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3/11/10 11:57:02 17-09-10 09:46
American-V: Issue 43
Editorial Raising our game I intended to run a few things past you in an editorial last issue but ran out of time, space and energy: there's a lot of that about here at the moment, but that's because there are things afoot. We've run this on-line, but I'm conscious that a significant percentage of American-V's readership isn't in a desperate hurry to spend any more time than absolutely necessary with a screen and keyboard in front of them – and I can sympathise. You can't fail to have noticed that AmV42 ran spectacularly late – even for us – sitting in my out-tray, while the one of the biggest news stories of our own history was taking shape, and while there's still a lot of work to do, its looking increasingly likely that we will be raising our game, and going to monthly circulation early in 2011. It's going to be something of a struggle, but with help, expertise and an additional investment, it's got to be done. Simply put, we’ve gone about as far as we can as a bi-monthly publication and because of impending and imminent changes to the distribution channel, we've got to bite that bullet sooner rather than later. The delay was a need to get my head round that without requiring the services of men with long-sleeved jackets. You’re all bright people and there’s merit in explaining the thought process in exactly the same way as we approach a motorcycle, so if you’re sitting comfortably? Why now? Because WH Smiths – the country’s leading news outlet – are changing a few ground rules and we need to make sure we can accommodate them. They've got their own problems, and noone is going to pretend that the printed media isn't struggling in the face of multi-media competition, and Supermarkets are making big in-roads in their sector, and the upshot of that is that Smiths are tapping up publishers for a higher percentage of the cover price, which will take the form of a promotion budget. As in any industry, new money won't just materialise to cover increased costs or reduced margins, and we need to make sure we can cover that with increased sales. We’ve had high level discussions with our distributors and we know that we can do that – we’ve actually increased our yearon-year sales through WH Smiths, which is very encouraging – and we have put things in place to increase availability across the independent sector too, but the thing that keeps coming up is frequency. Six issues in twelve months is tough on a single title publisher, because there's an inevitable imbalance between fixed monthly expenses and bi-monthly revenues: the solution is monthly revenues. The cynical might see that as an attempt to squeeze more money out of our existing and loyal readers but the reality is actually simpler. Too many potential readers either don't know that the magazine exists, or just don’t see it on the shelves of their newsagents. These are the people whose attention we need to grab: we don’t so much want to sell more magazines as much as sell magazines to more people. So how will monthly help? It will make us more visible on the newsagents shelves. It will means that on the first Thursday of the month, every month, you will be sure of a new issue of American-V on the shelf: no wondering whether this is a ‘live’ month or not. We will also be able to consider putting American-V into supermarkets, because it’s almost impossible – rather than just bloody expensive – to put a bi-monthly on their shelves because of they way their business model works. And equally importantly, it means that on the day before publication, the previous issue will be keeping its place warm – unless they’ve all been sold: bi-monthlies which are typically removed from the shelves after six weeks.
It will allow us to get some momentum going. We've been rolling steadily for a while now, and there's a huge benefit to maintaining a decent pace rather than slowing between issues and struggling to get back up top speed again – and there is a degree of slowing between issues, because it's necessary to leave it freewheeling while attending to the business side of things. We’ve looked at eight and ten issues a year, but frankly that just gets messy because it’s almost impossible to let people know when to expect it to hit the shelves, and confusion is the last thing we need – quite apart from the havoc it’d wreak on subscriptions. There will be no question of compromising editorial depth, photography or print quality – there are savings that could be made but they are modest compared to the impact on the strength, style and quality of American-V: its integrity. Editorially, it's all positive, even with just one elements that has huge knock-on implications: events coverage. Not only will events be reported closer to the time, but it will reduce the percentage of events coverage in any single issue because while we will cover more events: more events in total, but fewer pages per issue. It will give us twice as many editorial pages per year, because we’ll have at least as many pages in each issue. We will lose the perfect binding – the square spine – in favour of staples for a couple of pragmatic reasons, notably centre spreads and covermount opportunities. And don’t worry about what we’ll fill it with because there’s so much out there queuing to get in that we’ve got assured quality feature material for the foreseeable future: it will be great to finally get the space to commit it to paper. It means we’ll have more space for tech, for classics, for roadtests and for customs; we’ll have space for dealer features, could even bring back classified ads – which work a lot better on monthlies – if there’s a demand. How will we manage it? Not alone. I considered cloning myself, but one of me is more than enough to inflict on the world. There will need to be other people involved to cope with the increased workload, and with different disciplines. The biggest difficulty is switching in and out of the editorial role, just as it used to be when I was trying to do IT support alongside the magazine to bankroll it in the early days, and the most important change is going to be finding a business manager / strategic partner whose natural habitat is the spreadsheet, and who can keep a hand on the rudder when production deadlines demand 100% attention. Thankfully, we've got a huge advantage compared to when we launched the magazine and can show potential investors / partners what American-V actually is, rather than having a vague business plan and some ambitious ideas of what we hoped it might become. Is there a choice? Yes, we could stay bi-monthly, but we’d still need to think about investment, and the return would be slower making any deal less attractive. We could come out of the newstrade completely – go back to the original distribution model – but that would be a lot more risky and I’m not sure we’ve got enough momentum to be able to make that work: again, the magazines that have successfully switched have been monthlies, using their momentum to carry them through the transitional phase. Now this issue is complete, I can get back to the hard sums one last time: for up to date news, see the Blog or Facebook page. Andy
American-V: Contents 43
Motorclothes ‘Spirited’ Rainwear; Streamline Performance Eyewear; Legendary ‘near indestructible’ Sunglasses; One World On Tour video; Legendary Motorcycles Calendar.
16: ROADTEST: 2010 H-D XL1200X FORTY-EIGHT
Been itching to swing a leg over this since it was announced, but really unsure as to what to expect.
53: BULLDOG BASH
Takes more than a bit of water to dampen the spirits at the Shakespeare County Raceway.
56: LONG HAUL STREET BIKE
Putting our long term Fat Bob in touring trim against Victory’s new bagger, looking for compromises.
66: THUNDER IN THE GLENS
A long-overdue trip north of the border to see what all the fuss is about in Aviemore.
24: EUROPEAN BIKE WEEK
72: THE BUDGET BRITISH BOBBER RETURNS
30: ANGLO-AMERICAN BOBBER
First in a series of bikes inspired by the Great Britiosh Budget Bobber Build-Off a couple of years ago. Karl Hagen’s Green Meanie.
A.K.A. Faaker See, Austria. The biggest of the European Rallies and always popular with the Brits. Big engine, hardtail frame with race heritage, girder forks, plenty of ground clearance ... hmmm.
36: XR1200 SERIES FINALS: CADWELL PARK
The last three rounds of the season, tight racing, a winner and a positive reaction from the BSB crowd!
40: 1984 XR1000
Just when you’ve got used to the look of the new XR1200, we’re going to ruin it for you: this is how Harley paid tribute to the XR last time around.
46: RIDE TO THE WALL 2010 Lest we forget.
Richard Millard’s stunning Panhead is anything but passive.
Beachfront party in October? Damn right.
80: MISSION 200
Roland Sands’ 200mph Project: pure motorcycle porn.
84: SOFER 2010
Can’t get through August without paying a social call to Bisley.
88: QUICKSPIN: CUBA LIBRA
An updated tribute to the 58 FL that mixes disc brakes and an electric start with a hardtail frame and balloon tyres ... and a 100-inch 4x4 RevTech motor.
98: RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
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Staff Writer: Amanda Wright Contributors this issue: Hazel Jackson, Ian Hill, Graham Gabriel, Darryl Godfrey. Proofing: Amanda Wright. Design: Mini Ha-Ha and Erika McAston All editorial enquiries to: email@example.com Advertising Sales: Andy Fraser 01778 392054 Advertising Production: Sue Ward: 01778 392405 firstname.lastname@example.org Trade Sales: Natalie Cole: 01778 392404 email@example.com
Published by American-V, PO Box 336, Crewe, Cheshire, CW2 7WY. Tel: 0207 993 8002 Printed in the UK by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne.
