Tsunami Harley

Een tijd geleden was ’t al wereldnieuws: Een Harley Davidson die wegspoelde bij de Japanse tsunami en ruim een jaar later in Canada werd teruggevonden. De 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train werd in april teruggevonden op een strand in British Colombia, verpakt in de container waarin zijn Japanse eigenaar hem gestald had. De motor was in veertien maanden van Japan naar Canada gedreven, zo’n 6000 kilometer. De Japanse Harley-Davidson, die door de Canadees Peter Mark werd ontdekt toen hij met zijn ATV langs de kust aan het rijden was. De motor was verroest, maar de Japanse kentekenplaat was nog leesbaar, waardoor eigenaar Ikuo Yokoyama kon worden achterhaald. Hij was bij de tsunami ook drie familieleden en zijn huis kwijtgeraakt. Yokoyama woont nog altijd in een noodverblijf.
Harley bood aan de motor voor hem te restaureren, maar Yokoyama zag liever dat het bedrijf de motor in zijn museumcollectie opnam, en zo gebeurt het.

Het Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee zal hem tentoonstellen als eerbetoon aan de slachtoffers in Japan
Hoewel de motor, die in een container was gestald, zwaar door het zeezout was aangetast was de motor verder intact.
Harley-Davidson deed een enorme geste door aan te bieden de motor geheel op te knappen en daarna kosteloos naar Japan te verschepen, maar de 29-jarige eigenaar Ikuo Yokoyama heeft uiteindelijk Harley gevraagd de motor niet op te knappen maar te behouden voor het Harley-Davidson museum, ter nagedachtenis van de 15.000 slachtoffers van de ramp.

Ikuo Yokoyama: “Het is echt verbazingwekkend dat mijn Harley-Davidson motorfiets, na meer dan een jaar, werd teruggevonden in Canada”, aldus de de eigenaar van de Harley, Ikuo Yokoyama. Sinds de motor was ontdekt heb ik met veel mensen gediscussieerd wat ermee zou moeten gebeuren. Ik zou verheugd zijn als de motor in zijn huidige conditie kan worden behouden in ten toon worden gesteld aan de vele bezoekers van het Harley-Davidson museum als een gedenkteken aan de tragedie die duizenden levens heeft geëist. Ik ben Harley-Davidson erg dankbaar dat ze me hebben aangeboden een bezoek aan het museum te brengen, en dat zou ik ook zeker willen doen als hier alles weer is gekalmeerd. Tegelijkertijd zou ik ook Peter, die mijn motor heeft gevonden, willen ontmoeten en mijn dankbaarheid willen tonen.
Tot slot zou ik alle mensen over de hele wereld willen danken die hun oprechte steun hebben getoond aan de getroffen gebieden. Ik zou hen willen vragen de berichten van de Japanse mensen over deze tragedie over te brengen, daar dit een tragedie van historische proporties was.

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The ‘Bomber Bagger’

The ‘Bomber Bagger’

