Help Fight Prostate Cancer at the 2014 Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride

dapperOn Sunday the 28th of September, Oden Motor Shop will be joining the Greasy Nuts team in the 2014 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride to help find a cure for prostate cancer. Why? Because over 1,300 men a day die of prostate cancer worldwide, whether their ties are pearly white or stained with sweat and grease.

Our team’s fundraising goal is $4,000, so whether your ride or watch, a donation would be greatly appreciated and help The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride reach its goal of $US1 million to fund research into a cure for a disease that claims far too many gentlemen each and every year.

Sign up for the ride on the Greasy Nuts team site here:

http://www.gentlemansride.com/team/GreasyNuts

View the complete ride details and route here:

http://www.gentlemansride.com/about/ride/Washington-DC

Here’s an overview of the ride:

Start Time & Place
11:00am – Key Bridge Exxon – 3607 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Departure Time
11:30am

Regroup Points
– Heading down GW Parkway to Old Town
– Old Town Alexandria meetup at Misha’s Coffee
102 S Patrick St, Alexandria, VA 22314

12:00pm (Kick Stands Up at 12:30pm)

NOTE: We may not be able to stop at Misha’s due to parking issues, so we will continue on to Belle Haven Park on GW Parkway to stop and take some photos.

Finish Location Name & Address

Back into DC through Barracks Row for photos at the US Capitol.

Then move on to finish up at The Queen Vic.

FOR SALE: Stars-N-Bar Hopper – 1983 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH 1000 Ironhead Bobber

Oden Motor Shop is proud to offer for sale our latest project: “Stars-N-Bar Hopper.”

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This is 1983 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH 1000 was rebuilt in spring of 2014. It was converted into a “mild” hard-tail bobber with classic Army Air Core paint scheme.

The original speedo was in excess of 38,000 miles, but the rebuilt engine and aftermarket speedo have 50 miles as of this listing.

It has the standard factory four-speed transmission.

It has an S&S Super E “Shorty” carburetor, properly jetted and tuned.

This is a “mild” hard tail using struts in place of shocks: the frame is original and can be easily converted back to factor if you value comfort more than cool.

A spring-mounted solo seat makes the hard-tail a little less hard-on-the-tail.

It has has a side-mounted tail-light and license plate.

It has no turn signals (other than those mounted on your shoulder, also known as your left arm).

The front and rear brake pads have more than 75% remaining, and there is no scoring on the disks.

The tires are in great shape with plenty of tread.

The battery is new and has a battery tender cable installed.

The oil and filter were changed in April, the brakes were serviced and the clutch was serviced and adjusted.

The bike is registered in Virginia with a current safety inspection and is ready to ride today.

SALE PRICE: $3,500.00

If you’re interested in purchasing or scheduling a demo, email curtis@odenmotorshop.com.

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Dream a Little Dream – Ironhead Nightmare

The ’83 Ironhead is fun project bike, but like all AMF Harley-Davidson bikes, it’s a finicky bitch. Everything else with the project is coming together smoothly, but I just couldn’t get the clutch properly adjusted. I didn’t have a shop manual handy, so I Googled how to adjust the clutch on a 1983 Ironhead, and while there where a few promising results, there were an equal number of depressing ones (like “FUCK: Fucking ironhead clutch!!!!!!!” over on Chop Cult).

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I tried a couple of the techniques suggested in various forums and blogs, but I didn’t have much success: I kept either adjusting it out so far that it would never engage, or adjusting everything back in so the clutch was constantly engaged. In either case, it didn’t matter if the clutch releases lever was in or out: I simply couldn’t find the middle ground.

I finally gave up on the Interwebs and got my hands on a ratty old copy of the Harley-Davidson Service Manual for XL/XR Models 1000cc 4-Speed 1979 to 1985 (Part No. 99484·85), hoping my luck would be better than the other would-be Ironhead gurus out there banging their heads on the bikes’ pitted chrome battery boxes and rusty peanut tanks.

Form the manual, the procedure for “Adjusting the Adjusting Clutch Release Mechanism” is as follows (referencing Figure 6-5 from the manual):

  1. Loosen clutch cable adjuster locknut (13) and turn adjuster (15) inward until there Is a large amount of free play at hand lever on handlebar.

