Archives Blog 2014

January - February 2014

Thousands of apologies for the broken lines of communications over the last few months, but as briefly mentioned on my last post, got a job offer in Houston Tx which I could not refuse, so packed my bags and flew over.

Last few months have been kind of crazy with lots of travelling back and forth, finding houses, school for kids, etc… So, in all honesty, I just did not have the time to update the blog. 

Anyway, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now, so can start writing again.

To recap, I took the decision to sell all my bikes in France apart from my Dyna , my wife Sports and my son’s Vespa and was fairly successful apart from the Redneck Buell.Iphon5ctobetransferedSo the XT is now in the hand of a youngster in Montpellier, the CB with a collector in Auvergne, and the BM with someone from Ardeche who fell in love with the bike.  The montesa will get a new life within the hands of Fabrice my neighbor, the ZB went west of France in LaRochelle, and the Aprilia has totally been taken apart and now sits in my garage waiting for better days.

All the tool have fallen into their places, tanks have been filled, battery have been disconnected, and cover were put on all the bikes.  The Repair of Elvis is now closed until this summer when I will bring it to life again for the summer. 

So now that I was officially a resident of the US, it was time to seek for new project.  So I looked into Craigslist and did a bit of research on the net.   My intention was to look for a knucklehead or a shovel.  Knucklehead are simply out of price.  So I started looking for Shovelheads.

At the same time, I started looking for the bike communities in Houston I have to admit, I am a bit disappointed. I see a lot of Twin Cam and there are only 2 shops working on shovel (Southern and Osbourn).  

I also took a trip to the Lone Star Rally hoping to see some old bikes but apart from one shovel, few evo, the rest were only Twin Cam.  Really felt out of place….I did see some strange thing though…. Iphon5ctobetransfered

Iphon5ctobetransferedSo, after lots of research I did get my hands on what I wanted.  At least here, the prices are decent and the people very friendly. 

 I got my hand on 2 shovel for a price that could never be matched in Europe.   

The first one is a 1969, althought it’s been rebuilt numerous time. Iphon5ctobetransferedIt has S&S Cases, Rivera Primo pro clutch, Ultima single fire ignition with VOES, Heads have been rebuilt by Southern Motorcycles, Hayden M6 automatic primary chain tensioner, S&S super E carb, Andrew J cams, S&S lifter conversion, ERT super pump spring, Andrew main shaft and counter shalt in a revtech 4 speed.  Lockart oil cooler, Russel fuel filter, etc...

I am not gonna do anything to that one until I have properly work on the second one which is a self manufactured vehicule with 96 cubic inch S&S shovel engine.Iphon5ctobetransferedIt has a Morris magneto, Rivera pro clutch, 4 speed trans with Andrew gears, etc...  A pure mean machine who need cosmetic lifting....

March - April

Ok, the hardest was done.  I had found my rides.  As usual, one to ride on and one to work on.  I would call one the S&S and the other 69.  Not really smart but don't have my marketing head at the moment.  And to be honest, I don't give a shit.  So there it is, the S&S was ready for a shake down and a mock up.   At first sight, the engine is very dirty but in good condition.  there are no electric on it and lights are only there to please the cops.  The inside of the tank is rusted and the flange are from home depot. 

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Haven't got much tools yet in the Repair d’El Vis but I should be fine.

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No bad surprise on the bike, so in my spare time and until I got plenty of it, I take away any inches on chrome.

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The bike is really dirty.   Akljfdhglfdkjgalkhflatest 014

and the Tube are in pretty bad shape. Akljfdhglfdkjgalkhflatest 013

But nothing stops Mr Miaggi.

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I bought myself a small mig machine and welded an extension to the kickstand which lay under the bike and was more or less impossible to reach.  The kind of things that really piss me off.


Not know if I will use the riser or not I chop them up to make them look nice.  Dyjjdto

Then I look at the back fender which wasn't of the same diameter as the wheel.  Shovgg

The idea is to shorten the strut and bend the fender so it can slide on the tire.  I chop some of the fender to make more flexible and it seems to work.  

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I looked also at blocking the triple tree to avoid having the handle bar hitting the tank and build a small headlight holder. Fghhdfjdfjfjdfjdyyty 023

In light in the limited capacity of the tank, I decided to add one up and welded some bungs to hook it up.  

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I think it will look ok when I finish. Fghhdfjdfjfjdfjdyyty 018

And I had to do a bit of work on the tank. 