6: NEWS & NEW PRODUCTS 10: REVIEWS
Distribution by: Warners Group Publications Plc West Street, Bourne, Lincolnshire, PE10 9PH Tel: 01778 391135
Copyright 2010 American-V.
This issue ushers in the reality of winter ... still, that’s what decent riding kit was invented for.
American-V # ONE
Who let the ’Dogs out?
We’ve been aware of them for some time now, but they’ve only been available to those who are prepared to jump through the hoops of privately importing them and putting them through SVA, or else commissioning someone else to do it for them, but now four of Big Dog Motorcycles’ seven model range are available in Europe, fully homologated and certified Euro III compliant. And more than that, the UK and Ireland has got an authorised agent in the form of The Hogfather, who celebrated their grand opening at Halloween with an open day and an “RIP” trip to Southport’s seasonal horrorfest, Farmageddon. Why the gothic horror twist? It seemed to go with their new home: a former church on the outskirts of town, and an amazing transformation from the shell I visited a year ago. Better still, the fully EU-approved models – the Pitbull, Coyote, Wolf and K-9 – are joined by the remaining three models in the UK – the Mastiff, Ridgeback and the
Bulldog bagger – which will be SVA’d by The Hogfather on arrival. For those not familiar with the range, here’s a precis: The Pitbull is a hardtail-framed, sprung seated retro-styled bike with echoes of the boardtrack but bang up to date with new tall tyre fitments – 23-inches at the front and 20 at the rear – and damped saddle springs, which means it should handle better, and be more comfortable than most in its class. The Coyote is a Pro-Street softail-style sprung frame designed to be as agile as it is stunning for an affordable price, and was chosen over the more radical Mastiff for its improved rideability. The Wolf is the stand-out bike of the range for the S&S’ 56° V-twin X-Wedge motor, also referred to as the Tri-Cam, a 121-inch version created specifically for Big Dog Motorcycles – opening a new chapter on production bikes – as well as its integrated bodywork and those taller modern tyres again.
The chopper of the homologated range is the K-9. Pitched as America’s #1 Chopper it’s nine feet of radical softailstyle, fat tyred, high neck, raked out attitude, with handling brought into line with some trail adjustment in the yokes kicking 39° at the headstock into 42° at the fork tubes. The second chopper in the range needs an SVA, and is the more hardcore Ridgeback: with a hardtail frame with a 330 tyre in place of the K-9’s 300. The final SVA-only model is the the Bulldog, which is a new departure from everything else in the range as it’s designed from the ground-up to be a tourer, and as such comes with large, hard panniers, a cockpit-fairing incorporating a powerful stereo, foot boards and a rubbermounted motor. Apart from the Wolf, all are powered by the same 117-inch S&S motor built exclusively for Big Dog and offering 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds time with 42mpg (US), and a Baker 6-speed cluster in a BDL Balance Drive, RSD gearbox. The 117-inch (1912cc) motors are available in a choice of carburetted or closed-loop fuel injected forms, while the X-Wedge is EFI only. With brakes by PM, billet controls, an enhanced speedo, light-touch switchgear thanks to low voltage microswitches that also keep the wiring harness as tight as possible, machined wheels that are either billet or forged, and featuring a range of paint options – starting with eighteen colours of frame and including a massive selection of hand-painted graphic schemes for the sheet metal that will satisfy most people, and can accommodate the rest with a full custom service – what starts off looking like an expensive toy soon becomes a radically different way of doing things. Each bike is built to order, which means Big Dog doesn’t have a huge amount of money tied up in stock – something that has caused havoc for other manufacturers – and while that does make for a twelve to sixteen week lead time, it makes sure that the bike in the crate is what you want. It also inspires confidence that Big Dog Motorcycles – already established for fifteen years, and having produced more than 25,000 motorcycles – will be around to honour their two year warranty. Keep an eye out for The Hogfather and Big Dog Motorcycles at shows around the country, or take a trip to Southport and their stunning new showroom and workshop. www.thehogfather.co.uk www.bigdogmotorcycles.eu www.farmaggedon.co.uk
EBR 1190RS STREET BIKE DUE FOR 2011? Who? Don’t they make brake pads? The biggest model news this issue isn’t a model, but potentially a new manufacturer and the return of an old friend. Apparently free of his non-compete agreement with Harley-Davidson in February 2011, Erik Buell Racing is said to be developing a streetbike from their newest race bike, the 1190RR. The big bore 1190 is an evolution of the 1125cc Helicon motor, developed with BRP, and to which all production rights were inexplicably purchased at significant expense by Harley-Davidson when they closed the Buell operation down – as far as we’ve been able to ascertain. The streetgoing 1190RS is unlikely to be the RR with registration plates, not least because the $44,900 price tag will be too rich for most Buell enthusiasts, so it’s unlikely that the reports circulating referring to a 185 RWHP / 93ftlb motor are going to be realised by anything that will hit a showroom floor any time soon. Those are the output figures of the race bike, which will be in a higher state of tune than a production streetbike, and Erik Buell has always championed the
idea of real world performance for real world speeds. We don’t know what’s happening: no-one outside EBR does and won’t until February. That’s when we’ll discover whether BRP have bought Buell – there are rumours that Harley have sold the Buell name, which they could have done when it was
a going concern, which would have made more sense – who’s making what, what the specs are and how much. Don’t expect them in the UK for a while: they will come but they are a small team with lots to do: it’s not the main priority We wish Erik and EBR every success. www.erikbuellracing.com
insides – but a Magnum? Whassat then? You’ll kick yourself when I tell you, because all the clues are there: it’s an ironhead XL top end on a set of 45 cases, and what a great looking engine! I’ve got to confess that I’d never heard of it before, and details are scarce, but can only assume it was a relatively inexpensive way to create a smaller OHV motor that used a separate gearbox from the huge numbers of then-plentiful and proven 45 parts and the readily available Sportster
top end. I would also presume that it was developed for racing at some level, where using a pre-existing competition gearbox could be more attractive than working with the complicated unit-construction XL box: Paughco do also produce a contemporary 4-speed gearbox for an authentic pairing. I’ve long thought it would be a good idea for someone to make a set of engine cases to take a Sportster top end and cams for exactly the same reason, which only goes to show that nothing’s new. I doubt prices will be at Paughco’s usual competitive level, as production will be limited, and each motor will be professionally built from oem parts and “the best that the aftermarket has to offer” by Yankee Engineuity’s Duncan Keller, holder of several land speed records with forty years experience of engine building under his belt, so don’t go getting the idea that you’ll only be getting a piece of static art: these will be built to ride. And the chance of parking up next to another bike in any car park or behind the ropes of any bike show on the planet couldn’t be slimmer. www.paughco.com
There’s always a demand for a new motor for the heart of a custom bike that really needs to stand out, and there’s just a chance that Paughco have pulled off a major coup, producing a hand-built replica of the Harley-engine that didn’t exist, alongside a brand new 45 motor. It was borne of a response to to a series of new frames from the company, which fuelled a demand for a new motor. We’re all familiar with the 45 – at least to look at if not intimately acquainted with its
» SPORTY-EIGHT CRANK IT UP Absolute genius: you’re not going to believe how many new product stories echo the editorial content this issue, and this is the first. Like the style of the new Forty Eight but can’t get hold of one one? This is your lucky day! A massive amount comes down to the tank that we were all trying to get rid of twenty years ago, replacing it with a King Sportster. Now we want the original back, having realised what has been missing on the XL models all this time. Fits 2004-on models, and comes in primed steel