  2.  Remove access plug (1) from primary chain cover using ACCESS PLUG REMOVAL TOOL, Part No. HD-33186.

  3. Loosen adjusting screw locknut (3) using CLUTCH ADJUSTING NUT WRENCH, Part No. HD-94580-71, and turn screw (5) Inward until it becomes harder to turn (starts to release the clutch) and continue turning (2 more turns) to be sure clutch Is disengaged.

  4.  Adjust all free play out of clutch cable by turning adjuster (15) outward. Do not put any tension on cable. With all slack In cable eliminated (no play at hand lever) tighten the coll adjuster locknut (13). This Is the correct cable adjustment.

  5. The clutch release adjustment should then be made with the clutch adjusting screw as follows. Back off the adjusting screw (5) until the clutch Is engaged (screw turns easier), then, turn screw Inward until the point where free play of adjusting screw has just been eliminated. From this point, turn the adjusting screw outward 1/8 to 1 1/4 turn to establish correct free play, and tighten locknut (3) while holding screw (5) stationary.

  6. See Figure 6-6. Check free play at clutch handlever. There should be 1/16 In. free play between handle and bracket. If Incorrect, readjust sleeve (15, Figure 6·5) and tighten locknut (13).

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NOTE: If the clutch continues to slip under load or drag in released position, clutch springs may need adjusting or release mechanism may not be operating. See subsequent sections.

The subsequent sections sounded scary enough that I really, really wanted to make this work.

Unfortunately, the procedure in the manual proved as useful as all of the guides I found by stumbling around Google. Tinkering around, I came up with my own procedure, modestly named:

Curtis’ Mega-Awesome Ironhead Clutch Adjustment Technique Extraordinare

 

  1. Drink at least three beers.
  2. Tighten the adjustment cable all the way down using whatever wrench fits.
  3. Loosen the lock nut with the right sized socket. Don’t waste your money  on CLUTCH ADJUSTING NUT WRENCH, Part No. HD-94580-71. You can even remove that damn lock nut, since it will just be in the way until you’re done.
  4. Loosen the adjusting screw using whatever low tech instrument you have on hand (such as a flat-head screwdriver or butter knife) until it ALMOST falls out. I don’t think you’re screwed if it does fall out, but it’s best not to find out.
  5. Pull the hand lever and notice how wrong that feels.
  6. Try rolling the bike with the hand lever pulled, and see how wrong that feels.
  7. Now put the bike in gear and try STEP 6 again, you moron.
  8. Drink three more beers.
  9. Loosen the cable adjustment all the way out (trying not to remove the damn thing).
  10. Tighten the adjusting screw all the way down. Tight. No, tighter.
  11. Pull the brake lever, and notice how bad that popping sound is. Don’t do that again.
  12. Drink another beer and hope you didn’t screw anything up.
  13. Tighten up that cable adjustment a little bit, so it doesn’t make that popping sound when you squeeze the clutch lever.
  14. Try rolling the bike, in gear, with the clutch lever pulled, noticing that you’re still all knackered up.
  15. Let go of the clutch lever and roll the bike around in gear, noticing you’re REALLY knackered now.
  16. Drink another beer and think about this.
  17. Unscrew the adjustment screw (not the cable adjustment, you drunk idiot!) until it is about to fall out.
  18. Now screw the adjustment screw back in until you feel it start to get tight.
  19. Put the lock nut back on, but don’t screw it down too tight.
  20. Get on the bike and roll it back in forth, pulling the clutch lever and then not pulling. Pay attention to how much play is in the lever, and how hard it is to roll the bike.
  21. Don’t drop the bike: you’ve had a lot of beer, and it will be a real bitch to pick it back up again while you’re drunk.
  22. If the bike is in gear, you aren’t pulling the clutch lever, and the bike rolls freely, you need to loosen the adjustment screw a few turns. Just do it a few turns at a time.
  23. If rolling the bike starts kicking the pistons over, GOOD!. Don’t mess with anything yet.
  24. Now, with the bike in gear, pull the clutch lever, and roll it. If the pistons start kicking over, you need to tighten the adjustment screw a few or several turns.
  25. If you’re starting to sober up, you may notice that, even if the pistons don’t roll over, the Ironhead still seems to resist rolling. When these bikes are cold, the clutch plates have a tendency to stick, so as long as you can roll it with a litter effort, but not turn the pistons, you’re in good shape.
  26. Don’t drink any more beer.
  27. Tighten the adjustment screw lock nut.
  28. Tighten the cable adjustment lock nut.
  29. Put the cover plug back on (we’re going to assume it fell off itself at some point, since I didn’t include a step to remove it). Use something with a eight inch edge. I used the fender struts from a 1983 Honda Shadow VT700C, which I cut off the frame when I was turning it into a bobber.
  30. Drink some coffee.
  31. Now go ride it, and see if that clutch is working.