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which I position on few angle to see which one I liked best. Fghhdfjdfjfjdfjdyyty 009

And to get an initial idea, I put everything up... Shov

May - June

I had to fix the tank, so bought some body fill in and did the work. 

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And decided to play with some design and actually try the Metal Flake paint I had bought over the internet. 

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I played a bit with various colour and technique so I could be ready when I would make my f.  mind up.  The yellow flake on top of black under coat was my favorite. Nnnnnnnnnn 023

Then I chopped the exaust and wrap them in white heat tape.  It's useless but it looks good

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And need to find a way to hook up the tank on the hight bar.  I had some seat machism which I cut and weld together and then on the frame to make the mount.

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and same for the back seat, although I did not weld very well, so had to do it 3 times until I was satisfied. Fghhdfjdfjfjdfjdyyty 024

Then paint and back for final assemblySsssss

And paint for the last 2 things, the gas tank and Jhhjfhllkhffhiolgil 012

the back fender.  Jhhjfhllkhffhiolgil 013

While it drying start mounting everything up.  F.... the front tire don't fit, it's 110-90 and I think it only take 90-90.  They don't have the size in metzeler marathon.  Will figure something out. Jhhjfhllkhffhiolgil 006

Well lots more stuff to do, but back fender now finishedNew 003

tanks looks goodNew 1

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Few more thing to work on but more or less finished. 

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Summer is getting here and so are the tornados.  Weather forecast following Memorial day was gonna be a nightmare.  So needed to get my ass out of the house.  I had heard through the grapevine, actually from the owner of motorcycle salvage shop next to my work, there was an Iron Cylinder Ride over the week-end... I look it up on the net and there it was


So, after informing the wife and kids that I would be gone all day, I did a quick check up on Shovel nbr 2, removed the side bags, made a single seat out of the seat I had purchased from the salvage shop, I was ready to hit the road

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Shovel nbr 2, is next project.  Am hesitating into turning into an fhl, which is probably what she was at some point of time, or turning into a another chopper.  Madam wants to ride and she will be her horse so need to take this into consideration.  Will see.

Anyway, I turned up at MC Creation on time on sunday and crowd was allright.  Few old bikes and many twinkies.  They did things well, twinkies were parked in the back, and iron stood in front of the shop.  Coffee was crap but donuts were good.  Did not see anyone I could mindle with except one guy, and since never been much of a group rider,  I had secretally prepare a little side trip, just in case in could not find myself in the mist. 

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I escaped before anyone could see me and after I got rob slightly more than 20usd for two 30 amp circuit breaker.  They cost 3.99 in Auto zone !!!!!!  Talking about subsidizing your local workshop !!!!!  There must be a limit to how much you can screw people.  Anyway, first time there and shop was kool, so will come back and try my luck another time. 

Took nice little trip into the Sam Houston forest, made a quick stop into one of those famous ice house.  Once again loaded with twinckies, and headed toward the Yankee tavern where the Iron Ride Run ended.  Latest 20

Sure enought, 2-300 bikes turned up.  Luckily I had order my burger beofre everyone got there so filled in my stomach and after brief discussion with the guy with the nice chop, I hit the country side making my way home.  Latest 044

Nicest chop of the day.... Latest 042


I had left my chopper at Southern for the summer so they could fix the stator plug in the primary.  So there was only one bike in my garage and not much time left for me in Houston before heading off to South of France for a well deserved vacation. 

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Anyway, I decided I would repaint shovel #2 to the colour my wife had selected.  As a start, got to get the baby naked.  Then I started grinding, and grinding, and grinding.  Felt like Daniel Larusso in Karate Kid.  Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off.... 

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Then primer and painting layer,

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Just need to clear coat the thing a few time and remount everything and it should be fine. 

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atta boy !!!!!!

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You ain't gonna believe it.  I thought I was finished with bikes for the next few weeks as I was heading vacation.  But yesterday, as I was surfing the net, killing time in my office watching the clock goes by, I came about a strange little add for an XS650.  It said something along the following lines:  Basket Case Bike, used to ride well, took it apart 6 months ago to have the frame powder coated but lost interest, title in hands, looking for few Benjamin Franklin, the bike use to look like this:

not very pretty but for that price worth giving the guy a call. Did not have much hope cause the bike had been posted for more than one day and I was leaving to europe the next day at noon which did not give me much time but what the f.... Surprisingly enough the bike was still for sale but it was located about 2hrs away and did not have much time.  So I offer to come and pick it up immediately but tough luck the guys could not make it in the evening.  He was only available at 6am the next day. So, fuck it, woke up at 4 and drove up there.  The bloke was a nature freak, he lived in the middle of the forest, protected by millions of fucking mosquidos.  Anyway, to make long story short, I picked up the bike from a dark shed, and drove home. Good thing I had my 4x4 cause I got stuck trying to leave the bloody place. 