W&W 35-116 “Sporty-Eight” 8-litre fuel tank
Got a big inch engine and struggling to start it with your stock battery? You’re not alone. You could stick a high output battery on it and a meatier starter but there’s a growing movement to work smarter rather than harder, and All Balls Racing are among those who have fitted an internal gear reduction ring in the starter, which stresses the stock battery less. Of course, they’re still happier with decompressors, and they come in a modest 1.4kW, which is reckoned to be within the gift of most stock batteries, but you can ramp it up to 1.6kW or 1.7kW if you’ve got something brutal big-inch monster. Starters are available for all 1989-2011 big twins, 1981-2011 Sportsters and XR1200s, and most are available in black or chrome. www.motorcyclestorehouse.nl
New Repro Taillight
The Sparto is old hat now, having lost all its street cred when Harley copied it, so we’ve been waiting to see what will replace it in our affections, and think it might just be this. A beautifully sculpted piece of polished cast aluminium with a real glass lens, and it last saw service on the back of a Crocker motorcycle. You’ll have to get creative with a light for your license plate, because while it’s got the bracket, there’s no provision for illuminating it: it’s just a stop tail. W&W 11-249 “Crocker” taillight
DE-ACTIVATE I confess that I lose track of these now, what with the Forcewinder and Harley’s version, both of which can end up with a K&N filter on them. Said to offer 9hp on a 1200 Sportster, 10hp on Dyna and Softail models and more than 12hp on the Tourers, this is K&N’s own and uses of their HighFlow filters on a mandrel-bend aluminium tube with a billet aluminium mounting plate. Available for ’07-up Sportsters (’91-’06 with an adaptor), and Twin Cam models: it was designed for EFI but “will generally” fit CV carburetted models without modification, and a ‘DryCharger’ sock is recommended for all-weather riders. Prices start from €355 for the AirCharger and €32 for the all-weather DryCharger sock, prices inclusive of VAT. Zod Zod Zod Zod Zod Zod
733807 733805 733806 733803 733804 733808
2007-up Sportster, black 2007-up Dyna/Softail models, black 2007-up Dyna/Softail models, polished 2008-up Touring models, black 2008-up Touring models, polished DryCharger sock
If you’ve ridden a modern twin cam with a screen, you’ll be all too aware of the weird noise from the exhaust when the active control valve switches from open to closed. It’s open on tickover, closes down when the engine is under load, and then opens at about 40mph or on the overrun. It’s like coming in to land and you want to pop your ears ... well, I did on Saturday on the 96-inch 2010 Road King. One of these little fellas, from Pistor, will leave the valve open all the time, and fool the diagnostics into thinking its working properly. Sweet. W&W 12-647 AES Bypass Modules
RSD CAFÉ COUTURE
Lots of Sportster stuff this time and an interesting contribution from Roland Sands, lowering the bars, speedo and headlamp to create a cafe-racer with RSD 39mm aluminium dimple-milled Café Clip-Ons, or a different look completely using any aftermarket risers: LED warning light unit sold separately. What you can’t see here is a coil relocator that tidies up the frame, losing the wiring harness caddy above the front cylinder head, moving the coil to the left hand side of the motor. All components retain the function and reliability of the oem wiring, headlamp, speedo, coil, ignition and switchgear.
Once you’ve fitted the Sporty-Eight tank to your 2004-up Sportster, you’re going to want to reduce the size of your rear mudguard. This kit will cost more than a new hacksaw blade, but will be much better finished, and comes with the trick lights. And, of course, if you want to keep the bigger tank, you’ve got a Nightster. W&W 30-269 “Nightster” mudguard kit €559.30
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American-V # ONE
» ZERO ENGINEERING STAINLESS IN-LINE SPRINGERS WHEEL COVERS
We get all carried away with the disc wheel coming in with the Fat Boy, conveniently forgetting that there was a spun aluminium version in the disc glide before that, and blissfully unaware that a popular accessory of the 1940s and ’50s were stainless-steel wheel covers. Is it history repeating itself or just a case of not being able to keep a good idea down? They looked a little like these exact replicas, which come in an industrial stainless finish, which €1629.00 allows you to paint, polish or chrome plate them. www.zodiac.nl They fit pre ’66 star hubs, include the correct small parts and I’ve no idea how they’d work with disc brakes. If you find out, do tell.
For those builds when a pair of DNA springers just isn’t enough. As used in the Samurai models, these replicas of the in-line Springers – in line meaning the legs are parallel with the headstock – have updated the original design with needle-roller bearings at all the pivot points but have left the rest completely as was. They’re available only in stock lengths, and come in any colour as long as it’s black. The only thing they’re lacking is the top yoke / tree, but any standard or aftermarket yoke designed for in-line Springers will fit – and you won’t need telling that Zodiac offer a wide variety. Zod 745350: Zero Engineering Springer fork
FLAT BOTTOM XL TANKS
With a universal horseshoe mounting, the new bung-type filler caps and with a 22mm petcock boss, these two new tanks from Paughco are designed to mount high and look good from all angles. Two? Of course, they couldn’t just make the usual King Sportster now that the Forty-Eight has reinvented the 2.2 US gallon tank, so we’ll be seeing a return to the classis silhouette of the Frisco-mount, Sportster-tanked chopper, and the sight of riders at the side of the road, wondering if they might have been a bit extreme using one to keep their 120-inch motor topped up? 866: 2.9 US gallon King XL tank 867: 2.2 US gallon Standard XL tank
W&W 26-140 S/Steel wheel covers for Pre-’66 star hubs
One of the stars of the British Biker Build-Off, Steve Wheeler, has moved again: away from his barn-like but chilly former loading dock to a newer industrial unit on Fenton Industrial Estate, that will let him separate out the retail and service sides; it also has more private space outside for swap meets and open days. Phone number is 01782 844440: set your SatNav / Googlemaps to ST4 2TE.
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Got a nice bike? Proud of it? Can’t bear to be separated from it? Well, why haven’t you got a decent picture of it then, taking pride of place somewhere you can see it, rather than a creased photo in a wallet, or a tiny digital image on your phone? Actually, I’ll tell you why: because it’s bloody difficult getting a shot that is just ‘right’, which is why you’re more likely to have a framed library print of someone else’s bike there instead ... and some of those aren’t great. And it’s not just about having the right gear. It’s not even about setting up the shot properly. It’s about both of those but also about manipulating the image to show it at its best, and then it’s about printing it on a decent piece of artpaper using a professional printer. Alternatively you find yourself a photographer, and one who has the right kit and skillset. Someone like Paul Rees, who’s been working with Shaws Harley-Davidson, shooting some of their Speed Shop bikes, including John Shaw’s own bike and one they’ve just finished for Matt Willis. We gave him a landscape to play with to show us what the finished print looks like, and what came back is a work of art, capturing the essence of a memorable scene and forever reminding me that Amanda ran off to watch the last rotation of the day of the Falkirk Wheel without fastening the pannier ... and I didn’t realise until it was too late.
The quality here won’t do it justice, but Paul has elevated a half-decent picture way beyond just a photograph: I’ll post it on American-V’s Facebook wall, linked to the high resolution image. It’s not a simple process, and as a professional service it comes at a price, but the end result is a commissioned piece of art that will last a lifetime, and is actually cheap at the price.
A full shoot, from the original picture to the final print, will set you back £450, while working on a supplied digital image – high quality in RAW format – is subject to an individual quotation. An ideal Christmas gift for the discerning rider with everything else, either as a commission or a voucher to put towards one.
CHD_OHD October Ad Amer V
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Installed in over 60,000 Heritage Softail Classic Saddlebags around the world.