 

Even after using my foolproof technique,  I still didn’t seem to be getting the torque I was expecting when I test rode the Sporty. I suspected the clutch was slipping because of worn friction plates, or springs, or wouldn’t engage properly because of a worn ramp or some other annoying problem. I ordered the parts to rebuild the clutch per the dreaded “Subsequent Sections” in the repair manual, but something was still nagging me: if the clutch were worn out, how could it turn the piston when rolled, and not turned them when the clutch was pulled? It didn’t feel like it was slipping when under human power?

Was it something wrong with the transmission.

And right as I began drifting off to sleep, dozing but still slightly coherent, I had a flash of memory, of taking my 1977 Ironhead (my dear Imperial Entanglement) for quick ride around the block one morning shortly after I bought it. I had just filled it up with gas, when suddenly I started loosing power. It could still pull me, but my rear end (with the rest of me included that’s about 400 lbs of awesome), but it had lost it’s pep. My Sporty was no longer it’s Sporty self.

I went to sleep with that thought on my mind, but I didn’t make any connections until this afternoon, after firing up the ’83 Ironhead again and wondering what I was doing wrong. I thought back on the ’77 Ironhead and realized the sluggishness I felt with it was very close to the “slipping” I was feeling on the ’83. The power just wasn’t there, like it was only half a Harley.

It was only half a Harley.

I was only getting 500cc instead of 1000cc.

Sure enough, when I fired up the ’83 Sporty and put my hand behind the front exhaust, cool air was pumping out. The rear exhaust was nice and hot. I pulled the plugs and cleaned them (the front was caked with carbon deposits) and popped them back in. The front still pumped out cool air. I swapped plugs, and the problem followed the plug, pumping cool air out of the rear exhaust.

So here’s the new STEP ZERO in “Curtis’ Mega-Awesome Ironhead Clutch Adjustment Technique Extraordinare”:

CHECK YOUR EFFING SPARK PLUGS, YOU MORON!!!!!

I swapped the old plugs for some older (but known-good) plugs, and fired her up. Immediately, I knew I had back 1000cc of Ironhead awesomeness, and that ’83 Sportster zipped my big butt around the block like I was some elfin fairy waif. But in a badass, cool, elfin fairy waif kind of way.

And the clutch is in perfect adjustment.

Poll: King or Porkster Tank for the Ironhead

After spending a few hours trying to strip cemented Plasti Dip from the peanut tank I had on the Ironhead, and getting only a third of the way done, I decided that this particular 1977 Harley-Davidson Sportster XLH1000 deserved a new gas tank.

I wanted a little bit more capacity than the standard tank (which has a range of about ninety miles), so I bid on a new Custom Chrome 3.2 gallon king tank, setting my max bid well under retail, but high enough that I had a chance of winning.

I also saw a used porkster tank, with about 3.5 gallon capacity and no dents or rust inside the tank. These Porksters are selling for a couple of hundred dollars, so I didn’t think my low-ball bid had a chance.

I won both.

Fortunately, I came in lower on both tanks combined than it would have cost me to buy the king tank outright, so I’m not too upset.

The problem I have now is I can’t decide which tank to put on the bike. So, I’ll leave it up to you. Let me know in the comments below which tank you think I should put on this Ironhead: porkster (the stretched tank with dual gas caps) or the king tank (the oversized peanut tank commonly found on Sportsters).

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Technological Terror

After running the ’77 Ironhead (aka Imperial Entanglement) for the past few months with a “temporary” Plasti Dip paint job, I decided it was time to give it a more permanent paint job.

My plan is to show a lot of bare metal with black primer accents, and seal it under a nice layer of clear coat.

Shortly after I did the original Plasti Dip paint job, I managed to spill a few drops of gasoline on the tank. The result wasn’t pleasant.

I peaked off the ruined Plasti Dip and reapplied another layer over the original purple paint. Because a little gas spillage is inevitable, this time around finished the Plasti Dip paint job with an acrylic clear coat.

The result was beautiful, and it almost looked like a real paint job.

Unfortunately, that clear coat / Plasti Dip came back to haunt me when started the process of repainting the tank.

