wheels and the very firstsnafu started. Running the front rim under the springer forks was easy enough, but the farmer had heated and bent the rear of the WLC’s body to make room for the Honda wheel to match.With most of his friends telling him its junk, Nick decided to keep up the classic framework and just get a little funkier with the build.
Nick said, “The drop seat idea came about when we cut the rear off. We used most of theoriginal muffler and chose to shape the backbone too. So, the framework was born. The most difficult aspect was having the seat plunger to enable us to use a new seat cut down by couple of inches from what it had before. It took four hours using a hammer to remove the existingseat post that had been fused together.”
From here the story goes stagnant. Right after owning the bike in 2001 and getting the frameredone, “customer wants” have prevailed and the old Harley Davidson was boxed and shelvedfor yet another day. That day did not come for another 10 years. At the beginning of 2011 thebins were opened up and readied for work once again.
Breaking open the 45-inch engine unveiled another big find. To Nick’s pleasure, the interiorwas almost new and with the crank split, the World War II oil spilled out. Examiningthoroughly unveiled completely unmarked interiors with matching numbers. After bringing thecomplete stock 750cc flathead together again, the Amal carburetor was refurbished and toppedwith a brass velocity stack. The rest of the engine decorated with brass over fresh paint and all oil and fuel pipes were created with manually bent copper tubing. The bike was included with abattered and soiled clamshell exhaust. To hide 70 years of abuse, the pipes were wrapped to hide the imperfections plus a bend allows the pipe to boast a bit for added style.
Nick said, “The gears are changed by a compact shifter we put together which still runs clutch. All brakes and clutch mechanisms are authentic as are all the switch gear, levers, and cables.All the parts were acquired as authentic or refurbished stock wich would likely be the same asHarley might have done decades ago. The motorcycle ignites on the 1st or 2nd kick not to mention the hill brake is working, well, sort of.”
Body-work was not overdone and bears an original overall look, but that is when thesimilarities stop. The rear fender began life as a winning piece that had been adapted with acustom-made set of struts and supported with a tail light. Adding some across-the-pond look, the license plate is meant to look like an old English pub sign. What would you expect from anytenured British bike builder? Peeking deep into the bike’s tank, it becomes clear a little bit morework was done.
Nick designed and built the unit into two parts that interlock just as the original but with a bit more style and a bend more in line with the frame tweaks. The seat moves from the frameworksupports to a spring within the classic seat post tube. The rest of the components are genuine’42 Harley WLC or new old stock. A deep black coating was applied to all the exposed metalswith gold highlights painstakingly applied by hand. One last thing is a vintage motorcycle helmet to carry out the WW II look of the bike.
Within two days of its six-week conversion process, the ’42 WLC was presented at the South of England Rally and hooked its first trophy as winner of the Best Professional Category. A couple weeks later it made an appearance and won Best Classic at the annual Bulldog Custom Show. After sitting in boxes for 10 years, Nick clearly understood that if he didn’t spare the time to sit and work with the Harley, it would be subject to another 10 years of sitting there. It went from a must-do project into a labor of love, then developed into an obsession. Nick sums it up best,“It is a joy to drive a bike once you get used to it. I, for one, love it to death.”
This season, motorcycle rallies are going to kick off from various states. A multitude of motorcyclists will be congregating for a week of celebration all expressing their love for bikes. You’ll encounter a lot of stories and building ideas to talk about with new friends while you spend the time in while in the rally. Remember to travel protected and wear the necessary protective equipment like carbon fiber helmets. Have a great time and have a great ride.