Reviews Motorclothes Women’s Spirited Rain Gear
98220-09VW ‘Spirited’ Rain Jacket £129 98221-09VW ‘Spirited’ Rain Pant £77
I have to say that I was jealous when Andy got a set of Goretex waterproofs on test from Harley, I tried the jacket on and explained how perfectly it fitted me, even though I knew it hung off me like a domestic cat trying on the skin of a tiger: it bore the Goretex legend – guaranteed not to leak – I wanted it and it WAS going to fit me at any cost. Andy wasn’t having any of it, though. There was a suit on its way for me to test, and I’d have to wait for that to arrive. Pah! My rainsuit arrived and it wasn’t black. It was in Harley’s Vintage Orange and it looked rather small with feminine, tailored contours to it: I had hoped for a big shapeless jacket and pants. The Spirited rain kit is designed to fit over the FXRG pants and jacket and so I got the size that matched the FXRG kit I was already testing, and I could see it was going to be a snug fit: I was right! Pulling it over the FXRG, I quickly realised why: there was no room for the usual ‘ballooning’ that occurs when out riding and the wind gets underneath your waterproofs and blows you up. Neat trick. My previous waterproofs over the years had all suffered from this, but then I’d previously only ever bought blokes kit with lots of room in it, as I didn’t like to feel restricted in any way: snug fitting waterproofs were a wholly new concept for me. The Spirited pants had two zips – one on each leg – that go from the top of the waist right down to the very bottom of the pants and at first I thought this a most strange concept, but now that I’ve worn them a lot, I can’t imagine being without them, because they are what allow them to fit so well over the trousers beneath. When putting the pants on, I just undo the top and the bottom zippers by about a foot and can pull them on over the FXRG Pants, and while still wearing my boots: no more having to remove my boots in a rainstorm to get my waterproofs on. Bloody marvellous! The pants have a detachable set of elastic braces that are easily removed. I find that these are surplus to requirement as they stay up on their own and are kept in place by
the elasticated waist, but they’re a sensible addition if you’ve gone for a size too big. The zips are protected against the rain by a velcro-sealed flap, which I have found works really well, as do the Nomex heatshield panels on the inner legs to prevent them melting on the exhausts, and the rubbery panels on your bum
cheeks to stop you slipping round on your seat – more critical for a pillion rider, especially on a Badlander-style, sloping seat: Harley really have thought of everything! As for the Spirited jacket, it is equally well thought-out with waterproof zips on the pockets, and the velcro storm flap that protects the main zip. The arms of the jacket are long enough to extend over your wrists and can be tucked into your gloves, preventing the wind from getting in. The hood is a good idea. That it is detachable is a better one, as I find that it’s too thick around my neck and uncomfortable when rolled up in the collar, so I just keep the detached hood with me for when I am walking around. The jacket draws in around you securely thanks to an elasticated waist panel at the back, drawstrings around the bottom and the elasticated and velcroed wrists. The high windproof collar has a velvety lining for added warmth and protection against the rain and the taped seams and mesh lining optimise waterproofness and comfort. I really like the idea that it isn’t all black now, as I know the Vintage Orange makes me stand out from the crowd in daylight as well as the reflective 3M Scotchlite piping at night, running along most seams and combining with the reflective bar and shield and phoenix motif on the back of the jacket.
And as an interesting novelty, the first time I wore the jacket in the rain, I got very excited by the material revealing a red flames when it got wet: just in case you weren’t sure if it was raining. The pants, too, have lots of reflective piping that really does make you very visible on dark nights when car headlights/ streetlights shine on you. Every last detail on these two garments has been very well thought out and I haven’t once felt uncomfortable in their snugness. I’ve worn them many times in the dry and the wet, and the fact that they are so thin and light is a real added bonus in that you can pack them up in a small space with your kit ready for when you need them. I have come to rely on these alot, and with winter biting at our heels, I’ll be using them a damn sight more over the coming months on my winter hack. The Spirited pants and jacket are a fab piece of kit and they do exactly what is says on the tin: which is to keep you bone dry and act as a wind barrier. My only issue is that I reckon the pants should be two inches longer, reaching the bottom of the FXRG pants beneath. There is an elastic stirrup on the bottom of each leg that should stretch over the sole of your boot to stop the waterproofs riding up, but I haven’t bothered with that since discovering that it held them too tight for comfort with mid-set footrests, so there’s about an inch and a half of FXRG pant sticking out of the bottom, which could be because the FXRG are in a ‘Tall’ fitment. Love the design, love the colours, the contoured fit is fab and overall a very versatile and essential piece of kit of superb quality and design. I can even forgive them not being Goretex: they might not have the same guarantee, but they’ve got a more affordable price tag. / Amanda
HYBRID HARLEY? You will, of course, already know that while we pour gallons of petrol into our fuel tanks, an engine is actually a hot air pump: when air is heated it expands, needs more space and moves the piston out of the way to get it. And the quickest way to heat air quickly is to set it on fire. Except that air isn’t flammable so you need to put something in it that is. Lots of things are flammable and one of the things that has challenged brilliant minds for generations has been to use something plentiful and stable as a fuel, the one that springs to mind is hydrogen. Hydrogen is flammable, as the Hindenberg testified, and it’s a bad idea to carry a lot of it about, but if it could be generated as needed from something as stable as water ... it might just work. It’s generally accepted that you can’t produce enough hydrogen ‘on the fly’ to run an engine, but how about as a supplement? The technology required to convert water (H2O) into what’s known as Brown’s Gas (HHO) is well established, and you will undoubtedly have seen claims on t’internet about running your car on water, but the websites look like scams and you can’t help wonder why we haven’t been doing it for years if it works. Conspiracy theorists would have it that the government don’t want you running on water
H-D Streamline Performance Eyewear 98388-10VW with day/night lens £129.00 including soft pouch, hard case and lanyard cord I ride in an open face helmet these days, and while I love its improved visibility, I do suffer from the wind coming up beneath my visor making my eyes sore. I wear glasses anyway, and need to choose childrens frames, but have tried endless different pairs of sun and riding glasses over the past three years, at rallies and in shops, and had more or less given up on finding a pair that fitted until the Streamline Performance Eyewear from Harley arrived. I didn’t hold out much hope but on opening the box, and then the massive, substantial hard case, I was met by a pair of dainty sized glasses that bought a smile to my face. Trying them on, I was astonished by how good a fit they were: I could lean forwards without them falling off my head like all the others had! If they’re not a perfect fit, they are as near as damn it: I wonder if Harley does childrens sizes? More than just a pair of sunglasses, they come with a foam-rimmed windshield that clips easily but securely to the frame, and I got to test them out the very next morning, out riding in early, bitterly cold winds, and then back in warm sun, and they were perfect in both conditions: there’s nothing much worse than freezing cold air on unprotected eyes, but they were protected completely from the wind – no more tears – and then shaded from the strong sun rays by the photochromic lenses. I hadn’t experienced photochromic lenses before, only heard about them from Andy extolling their virtues, and it was only when I took off what I’d thought were the clear glasses I had put on and
because they can’t tax it, and they might have a point because the potential benefits of running on a mix of petrol and hydrogen are significant: more power, greater fuel economy, smoother running, was blinded by the low autumn sun that I realised just how well they worked: the difference was astonishing, not least because I hadn’t been aware of them becoming darker. And that’s the true magic of these glasses: you can wear them as riding glasses all year round without having to stop to change the lenses, only to discover that you haven’t packed them. The lenses are perfectly clear at night and you don’t even notice them darkening when the sun comes out as they adjust so subtley to match the changing light conditions. That the ends of the arms are a flexible, rubberised material – unlike the solid material of the rest of the frame – is another bonus, as they fit to the contours
reduced emissions and less carbon build-up within the engine. What’s not to like? So how do you know what the truth is? That’s where Sven Hrafnsson of Thor Energy Zolutions in Iceland comes in. Sven has spent the last few years perfecting a beautifully-engineered stainless-steel bolt-on system for a HarleyDavidson and we’re going to try a couple out. One kit is going on my 4-speed Shovelhead, a second is going onto Rich’s Evo Road King as part of its refurb, and there’s a portable kit going onto our stock Vegas, just because it’s a newer generation of motor, and it’ll be interesting to see how it behaves – and how it performs. We were hoping to get it done in time for this issue but ran out of time so it’s now the first priority as soon as we’ve gone to press: see next issue for a full report and the blogs / Facebook for information as it filters through. www.tezpower.com of your head inside your helmet, so you don’t get the usual hard bits at the end of the frames digging into your head and making you uncomfortable. The final big plus for these is their flexibility and versatility, as I wear them both on and off the bike: both as riding glasses and sunglasses: they’re smart enough. And with the supplied elasticated lanyard to hold them around your neck – Dame Edna-style – so you’re less likely to lose them, which is good because like all good photochromic sunglasses, they don’t come cheap, but then until trying these I didn’t think they existed at all: God knows I’ve looked. I have only one issue with them which is that I lose some of my peripheral vision when the windproof shield is fitted, as this pushes the frame forward by a few millimeters. It’s a lot less than the restricted view from a full face helmet, however, and is easily accounted for by turning my head round that little bit further for my life-savers, and is a very small price to pay for finally having found some eyewear that actually fits – and works – so very well! Another gold star to Harley-Davidson’s MotorClothes product range. / Amanda
American-V # ONE
Reviews Legendary Motorcycles 2011
Basem Wasef ISBN 978-0-7603-3918-3 RRP £9.99 It could be a sign of the times we’re living in, but I didn’t expect I’d see a calendar where the claim of the bike shown was its owner’s celebrity: not so unusual when it’s Wayne Raineys’ Kawasaki or Hailwood’s Ducati 950 F1, but an Indian Scout famous because it was owned by Steve McQueen? Then there’s the 125cc CZ that James Dean bought when he was 15? This is a calendar that would make me looking forward to May – McQueens Indian; June – a Condor boxer twin owned by Von Dutch; September – because I’ve always liked Matchless G50 racers, and the one Dick Mann rode as a privateer upsetting Harley, BSA and Triumph is a great looking bike; and November – because Mert Lawwill’s 1969 side-valve KR750 reminds you just how long Harley successfully raced flatheads after the K-series was replaced by the Sportster.
