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Brake Line Failure on the 2013 CVO Road King

Brake Line Failure on the 2013 CVO Road King

Over dinner the previous night in Gillette one of the guys (JR) in the group was discussing how the rear brake wasn’t working correctly on his bike and that he hadn’t noticed it before, but the ABS light was always on.  After settling the tab (and much ribbing about pushing the correct pedal), we set off to look over the bike.

It’s a new, bone-stock 2013 CVO Road King that was purchased about 9 months ago.  The bike had about 3000 miles on the odometer.  And sure enough, the brake fluid line and the ABS electrical line had been incorrectly routed, were rubbing up against the rear tire and had completely worn through.   When pushing on the rear brake pedal the brake fluid would discharged onto the ground.  We re-routed the lines and taped up the wires thinking a front brake was good enough to get to the H-D dealer.

South Dakota view looking back

South Dakota view looking backward.

The next morning we stopped at the Black Hills H-D dealer in Rapid City, S.D.  They didn’t have the rear brake line parts and would need to order them from Milwaukee.  Since we were going that direction we elected to wait until we arrived and then get it repaired.  It turned out that no dealer in the Milwaukee area had the parts either and they would need to order it from the factory.  Just in time inventory really doesn’t work when you’re on the road.  Nice quality control H-D!

There’s no question about it… It’s extremely flat and a long ways across South Dakota!

Billboards are everywhere, lining the Interstate trying to distract drivers for hundreds of miles.  In fact, Wall Drug who spends over $300K annually on billboards must have the Guinness record because you can see their advertisements for more than two hundred miles.

South Dakota view looking forward.

South Dakota view looking forward.

On Interstate 90 between Wyoming and Minnesota the expansive view is mostly sunflowers with the occasional corn field thrown in to mix it up.  It was a 410 mile ride on silky smooth Interstate that was peppered with billboard adverts, across a hot and humid prairie with large juicy bugs!  Quite the pilgrimage across that state and when a rest stop did arrive you really do need to pull off, wet down your t-shirt and head band because the long hot road does get long and did I say hot?!

Pano of Clear Lake

Pano of Clear Lake, MN

As I rode along for hours on the flat concrete surface my mind had a tendency to wander.  I found myself thinking about the lack of radio stations or irrigation in S.D.  Over the entire day I never saw any irrigation being applied to a corn, wheat or sunflower field.  Coming from the Northwest where the farmers in the valley or in Eastern Oregon are always using water to irrigate their fields this seemed rather odd to me.

Crossing the Mississippi River

Crossing the Mississippi River

It had been a hot and high humidity riding day!  After what seemed like just shy of forever we finally arrived near the end of the state and overnighted at a Best Western in Sioux Falls.  Air conditioning never felt so nice.

The next morning one of the riders in our group peeled off to see family in Iowa as the rest of the group rolled quickly through Minnesota on I-90 hoping that the scenery would change.  However, the major change was how poor the road quality seemed to get with the cracks and ruts.  Did you know we sent a man to the moon?  Yes, we did!  They even shipped a little car with him and they drove it around on the planet.  You’d think we’d know how to fix a concrete Interstate!

At the Best Western in La Crosse, WI.

At the Best Western in La Crosse, WI.

It was a shorter riding day as we crossed the bridge over the Mississippi River and stayed at a Best Western Plus Riverfront Hotel in La Crosse, WI.  Unknown at the time, was we were staying on the Black River and this Best Western had a nice riverside resort feel with beach accommodations.  The hotel had a terrific acoustic band on the riverside deck where we had a casual dinner while enjoying the refreshments and entertainment.

Dinner at Jack's

Dinner at Jack’s – La Crosse, WI

Over the previous couple of days we were shadowed by a large group of riders from Brazil.  They flew into and rented motorcycles in Las Vegas and were riding to the 110th celebration.  For a couple nights in a row we happen to overnight at the same hotels.  The group of approximately 20 riders had rented a U-Haul truck to carry all their luggage and it was quite the chaotic scene at check-in/out!  We got to know a couple of them.  A nice group.

In La Crosse, there was a noticeable increase in the number of motorcycles traveling east.  Many more on the Interstate and by the time we arrived in Madison there was a constant flow of bikes.

Arrival at Brookfield Inn

Arrival at Brookfield Inn

We arrived in Milwaukee around 1pm and unloaded the bikes and checked in to the Brookfield Suites Hotel and Convention Center.  Another member of our group actually rode out several days early to MN to visit family and then met us at the Brookfield.

