Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Paint Ideas

Not my bike, but I do like green. (Blue Collar Bobbers)
As you can see from the previous post, there is a rust on the tank and a few other places on this bike which I'll have to clean up. The tank itself has a bunch of little dents all over and one big one. As I repair, I am going to need to repaint as well and high gloss paint is not going to be my friend. Instead, I've been looking at some of the alternatives popping up in recent bobber customs. I like bobbers to some extent, the lack of chrome and utilitarian nature in particular. However, every trend in motorcycle building leads to excess.

Blue Collar Bobbers features some nice designs to showcase their kits. I particularly like the paint job on this bike, perhaps because it is so different from anything else I've come across. And, I like green.

My last bike came out blue and gold ... two colors I like and the school colors of Naselle. "Comet colors" my girls say. When I first bought this bike, they both insisted I paint it blue and gold. Here's another from the Blue Collar website that I like.
 From Blue Collar Bobbers.

Of course, getting the white tires might be tricky.  1912 Harley From Vintagebike.co.uk
Of course, my bike is maroon and purple (although it is so dirty it looks black.) Got me thinking early on about going with crimson and gray of my alma mater Washington State University. I think a gray enamel frame and paint scheme would also hark back to the Silent Gray Fellows of the earlier years ... or not.

The folks down at Deus Ex Machina recently brought back the Harley gray with their wonderful V Twin Cafe Racer custom. I love the muscular nature of this concept, but it is really the gray paint that stands out. Looks almost like a powder coat and I think it would look amazing on the Vstar. Be sure to click the image for closer up views.
Big engine, light weight, no chrome. That's how I like my motorcycles.a powder coat. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

El Burro Restoro Update

New bike stand from Boss Power Outlet on Ebay. It's cheap and works great
I just came inside from tucking El Burro in for the night. The temp is supposed to get down in the 20s tonight and it is forecast to be rainy and blowing in the morning. I've been busy before and after work doing little things and surveying everything that needs fixing. I bought a bike stand - cheap and easy - and a mirror on a stick to check the oil sightglass while riding. I also bought a cover -- since my garage is waterproof but just barely and less so during a big storm. I repaired the  neutral switch which stopped the oil leak. The directions here at  Zia Rider  were invaluable.

 Tonight I changed the oil - very easy, but I noticed a few bolts were missing! Just the engine covers, but I bought some new ones to replace the missing parts anyway.  Next up: Tear down, clean up, rust hunting and adding the sissybar. 
Dents I don't mind. Rust needs to go. I'll pull the tank, strip it to the bare metal like I did with the Honda.
Here's the bike stand in action. 

There are bits of rust you can't see in the pictures. The wiring from the handlebars is rust-stained too. 
This bike once had a windshield - the mounting plates are still on either side of the headlight.
The bike stand made the oil change a piece of cake. Need a long-handled allen wrench set to change the oil filter.
Bolts missing from the the side covers.

For as bad as the dents and rust on the bike. The seats are in great condition.
Rust monster.
I wasn't going to do anything to the binnacle until I realized it was plastic and the chrome was peeling on the  right hand side. Maybe I'll sand it down and paint it brushed aluminum or flat black. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Seeing a Man About a Mule

I had just spent all morning answering tough questions in an interview for a promotion at work. I was forced to answer mostly existential character-type riddles. Good thing I do love to prattle on.

When I got out I had two calls to make -- two ads for the same year and same vintage bike, both well within my price range. At the first call, the word was that someone else wanted the bike but had to wait until the next day to get the cash and they would let me know if it all fell through. When I told the wife that I had cash in hand  and was heading right past their house, I got a quick call back from the husband saying that he was going to work but to stop by. I called the other place and got a thick Spanish accent. Of course the bike would be available. I got directions and an address and was told to give a ring when I got to Yelm and he would guide in to where the bike was located. He was in the process of moving, but he would be happy to show it to me.

I picked up some ramps at Lowes and promised my wife that we could use them to borrow her dad's riding lawnmower this summer. Then I called the first guy back again - got a message.

The first bike was about 45 minutes closer. From the Craigslist pictures, it was loaded up with accessories and in good shape. It had over 50,000 miles on it. The second bike was out in the country, it had a dent in the tank, but since these are often starter bikes, they almost all have dents in the tank if they've been around a while. I kind of liked the idea that it had a few scratches, a few things to repair. I wanted to make it my own, if not customize it, and the thought of doing that to a pristine bike made me uncomfortable.

I also thought of the guy who looked at the bike, but had to wait a day to get the cash together. I would hate to swoop in and steal it out from under him. Bad Karma.

I arrived in Yelm and followed my GPS down descending dirt roads to a lane tucked in behind the great horse ranches that dominate the area now. At the end of a long dirt road was a yellow shop and a mobile home. The shop was big - the kind designed with truck sized doors for semis or yachts. It was surrounded by old cars and motorcycles. Off to the right stood a clean by tiny mobile home with a tidy grass lawn and a statue of the Virgin Mary out front. There was no gravel driveway, just some ruts in the lawn.

There stood Roberto next to a red motorcycle. Roberto was older with gray hair and a gray beard and round wire-rim glasses. He worse a gray sweatshirt. He seemed mildly befuddled by the whole situation. He told me he had the bike for three years, and that the dent in the tank was there before he bought it. He said he had ridden the bike on several long trips without problem but does not ride anymore.

He showed me all the paperwork, title, a shop manual that looked like it had never been opened. Service receipts -- the most recent from Sept. when he had the carbs cleaned, rejetted and synced and the front wheel alignment checked.

The bike was dirty, and sitting in a muddy lawn. The seats where in good shape, but the paint and wiring showed signs that at one time it had been stored outside in the sun. A Texas license plate clip indicated that it had not spent its whole life in the Northwest. The bike started right up, the clutch worked. The seat and ergos were very comfortable. I gave him the cash while he filled out the title transfer.

The next problem was how to load it. I had my eyes open for an embankment or ramp I could back up to, but everything in the area was pretty flat and fenced. I asked Roberto and he said with the ramps, he could get his friend to help.

Roary pulled into the driveway a few minutes later behind the wheel of a restored white 1970 Corvette. He was tall with a OD fatigue jacket and blonde ponytail sticking out of the back of his black ball cap. He wore jeans and lugged Harley Davidson boots. His Aussie accent was unmistakable, but it also sounded like he'd been in the states for some time. While I struggled with my new ramps, he looked at us like we were both idiots. Since he was wearing the HD boots, he lead the loading effort -- even showing me how to shoehorn the long bike into the truck in a way that let me close the rear tailgate.

As I drove away, I had that buyers self doubt I always get when I make a big purchase. After all I was making this decision alone, after a mentally taxing morning. However, the bike ran, and had a reputation for being bulletproof with an air-cooled V-Twin married to shaft drive. Yamaha makes durable bikes and this one was known to be able to take a lot of abuse.

I got it home and we broke off a turn signal unloading it, but still it rode fine and the coordination required to clutch and shift started to come back to me on the ride home from Amy's dad's place. I took a few pictures in the driveway and it looked like read vintage warrior in the mud and gloomy sky. An old Army Mule -- not pretty, but ready to move out when ordered.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New wheels for a retread

I found a new motorcycle and snagged it for a good price. It was discounted because it had a dent in the tank ... Since this my first big boy bike, I don't mind.