One World Tour Europe
A documentary film by Zack Coffman and Scott Di Lalla RRP $24.95: multi-video deals available from Choppertown.com If you don’t immediately recognise the names you’ll certainly know the web address, and yes this is the story of the independent film makers behind Choppertown taking their show on the road, sponsored by Dickies, meeting up with the people they’ve come to know through the release of their videos, and screening them to the local audience on a big screen. Offering a glimpse into the custom bike world in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Stockholm, Helsinki, Munich, Triumph day at “Newchurch” in Austria, Speyer, Barcelona, Paris and London, it can never hope to provide any kind of depth, but using local bands in the same musical genre as used on the American videos, you do get some flavour of the similarities and differences of Europe and Scandania’s bike scenes, across a range of makes and models, but increasingly leaning towards Triumphs interspersed with American muscle cars. More of a cross between a reality show and a travelogue than we’d normally associate with the Choppertown franchise, Scott and Zack don’t seem to be quite as comfortable in front of the cameras as behind, and while I’m sure the human interest element will play well to a modern audience, I’m not sure that this plays to their strengths.
Harley-Davidson Men’s Legendary Performance Eyewear With Forceflex Technology • 98288-10VM • RRP £46.00
With a mix of dread and excitement, and having checked the right glasses were in the right box, twice, and that the product code tallied with the description on Harley’s Motorclothes site, I carefully placed the sunglasses on a thinly padded chair, and unceremoniously parked my backside on top – sixteen stone of middle aged spread – praying that this wasn’t some elaborate hoax, and that twisted parts wouldn’t exact a terrible toll from my not “nearly indestructible” self. Then I stood on them, in the way you would when bending down to pick them up and getting just that little bit too close, catching them and twisting the frames. Put them in my back pocket – not that I’ve ever carried sunglasses in my back pocket – and sat down again. Nothing. They buckled. They twisted, but always returned to the original shape unscathed. I noticed that when the arms bent in to contact the lens – requiring them to exceed their normal parked position – they
rubbed against the inside surface, but didn’t scuff the perfect finish of the lens. In mock frustration, I threw them across the room, and was delighted that I managed to mark them ... with a bit of white paint that suggests something else came off worse, and which wiped off with remarkably little effort. Do I run them over? Harley says they should survive the experience – they reckon they’re completely scratch resistant – but to be honest I don’t need to go to such lengths because we all know that “Nearly indestructible” means just that: if you set out to break something, it will break, eventually, and you’ll have proved nothing except that you’ve broken it and need a new one or in this case a new pair, and will discover what a lifetime warranty means. And anyway, I’ve got an Amanda. I’ve no idea whether the Biker Glasses photochromatic windproof sunglasses that I lent to her survived being run over when she dropped them, because when I ran over them I was doing about seventy on the M6 and only discovered what I’d hit when she sheepishly admitted it at the next services. Anyway, darker than Jake and Elwood’s, tougher than Clint’s and with more than a hint of Arnie about them, these could be the last pair of sunglasses you ever wear ... unless, that is, you need fully windproof shades or lighter tints.
48 16 American-V.co.uk
Roadtest: Harley-Davidson XL1200X â€œForty-Eightâ€?
Harley-Davidson are desperate to encourage a younger generation to tune in to the brand and the new Forty-Eight is seen by many as one of the bikes that will create that new market. Of course those lucky Americans have got a very different route to getting a motorcycle licence than the average 17-year old Brit, so just how relevant is the down-and-dirty hardcore Sportster in the UK? American-V.co.uk
West Strand Park, Strand Road, Preston, Lancashire PR1 8UY. Tel: 01772 551800 www.harleydavidson-preston.com
Cheltenham Harley-Davidson 599 Princess Way, Cheltenham GL51 7PA Tel: 01242 240570 www.bladegroup.co.uk
Robin Hood Harley-Davidson
216 Queens Road Beeston, Nottingham NG9 2 DB Tel: 0115 811 4215 www.robinhoodharley-davidson.co.uk
Portsmouth Road, Peasmarsh, Guildford, GU3 1NA Tel: 0845 388 9643 www.guildfordharleydavidson.co.uk
8 Tritton Road, Lincoln LN6 7QY Tel: 01522 850098 Fax: 01522 850088 www.lincolnharleydavidson.co.uk
Elliot House, Silverlink, Wallsend Newcastle Upon Tyne NE28 9ND Tel: 0191 2369315 Fax: 0191 2638604
Corner House Garage, Whitecross, Wootton, Oxfordshire OX13 6BS Tel: 01865 735121 www.bladegroup.co.uk
Langage Business Park, Eagle Road, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon PL7 5JY Tel: 01752 332775 www.plymouthharleydavidson.co.uk
Holmes Hill, Nr Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6JA United Kingdom www.shawharley-davidson.co.uk
611 Kings Road, London, SW6 2EL Tel: 0207 736934 www.warrs.com
16 – 20 Mottingham Road, London SE9 4QW Tel: 0208 8579198 www.warrs.com
Ozier Park, Waterford City, Ireland Tel: +353 51 844200 Fax: +353 51 857206 www.waterfordhd.com
FAAKER SEE EUROPEAN BIKE WEEK ’10
Custom: Anglo-American Bobber
You know when you see a bike for the first time and know there’s something special about it? That’s what happened when we bumped into Martin ‘Dru’ Rumball in July, or more accurately his bike parked up next to a well-used Sportster at the Rockabilly Rumble.
