Monday, October 8, 2012

A Resurrection

It seems like forever since I posted here but it has only been about 5 months.  My last post was about the damage done to Nixon during my accident.  My next post (not this one) will be about her resurrection.

After my accident, the support from my family and friends and especially my "online motorcycle gang" at was overwhelming.  As we discussed what happened and how to fix the bike, a plan was hatched.  I would take her down to Alabama during this year's Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival and my DTT friends would help me put her back together.  We all know how vintage bike people love to work on something when they are sitting around chatting.  It is like a smoker that needs something to do with their hands.  Besides the offers for free labor, I also got a lot of offers for parts that I needed that they had laying around.

Inspired by Dime City Cycles' recent motorcycle build at a bike show, I got the bright idea to actually do the final assembly at the festival in the DTT area.  This may not have been the best idea, but we are going with it.

We will be doing the frame mods and any other fabrication work needed at night at the Kanticoy Designs shop.  After the frame, wheels and some other bits get powder-coated  we will do a wheel assembly and truing demonstration and the final assembly of the bike at the racetrack.

In preparation for her resurrection, I have been getting all of the parts that were not destroyed cleaned up, repainted and polished.

I also had to figure out what I wanted the bike to look like.  I could not afford to have another custom tank and seat built.  I would have to be able to use parts I could get cheap or donated.  I decided to take the bike back to more of a stock riding position since I don't plan on riding it really fast through the twisties and more (Lesson Learned!).  So this is what I came up with.  It has some elements from several bikes that I really like combined with the parts I had available so Nixon could keep her identity.  Luckily, when she was dragged out of the ravine  the scrambler exhaust made it out unscathed.

As if having a running bike again wasn't enough, my dad is going to go with me to hang out at the festival and help me with the build.

Check it out!  Nixon even made it onto the Ace Corner website!  She is the "Live Bike Build" about halfway down the page.  I guess now we better come through.

I should be back after the festival with some good stories and pictures.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sticks and Stones...

can really mess up your bike and your bones.  Here are some pictures of the result of sliding off of a mountain. Pretty much all of the sheet metal and cosmetic stuff is toast.  The forks, triple trees, and swingarm look OK, but I will have to check them for straightness.  Except for a couple scratches, the engine looks fine.  The frame even seems OK except for one large dent under the engine (see last picture) that may be able to be repaired.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Over the Edge

I laid my bike down Saturday evening on the way back from The Meltdown vintage bike show in Hendersonville NC. We were headed down the watershed just south of Saluda, NC when I came in too fast on a right turn. I tried to brake but I was already in the turn. I leaned it more but my foot was dragging on the ground. I went wide and hit the shoulder on the opposite side. I immediately lowsided and started sliding in the dirt/grass. Just when I thought I was about to stop I started tumbling, and going faster. What I found out later was that I had just slide off of a cliff. It wasn't a vertical drop but it was very steep. 

After tumbling about 30-40 feet down some large rocks I finally stopped when I hit one especially big boulder. One of the guys I was riding with came down to see how I was. There was also a doctor and his wife bicycling there and he came down too. To everyones surprise I seemed alright. My right shoulder was sore and my left ankle. After about 10 minutes, the adrenaline started wearing off and I tried to get them to help me crawl back up but they wouldn't let me and made me wait for the paramedics. 

Where I went down was fairly remote so it took about 20-30 minutes for a rescue team to show up. After they checked me out I again asked to help me crawl out but they wouldn't let me. They said that due to the nature of the accident and the possibility of neck or back injury they were going to immobilize me and haul me out. They strapped me down to a back board and then we had to wait for a rescue truck to come from 45 minutes away to bring a basket and other climbing gear to haul me out. By this time all the adrenaline was gone and I could feel my right collar bone was broken every time they moved me.

So after 3 hours down in a ravine, I was finally in an ambulance and had a 45 minute ride to the hospital. 

My hospital experience was not so good. When I finally decided it was time to get some pain meds it took them 2 hours to give them to me. Also, when I went to get my X-rays, they shot my neck, back, abdomen and ankle.  When they were going to wheel me out, I said, "Hey, aren't you going to X-ray my broken collar bone?" the tech said the doctor hadn't ordered that. Nice. He called and got it straightened out. As expected it took forever to get out of there. 

I am now at home with a broken collar bone, a badly sprained ankle, a sore hip where I landed on it and one scratch one my knuckle. I believe my full face helmet and armored leather jacket saved me from much worse damage and was worth every penny I spent on them. Looking at my helmet it looks like I did a face plant into the dirt. I knew there was a reason I would only where a full face. 

As for Nixon, I'm not really sure how she is. She slid about 20 feet further than me and missed all the boulders and ended up buried in some kudzu down as far as I was in the ravine. From what i could tell from the pictures, the aluminum tank and seat are toast and probably the headlight too.  I can get a better look at it when I go get it from the towing yard after my insurance co takes a look at it. 