Then I store everything in my workshop, so it will be ready for some serious work when I return from holidays.

Now am at the airport so you won't hear fm me again for the next few weeks

There you go, could not wait to be back in the US.  Vacation in Europe was a nightmare.  Am not longer used to sleep without AC, I sweated like a pig over there.  Luckily weather wasn't that nice.  Anyway, next year I will try to stick around and ride my bikes.  So what has f.. happened since I left.  Not too much am afraid... I did sell my Redneck chopper in France to get some quick cash. 

I sold it for a bargain (for France that is) but need to get rid of the thing.  I was not gonna ride it and my wife felt it was too much for her.  So, without regret I let it go.  So long my friend and have a good life.  The guy that bought it is fully in love with that type of machine, so at least I made someone happy.  My happyness comes from the fact that it wont take anymore space in my garage.  So, as I said I flew back to Houston.  First thing was to check with Southern about the Stator change.  As usual, when they opened the primary

they found out, one of the Rivera primary belt drive part was cracked and that it was only a matter of time until it came apart.  So here it goes again, gonna have to sell one kidney to replace the bloody part.  But worst part of it is the bike won't be available for a while.  One other thing, was that my welding of the safety gas tank and on the licence plate holder was not as good as expected and that it was already showing some signs of weaknesses.   So much for my welding skills... At least I was happy to present Shovel #2 to Madam. 

but as I was expecting it was not exactly what she had expected.  The colour was nice and all, but it was simply too heavy for her.  Indeed it was.  She sermoned me to look for a sportster after selling the shovel.  So, I will wait to get Shovel #1 back, and probably sell shovel #2.  We'll see

So I was left with my longhaul XS650 project.   To start with, it wanted to get rid of the tank holder.

So I used the angler grinder to get it off. And then I took bits and pieces off which I know I won't need

And as you can see, I try to put the engine back into the frame and fucked it all up. After approx one hour of battle, I gave up and decided it was time to go to bed.  I will need to figure out how to put it back in or alternatively buy a mobile crane.  This was the sad story of my evening

Decided to go back in the workshop and cleanup my mess.  Picked up the motor and made it stand up and took the grinding machine and chop some of the leftover from previous owner, so I could start with a clean sheet.

It took a while to get this s.. out, and even longer to grind the frame to clean state.  But aftre couple of hours of hard labor, looks like the frame is ready to start the mock up.  I have kept the back fender plate holder in case I need it but if not I will just cut it and toss it away. 

Now am face with same issue.  I need to get the bloody motor inside the frame.  Considering I got no life; hence no friend, looks like I'll have to buy one of those mobile crane at Harbour Freight to get it in.  Let me sleep on it.

I did go to Harbour Freight to check out mobile crane and they got one that seems ok.  179 bucks for 1,5 mob crane ain't too bad. 

Did not buy it though.  Am in process of buying a house so if I show up at home with over 100 dollar purchase, there is a high likelyhood am gonna have to give some explanation and can't be bother those days.  Anyway, so went into my garage last night and looked at what I could do.  First I needed to pick up the motor which was still laying on the floor.  So with help of my son I brought it up on the bench.

Then I said to myself, let clean the fucker...

and so I started.

For some strange reason the previous owner has painted the cylinder and made a mess of the lower case.  It really looks bad. 

So I decided I would try my miracle product.  This tips was given to me by some BMW builder who used Aluminium BBQ paint color to pain cylinder.  It does f..g work and make parts looked like they have been sanded or repainted.  So I tried on the XS.  and yeahhhh, it works too.

So I put the engine up and cleaned it some more.  Now I wait to receive the engine stands so I can put it up and start working on it.

Alternatively, I will buy the mobile crane, put the engine in and work on the mock up.  The purchase of the house will dictate.

 Am finding it hard to keep you guys updated.  Actually, am finding it hard to keep myself updated.  So, it's been almost one month since I posted.  Can't hardly remember what happened since then.  Let me back track a bit and see if my memory serves me well.  uhmm, yeah... last time we spoke I was thinking of buying a mobile crane so I could move heavy stuff around, such as my XS motor.  Well, it's still in the planning phase as I have not purchased it yet.  Am waiting to move into my new house (that is if the banker is nice enough to lend me money).   So, not much as happened on the XS 650.  I played around with it and purchased few items but have not done much except mounting the front end, the back wheel and some leftover to see what it could look like. 