There was a real sense of two business-like bikes about them, the Sportster bearing all the hallmarks of a working hack, transformed by the addition of a BMW R90S-style bikini fairing, but it was the girder-forked hardtail that really caught my eye. Nothing was familiar about it but for the immediately identifiable TP motor: this wasn’t a bike for the EyeSpy book of motorcycle components, nor was it the sort of thing you’d find behind posts and ropes at a custom show. This was a no-nonsense
bruiser of a roadbike, with the emphasis on road, and I couldn’t imagine it not being as capable as it looked. You can usually tell with a TP motor whether it’s built for show or go by whether the factory air-filter has been replaced by something cosmetic, because while it isn’t the prettiest in the world, TP’s Scramjet filter is a very important part of the performance package. When I realised it was Dru’s bike everything dropped into place. Dru is the man behind Kitech, is known for his passion for
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HOPE AND GLORY When Harley-Davidson announced the XR1200 Trophy race series this time last year there were a lot of sceptics and some sarcastic comments. As a rule the racing fraternity are dismissive of one-make series that pop up at British Superbike events from year to year. The detractors thought the racing would be dull and the bikes too heavy and slow to attract the race-goers’ attention, but they missed the point. The idea of racing motorcycles that could not be tweaked too much or improved by throwing cash at them appealed to some well-respected racers, seeking close racing on a level playing field, as well as up-and-coming youngsters keen to get noticed in the BSB paddock. The budget needed to participate allowed a range of Harley-Davidson dealers, large and small, to take part by backing these riders so it all looked promising: but, as the season got underway, no one could predict how the BSB audience would react to the actual racing. It’s fair to say that, by the time we got to the final round at Cadwell Park, the series was a sure-fire winner with the crowds who braced North Sea gales to stand trackside on a chilly Sunday evening. The warmth and depth of feeling for the riders, and the applause and cheers were actually pretty stunning for those of us lucky enough to be standing among the crowd. The racers themselves can’t hear their fans applauding – the XR’s engine drowns pretty much every other noise out – and they were truly surprised when I told them about the level of attention and goodwill they were getting with the fans. And the autograph hunters were out in force too. Bernie Price explained to one hopeful who was clutching a programme
Jeremy McWilliams takes on The Mountain at Cadwell Park ... and wins
that he had come last in his race and was stunned that the guy still wanted his autograph. These racers will perhaps never understand that they are heroes in the eyes of their fans. Why are they heroes? Well, Cadwell Park resembles a tight, twisty well-tarmaced B-road. The track is overhung by trees in places, which restricts visibility, and the rain showers on Sunday meant the track in the Woodland section was dark and damp. Then there’s the Mountain section, where a tight pair of bends is followed by a steep rise which forces a wheelie (or full flight – depending on your speed) and if you land badly, things can go very wrong, very quickly. If I was taking on Cadwell Park on a Harley, I’d take it easy. Very easy. Sit up, slow down for the blind bends, admire the scenery, and so on. But I’m no racer! The racers tackle it like this: first you ride flat-out. Then, to get that extra few mph out of your XR1200 you need to crouch down on the bike, tuck in your elbows and knees and get the chin of your helmet right down on the petrol tank – which massively reduces visibility. That all takes some doing on a narrow strip of tarmac – the start grid at Cadwell is only three bikes wide because track width is so limited – with blind hairpins and sharp
rises and falls, especially when you are surrounded by twenty other guys all trying to do the same thing. With 100hp+ trying to launch 230kg of metal into a wheelie you also need to keep your weight low and over the front of the bike. This last trick proved to be easier said than done: check out the photos to see the difference between Tillotson and Moore’s approach
... as does St Leger’s Joe Moore
... and Guidford’s Julian Tillotson
AmV43.XRBlog (original).indd 36
XR1000 40 American-V.co.uk
Classic: Harley-Davidson XR1000
Since it broke onto the world stage, the alloy-engined XR750 has captured the imaginations of people looking for a performance Harley-Davidson, and while the XR1200 is trying to capitalise on that right now, itâ€™s not Harleyâ€™s first attempt to cash in on its racing success.
With bold curves, aggressive features and a beefed-up 1731cc Freedom V-Twin, the Hammer S takes performance to new levels. Add dual front disc brakes, inverted forks, a chopped fender and a meaty 250mm rear tyre, and you have a brute of a machine. Think you can handle it?
www.victorymotorcycles.co.uk | 0800 915 6720
Model shown is ďŹ tted with stage-one performance exhaust system.
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As well-established a part of the biking calendar as a national rally, the Ride to the Wall has rapidly become the focal point of Veterans of the Armed Forces and the grateful free to gather and pay tribute to fallen comrades and those who continue to put their lives on the line in the name of freedom and democracy. With so many visitors making the annual pilgrimage to pay their respects from all
Event: Ride to the Wall 2010
across the country, there’s a social element emerging with camping on the Friday and Saturday night – increasingly essential to get everyone in the right place at the right time. The 2010 event was organised with military precision, starting with the Military Police providing the motorcycle outriders, but sadly not the Chinook helicopter. It also gave an indication of the importance of the event to the morale of serving forces around the world. Following a concert by the Prince of Wales’ Division Band at the foot of the monument – who struck up with that classic of the martial repertoire, Copa Cobana – founder Martin Dickinson introduced Ride to the Wall’s new patron, Major General RL Kirkland, a lifelong officer and current commander of 4th Division – and HarleyDavidson rider – who addressed the huge crowd, honoured to be playing his part in the event and expressing his appreciation on behalf of the armed forces.
He handed over to a service conducted by Dave Cooper, the decorated chaplain to the Parachute Regiment and the SAS, and a man who knows how to lighten the mood and deliver a punchline, which was followed by a personal message from Brigadier Felton, Commander of Task Force Helmand, delivered by his wife, Mia. The Last Post was followed by the wreath laying ceremony, and the reopening of the monument – the Wall inscribed with the names of those who have lost their lives since the end of the Second World War. It’s always a poignant event, with so many motorcyclists being ex-forces, with cap badges worn with pride and respect, and more than an opportunity to remember those who are no longer able to ride at our side, but a major net contibutor to the National Arboretum, which is supported entirely by public donation.
Words & Pics: Andy Hornsby
Classic/Custom: ’52 Panhead
Whether patina or shabby chic, there’s something compelling about a motorcycle that looks like it’s been round the block a few times. Some bear the scars of thousands of road miles while some are brand new and just look like they have. And then some sit in that middle ground: less tired and less contrived.
We might be British but our motorcycles aren’t and America produces the overwhelming majority of accessories that ﬁt the bikes we choose to ride: this growing section will showcase just some of the stuff coming out of the United States that might otherwise pass you by. To include your American business/products, contact Andy Fraser on 0044.1778.392054
S&S T124V Engine
The S&S T124V engine is a 124 cubic inch dual cam power plant that bolts directly into 1984-’99 chassis designed for a Harley-Davidson® Evolution® engine. This allows increased displacement and an upgrade to 1999-up dual cam technology at the same time. Great for custom bike builds using 1984’99 aftermarket frames. Features S&S gear drive cams and billet oil pump. Available for carbureted and fuel injected models. Visit S&S Cycle on the web for more information about this and other S&S products or to ﬁnd your local S&S Dealer.
Increasing performance on a budget can be a challenge, but the S&S 4-Step Performance Program for 1999-up Harley-Davidson® big twins makes it easy. Step 1 (up to 10 Hp over stock) consists of easy bolt-on S&S mufﬂers and an S&S air cleaner or tuned induction. In step 2 (up to 15 Hp over stock) we add a set of cams. In step 3 (up to 24 Hp over stock) we increase your displacement with an easy to install 97” or 106” big bore kit. For the real power monger, Step 4 (up to 40 Hp over stock) is to have S&S CNC port your stock heads. Take it a step at a time. When your budget allows, or when your lust for power can’t be suppressed, “take the next step”. You’ll be using everything you added in the earlier steps, so nothing is wasted. Visit S&S Cycle on the web for more information about the 4-Step Program or to ﬁnd your local S&S Dealer.
S&S Cycle Inc. 14025 County Hwy G P. O. Box 215 Viola, WI 54664 USA sscycle.com
Exile Cycles’ SuperMoto StreetBob The interesting specimen you see before you is the very ﬁrst Exile Dyna! You may recall that a year or so ago Russell Mitchell and his crew at Exile Cycles built an awesome trio of Softails to demonstrate the new Exile line of bolt-on parts for stock Harleys. They coupled this with a new catalog “Hard Parts for Stock Softails”. Now they are taking the same approach to Harley’s Dyna model line. Whilst Dynas don’t lend themselves quite as well to the “bolt-on transformation” process the Exile parts range for these bikes will ultimately include such goodies as Monster pipes, primary belt drive conversions (including a 2” version for mid-controls), chain ﬁnal drive conversions (including the Sprocket Brake Kit), front-ends and forward controls.