Apparently, clear-coated Plasti Dip is highly resistant to paint strippers, including Aircraft Stripper. Additionally, the process seems to create an ultra-hard shell (after a few minutes of goopy nastiness) that can only be removed with a lot of elbow grease and power tools.

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Rattle the Runway

I had the privilege this past Sunday, September 8, 2013, to participate in the Rattle the Runway Ride here in DC, commemorating those whose lives were lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The ride started a Dulles International Airport with a blast down one of the taxiways. Originally, a runway was used (hence, Rattle the Runway), but our friends at TSA aren’t too keen on that anymore. I do have to give the IAD airport authority props: not one biker was searched before coming on airport grounds.

Rattling the Taxiway was pretty awesome, and right about ninety miles an hour, I heard the voice of my old flight instructor in my head admonishing me for “taxiing” faster than a brisk walk. I eased off the throttle before running off the asphalt, and lined up with hundreds of other bikers behind the National Air and Space Museum , where, in addition to historic aircraft like the Enola Gay and the space shuttle Discovery, one of the Dassault Falconjets Big Daddy (aka Capt. Pat Oden) flew back in his early days at a little company called Federal Express.

I was extremely fortunate to have my buddy, Yaroslav Brisiuk, join me. When he’s not riding motorcycles, Yaroslav is helping promote world peace over at the Ukrainian Embassy in DC. At the Rattle the Runway Ride, he was able to do both, acting as an official representative of Ukraine in commemoration of those lost in 9/11.

The ride from Dulles to the Pentagon Memorial was both inspirational and brutal. Unlike Rolling Thunder, there were no police escorts, and riders were broken up into groups of a hundred or so bikes led by “ride captains”. Yaroslav and I had hoped to stick together since it was his first group ride, but we ended up getting split up about a mike apart in one group.

Since drivers in DC (especially taxi drivers) have zero respect for parades, funerals or biker gangs, the ride to the Pentagon was a constant battle to keep Sunday afternoon traffic (which is substantial on the Beltway) out of out lanes.

Some of the bikers also apparently lacked experience (and common sense), as exemplified when one biker about half way through the pack decided to calm it a day half way through the ride. He waved his goodby and pulled off the highway onto the exit ramp, only to be followed by thirty lemmings who were only watching the bike in front of them, rather than watching where the ride captain was leading. I saw what was happening and managed to stay in course with the ride captain.

I managed to hook up with Yaroslav again when the ’77 Ironhead he was riding ran out of gas and he had to pull over to the side. That Sporty only has about a ninety minute range, and the twenty-seven mile ride out from home to Dulles, the long idling while waiting for the ride to start, and the thirty mile stretch to the Pentagon ate up the tiny two gallon tank pretty quickly. By the time I caught up to him, he’d switched to reserve, and we were on the road again.

I was concerned that range would be a problem for the Sportster, so I’d borrowed a backup tank that fit in my saddle bag from my friend Paul. I didn’t think Yaroslav would make the Pentagon Memorial on reserve, so we pulled into a parking lot in Pentagon City and gassed him up from the reserve tank.

We would have been on our way, except the Sporty wouldn’t start. I’ve had problems with the generator on that bike before, so I want too surprised that several startups had drained the battery and that if wasn’t recharged.

Yaroslav’s always a good sport, and apparently in decent shape since he had to push me on the Sporty at a run (the was no way I was going to run behind it) across a flat parking lot until I had enough speed to roll start it.

We made it to the Pentagon Memorial without further incident, and decided to head home. It’s only about a four mile ride from the Pentagon to my place, and it was fairly in eventful until the six foot flag pole attached to my Heritage flying an American Flag decided to break.

It was a relatively slow flag pole failure thanks to my liberal use of zip-ties, and I just managed to get to side of the road moments before Old Glory would have started dragging down the interstate.

Yaroslav and I finished up our ride at Illusions Thai Cafe in Mark Center, enjoying cold beer and a monster sashimi boat.

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Project Bike: 1986 Honda VT1100C

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In April, I picked up another broken-down mid-1980s Honda Shadow, hoping to restore it to glory just like I did with 1984 Honda Shadow VT700C Bobber Project. This “new” bike is a 1986 Honda Shadow VT1100C, and I’m hoping the extra horsepower will give me an opportunity to enjoy it a bit before selling it. The VT700 was very peppy, but it was a bit underpowered for a big boy like me.