1210 Hrbp 2009 Harley Davidson Fltri Road Glide Right View

CA-99 is the worst highway in the world. When it’s not cold and foggy, it’s  hotter and smellier than a steaming pile of poo. And it’s straight and  featureless, zipping through nondescript farm town after farm town, punctuated  with fields of various things California is known for. I had a girlfriend in Fresno once, years ago, and I’d blaze up that stretch  of road a few times a month, thankfully on a very fast bike. Since then, my  trips up the 99 have been very few. 1210 Hrbp 2009 Harley Davidson Fltri Road Glide Jordan Garcia Side View
  This time, given the amount of time since  the last trip, was not so bad. Back then it took a bit of cooze to get me motivated, but Paul Binford of  Binford Custom Cycles (BCC) did a pretty good job finding a suitable  replacement. Paul had called me, as he does on occasion, to show me a new bike  he’d built; this one, in fact. To coax me up the dreaded 99, he set up the shoot  at the Castle Air Museum, hooked up a rather fine little retro pinup girl  (albeit, young enough to be my daughter), and even offered to buy me lunch. I  still might have declined, but in my driveway was a Victory Cross Country Tour  that I wanted to get to know a little better. So I went.
For a bike like this, Castle Air Museum was the perfect location, with its slew  of aircraft from before and after the era of gaping shark mouths on the  underside of military plane noses. On the grounds of the former Castle Air Force  Base in Atwater, California, the museum covers acres of lawn with military  planes stretching from World War II to the Cold War. But importantly, there were  more than a couple with an iconic shark mouth. The shark-nose fairing that first appeared in the ’80s has always been the more  functional of H-D’s fairing designs, but despite that, a majority of people  prefer the traditional “batwing,” as found on Street Glides and Electra Glides.  The shark is fairly aerospace in appearance, drawing down from its high leading  edge, much like the nose of a plane. So a mouth to go with that nose is only a  natural progression.
1210 Hrbp 2009 Harley Davidson Fltri Road Glide Rear View
The most famous shark-nose/mouth combo was the one made popular by the mercenary  Flying Tigers on their P-40 Tomahawks, prior to the US entry to WWII, a group  given the personal blessing of FDR to fight the good fight in China versus the  marauding and heavily armed Japanese military. The P-40 was hopelessly  outmatched by the lighter and more advanced Japanese aircraft, but managed to  kill far more then they lost. Perhaps it’s something like destiny or irony that  nowadays you’ve got American custom builders making garage-built customs from  scratch using a blend of American and Chinese parts as an alternative to (faster  and more advanced) Japanese sportbikes. Not that there are any Chinese parts on  this bike; the forks are Japanese, but I digress.

This bike may not have gone to war tens of thousands of feet off the ground, but  it has had a tortured existence as a custom-touring bike. The owner (who  identifies himself alternately as “Junior” and “Carlos Santana,” neither of  which I believe to be the name on his birth certificate) bought the bike and  immediately upgraded to a bumpin’ stereo and commissioned a pearl orange  paintjob. The shop that was doing the work even started on getting it raked out  to 42 degrees, but for one reason or another work stopped and the bike moved on. 1210 Hrbp 2009 Harley Davidson Fltri Road Glide Rim Zoom
The second shop (is this starting to feel like Three Little Pigs to anybody else  but me?) actually installed the Alpine system along with some bolt-on goodies.  Junior decided his fly ride was ready for the big time and entered it in a local  show at the Black Oak Casino in Sonora, California. Instead of the good times  one usually associates with a bike show, this one dealt a double blow to Carlos:  a) he didn’t have the flyest ride there, not by a long shot, and b) he wrecked  the bike over the weekend.
Shop #3 was BCC in Manteca, California, deep in the heart of the San Joaquin  Valley. I guess we don’t need to tell you that this is the bike that came out  the other side. Aside from the shark-face/WWII/pinup theme, the Road Glide got a  fine assortment of Binford’s new (brass) Knuckle parts: footboards, rear pegs,  and fender spacers. With all this time being spent on cosmetics, the BCC crew  talked Carlos into some motor work, bringing the 103ci mill up to 125 horsepower  and 126 lb-ft of torque. 1210 Hrbp 2009 Harley Davidson Fltri Road Glide Decal Left View
I think it’s safe to say Junior is now a happy bagger owner. We yakked a bit  over a lunch of chile rellenos (he’s a vegetarian), and he’s clearly stoked on  this motorcycle, eyes lighting up when he talks about it.

