Click "Blog" above to see my latest posts. Click on any picture to see a larger version. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom to go to the next page. Feel free to comment on any post.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fender Mounting Options

My new fender will get chopped and attached to the swingarm soon.  The question is how.  At this point, I am pretty sure I won't be making a sissy bar and will just make a pair of struts instead.

I made my previous sissybar from 3/8" steel and whatever I do this time will be made from 1/2" cold rolled steel for added durability.  I wasn't sure whether I could bend 1/2" steel with a MAPP torch so I heated a section for a few minutes while it was held in a vise.  I could get it to faintly glow orange and then quickly clamp it in the vise just below the orange spot and bend it with some leverage.

With just a torch and vise, I was able to get the style of bends I was after but soon realized my new rear wheel wasn't centered properly and will have to fix that and bend some fresh struts later.  The plan is they will extend vertically from the lower shock bolt, angle in above the pulley or rotor, extend vertical again, and then made a 90 degree cut over to be mounted to the top of the fender.

When all that gets sorted, I will cut and attach the struts to fender using 3/8" bungs I bought from Lowbrow Customs. I bought 2 styles and will figure out which one I am going to go with later.  I like the look of the first one better but the second would allow me to get the fender closer to the tire.  Decisions, decisions...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fabricating Hollow Struts

It may seem strange that I chopped my rear fender struts only to make new ones but hear me out... I needed a place to mount my lights and I always loved the idea of having them flipped up, 1950s rocketship-style.

The section of the struts where the shocks mount is exactly 2" wide so I started by bending some 1/8" x 2" steel using my MAPP torch and bending it around a large socket held tight in my vise.

I used a bent coat hanger as a guide.  Here you can see both "struts" stacked on top of each other.  I got the bends to match perfectly.

Here they are just sitting on the bike.  They are not bolted on in any way.  You can see some paper taped to the far one, illustrating how I will make sides for them.

I made an aluminum template so I could drill my holes for the lights in the right spot.

Here is one light mounted.

Side view.  I will be able to hide the wiring and fasteners inside the struts.  The only trick will be figuring out how to access the fastener for the light.  I am leaning towards drilling an access hole in the bottom.

A view with the fender sitting on top of the tire.

Full view of the bike:

I still need to cut the side plates for the struts.  I will probably take them to someone to have them welded together since my practice over the weekend with my cheap-ass welder did not go very well.  They will attach to the bike via the top shock bolts.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strut Chop - The Sequel

The first time I chopped my Sportster's rear fender struts was in October of 2008.  Well, the cutting wheel came back for round two, 3 1/2 years later.

I marked the lines with pinstriping tape.

Chop number one...

...chop number two...

...and then a little shaping with the grinder.

I drilled my "mini-fender" too so that it can attach securely to the shock-mounting bolt holes.

Before I paint the strut ends, I'll shape them further with my Dremel.  If everything works out, you won't see the ends anyway but more on that soon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shortest Fender Chop Ever?

Last Friday, I took the day off to work on the Sportster.  While I might not have accomplished as much as I would have liked, I did get a lot done.

First up was to address the area under the seat.  Once I get the new fender mounted to the swingarm, you will see the back of the oil tank, some wiring, and other parts.

To help cover that area, I needed to sacrifice a stock fender.  I bought this fender a while back to chop instead of my original fender but got impatient.  Anyway, its time finally came.

I traced the outline of the seat and used my cutting wheel to chop along the line.

Here it is mounted - quite possibly the world's shortest fender chop ever.

Eventually it'll be painted black so it will blend in with bike's frame.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

2 pi R

Got my new fender.  It's a 6" wide Kraft Tech flat fender that I bought from Dennis Kirk.  I need to adjust the radius a bit and I'm hoping the tips from Lowbrow work.  As you can see, it's just a little off.

