Saturday, February 26, 2011

Old Foto Friday

Like I said things have been busy on my end. So enjoy an Old Foto Saturday post.

Bagger Madness! I wont deny that this is getting popular again. Its the next thing because its one side of custom motorcycles that hasn't been fully revisited yet. (In this form that is. I know theres a population of real tasteless garbage wagons out there)

This is my ol'man's last harley before he got the pan 4 years ago. He sold this bike around 1988 I believe. Imagine goin almost 20 years of almost no harley ridin! But at the same time, choppers were kinda dead at the time. In the background is his '55 F100. Man, if one thing came back I wish it was that truck! Beautiful candy red, Y block, 3 on the tree. (I can post more on that later, back to the bagger!)

That little bugger right there, you can guess who, about 8-9 months old.

23 years later.... the ol man gets another one. Oh we have plans for this one... You probably have seen the thumbnail of this bike on the main page but theres no link to it. This project has been kinda under wraps and theres a great story that goes with this bike. (I also havnt had a chance for good photos and a write up. But I'll stick to my story of keeping it a secret hah!) Also, once again history kinda comes full circle in spooky ways. If your thinkin this is the bike pictured above, its not, but the background on this bike is still good.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Little more work on the 550

90% of my time has been going into school work lately and pre-production for my senior project (follow it here) so I havnt had much time to spend on the 550. I had mill class homework due but couldnt get into the machine shop because other students were doing their shit last minute too. So to kill the time and ease my mind I started mocking up the rear fender and sissybar. I eyeballed everything up to about where I want it.

I need to trim the bar and also close the radius of the fender. Theres a huge gap near the bottom and it just looks weird.

I finally got on the mill and got my homework done. Since I was already on the machine, I came up with a better solution for the head light mount. I originally made a plate to weld to the bottom tree, that mounted a small block, that mounted the headlight. It was okay but the head light stuck out further than I wanted. K.I.S.S. suddenly came to mind... There was no need for all this crazy bracketry.

Found a piece of 1x1 solid stock

Milled it down.

Close enough for matching the chrome mounting block.

Made a quick cardboard template.

Vola! Few adjustments to make but that is pretty much the idea. I milled out the block to match the curvature of the bottom triple tree. I just need to make a clean up pass, drill the hole for the head light and then I can weld it to the bottom tree. This new set up will suck the light in about an inch. No photos of that but I can assure you it looks spiffy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

47 Industries Unfinished Bike Show

Mike put on a great show of unfinished bikes at his shop in Raritan, NJ. Never been to an unfinished bike show and I gotta say it was better than a finished bike show.

Heres a few quick shots

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Early Old Foto Friday

Im gonna be away for the next few days so I figured I'd post this a little early.

Dressers and chops and vans oh my!

What more could you ask for?!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Old Foto Friday

Spick and span Indian. North Haledon 1980s.

AMC club days

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kenny B!

Look how shiny and clean that shovel use to look haha!

Strange Days

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Yamahopper: Strange Connections

So this is my 300th post. Also with a record 118 views the other day, (small in comparison to other blogs, but its a big deal for me) I thought it would be appropriate to just tell you guys how this whole mess started for me. This is also a follow up to this post
So this is a big write up, it took me a while but I hope you guys enjoy it.

Que the twilight zone music....

So this was my first real bike. Flashback 6 years or so. I turned 17 over the summer, started drivin on my own and it was the following winter I was itching to find a bike for the summer. At the time a good friend of mine, Tim, who worked at Mark Conforth's hot rod shop told me they had an old BSA basket case for sale. Tim got me some pictures and I thought about it. I didn't really know what I was getting into with a Brit bike.

I ended up contacting my ol'man's friend Billy. He knows the ins and outs of all kinds of bikes and is a master at customizing anything he gets his hands on. So I picked his brain about BSAs. He told me not to bother, especially for a first bike. Then tells me "I got somthin similar down in the barn you can have. It's a little more reliable and it's got some work done to it" That somethin turned out to be a 1979 650 Yamaha.