The best part (not counting our awesome pinup girl) was to finish the shoot,  hop back on the Victory, and head for the cool, twisty roads of the coast. Santa  Cruz is one of my favorite towns, and I was headed there. •

1210 Hrbp 2009 Harley Davidson Fltri Road Glide Rear View

Thug Life, Thug Ride

1999 Harley-Davidson Dyna

1999 Harley Davidson Dyna Right View

Bike builders and women have a lot in common. In order to get them to do what  you want, often the best way is to say it can’t be done. Usually when faced with  the challenge of something seemingly impossible, the floodgates of imagination  and ingenuity are open wide and the impossible becomes possible. When Greg  Calvis approached his childhood friend Tom Keller of Thugs Cycles to build him a  small bar hopper to jump around the town, at first it started off like a usual  build. They added a few parts here, which became a little more there and before  they knew it, everything was torn apart and they were in the middle of creating  a full-blown custom. “Over the course of the next three months it started with  bars and ended up being a frame off job with everything in boxes,” explained  Tom.

1999 Harley Davidson Dyna Engine Right ViewFor both Greg and Tom, the great white whale that couldn’t be caught was  fitting a 200 rear tire on a ’99 Dyna frame. For years, the critics said it  couldn’t be done without a blowtorch and plenty of cutting. “Seeing most of the  other shops’ builds, Greg wanted something different than the typical bobbers he  had be coming across. He wanted something unique that would stand on its own  merit and he felt the Dyna was the perfect bike to be the donor. After being  told by so many people that you couldn’t fit a 200 tire on that frame without an  offset, we set out to prove them wrong.”

1999 Harley Davidson Dyna Bike Left View

And so they did. But first they attacked the motor adding flow and ported  S&S heads, RSD rocker boxes, and a woods cam all breathing through a custom  Thug air cleaner and exhaust that appears to have parts from a Yamaha R6. Five  stars wheels were added as rollers with some trick Brembo brakes to slow that  beefy motor back down. And finally after much talking, thinking, and planning a  200-rear tire was fitted inside the frame just to prove it could be done.

1999 Harley Davidson Dyna Chain ZoomThe paintjob is the most unique part of the bike and the theme was an easy  choice, as Tom explained, “The owner was a Desert Storm Army veteran and is a  member of the US Military Vets MC and wanted it to be part of his history.  Because of the tricky desert camo look, the paint was handed off to Be Unique,  which in a short time, pulled a work of art.”When the dust settled and paint dried, the two stepped back to see what they  had created. And despite its camouflage exterior, there’s no blending in with  the crowd with this chopped, hacked, wide-stance Dyna.

Never say never again. HB

1999 Harley Davidson Dyna Model Burnout

New Slim(me) HD

2012 Harley-Davidson
FLS Softail Slim

July 22, 2012 By Staff

Don’t let the name fool you. The Slim is more than just a trimmed-down Softail. It’s a bike that salutes the immediate post-World War II years when motorcycling redefined itself in America. It was a wild and rollicking time, too. And, despite today’s misperception that the 1947 Hollister incident served as ground zero, the real activity shaping the future of biking took place  at competition events across America. Speed merchants like Tom Sifton and Chet Herbert built dazzlingly fast motorcycles for ironmen such as Joe Leonard, Ken Eggers, and Jimmy Chann for closed-course racing, and for a guy named Al Keys to ride as fast on two wheels as possible.

Among the lessons learned from racing was that excess weight can hamper a bike’s speed and handling performance. Indeed, even before the post-war era, competitors realized this and it was common to see Harley VLs and Indian Scouts with cut fenders and extemporaneous components removed in the interest of speed. Those early bikes were known as cut-downs, and across the aisle in the automotive world, racers removed fenders, floorboards, bumpers, even windshields from their cars, in the process prompting new names for their vehicles. Those early hot-rod cars were actually known as soup-jobs and bob-jobs; only later did someone coin the term hot rod. Bikers settled on the term bobber for their bikes, and it was common to see  them at the Jack Pine Enduro, and TT races and scrambles across America.

