November 26, 2011

1926 Harley Motorcycle Cannonball Project – Thanksgiving Weekend Update

I have been so busy with work-related issues and family stuff I have not had much time to work on my 1926 Harley J motorcycle in a while. So I took some advantage of time off on the long four-day Thanksgiving weekend to spend some time in the garage.

Quick recap to date. I got the dirty old 1926 Harley J which had been sitting for many years. Down at Wheels Through Time we got it running, sorted and then stripped it down as a racer.

1926 Harley J classic stripped as a racer

Then, after I brought the bike back home and parked it in the Connecticut offices of American Iron Magazine, we heard the Motorcycle Cannonball was back on for 2012 and the cut off year was increased from 1915 to 1929 motorcycles.

We figured this old Harley, which a previous owner had updated with a front brake and newer drop center wheels, would be a great Cannonballer. So now I had to start reassembling all the parts we had just taken off.

 Back home I reattached the luggage rack, bolted on the headlight and tool box and then found and installed an old-style motorcycle mirror from my old collection of various motorcycle parts I have accumulated over the years.

1926 Harley J with headlight and tool box reinstalled in my garage

Old style motorcycle mirror to see what catching up on me from behind.

Next up was to reattach the rear section of the back fender. We had popped out the original rivets to take off the hinge. We removed the rear stand latch and reattached it to the shortened fender.

Then we realized the original fender stays had been modified by a previous owner with bolts and nuts where it attached to the back section of the frame. No big deal.

I removed the stand latch, lined up the rear fender section and reinstalled the original hinge with three bolts and nuts. Then I reinstalled the rear fender stays and reinstalled the stand latch spring back where it belongs as determined by the original factory placement.

Next up was to rewire the tail light and bolt on the new and legal 1926 Connecticut license plate.

I stood back and admired my work. Pretty nice and faster than I had expected the job to be.


Luggage rack and rear fender on the 1926 classic Harley.

Then I looked at another old Harley and realized I had mounted the fender with the hinge OVER the front section of the rear fender. I should have mounted it UNDER the front section. So I had to take it all apart and redo it a second time.

Why do I rush on these things? I should have known better. But at least it now is done right. It is insured for road riding and legally licensed. I still need to reinstall the front fender, add a functional horn and put a few hundred miles on it to see what won’t hold up.

Filed under Buzz Kanter Classic Motorcycle Blog, Cannonball Motorcycle Diaries, Classic Motorcycle Maintenance by Buzz Kanter

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