Friday, April 29, 2011

Old Foto Friday: The Side Car

Ok I know I've been really behind on these posts so heres a good one for you guys.

The sidecar bike has been mentioned numerous times here on RetroFit but I never did a write up about it. Teach's posts on Vintage Bike Addiction inspired me to do this post.

Sidecars are an animal all their own. Only a select group of people can really tame these beasts and run the snot out of them. Especially the nut jobs who race them.

I didnt start running my dad's sidecar until last summer, and oddly felt right at home. Maybe because I'm used to piloting ill-handling equipment for most of my life.

The sidecar bike was born from the mechanical genius, Billy. Check this post here for what I mean. And also what the very early start of all this was.

The sidecar itself is German Steib from I think the early 50s. Billy ran the hack on many bikes. This includes the wild orange 750 Honda chopper.

In the early 70s Billy decided to build a bike that was strictly run with a sidecar. The bike was built from a wrecked cb750 Honda. How is it sidecar run only? Well, it's got Volkswagen wheels, brakes, and tires. Its really difficult to ride just two up on Bias Plys. The bike also got a Harley front end with adjustable trees. In order for the sidecar to work properly the rake needs to be kicked out. The hack is attached by the stock Steib mounts along with Corvair tie rods for the upper adjustment.

My ol'man bought it in the mid 70s and has had it ever since. He and my mother took numerous trips out to Michigan on it to visit his cousin Chris Kusto. Owner of Antique Cycle Supply at the time.

At Chris's place in Michigan.

On their way to Chris's my ol'man noticed the hack started handling funny. When they arrived he pulled the Harley headlight shroud off and found the right fork tube backed out!!

Out in the cornfields somewhere. My mother use to read a book in the hack or fall asleep while taking these trips.

Hangin out at an AMC meet in Mid Ohio

Way up in NY state. Lets go to Poland!

The bike has been all over the North Eastern part of the US.

Then for about 8 years the bike was down for major maintenance, new engine, and some upgrades. Last summer I finally had enough of the bike being down so I took it into my own hands to get it rewired and running again. I managed to find some room in my garage to work on it!

So today, its on its 3d engine. This time a big bore 836. Boy what a monster! Pictured is my younger brother Ray and my ol'man.

And heres me and the ol'man on our way home from the Brooklyn Invitational last September. What a wild ride piloting that hack through the streets of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Heres a shot of Benny going for his first sidecar ride. Which later ended infamy... Loss of brakes in the driveway and crashing it in the bushes....

And heres a video I took last summer cruising down to the local bike night right after we got the beast on the road again. The bike sounds like a Formula 1 race car next to your head riding in the hack. Halfway through the video you'll see what I mean.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Indian Survey

As many of you may know, Polaris has recently bought the Indian name. Many of us have also rolled our eyes. Frankly I feel they're beating a dead horse. The real Indian has not been manufactured since 1953.... However I found this...

It's a survey made by Polaris to get input from the Indian Enthusiasts. I was about to pass over it as I really don't like the look of the Indians today. They're just Harleys in costume. But my curiosity led me to opening the survey to see what they are looking for. I was actually surprised. They were asking questions about "girder front ends" "right side final drive" "push rod engines". One thing they didn't bring up was kick starters and carburetors. But I added that in the comments section. Hey one can dream....

No matter what Polaris makes it wont be a real Indian, but maybe they can make a sharp bike. Not holding my breath but it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Hell yeah


Gotta say the number 1 thing that throws off the look is the stupid bottle cap engine. Its so tall it looks like a toy and makes the lines and proportions way off. Indian is known for that long low boat like look. That bike right there doesn't have it!

Maybe I should make a 3d model of what the new Indian should look like...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Results Are In!

For The Requiem Ride 3D bike contest. I decided since I got so many good submissions I would draw two bikes instead of one. Check it out!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Suzuki Update. It looks like a choppa!

I got a lot done last night. I finished my seat mounts upper and lower. I welded on small stainless tabs to the seat pan to hold the seat, sissybar and fender all in place. It took two tries but I also got my tailight mount welded on as well. (hey no bodys perfect.) and made my license plate bracket.

Since I was on a roll, I decided to weld the headlight mount on the bottom tree. When I was done I buried it in the sand for a few hours to cool slowly. Why is the bearing still on? because I couldn't get it off... The beauty of a tig welder. You can get in small places and direct the heat right where you want it. And no splatter! So the bearing was fine during this process.

I am in love with the stance of this bike.

Im close! There are only a few things left to do. Cut my notch in the fender for the chain, finish the battery box, I need to make a new brake stop on the frame, clean up the neck area and the fab work is more or less finished! Throw the motor in, do a test ride, and then break it down for paint!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Ride!....FINALLY

I've been waiting for weeks to get out of Brooklyn and head home for some riding. School has been insane and the only thing that keeps my sanity is going out of a ride on that ol panhead.

I met up with Benny at the steel yard to head out for a ride. It was chilly and the wind was blowing hard but I didnt care, I was just too happy to get out. As the sun went down and the wind stopped. It was a lot colder but no wind made for a better ride.

Benny's new pan is sharp. Turn key, no worries, ride anywhere. His plans are eventually put it back to stock.

Screw kick start, how about hand start?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Strange Days is ON!!

Join us on a spiritual and mechanical journey! Strange Days is a day and night of vintage choppers, live music, BBQ, bonfire, and camping. It's taking place at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains July23-24, 2011. $20 admission fee includes live music, cold beverages, raffle tickets for custom painted alien tank by 313 Paint and other goodies, bike show, and camping. Starts 10am Saturday July 23, and ends 10am Sunday July 24. Taking place at the Rickey Farm: 442 Rt. 94, Vernon, NJ 07462

Anyone interested in sponsorship, helping out in any way, or questions contact us at:

For more info and updates check

Last Call!

Ok, for all you slackers tomorrow is the last day for submissions for your bike to be in The Requiem Ride. The winner will be announced next week.

Did a quick mockup of my ol'man's knucklehead he had way back when. Wish I had the time to get into the color on these things but good things come to those who wait.

And just for fun...

Monday, April 18, 2011

What Ive been up to

Hey fellas, I know I havnt been posting much lately, I've missed a bunch of Old Foto Friday posts. My semester is winding down and it's just been super busy on my end. Ton of pre production work to do and I've been trying to get as much done as possible on the Suzuki. And just yesterday I sand blasted my sportster frame and misc parts so now its ready for paint.

Yesterday I also took this...

And made this...

Polished up quite nice! I think I'll use one as a choke knob for the Suzuki...

Discovered these photos today

I took these about 5 years ago driving south on I81 just crossing into PA from NY state.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mary Jane Modeled in 3D!

Contact me if you want your bike modeled!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Seat Pan Finished

Got the seat pan finished and it is coooomfy!!

The hole in the back is for the tail light and wires to come through. The wiring will run through the seat with plugs at both ends so you can remove it easily.