Pictures of the damage to the bike are here:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Matter of Distribution

Spring is in the air and the OT has been cut off for a couple weeks so I've started some long awaited upgrades to Nixon. After my last long ride of fall, my tank started leaking gas near the fuel valves. These were at some weld seams that had gotten sanded down in the finishing process. Although I had already sealed the tank with Red Kote, I figured I must not have got enough on these spots. So I made some little funnels out of aluminum foil and poured some more sealer in the fuel valve holes about 8 times each, building up a good layer of sealer. This seems to have done the trick. No more leaks.

I went on a couple more rides after that. Then the other day when I was getting ready to go out on a ride, I noticed my license plate was flopping in the wind. The bracket had cracked where it was welded to the frame and was dangling by a small remaining piece. If I rode like that, my license plate would surely fall off, get sucked into my wheel and bad things would happen. So I ripped the bracket off, disconnected the plate lights and rode the bike over to the guy's house that did the welding for me.

While I had the bike there, I figured I would get my seat repaired as well. When I first "finished" Nixon, the seat had a single spacer block at the front where it bolts to the frame. In the back, the seat was supposed to sit on the side rails, but it actually hit the battery box on the new electronics tray under the seat. Since it was supported in this way, my weight caused the seat to crack right at the transition to the hump. To fix this, I asked the welder to add another spacer under by butt over another crossmember of the frame. This way, all of my weight would be supported directly under me. While we were discussing this, I found out that my weight pressing on the battery box had caused one edge of the electronics tray to completely break away from the frame. Now I am really glad I am getting this fixed.

He repaired all of the welds and made a new plate bracket and I rode it back to my house where I repainted the repairs and bracket and touched up some other spots.

I glued some pieces of rubber to the frame and under the edge of the seat the keep things from rattling. I got the seat reinstalled and everything feels nice and secure.

New license plate bracket

Supports under the seat

New spacer on the bottom of the seat

While I was working on the bike, I decided to do some of the electrical work I had been putting off. My bike has two small LED turn signals on the back. The way the bike is wired at the factory, incandescent bulbs are required because the two sides are connected by the turn signal indicator light on my speedo. To get them to work, I just took out the indicator bulb. This got the turn signals to work, but then I wouldn't know if I left them on or not until someone pulled up next to me and made crazy hand signals to me. This happened a lot. So, I rewired it. I got a couple diodes from radio shack and made a new connector for the indicator bulb that isolates the two sides. Works great now, and hopefully I won't be riding around like an idiot with my blinker on.

Finally, the big project. I installed the electronic ignition I got for Christmas. It is a Pamco unit made for the 450s. It uses the stock mechanical timing advance mechanism so it doesn't need a "computer".  That means all of the new components can fit inside the points housing, basically replacing the points plate.  It went in pretty easily once I figured out how to assembly it. I had to add a couple taps into the power and ground wires, but since I had already installed a relay to switch the power to the coils, this wasn't too hard. I haven't fired it up yet because I need some time during a warmer day to set the timing. Hopefully this weekend. I am hoping this cures some of my poor idling issues.

Next on the agenda is to install the clipons (handlebars) and add some front turn signals.

Mock up of new indicator bulb connector (kind of looks like a flux capacitor)

Pamco ignition installed

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Round and Round We Go

Barber - Part 3

About 11 am it was time for the parade lap where you can ride your bike around the track.  About 10 of us from the show joined about 50 other bikes to do a couple laps.  We had to follow behind a motorcycle cop keeping the pace so we couldn't go too fast, but it was still a lot of fun.  If you dropped back a bit, you could go pretty fast for awhile until you caught up to the pace bike.  In one sharp corner I dragged my toe on the ground.  I need to learn to keep my toes up.

We took our bikes back to the show and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out, chatting and watching the races.  One of my favorite memories of the afternoon was seeing about 10 people all sitting around Jason from Dime City while he told the story of his recent trip to Bonneville while he sat on Troybilt's bike, Willow.

As the sun set and the festivities wrapped up for the day, a group of us left Barber and had a blast riding the back roads back to Kanticoy's place.  We spent the rest of the night sharing stories, beers and some awesome BBQ.

A little later the guys from Dime City showed up along with Mark Wilsmore of the Ace Cafe in London.  It was pretty cool to have some cafe racer scene celebrities hanging out at the party.  We all got together for a group shot at one point to commemorate the event.

The next morning I slept in until 7 when the rooster started crowing.  After some much needed coffee some of the guys helped me get Nixon back in the trailer and we headed back to the festival.  I spent the morning walking around the huge swapmeet area with CCRider and some of the other guys.  Around noon I said goodbye to as many people as I could find on my way back to the truck and headed back home.  It was a truly great time and I can't wait to do it again next year.

(Thanks to Kioskguy and Mothgils for the photos)