1953 BSA Gold Star


Yesterday, I was gassing up my pickup at the local station with my bike in the back, when a guy approached and asked what year my bike was...?  I proudly said, "It's a 1952, K Model Harley."  He said his dad has(or had) a 1953 BSA Gold Star racer.  I thought, hey cool.  I went to say something about my Harley, but he interrupted to tell me how great British bikes are . . .  bla bla bla bla bla . . . it pretty much went downhill from there.  Oh, well.

Update . . .

This week I pulled the primary, drained the oil, cleaned out my clutch baskets, installed new Raybestos clutch plates (they were soaked with oil), added 15% stiffer clutch springs, relocated my left foot peg and shortened it, adjusted my forks, and checked the plugs (which were about perfect color).  Both cylinders running evenly.  I'll add some more foam under the tank, check all the bolts - and I should be good for a few more laps.  Zero degrees this weekend !  Maybe I'll wear my electric socks with 2 D batteries . . . ?

1952 KR

The first KR came equipped with the same capacity tank as the 1952K street bike.  This particular KR appears to have the higher capacity 6+ quart oil tank, and smooth dome primary cover.  No brakes of coarse. 

Perfect Ice Conditions

Despite a slipping clutch, I still had a blast riding last Sunday.  The extra slippage forced you to practice better throttle control, and work on corner speed.  The 19" front didn't work as good as a 21".  The bike was pushing and sliding - and I'm not using any brakes either . . . it makes it more interesting to me.  I rode for about 4 hours, 3 tanks of gas and made about 70 laps.  If a guy had this bike back in '52 . . . but 65 years later, still pretty damn fun.  Not too many K Models riding ice this year(Pretty sore on Monday) 

Vintage Racing Video

It's got Gary Scott, so you know it's hot . . .
and the sounds of those XRs . . .
nothing better folks !
My dad (Noot) was at Indy and Peoria those days

Number Plates

Might cut my side plates like this . . .
I think it looks better?
(click for full photo)
From Left:
Ralph Berndt
Carroll Resweber
and Texan(in a Trail Blazers lookin' jacket)

High Bars - Stock Seat

I need one of those tach brackets . . .

Albert Burns

Shrimp Burns was the fastest motorcycle racer of his time,
however, his time was short . . .
b.1898-d.1921
 

Duane Allman

Did I hear this correct?  On the same day . . . he bought a Sportster and a helmet.  Cut the chin strap off the helmet.  Left the dealership in Macon, Georgia riding the bike with his friends(and girlfriend) following in a car.  He was runnin' along at a fairly good speed, and clipped a wrecker-type truck and crashed pretty heavy.  Allman really didn't look that busted up, but he had some bad internal injuries.  They got him to the hospital, but it was too late. 

Different




Clete from Old Dude Vintage . . . 84D

I see on the web, Clete from Old Dude Parts had passed away.  I talked with him (I think) at Davenport before I knew who he was . . .  Then I talked with him over the phone many times at Old Dude, when I needed parts and had questions.  I believe his son (who was at Davenport this year) and helped me, sold me some special fasteners, will keep the company going.  A great ol' guy who I never knew was a racer himself . . . and a really good one.  I could have picked his brain on all types of WR, KR and XR stuff . . . gone forever.  Go Fast / Turn Left - RIP Clete.




Old Dude Vintage Parts and Service

Retro Rewind Dubuque, Iowa JAN 6th

Retro Rewind is this weekend.  It's an indoor event, downtown in Dubuque, Iowa (on the Mississippi River) It's all vintage hot rods, choppers, classics, old movie theatre, swap meet, parts, clothes, pin-up gals, rock bands, country bands, louver stampers, pin stripers, custom painters, stickers, t-shirts, weird shit, tall cans, hot sauce, a barber, big hair, leather jackets, long hair, grease, and a stand-up Bass guitar or two???? . . . it's a whole lotta fun . . Maybe take my digger and a couple boxes of old parts?  I haven't had this bike in a show since who knows how long..... See ya there -Respectfully, Noot

Bill Truman? - Rockford, Illinois !

 . . . should be Bill Tuman . . .
and Richard Mann went on to become an Expert
and multi-time National Champion . . .
Dick "Bugsy" Mann !

Champion Spark Plugs

The official plugs of the AMA.

Chris Jammin' on the Meltdown Run

(photo stolen from Josh)

Stolen from Baron . .

Too good to go unnoticed. 

1950 WR

I've been sorting through boxes of a disassembled WR engine.  I wasn't able to remove the tappet blocks by tapping with a brass hammer (they were installed with a very heavy press).  I thought about leaving them in, since they felt ok . . . but then I noticed something.  I had my machinist Jeff McFarland make me a special tool to remove the tappets.  I put the ball bearings on the cam, and slipped the cover on too - so we don't "kink" anything when pressing on the cam.  The previous engine builder had the Intake tappets installed incorrectly (since they're "site specific") and it wore the shoes all on one side.
FI = Front Intake (and the lifter was installed in the rear intake - and vice versa)  The valve train in a WR engine is angled inwards, towards the piston bore.  The cam lobes are straight, but each lifter shoe is angled for each particular valve.  WRs don't have roller tappets, just flat shoes.
See where the cam lobe wore these all offset.  Whoever installed the lifters didn't know what they were doing . . . or made a big mistake.  However, it did give the Intakes more valve lift !  Not real pretty . . . but it did do that.
Somebody got crazy with the cut-off wheel on this one . . . ?  Huh?  Kinda shade tree mechanics on this motor.  I'll try my best to fix it up and build a good solid motor. 
It's cold outside, so I drug all the parts into the kitchen where it was warmer.
I grabbed my wife's saucer to use as a parts tray . . . she wasn't real happy about it. 