I won't be using much of the fender and still need to adjust how far back to extend it.  I want a little more fender in the rear than I've been running.  The plan is to make a pair of struts and a bracket to attach it to the swingarm and get it nice and close to the tire.  After finalizing the mounting, I'll paint it to match the tank.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flood Run This Weekend

The 47th Annual Spring Flood Run is this Saturday!  Based on the current forecast, it looks like a chilly one, but not nearly as cold as last year.  This will be the eighth Flood Run I have attended.  I highly recommend this event.

Check out my Guide To Local Events page for links to blog posts including pictures from some of the recent Flood Runs.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Tire Mounted

I got my new tire mounted on Saturday.  I'll spare you the long story, but it was a huge pain in the ass.  Luckily, the guys at Twin Cities HD in Blaine came through and saved the day.  I made the mistake of trying to save a few bucks elsewhere and it wasted a good chunk of my day.

Here it is mounted on the bike:

The wheel seems to be just a little wider than the stock wheel as the stock axle spacers don't quite fit.  I've measured a few times and found the wheel is indeed wider by about 1/8".  I'll be ordering a different axle spacer.  The tire is narrower and taller than stock and I love the way it looks.  I think it'll handle well too, especially through the corners.  I can't wait to try it out in a few weeks.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

First Thursday - April 2012

The unusually warm Spring made April's First Thursday seem like it was the middle of summer.  It was packed!  I know you can't tell from this photo but all the streets around Dulono's Pizza were lined with bikes.

I went with a friend of mine who rides an XR1200.  This was the same day that my sissy bar snapped.  I had it patched up with wire and duct tape at this point.

I have no idea how much of this bike is original but this Flying Merkel is awesome and it never gets old no matter how many times I've seen it.

I had to get a random person in this shot for scale.  This sport bike seemed bigger than a typical mini bike but definitely was not full-size.


Harley Fuckin' Davidson

Clown helmet

Really cool points cover:

I'm not really a scooter guy but this Vespa with sidecar looked great in the setting sun.

My daughter would be so freaked out if I did this to one of her dolls.

This bike gets ridden.  If you have any doubt, look up Team Strange and then you can appreciate the stickers.

A beautiful Sporty

Here's hoping we have similarly great weather for all the First Thursdays this year.

Friday, April 13, 2012

40 Spokes

My new 40 spoke rear wheel arrived today.  I bought it from American Classic Motors.

Here's a shot with my new Avon Safety Mileage MKII tire sitting on top of the wheel (obviously not mounted) just for a visual of what it will look like.

I am hoping to get the tire mounted and balanced this weekend.  A new fender and some bungs to help mount it will be delivered next week.  Then I can really get going on my Sportster's to-do list.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

First Welds

I picked up a cheap welder at Harbor Freight last year but never took it out of the box to try it.  It's a flux core wire welder and it plugs into a standard wall outlet.  Well, I finally opened it up so I could try it out on some scrap steel I had lying around.  Up to this point, I have had absolutely zero welding experience and no training.

After messing around a little, I tired welding two pieces of 1/8" thick steel together.  I clamped the pieces first.

Welds on the one side. Don't worry, I did wear proper protective gear.  I knew that much.

Flipped it over.

Welds on that side, along with more messing around. I successfully joined two pieces of steel!  It's really ugly, but what do you expect?

I have an instructional DVD from Lowbrow Customs that I plan to watch to actually figure out what I'm supposed to be doing.  It'll be cool if I can figure it out.  Obviously I won't be welding any critical parts like a motorcycle frame with this tiny welder but it should be fine for some small jobs.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The Sporty is going to be stuck in the garage for at least a few weeks while I figure out how I am going to mount a new fender to the swingarm and do a bunch of other modifications and touch-ups.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Avon Speedmaster

New tires for the Sporty.  Avon Speedmaster MKII front and an Avon Safety Mileage MKII for the rear.  I love the tread patterns versus the pair of Dunlops I had been running.  They both seem narrower than the Dunlops.  I'm interested to see them installed.
Click "Older Posts" to go to the next page.