S&S Cycle Inc. 14025 County Hwy G P. O. Box 215 Viola, WI 54664 USA sscycle.com
Marlin's Accessories Bold new face designs for Marlin’s waterproof and shock resistant clocks and thermometers. Manufactured from billet aluminum and show chromed these quality gauges are made to ﬁt and look fantastic on all cycles and more, with a wide selection of handlebar mounts, tape-on and custom ﬁt mounts for American V-Twins, like fork lock and stem nut covers. Additional items from Big Paul’s include Marlin’s Genuine Accessories compass, temperature and pressure gauges and mounting devices for Iphones, smart phones, GPS and radar detectors. All items are in stock and available for immediate shipment directly from Big Paul’s Cycle online at www.bigpaulscycle. com and by phone at 248-408-2075 International shipments are our specialty – PayPal and major credit cards accepted.
Event: Bulldog Bash 2010
BULLDOGBASH What can I say about the Bulldog Bash that hasn’t already been said? Well, quite a bit as it happens.
There are dark forces at work in Warwickshire, and while the news that the police had scaled back their operations with regard to the Bulldog Bash is overdue and welcome, I can’t shake the image of a dozen uniformed bobbies summoning rain through the medium of native American dance. Say what? How else can you explain that torrential rain managed to disrupt the link between the event and its supporters in Stratford on Avon more than two years of the most over-zealous policing operation ever did?
HIGH STREET ROAD VS LOW O T C L AND AFORE YE ... S N I E B ... LL
Baggers: Victory Cross-Country Vs Fat Bob
The quintessential American motorcycle to as many people as fawn over custom Softails, streetwise Dynas and nimble Sportsters, how practical is a Bagger in everyday use; and for that matter, how good is a street bike when all dressed up with somewhere to go? This was originally intended to be a head to head between the new Victory Cross Roads and the current 103-inch Ultra Limited Harley-Davidson representing Harley-Davidson’s 2011 range with their bigger engines, but the Limited wasn’t available. We couldn’t waste the opportunity afforded by a trip to Thunder in the Glens, though, and with long term Fat Bob already sporting its QD luggage, backrest and a super-comfortable saddle, and as it was due in to Chester Harley-Davidson for a 103 Stage One, it was only a matter of asking whether a QD screen might be the perfect compliment for the rest of the kit, and hey presto! A Dyna bagger. So, with a two-tone white and silver Cross-Country complete with its QD optional trunk taking the full dresser role, and the blacker than black Fat Bob, the converted street bike, we could have hardly asked for two more different bikes to undertake the task as Amanda and I headed north looking for shades of grey ... and wondering how the usurper might be viewed at the UK’s biggest HOG event. We actually had the X-Country for a week before heading up to Scotland, which gave me the opportunity to get to grips with the bike that had so impressed me at its launch barely a month before, and it’s always a very different thing to use a bike in your own backyard than on a carefully-selected route chosen for its ability to put a bike through its paces.
Every touring bike has to come home eventually and frequently needs to double-up as daily or weekly transport, and it was always going to be interesting to see how well it coped in regular use. Dressers require different riding techniques, more manhandling at low speed than a street bike and need more space, and the higher centre of gravity that gives you space to stretch out on the open roads makes it feel top-heavy and more cumbersome in the urban jungle, but touring isn’t all about open roads, and even the grandest tourers will need to be able to navigate the streets of unfamiliar towns while lost riders struggle with even less familiar signage. Street life is well within their comfort zone: they’re usually tall and heavy compared to their street siblings, but they’re well balanced, and can cope with the challenges ... if you can. Victory’s reinvented American touring bike makes that easier with a lowly 667mm seat height that undercuts anything out of The Motor Company’s international catalogue by a margin. That it does so without compromising ground clearance, which at 148mm exceeds everything up to the XR1200X, is an incredible achievement in itself, although the penalty they’ve paid is that the X-Country is nearly two-inches longer in the wheelbase than a Harley bagger. Don’t worry about the effect that might have on the handling: that hollow-cast aluminium ‘Core-technology’ frame
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THUNDER IN THE GLENS AVIEMORE 2010
Event: Thunder in the Glens 2010
August Bank Holiday is the busiest in the UK’s Harley calendar with three major events all vying for attention, but this year one of them was rescheduled and we thought we’d got another covered, so we pointed our wheels north to the biggest but the most remote of the HOG Chapter rallies to see what all the fuss was about.
The Dunedin Chapter’s annual rally has come a long way since some 140 happy campers pitched up in 1993 at Faskally, near Pitlochry. They weren’t invited back and it was another four years before they staged the event again, this time at a largely run-down hotel complex in Aviemore. The site you see today is the result of a full revamp in 2002-04, and rather than kick the bikes out again, the owners have worked with the organisers, embracing the rally, and between them they’ve been tweaking things to improve the event. And they’ve needed to because in 2004 there were about 600 visitors, which climbed exponentially to 3,000 by 2008. This year, the biggest yet, there was an estimated 3,000 bikes on the ride-out alone, the event took over Aviemore, and you could hardly imagine a bigger self-contained site than the MacDonald Highland Resort ... or a better appointed one. The facilities were almost embarassingly luxurious if you stayed in the hotel, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining ... and certainly not over breakfast, which was almost worth the trip by itself. We had originally planned to take the tent – there is plenty of camping available, and even with the scale of the hotel, rooms go quickly – but with much headless chicken chasing around, working out what we’d be going on, and seriously considering if we’d manage it, two-up on the Dyna Fat Bob in view of the kit we need to carry, when a room became available we jumped at it. And boy were we glad we had as we rolled into the huge complex at 3am after a late departure and a leisurely ride up. You forget how far it is, even starting from the northwest. You also forget how few fuel stations there are in unspoilt landscapes, and how many fewer there are as the hour gets later. The long list of positives, however, started with the excellent realisation that the rain that had plagued most people’s journeys had all but passed, and we only caught the tail-end of the monsoon conditions on the last few miles of a pitch black and empty A9.
A lie-in would have been nice, but there was business to do: we needed to catch up with Chapter Director and chief organiser, George McGuire, before he lead the ride-out, and Fiona Kenny, who had inadvertantly volunteered to sort out a fashion show as part of the organised activities, and with an epic breakfast inside us, we made the most of the opportunity to leave all our riding gear behind, and headed out into the clean, fresh highland air. Thunder in the Glens is often held up as the best organised HOG rally in the UK, and it really is slick, certainly helped by the facilities they can call upon, and we were soon up to speed with the schedule for the day and checking out the rest of the site before we’d have to head off to capture the ride-out. It’s difficult to get across just how vast the site is because it isn’t just one hotel, but several dotted around a perimeter road that would easily pass for a public highway, and each seemed to be packed, their car parks full of Harley-Davidsons from across the UK with a number from Europe. At the centre of the complex, with an impromptu village of traders outside its front door, is Osprey Arena: the hub of the operation that would be the focal point of the evening activities, with the bigger bars and function rooms. It had the feel of a small town about it, centred round Edinburgh Harley-Davidson marquee and one of Harley’s “Experience” trucks, sitting empty, its exotic cargo on marshalled demo rides, sweeping in and out like a mechanical tide of chrome and steel. We stopped watching the clock for an idea of when the rideout would start, because the gathered masses of bikes on the perimeter road told us everything we needed to know: it was going to be huge, and it was going to be soon. For a HOG Chapter event, Dunedin take a very pragmatic view on who can play, which I applaud wholeheartedly: everyone is welcome. It might seem to dilute the experience, but there’s nothing like riding in the middle of a pack of Harleys to make you wish you were on one too. Even a Victory struggles to cut it in such company and it might be something to do with a desire to belong, but whatever it is, it’s an opportunity for riders of other machines to get a first hand idea of why we ride Harleys. And if that doesn’t stir their soul, then they’re not the sort of rider that would suit a Harley: that’s cool, it’s not compulsory.