In 2008 for the 105th celebration, we stayed at the Hampton Inn Express in Delafield which was 20+ miles from downtown Milwaukee.  The Brookfield Suites Hotel was a much nicer place and about 7 miles to downtown.  We were within walking distance to Hal’s Harley-Davidson.  We liked this location much better and the hotel staff was awesome!

Arrived at the 110th Anniversary Celebration

Arrived at the 110th Anniversary Celebration

We had arrived on Thursday (August 29), the start of the celebrations and later that day we headed down to Summerfest/Maier Festival Park to take in the 30th Anniversary celebration of H.O.G.  We all wanted to get the unique pin for this event so we put on our 110th and H.O.G. identification and arrived in time to get a pin and watch Lynyrd Skynyrd headline the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage.

At the HOG 30th Anniversary Celebration

At the HOG 30th Anniversary Celebration

In what seemed like a bit of irony, there was Rickey Medlocke on guitar… he was rocking out and being displayed on the large jumbo-tron monitors which included his trademark “Indian” tat and custom guitar with inlaid “Indian” spelled out on the fret board.  It had nothing to do with Indian Motorcycles, but it would have made for an interesting photo given they were playing on the H-D main stage with bar and shield brand logos everywhere.

After several days of being on the road with just the motorcycle, the festival was a bit of a sensory overload.  There was a lot going on at Summerfest and it took awhile to absorb and sync up with all the Harley “noisemakers.”  Riders and enthusiasts literally travelled from all over the globe to attend the festivities and over the next few days of the birthday celebration there would be more than 66-band performances.

I was starting to wondered if that rumbling coming down the road might be the roar of music vs. a V-twin!

The 110th Anniversary Homecoming – Part 3 (HERE) or Part 1 (HERE)

Photos taken by author

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v-twin mcToday’s youth, particularly texting teenagers and web savvy 20-somethings know that the time is posted everywhere; on radios, ovens, microwaves, banks, train stations, street corners and the ever important — cell phone.

All of this makes it difficult to make the case for the need of a traditional wristwatch let alone a time keeping device favored in the era of pocket watch-wearers.

Fortunately Oregonian Ron Lattner, a retired motorcyclist has made a hobby out of crafting custom Wooden Pocket Watches and incorporated designs that any motorcycle enthusiast can appreciate.  He has hand-crafted designs which incorporate a V-Twin engine design, one for a Fallen Biker and several with military designs.  His designs can be found HERE.

il_570xN.391081916_sbgdMr. Lattner reached out to me to post some information on the watches and as a fellow biker I was happy to do so.

They are hand-turned from a variety of woods and match the kind of elegance, style and mood you might have in mind.  There is something mystic about a hand-crafted and well-made pocket watch that plays to different crowd than the smartphone.  It’s more than an accessory… it’s between an object of art, of value or giving from one generation to another.

Check out these classics.

Photo’s courtesy of Mr. Lattner.

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UPDATED: April 24, 2017Added a tab “Engine History” on the blog home page with updated V-Twin engine history including the Milwaukee Eight.

I recently received a note from the good folks over at J&P Cycles (you know — the largest aftermarket motorcycle parts and accessories cataloger and online retailer) about the history of the big-twin motors.

It seems they’ve created an interesting infographic which nicely recaps the history of the V-Twin over the years.

I’ve posted my own share of engine history as well HERE.  However, I wanted to pass along their info and provide a link where you can view a close up of the infographic from their blog post HERE.

Infographic used with permission of J&P Cycles.

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H-D XR1200X

Some might see this as a big yawn… others will think it’s a totally new motorcycle.   I’m talking about the XR1200X Sportster which recently received a refresh for foreign markets, and will be available in the U.S. as a 2011 model.

The latest incarnation has:

