Tag Archives: Harley

  • The 2014 The Race of Gentlemen Report

    The Race of Gentlemen or "TROG" has by far become my favorite automotive event of the year and this year was no exception. TROG is a perfect example of a small low-key event that's kept true to their roots. Even with all of the exposure and hype surrounding this year, Mel and the Oilers CC/MC did a great job keeping the race feeling as low-key and laid back as the first. This year the guys really worked hard to turn this event into a full fledged weekend event, with things to do all weekend. I decided to stay the entire weekend and see and do as much as I could.

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    As early as Wednesday or Thursday cars and people from out of town were rolling in with cars coming from as far as SoCal, and people from as far as Europe! The crew began assembling the "race arena" by putting up timing towers, signs, tents, and barriers to keep the crowd safe. From the buzz surrounding the event and the sponsor hotels selling out in hours after the dates being announced, the Oilers knew they were in for a good turnout.

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    Previous years most people ended up hanging out Friday night at the Stardust and neighboring hotels where the majority of the race cars were parked, so this year Mel and co. decided to put on a proper Pre-Party with a Chopper show, a couple bands and a DJ spinning vinyl for good measure too! The city was nice enough to partition off the block surrounding these hotels and let cars and bikes park on the street and the party spilled into the streets where everyone could talk about the passion we all share.

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    The chopper show followed the same ideals as the race in which all of the bikes featured were true vintage and "traditionally" styled choppers from their heyday. I throughly enjoyed the bikes in this show because every single one was different and pretty much hand built and! The way it should be, not brand new bikes with navigation, tv's, heat, and whatever other gadgets put on bikes to make them closer to a car than a bike these days!

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    Ahem.. sorry struck a nerve there.. anyways! To sum it up, the bikes show had no shortage of flake, flames, lace, pearl, and custom metal work. The cars in the street were some of the cars to race later in the weekend, and even some killer spectator cars that were cruised down for the race. Even though the party only stretched a block down the strip, there was so much to see, and so many cool people to meet, we easily burned the good portion of our evening here and the party went into the wee hours of the morning!

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    The next morning we woke up early to try and get down to the sand to get good a good spot next to the track. The weather looked dismal but that didn't stop hundreds of other people to line up to get into the gates early. The setup this year was changed a little bit for the safety of the crowd so the pits and staging area were sectioned off for just the racers and their crew. The only other changes were concrete barriers put in place down the track to keep everyone safe in case a car or bike went out of control, a necessary evil for sure, but didn't obstruct the spectators view of the track too much.

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    Even with rain lightly coming and going, the races started and the cars and bikes alternated going down the track. These guys didn't let the dreary weather bother them one bit with their throttles wide open and exhausts roaring. The weather really made for some dramatic shots with the rough surf crashing down and the dark clouds in the background. This of course brought everyones techno-gadget out to shoot photos and video of every pass.

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    After watching the races for a few hours the clouds began to break and the sun came out and we decided to book it across town to see our friends from the Kustomrama website that were putting on the 1st annual Customs by the Sea show for the traditional custom fans that wanted to show off their lead sled, tail dragger, lowrider, or otherwise traditionally styled custom car or truck. The styling of the vehicles varied widely with everything from mild historic 40-50's customs to over the top Kustoms like a recreation of the Barris "Copper Cart" and paneled, laced, and metal flaked 60's style cars that just screamed for your attention. It was really cool to see some of the historic cars that came out of the woodwork for the event that were actually built in the 50's, 60's, and early 70's and read about their history on their window plaques. I'd definitely say that seeing all of these great cars really gave me some inspiration to get Project Pilehouse roadworthy so maybe I could cruise it to the show next year! For the first year the show was pretty well attended both days and was a great addition to the TROG weekend.

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    Saturday night after everyone grabbed some dinner the vendor area by the race track turned into a beach party with some killer rock bands playing all night and a huge bonfire burning hot. It brought everyone together to talk and mingle and shake it on the dance floor in the sand. The beach party is really surreal with the cars parked all around you on the beach, people dressed in period correct attire, and some good ol' fashioned rock and roll playing, you felt like you were in the scene of an old movie! I couldn't ask for a better way to round the night out after a day of watching cars race!

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    Sunday morning we (like I'm sure many others) woke up a bit later then we'd like and got up a little slower than the morning before, but we were greeted by sunny skies and a near perfect cool fall-like day. We headed back to the beach and the crowd for Sunday was significantly larger than Saturday. Either the word spread that this event rules, or the nice weather brought out some more folks.. I'd say it was a combination of the two! Some new cars entered the races on Sunday with some vehicles taking "exhibition" runs like some Hemi powered Fords, but I doubt anyone was complaining about the lovely sound of some vintage Hemi engines singing at WOT!

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    All in all this weekend was the best yet and shows no signs of getting smaller and we can't wait for next year. If anything go to this event to get yourself inspired to go work on your project car or bike and bring it out to cruise with everyone next year! Thanks to Mel and the rest of the Oilers for putting on another great year of TROG, the classic car and bike community thanks you!