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Remember the Great British Budget Bobber Build Off? With over 100,000 YouTube viewers checking out the timelapse videos that we threw together at the time, Iâ€™m guessing that a few might.
Custom: Karl’s Green Meanie
Karl Hagen certainly does, because it provided the last little bit of encouragement he needed to get off his backside and build his first custom motorcycle, as a treat for his fortieth birthday. Without wishing to come across as too self-congratulatory, it is exactly the sort of thing we were hoping might come out of the series, and over the next few issues we’ll be taking a look at some of the bikes that were inspired by the work done by Boneshaker Choppers and Thundercity Motorcycles. Back then, it was hard to imagine how much different the approaches taken by the two workshops could have been, short of using a completely different bike as their base, and the two budget bobbers came out very different. The final result appears to be borne out by the relative number of hits on the videos, although (to camera, adopting that smug, patronising tone beloved of a generation of TV presenters) there were no real winners or loser: just two great bikes. Karl wisely followed the route taken by Boneshaker Benny in building the winning bike and, working with a local independent specialist, John Wynne Automotive, in reserve if specialist services were required, he started off with most of the parts that add up to a rolling chassis kit and a complete Sportster as a doner bike. It is by far the easier way to do it, but don’t mistake that for the suggestion that it’s easy. Easy is relative. There’s a strong case for making those people who are quick to cast the first stone to be reintroduced to their own once-complete motorcycle as a pile of large assemblies, accompanied by a full factory workshop manual and a comprehensive toolkit ... we’ll make it ‘easy’ for them, at least for a first offence. That will separate out the genuinely aggrieved engineers who really should be glad that there are grass-roots builders, from the sanctimonious bar room experts who would be challenged by the 21 pieces of pre-painted, injection-moulded plastic precision that make up an Airfix ‘mini kit’. Flyrite’s roller for Sportsters comprises their Smokin’ Gun frame, a pair of DNA’s Springer forks, a pair of 40-spoke laced wheels – 16-inch rear and 21-inch front, obviously – with tyres bearing classic tread patterns, a Sportster style peanut tank, a flat cut-to-length rear mudguard and a stainless steel bracket that rejoices in the name of ‘NeveRust’. There are some additional trimmings like a Le Pera solo sprung seat, the standard-issue, bottom-mount Bates-style headlamp; a choice of ’bars and some 3-inch risers; bearing cups for the headstock; axles for the wheels and a pair of Flyrite’s grips in whatever colour you like as long as they make ’em.
Event: Brightona 2010
BRIGHTONA 2010 10-10-10 The clear blue skies above an azure sea, with mild tempratures and the sound of thousands of engines, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on the other side of the Atlantic ... but Daytona’s a bit far for a daytrip.
Brighton, on the other hand is a stone’s throw from London, and don’t you just know it when the sun comes out? Madeira Drive has long since been a magnet for petrolheads. A non-residential street between the terraced cliff and the shingle beach, it would have been ideal for promenading in the days when people took the air, but with the pier providing that opportunity, and with limited access from the main road network, Brighton Council have been very accommodating in letting people let
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A quick word from MAG�s President Ian Mutch Since I�knew I�would spending the winter riding my Harley around New Zealand I�racked my brains for an idea of how I�could promote MAG�in my absence. Will I at last, after 37 years of trying, come up with �the alchemist stone� of arguments that will make people realise that MAG�is an organisation worth supporting at long last? I�asked myself. So we made a film. It�s only five minutes. Please give it a look.
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Quickspin: Noughtie Forties Retro
It’s been some time since Custom Chrome showed us that kits bikes don’t have to be all about pure customs, announcing their forties-style FL, and it was always our intention to work out a way to swing a leg across the distressed “Cuba Libra” that showed it at its best, but fate conspired against us.
It wasn’t what you’d call radical in terms of its cycle parts but it required some commitment on behalf of its rider in the appropriately-named ‘Version Extremo’, with its foot clutch and hand shift, but what a cool idea! A brand-new, very late-forties / early fifties big twin with modern engineering tolerances but classic style: the sort of bike with which you could almost relive the evolution of motorcycling. You could run it for five years with the heavy mudguards and wheels, and then bob it, chop it and finally put it back to standard again. Result! It’s not actually a new idea: V-Twin manufacturing have been offering just such a bike for years, but we’ve not seen one except in bare metal in the catalogue, and there was always a question mark hanging over a drive-train that’s an unknown quantity over here. Not so with the Custom Chrome kit, which features a Series 3 RevTech motor at its centre, with its solid guarantee, dressed in the Xzotic bits and pieces that will allow it to pass itself off as a generator Pan at a glance from fifty paces. Granted, the shabby chic of the “Cuba Libra” theme went a long way towards drawing attention from the disc brakes front and back, and it was the paint that caught my eye before the RevTech logo beneath the Pan-style rocker covers on a thick chunk of aluminium cylinder head that doesn’t exist on an original Panhead ... but that does always assume you hadn’t bought into the distressed bomber art graphics, sugared it with the misplaced romance of Cuba after the trade embargo was put in place, and swallowed it whole as a barn find discovered by a visiting tourist looking for Lada-engined Chevrolets. But if the news wasn’t good in terms of being able to test ride the original bike, there was light at the end of the tunnel, because the
AmV43.Cuba Libra.indd 89
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Performance Parts for Sportster and XR1200 Models
@ Triple Tree Kits, headlight protection, control kits, chain guards, pulley covers, indicators, grips etc...
Freephone 0800 4580677
For full details of all our exclusive XR1200 parts and Rizoma products please contact us or check out the website: www.adrenalinmoto.co.uk Adrenalin-Moto Ltd, Unit 2, Banks House, Banks Road, Darlington DL1 1YB
Street - Performance – Custom Parts and Accessories Visit
To advertise on the American V classiﬁed page Contact Andy Fraser 01778 392054 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clothing ? red jeans work Q. Do armou A. Yes, Hood jeans do.
Vintage Style Clothing Made Stubborn
45+ mph crash wearing Hood K7 jeans. The denim wore through in several places but not the para-aramid. No road rash anywhere. The ER nurs e pointed out the fly was worn down to para -aramid as well. The Knox knee armour stayed in place very well. The attending Doc commutes on a GS1200 and was very impressed, wanted to know what they were, etc. I’ll be replacing them!
Japan’s Most Famous Biker Denim Traditional Jeans and Jackets Painstakingly Crafted out of the World’s Heaviest Black and Indigo Denim Iron Heart Denim - Heavy-Duty Indulgence
Highly Recommended After ten years of success with Hood Jeans, its still comments like above that mean the most to us.
www.ironheart.co.uk - 07740 706464
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Custom Bikes HARLEY DAVIDSON® SALES, SERVICE & REPAIR
• Full maintenance
& servicing facilities • Fixed price servicing
TEL/FAX: 01797 223547 MBL: 07866 078625 Email: email@example.com Web: www.vtwinuk.com
• Harley diagnostics • Custom bike building • Large showroom
Unit 21 Rye Industrial Park, Harbour Road, RYE, EAST SUSSEX, TN31 7EL Main A259
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WILD AT HEART
88“ 100“ 110“ 115“ 125“
Global Motorsport Group GmbH Custom Chrome Europe Planiger Strasse 154 D-55543 Bad Kreuznach Phone: +49 (0) 671 - 8 88 88 - 0 Fax: +49 (0) 671 - 8 88 88 - 100 79 e-mail: email@example.com www.custom-chrome-europe.com p100_avnov10.indd 79