Well the shape's all right.  I purchased a faked oil tank for TC Bros to hide the electric as well as a 2 gallons gas tank.

I want to give her a moto cross look so I also purchase some half and half tires. 

I have a head light which bought few years back from See See Motorcycles in Portland Oregon which I have had on my shelve for a while,

and bits and pieces laying around such as weld-on gas cap from LA Chop Rod which will look good when finished. 

.  I have dismantle a few thing on the motor and there is no ignition on the bike.  The guy that sold it to me was just a liar.  The stator and charging system will have to be changed, and I have yet opened the engine to see the status of the pistons and valves.  We'll see when the time come.  At present, I need to get this bloody motor in so I can do all the alignement.    In the meantime, Sam from Southern was still working on my Shovel. 

It turned out clutch plate/bolt (don't know how you call this thing) was cracked and need to be removed. Since it was an after market spare it had to be ordered fm Rivera or DBL

, and to make the matter worse the gear shifter was also bent and needed to be replaced.   Anyway, after 3,5 months in the shop for an 8 hours job, I sold half of my kidney and pay the bill.  I am kidding here.  They did a fantastic job and it is money well spent.  Remember folks, HD will never work on such bikes so pls do the favor of always supporting your local workshop.  I took it home on saturday and damm did it feel good.  The handle bar was a bit loose which was surprising considering I had put some brand new bushing. I took it apart when I got home and can find the cause.

It might be the holes on the triple tree are to wide.  It's seriously strange, never had that happen.  I need to find a solution.  Anyway, it is still rideable and I have rode over the week end like I had stole it. 

And it sounds good too. 

Jeeeee, feels like forever since I last wrote.   Life has not been kind with me.  Too many things to do, too much stress, too much shit…. Did not even find the time to ride and when I did, it did not go right.  I took my rigid shovel it for a ride 3 times since I had it repaired.  On my first ride which took place 1 weeks after I got it back  from Southern, it did not start.  So, I changed the battery which was dead but that did not do it.  So, I took the carb apart and realized there was a problem with the jet.  Gasoline was not getting to the cylinder which resulted in the bike not starting.  I ran over Autozone and purchase some carb cleaner and after few try the bike started. 

  On my second ride the bolt on the rocker heads were seriously leaking.

I have the o-ring changed during my visit at Southern, but there were leaking even more.  Mind you, I had not ridden the bike that much before it went to Southern, so this was problably there before.  But oil was pouring on the engine like you would not believe.  Even time I stopped at the light (yes I do somethimes!!!!)  the engine would blow out in smoke as a result of the oil leaking on the engine.  Really made me look good at the redlight...  I also notice there was also a leak at the gear box

Finally on my last ride, the gastank decide to take a hike on the highway.  My poor welding skill had come to light and I finish my ride with the gas tank in between my knees. 

  Anyway, all of this is expected when you rebuild a bike of which you don't really know the origin.  So as a start, I decide to re-do the welding of the tank

and while I was at it, I remove all the starter electronic component. 

From now on, I will start the bike with the kick.  Then I went to AutoZone again and bought some Seal all cream.  Put some on the rocker head bolt and let it dry.  I have not started the bike since so I am unable to tell you if it worked or not, so will tell you next post.   So, while I was spending some time in the garage, I decided to play a little with the XS. I am still too weak to put the engine inside the frame, so I did a small mock up without the engine. 

.  Considering I will be moving out of my rental house soon, I dismantled everything and started moving gradually to my new house.  So the only thing I hv done over the last 3 weeks was getting the frame ready for a proper mock-up and then for painting.

So next time I write, I will be in my new workshop in the back of my new house.  See you then old pals...