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  • The Bonneville experience in SoCal- El Mirage Dry Lake Racing

    Going fast has been a fascination since the beginning of time. Before motorized vehicles our ancestors were racing horses and horse carriages. As time went on and cars were invented, man has become obsessed with going as fast as possible in a motorized vehicle. These days drag racing is a BIG thing and every weekend people get together to watch men and women launch themselves down the 1/4 and 1/8 mile paved race track. You may not realize it, but drag racing and high speed runs in motorized vehicles originally started in dry lake beds. Back in the 30's a few car clubs filled with racers came together to form the SCTA (Southern California Timing Association) and create a set of rules and regulations for land speed racing on the dry lakes. Today the SCTA is still around and runs on one of the first dry lake beds (El Mirage) where it all started.   Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Antique Motorcycle Club National Show and Swap Meet- Pennsylvania 2014

    For us there are always a few events that really mark the beginning of show and swap meet season here in Eastwood-country. One of them is the Spring Carlisle swap meet where you could find most anything you need for your classic car project, but where do you go to find classic motorcycle parts you ask? Well the motorcycle counterpart (ironically the same weekend as Carlisle) is the Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA) national show and swap meet in the sleepy town of Oley, PA.   Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Tips to save time when Powder Coating Harley Wheels

    These wheels originally were polished aluminum factory wheels on a Harley and after a years of daily-riding the wheels had some pretty heavy corrosion and baked-on brake dust. The first step was to disassemble the wheels completely (remove tires, all bearings, grease, seals, etc) and media blast them until we were left with clean, virgin aluminum.  Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • How to Build Custom Cafe Racer Motorcycle Handlebars

    I've had my hands full with my four wheeled projects lately and I haven't been giving my little "cafe" motorcycle; a DKW RT125 much attention. I recently decided to build a set of clubman style drop bars for it. My problem with off the shelf parts are that I usually end up modifying them or they just aren't quite exactly what I want for my projects. I decided rather than wasting $100 or more on a set of bars I may not like the dimensions of, I'd build my own from scratch. Below is the cliff-notes version of the build. Hopefully this can give you some guidelines to follow on your own build.

    Above you can see the riding position on the bike with the original handlebars and the custom seat we made in the last tech series.

    I started by taking some 1/2" round steel bar and bending two identical halves into a rough shape that I liked and welding them together in the center. I took dimensions from some other bars that I liked and tweaked them to my liking. I decided that I wanted a pretty aggressive drop and a slight sweep forward to get into a sportier riding positon. This concept is the same basic way I'd be building the real bars.

    We started with 7/8" DOM tubing for the bars. DOM tubing is a seamless piece of tubing and is the strongest option for making something structural like a set of bars for your bike. DO NOT skimp and try to use thin conduit or anything like that, you're putting yourself and others at risk! We then took a piece of TIG filler wire and recreated the first bend in the tubing we needed from our round bar template. This allowed us to use the filler rod as a guide when we were making the first bend. We marked out the length of material the bend would take up and set the tubing with the starting line at the center point of the bottom roller in the Eastwood Pro Former Tubing Bender. We then pumped and bent the tubing until it was just a little further than the bend we needed on the TIG rod guide to combat the spring-back of the metal when the pressure was relieved.

    Once we had our first bend we slide the tubing into the stem and checked to make sure that it had the drop I wanted. Here you can put the tubing back in the bender to tweak it a little further if need be. We then marked out the length and center of the next bend to give us the first half of the bars. Depending how close your next bend is to the first you may need to spin the tubing around and come from the opposite direction as the first bend (just remember which way you want to bend!). At this point you also need to make sure that the tubing is set so that your next bend is parallel to the first bend. If you want some slight forward or backwards rake to the bars you could make this second bend just a little off from parallel, but it's tough to replicate multiple times. Again I bent the tubing to match our guide and we test fit it again to make sure that the we had the shape we were looking for. This is where you can stand back, squint your one eye shut and get an idea of what your bars will look like. Take a break, grab a snack, crack open a drink and get ready for the tricky part of this project next.

    This is where it gets tricky and I'll admit I ruined some material and had to start over a couple times. When you begin marking out your next bends they need to be perfect to allow for them to match AND you need to make sure all bends are parallel. With a good measurements, a helper to keep it all straight, and a little bit of luck, you could make a set of bars out of one piece of material. I decided after a couple attempts to make the bars out of 2 separate pieces and then sleeve, and weld them together. This also allowed me to keep my bends as close to the side of the forks as possible since I could trim them to size. I chose to shave down a piece of tubing that slipped inside the 2 pieces we bent and used the MIG 175 to join them with a plug welds, followed by butt welds with the TIG 200 DC . I left a gap so that I could get the TIG torch into the gap and melt the inner sleeve to the bars and also enough room to add filler to make it a seamless joint.

    After I had the pieces welded together I test fit them on the bike and marked out where the levers, throttle, and grips would sit. With everything marked out I could cut the extra length off of the bars. For most modern bikes the throttle is all one piece and you can just slip it over the bars and fix it in place. On my bike I needed to cut a seat for the throttle slide to sit in (the little aluminum parts seen in the pics above).

    With the bars welded and cut to length, I installed my throttle, grips and levers. The final look is exactly as I wanted and the riding position is how I wanted it. The bars still allow for full turning radius and fit me pretty well, so I'm pretty happy with them. Now that the bike is just about how I want it to look I can button up some mechanical repairs the bike needs and then make a small rear bobbed fender and the bike is ready for the road! Stay tuned, I'll show you how to build a simple rear fender for your bobber or cafe racer from scratch with Eastwood Tools next!

    -Matt/EW

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