Sportster Cure

I've kinda been into early XLs lately. 
Or at least for the last 30+ years !
This is somebody's nice collection . . .
 

Cracks = Leaks

Both oil passages cracked.  The cases were bored for big cylinders, and they broke into the oil passages . . . It's almost criminal.
2 sections of motor mount had huge chunks, broken off and gone.  Timing hole bored to almost 1" - and it was cracked.  Relay mount off.  Threads destroyed everywhere.  But the cam area is not cracked, races are solid . . . a couple good things.  The main issues are shown above.  As stated before: The cases were poorly bored for big cylinders, and they broke into the oil passages and then did a sloppy weld job into the oily aluminum.  A poor attempt at repair.  It's all cracked and warped on both cylinders, inside and outside, all the way down.  Maybe we can grind it out, weld it up, and save it?  I thought about re-drilling the passages(after welding), and making some small stainless tubes to be pressed in.  This is a real mess - I'll do my best.  It's like being a battlefield surgeon without the empathy involved.

WR Insanity


Guys can really get all kookie over these things.  Ball bearings and weird angles get these dudes more flustered and excited than any pretty girl could . . . Us men are weird.

So Much Pride

I assume he rides this on the street, and takes the generator and lights off for the club meets?  But maybe he's so fast, he doesn't need to take off the generator, or tail-lights, or jiffy stand?  He did take the headlight off (keep it from gettin' broke from rocks as he laps the field)  Heck, the tool box is still on it !  Now that I look at it, it's an XLH (with a timer and battery ignition).  He wins the biggest trophy with a street-bike with knobbies.  Sign him up !  Who is this guy?  I suspect somebody knows him? ________________ UPDATE:  Harley-Davidson historian Bill Rodencal told me this is Gerald "Jerry" McGovern.  Upon further research, I found that McGovern is shown here after the 1957 Jack Pine Win (he also won in 1950).  The race is run over all types of terrain, trails, tall grass, hills, water crossing, with various opportunities to earn (and lose) points.  It's on a points system.  In this very race, in 1957, were racers like John Penton . . .  so us Harley enthusiasts can proclaim proudly that John Penton was beaten by a guy on a '57 Sportster !  Hip Hip Horray for Jerry McGovern of Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

 (PS: It looks like he made little extensions to raise the front fender....)

Knucklehead Rockers . . . and such


You got yer early arms . . .
Ya got yer late shafts . . .
Ya got yer early shafts . . .
Ya got yer late arms . . .
Ya got holes in some - some with slots . . .
We got some with holes, from each end - that don't meet ? ! 
Ya got diff'ert lengths . . . a bunch of 'em . . .
Intake ones, Exhaust ones . . .
FI, RE, RI, FE . . .
Diff'ert length shafts for diff'ert length arms . . .
Throw it all in a box and let Noot figure it out.
Workin' on a knucklehead makes me feel like a knucklehead.
( I'll bet some guys buying this stuff, end up with lots of extra parts?)


Fat Kid and his Folks

Man I was a chunky lil' pork chop back then . . . (still am really).  This is me and mom in the basement of their new house (after a tornado took away the old house).  The bike would become an XLCH with a K frame and get ridden all over God's creation.  I got a new Big Wheel !
Here's the bike (and me on the Big Wheel) I really wish you could see my trike.  It was bright yellow with a blue seat that adjusted.  It didn't have a motor, so I had to make my own engine sounds.  The neighborhood was so much greener back then . . . everybody's was.  Who would have known the '55 work car would someday out-appreciate the Sportster by 6X.
Probably the first real "bike build" my dad ever did.  Complete with hot rod motor and custom paint !
Polished and clean . . . a real show stopper you could still travel on.

Lil' Chris


I got up at 6am last Friday and drove in the dark, (and a small snow storm) all the way to Milwaukee just so I could have some lunch with my friend Chris (a delicious BLT) and go for death ride in the Green Van on I-94 . . . way in the Left Lane . . . flyin' low . . . goin' fast . . . takin' chances . . . fun times were had by all . . . Long Live Charles Bronson ! 

Rebuilding Rods . . .

The last couple months a few races and bushings have been replaced.  It's similar to woodworking whereas you need to measure a few times before you go removing material. This little H-D Tool is part of the wrist-pin bushing removable tool.  It works great for pressing in the new bushings.


When the bushing bottoms after it's all-the-way-pressed-in . . . give it just a little more to help expand the bushing into the rod end.  This may help keep the bushing from ever spinning in the rod.
I do a lot of honing on my vintage Sunnen.  Rebuilding 1940s engines with a 1940's hone !  Good old American-Made tools !

Original H-D connecting rods, honed and fitted for std. rollers . . . and I come home smellin' like a machine shop.  Bonus !