All right Chicos,  Back in business again.  Moved into a new house and build myself a new "repair of El Vis".  Will take some pics next time, just haven't been able to due to this fricking change of clock.  By the time I get home it's already dark (its a bollony excuse but w.g.a.s.).  I hate Winter timing, it simply sucks.  Anyway, have not been travelling lately so feel nice to be spending time at home.  So, nice that I have procrastinated and spent my time on the couch watching TV.  The only time I got my fat ass out of the couch was when Andy convinced me to drive down the Galveston to wander around the Lone Star Rally.  Pick up my rigid shovel, to realise the battery was dead.  I started getting pissed off as I had just changed the stator and the regulator, but after doing some testing it turns out the positive on the battery was loose, which resulted in the battery not been charged.  When I figured this out, I went out for a ride.  Within 5 minutes I could feel HOT engine oil populating my legs, so I stop on the side and looked at the damage.  Wtf..

it turns out the bolt holdin the rocker was loose and all the oil was escaping the engine.  I did not have much time to fix it, so tighten the bold, drop the rigid chopper home, and pick up shovel #2 to head for Galveston.   

Same shit as last year, lots of people, lots of chrome, lots of ganster wanna be, and some insanities. 

Best part of the day, was strolling around small shops selling souvenirs.  That's where I bought my new patch of Texas

And finally, in the middle of Twinkie jungle, something nice. 

That little stroll gave me some adrenaline to go back to the new "Repair of El Vis" workshop.  To start the mock up. My biggest challenge, been alone, was to put the engine back inside the frame.  My last try had ended up in a total mess with the frame bouncing off the stand and falling onto the ground.  I was ademant to succeed this time.  I worked on it for 20 minutes and finally gave up.  I really need to find myself a friend in Houston to help me out.  I did place the motor in the middle of the frame but cannot put the bolts holding the motor to the frame. I am still inches away and it frustrate the shit outta me. Guess I'll have to wait..

Then I started working on the seat mechanism.  As it turns out, the weld on bungs were too big for the rear seat suspension, so I had to grind them before placing them on the bike and welding them onto the frame. 

And then try to bolt on a peanut tank. 

I am still unsure which gas tank I will end up using. I will need to try few combinations.  Well that's all

4h30 in the morning.  Can't f.. sleep.  Hv just taken few days off but too many things going throug my mine.  So drinking an herbal tea and surfing the net looking for new ideas.  Looks like I need to take a road trip to get things out of my head.  Taking about road trip: am still having problem with my shovel.  I have looked at the charging system and it works, I have ran a couple of test and it seems like when the battery voltage goes below 12,5v then there is not enough power for the manual starter to kick in.  it's a bit of a problem which means that if the bike stays more than 2 days idle and the voltage stettle around 12,5 which is usually very good then it work start.  Now don't come with your usual shit about kick start.  I only manage to kick start it when the baby is hot so don't try it.  The rocker head are also leacking like you wouldn't believe.  I will have to put some more silicon and see if it work.  And to finish the subject, the oil is also taking an hike out of the oil tank.  Well usual shit for a rigid shovel.   Ah yeah one more thing.  My little drilling and bolting in the handle bar is barely working.  Lots of ideas, lots of work but still in the trial and error phase.  But I am bonding.....

Meanwhile, I have been doing some work on the XS650.  Before I tried to put the motor back in the frame for the 3rd time, I welded some part which had only been point welded.   

When this was done, I went back into the exercise of putting the engine back in.  And third time is a charm. I finally managed to put the engine back inside the frame and with the help of my son who helped me put the bolt in.  It is now bolted in allowing me to do a proper mock up.  I still had to grind some part but it worked.

I could now start working on alignment, spacers

and try different scenario to reach that one.

well still work in progress, got get the front and back spacer now, and fix the fenders.  Will have to work on the "future" wiring system.  And then, it will be time to dismantle everything and rehaul the motor.  That will be a first and will probably keep me busy for month.  Will keep you posted

Looks like this will be the last post of the year.  Am still working on the mock-up.  So picking up where I left off, I started working on the back fender.  To start with, it needed to be cut off to allow the chain to go thru.

Then I needed to do the bung so I could fix the fender to the frame.

Then considering the tank is not very big and that I might change the carb or rebore the cylinder I decided to fix a safety tank to the frame. 

and while I was using my voltemeter for my shovel I then decided to look at the stator and as it turn out, the stator will need to be changed

in normal circumstances it should read 5 to 7 when the voltemeter is set on ohms 200.   Then back onto the back fender

then I needed to work on the strut but it turn out the one I had was a bit too short and therefore needed to fabricated some extension.

when I was more or less satisfied I worked on the back brake, but as it turn out I will have some serious issue with having the exhaust so since I was already thinking of building my own exhaust, it looks like I will have to choose that option if I put the back brake the way it is suppose to be

I was then more or less finish with the mock up.  I need to work on few things and then weld some more parts, but the overall idea is there.  


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