  • Showa Big Piston Front fork (BPF) eliminates many of the internal components used in a cartridge-type fork.
  • Showa rear shocks feature 36mm pistons with piggy-back nitrogen charged reservoirs and adjustable compression damping.
  • Nissin dual front brakes feature 292mm full-floating rotors and four-piston calipers.
  • Black powdercoat finish 1200 cc V-Twin engine features downdraft Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection, high-performance camshafts, precision oil-cooled cylinder heads and a large-capacity oil cooler.
  • Upswept, high-volume 2-1-2 straight-shot exhaust system with satin black finish.
  • Chassis features a high-performance designed tubular mild steel frame. The rigid, cast-aluminum swing-arm is engineered to enhance handling.
  • Dunlop Qualifier D209 tires were designed specifically for the XR1200X.
  • Three-spoke lightweight cast-aluminum wheels, 18-inch front / 17-inch rear, are finished in gloss black with an orange pinstripe on the rim.
  • Wide, black dirt-track handlebar for enhanced steering leverage and comfort.
  • Rear-set foot pegs for additional cornering clearance.
  • Compact instrument display with white-faced analog tachometer, digital speedometer, dual trip meter and clock.
  • 3.5-gallon fuel tank with aircraft-style aluminum alloy fuel filler.
  • 29.2-inch seat height with standard passenger pillion and foot pegs.
  • Optional Harley-Davidson Smart Security System.

I think it might pull in a few of those not wanting to be accused of being “Harley Curious” when comparing a Triumph Speed Triple…

Photo courtesy of H-D.

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Roland Sands Design - XR1200

Roland Sands Design (RSD).

This week they finished up a XR-1200 build.  They customized reinvented a stock Harley-Davidson XR-1200 over the course of a 30 day build and clearly created a high-performance work of art.

Congrats!

After 10 years on the professional level and multiple track records, including the 1998 AMA 250GP Championship, Roland Sands focused his efforts on the Performance Machines product line as VP of Research and Development.  In 2005 he founded Roland Sands Design and has been illustrating to the motorcycle industry what his performance minded customs and aftermarket parts can do for V-Twins, Metrics and Sportbikes.

Stock Harley-Davidson XR-1200

RSD’s mission is to create the best motorcycle products in the industry without regards to the bikes beginning.  Whether it’s a chopper, sport bike, or sport chopper they build the best for it.  They walk the line between custom and performance bikes trying to deliver the best of both worlds.

A detailed review of the 30 day build out is available on their blog HERE.

Photo courtesy H-D and RSD.

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Launched in 1994, the “American Rider,” a bi-monthly magazine which targeted Harley-Davidson enthusiasts is folding.

The June issue will be its last.

Advertising is way down, newsstand sales are minimalistic and subscription rates are falling.  As a result the Affinity Group (Ventura, CA) reported their intention is to fold the content into the sister magazine “Rider” which reportedly has a monthly circulation of 140,000.  An on-line presence will continue, but three staff positions were eliminated due to the closure. Hopefully they’ll retain Clement Salvadori who is a contributing author with high quality and interesting articles.

The demise of American Rider has plenty of company.  According to this report there were 367 magazines which shutdown in 2009 and 67 went on-line only.  This number is much improved from the 526 magazines that closed in 2008 or the 573 magazines which closed in 2007.  According to this site which tracks magazine “death pools”, even the all powerful EasyRider and V-Twin publication were caught in combining their circulation numbers as “real” to advertisers and neglected to mention the blending.

It’s not just magazine publications.

One day I expect to open my front door and find a booklet with 4 tiny little pages.  This booklet will be known as The Oregonian.  It could well happen to the New York Times or Los Angeles Times.  They’ve all shrunk the height, the width…got rid of so much material that many question why newspapers are necessary.

The Rocky Mountain News is gone.  The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, gone.  In fact, since January 2008 at least 120 newspapers in the U.S. have shutdown.  More than 21,000 jobs evaporated.

Be it magazines or newspapers, part of having freedom of the press is the freedom to let whoever is producing the best information be heard.  If that is bloggers then so be it.  To narrow down the parameters of what counts as “the media,” is restricting the press.  There is nothing that states that the NYTimes or NBC are valid news sources and for example the Cyril Huze blog is not.  The validity of a news source is based on their reputation of having produced accurate and responsible results in the past.  Reputable bloggers know this and work hard to abide.

Publishers will either need to change and accommodate the way people want their news, or fail.  That is the way the market works.

Photo courtesy of American Rider/Affinity Group.

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HD_100100F degrees is hot!

It’s going to be one of those days where Portland feels a lot like the Southwest as we edge toward more record breaking temperatures.

It seems like we’ve been getting extended 100F degree heat spells for the last 3-4 years.  Riding around in full motorcycle gear in stop and go traffic with an air cooled V-Twin dumping out heat makes it even more noticeable.  No complaints because the weird winter weather is just around the corner.

The good news?  Fruit is looking good!  Wineries and cellar masters are talking about the abundance of “heat units” exceeding 1,800 and grape growers will have an early harvest in both the Rogue and Willamette valley.

How are you coping with the heat?

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