I was stoked. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't wait. It was winter and the snow was piled up. I had to wait till things thawed out at Billy's before I could go get it. For a good 2 weeks all I did was dream and draw chopped 650 Yamahas. As I said Billy is a master craftsman and to get something from his collection just floored me.

The day finally came when we could go pickup the bike. We trudged our way down to the barn and there it was. I didn't exactly know which Yamaha Billy was talking about, but there sat a bike I remembered seeing years ago when I was maybe 13. It was on a lift in his garage and I thought it was really cool lookin bike. No idea years later I'd be owning it!

Billy made a lot of one-off parts on this bike like the hand made velocity stacks and battery box cover out of aluminum. Hand made sissybar, chain guard, shortened shocks. The neck was raked a few degrees. Photos don't really do justice all the little tricks Billy did when he started building this bike. Billy also told me this bike use to be a trike! Check the link here for more photos!

It was from this time (February) on that my ol man and I worked on getting it road ready by spring.

I ditched the large Honda tank and used this sportster tank with some sweet mold work done to it.

I also picked up a parts bike from Benny. I had plenty of extra parts now and all the electrics I needed. I later found out the parts bike I bought from Benny, he bought from his friend Marlin. Marlin is the same guy I bought the ex cop car from a few years ago, I never knew the bike use to be his.

It was getting closer to spring time now and Billy's yard needed cleaning up. I cleaned his yard in exchange for him painting my tins.

I told Billy what I wanted and we matched the colors in a regular PPG automotive paint book. The gold is actually some 1990s Suzuki car color. The flames are pearl and Billy added the touch of the green in the flame licks.

When the tank was finished I picked it up from Billy's and on the way home I got pulled over for the first time for speeding. (Remember I was still 17, wasn't driving for all that long) I didnt even realize I was speeding, didnt even see the cop! I was just too excited to get home and put the tank on the bike!

The seat was done by my ol'man's neighbor Greg He moved next door that same summer. He stopped over one day and he was lookin at the bike. He asked what I was gonna do for a seat. I wasn't exactly sure, Billy made a quick seat cover for mock up but it wasn't finished. Greg is an auto upholsterer and offered to make me a seat. I stuck with the black and white scheme but wanted large pleats going across. I find out later this was Greg's first motorcycle seat.

It was about June/July the bike was finally finished, but I had to wait till August, my birthday, to get my motorcycle license (turned 18) because of issues with the insurance and with the state of NJ. (thats a story for another day)

When the bike was finished my ol'man also gave me a Bates headlight. Not just any Bates. The light came from his shovel head that had seen many many miles. Cool right?

So heres where the strangest connection begins. I was talkin to my Uncle Neil one night over the phone. Telling him all about my newly finished bike. I also told him how I was lookin at a BSA first, but passed on it since Billy gave me the Yamaha. Just out of conversation I described the BSA to Neil, telling him about the old chopper parts it had. He then says to me "Thats my old bike."

Sure enough it was. Neil built the rigid frame and put the Sportster front end on it after it was t-boned in an accident. Neil (also an HD master mechanic) was working at Tramontin HD at the time. He told me would get a lot of flack for ridin a BSA to a Harley shop everyday. So when it was wrecked he rebuilt it with Harley parts hah! Neil was interested in getting it back. Unfortunately by the time I knew this, the bike was sold to someone down in central or south Jersey. If you bought this bike let me know!

The wrecked Beeza

It's interesting how family history comes full circle sometimes with things. The Yamaha is not "vintage" or "period correct" or anything of that hype thats goin on now. But its stems from all that was good in the early days of choppin motorcycles.
So this is a big thanks to my dad Joe, Billy, Neil, Benny, and Greg.

I also want thank you RetroFit readers for subscribing, viewing, and commenting here. Your feed back keeps me going and helps me improve this place. Keep it up! Sure theres a thousand other bike blogs out there but I try to keep this a home grown, no frills, no marketing, no excess bullshit blog. Just simply enjoying the old bikes and the history behind them. We're not being vintage because its whats popular now, we're just doing what we always did.

Thanks fellas! See ya down the road.