The VT1100 is in much better shape than the last Shadow. I was able to get it running today after reinstalling the air box and connecting a new battery. The fuel line to the rear carb is leaking, but this is any easy fix. I’ve also resealed the gas tank, and I am now waiting the requisite 96 hours for it to cure.

I ran the bike today off of the reserve tank today, and it started up fine, putted at low RPM, but when I gave it a bit more gas, it died. I suspect the fuel leak is causing the carb to suck in air through the fuel line. Again, it’s an easy fix, except I have to remove the air box again.

I’m hoping to have this bike ready for sale by the end of July. If you’re looking for a good “budget” cruiser, let me know.

SOLD: Honda Bobber – Retro Army Air Core

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Built from a 1984 Honda Shadow VT 700C, this Army Air Core inspired bobber is a fun ride and real head turner.The bike has 40,600 plus miles, but the rock-solid, well-maintained Honda V-Twin has another 60,000 miles in it before the next overhaul. It has a new Virginia safety inspection valid until May, 2014, and is registered in Virginia with a clean title. The tires have 10,000 miles or so left in them.Over the last six months, I rebuilt the bike from the ground up. including carbs, clutch master and slave cylinders, front brake calipers, clutch, pulse generators, alternator, ignition system, and more. It has a fresh oil change, and brakes, forks, and cooling system have been recently serviced.In addition to being converted to a bobber, I’ve made the following customizations:

  • Custom leather sprung solo seat
  • Ignitech ignition control unit
  • High performance Keihin carburator modifications and jet
  • High performance air filter and intake modifications
  • Transparent glass/chrome fuel filter
  • LED marker light and turn module (currently wired up only for marker lights)
  • New battery
  • 12vdc accessory / battery tender port
  • New stator/alternator
  • Custom drag pipes with titanium heat wrap, mini baffles (so it’s loud but not obnoxious) and chrome tips
  • Burly Slammer Shocks
  • “Streetfighter” fairing with internal mounts for GPS, iPhone, etc
  • Custom fabricated forward controls and floor boards
  • Aftermarket handgrips
  • High-visibility mirrors
  • 2.5 gallon gas tank
  • Aftermarket clutch hydraulic line
  • Custom fabricated retro-style side-mount tail light and license plate bracket.
  • LED wheel rim lights
  • Cammo Green Plasti Dip paint job (leaves original paint intact)
This bike is ready to ride today.

View the eBay Auction.

Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Bobber?

imageThe 1984 Honda Shadow VT 700C Bobber project has definitely taken on a post-apocalyptic flavor.

Last week, readers voted to mount the chopped trailer fender I mocked up. I was worried that it might make the bike look a little too finished, but the galvanized steel fender seemed to fit with the side mounted tail light and license plate holder I picked up. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that the tail light is actually a trailer light.

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Overall, it seems to fit well together, but I’m still torn over how I should paint it when I finish wrapping up the last of the mechanical issues. Here are a few ideas I’m kicking around:

– Post-Apocalyptic Army Retro in the spirit of the Fallout game franchise.
– Zombie Bobber with inspiration from Walking Dead, Resident Evil, and zombie maven Jesse Petersen’s Living With the Dead series.
– Mandalorian Bounty Hunter (if you have to ask, you don’t deserve to know).

As always, I want to here what you think, so please, join in the conversation!

Honda Bobber Project Survey: Do We Need A Fender?

Should the VT 700C Bobber have a rear fender or none? Here it is with the rear tire bare.
Should the VT 700C Bobber have a rear fender or none? Here it is with the rear tire bare.

Here is the VT 700C Bobber Project with the rear fender mocked up.
Here is the VT 700C Bobber Project with the rear fender mocked up.

The 1984 Honda VT 700C Bobber Project is moving along quickly. There’s still several mechanical issue that need to be resolved, but while I’m waiting on parts, I’ve decided to spend some time on the cosmetics. While this may be a rat bike, I want it to at least be a pretty rat.

I’m really on the fence right now on whether or not I should put a hacked trailer fender over the rear wheel, or if I should leave the rubber exposed (and potentially my rear end if I slide off the seat). Since I can’t seem to make the decision myself, I’ve decided to reach out to Oden Motor Shop fans to help with this age-old aesthetic dilemma: to fender, or not to feder?

Take a look at the photos of the bike mocked up with fender and without, and share your comments below. I still have the front fender on the bike, but I would like to hear opinions on that as well.