Perhaps the ultimate bobber, though, was the Knucklehead-powered bike that Chet Herbert built for Al Keys to race at El Mirage Dry Lake. Keys, riding a bike known as The Beast, was clocked at 158 mph. In July 1950, Herbert, who went on to build high-performance race cams for motorcycles and cars, also entered The Beast at the nearby Santa Ana Drags, which was to become the first continuously sanctioned quarter-mile drag races in the world. Keys and The Beast performed magnificently, too, finishing the day as Top Eliminator, a title he held week after week, defeating the top car driver, a guy named Dick Kraft.

Krafty Dick was a quick learner, though, and he took a lesson from Herbert to remove as much hardware from his modified Model T as he could. Ultimately, Krafty Dick showed up at the starting line with a bare rolling chassis sporting a firewall cowl section, a small gas tank, a flimsy roll bar, and a seat for the driver. The reduced weight was enough to finally help him slay The Beast, but the big lesson to everybody was that weight was a hindrance when it came to absolute performance. Power-to-weight ratio became part of every racer’s mantra.

But winning races wasn’t the objective behind Harley-Davidson’s new FLS Softail Slim. Instead, the Motor Company’s design team wanted to get back to basics, to focus attention on the heart and soul of the bike: the engine. After all, we’re talking about motorcycles. To do that, the stylists, led by Senior Designer Casey Ketterhagen, took the same approach that the racers did more than half century ago, in the process conceiving a bike that pays homage to those pioneers of speed.

 The difference, of course, is the Slim was developed to win customers, not races, so Ketterhagen’s crew paid close attention to  what components found their way on’and in some instances, off ‘the bike. Most obvious features are the bobbed fenders, and the rear lighting utilizes lessons originally applied to the Nightster, including the iconic side-mount license plate assembly. The rear tire is slimmer, too, the Dunlop listed as a MT90B-16”, which makes this the narrowest 16” tire found on a Softail.

What you won’t find much of on the Slim is chrome plating. There’s just enough of that glittery stuff to catch the eye, but for the most part black paint or powdercoating takes its place. That’s just another nod to being period correct; chromium was scarce after the war, so for several model years, new bikes rolling out of Milwaukee didn’t have many chromed parts on them.

The Slim’s 103” engine sports a raw aluminum/semi-polished finish to its primary and ignition covers, and even the rocker boxes have that poor boy finish to enhance the post-war heritage. The fork legs share a similar finish, and the old-style round air horn is coated in black.
Black highlights other trim items, too. The wheel rims, headlight, and nacelle are black, as are parts of the hand controls and that stylish Hollywood handlebar, a design that was found on early police models because its crossbar served as a place to position pursuit lights. And when you look down at the tank-mounted speedometer, you’ll also see the black cat’s eye console, another throwback to the time.

Perhaps the only point of contention that I have with the Slim’ styling is in the solo seat. While the tuck-and-roll vinyl cover looks period correct, a tractor seat as used on the Cross Bones would have been more in tune with the post-war times. But that’s a minor point, and no doubt the Slim’s saddle suits the bike’s profile well. It also sets your butt a claimed 23.3”off the deck, although a long stint in the saddle makes it obvious that comfort wasn’t paramount to its design.

But the half-moon floorboards ‘another bobber-era feature’ position your feet well for long rides, and the reach to the Hollywood bar places you in a comfortable riding position as well (an optional pullback riser can be installed without having to change control cables is a nice touch). You practically feel like you’re sitting in the Slim, not on it, and you can only imagine what guys like Leonard, Eggers, and Chann must have been thinking about when they rolled their bikes to the starting lines so many years ago (although by the time Leonard won his first AMA Grand National Championship in 1954 he was riding race-bred KR models).

In any case, you won’t be sliding the Slim around any dirt tracks, but you might be scraping those floorboards around some corners because there’s not much clearance if you ride this bike aggressively through the turns. But riding moderately, the way any Softail is designed to be ridden, rewards you with all the on-road enjoyment you can expect from this 671-pound motorcycle. It’s a ride that can take you across town or across country, or even back in time to when life was a little simpler and bikers were exploring new ways to go faster on their machines.


By Dain Gingerelli