Buzz Kanter

May 30, 2013

Motorcycle Cannonball 2014 Announced. Now What Do I Do?

Motorcycle Cannonball – an exciting event in the life of any classic motorcycle enthusiast. Looks like we are going to do it again in 2014.

I helped rebuild and then I rode a 1915 Harley most of the way across the US on the first Motorcycle Cannonball in 2010. It was physically, emotionally and financially exhausting. I rode from Kitty Hawk to New Mexico before I had to drop out of the event for personal reasons. I had already seized the engine a couple of times, swapped out three magnetos and helped rebuild the entire top end once in the back of a trailer in a parking lot.

A stop at Wheels Through Time on the first Motorcycle Cannonball. Cute locals dressed up and greeted us.

On the other hand, I made some lifelong friends along the way and came back with some amazing experiences and stories. I wrote about it in the pages of American Iron Magazine and shared videos of the More on Motorcycle Cannonball 2014 Announced. Now What Do I Do?

Filed under Cannonball Motorcycle Diaries, Classic Harley History, Events by Buzz Kanter

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July 17, 2012

Motorcycle Cannonball – Will I Be Able To Ride?

I have been concerned about an ache in my left ankle on and off for the last few months. Some days it’s barely noticable and other days it hurts a lot. I woke up this morning around 4 am with terrible pain in my left ankle in the lower back section.It hurt so much there was nothing I could do or any position I could lie in to get comfortable. By the time I got to the office the pain was getting worse so I called a doctor who is a foot and ankle specialist and they told me to come by and they will somehow fit me in.

I got there and the doctor examined and took some X-rays and told me she was pretty sure I had torn my Achilles tendon – but only partially. To make a long story short, she told me I was lucky that I did not have a full tear as that would require surgery and low chance of a full recovery. The partial tear means I wear a soft cast on my left ankle and half way up my leg. I need to wear it 24/7 except when in the shower. And I’d need to wear it for 6 to 8 weeks followed by a month of physical therapy.

Now, normally I’d do as she said and deal with it. Except this timing is bad. Real bad. Two weeks and a day from now I am supposed to fly to Minneapolis and pick up a current model Indian motorcycle and ride it to Sturgis. At Sturgis I have a full schedule. On Monday I am supposed to be in the Mayor’s Ride for charity. On Wednesday I am scheduled to be inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame. And on Friday I am supposed to be one of the presenters for the Harley-Davidson Sturgis Ride-In Motorcycle show. Tough to do while limping around with a cast and stuck in a cage for transportation.

Sitting on my 1929 Harley JDH a few weeks ago while rolling on break in miles before the Motorcycle Cannonball

And even more of a concern for me is that the Motorcycle Cannonball, that I have been spending a year and tens of thousands of dollars to prepare for rolls out from Newburgh, NY seven weeks and three days from today. Even if I will be able to ride without a cast – which is still questionable, there is no way  I can ride any motorcycle between now and then – including my 1929 Harley JDH I plan on riding cross country after at least 6 weeks of no riding. And then I have to wonder if my legs will be in good enough shape to endure the stress of these long days of riding.

I am going to do everything I can to be prepared for the Cannonball and be as healthy as possible. My friends and I have worked too hard for me not to ride in this event. And this old Harley is in such great condition I certainly do not want to be the weakest link here. But then again, it would be a massive mistake to push myself into doing it if I am not strong enough or ready to do it properly.

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

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June 3, 2012

Motorcycle Kickstart Classic 2012

Have Panhead Will Travel

Words to live by

As soon as the 2012 Motorcycle Kickstart Classic was announced, I started prepping my 1964 Harley-Davidson Duo-Glide for the trip.  The to-do list included replacing the wiring harness, generator, fuel valve and rear brake shoes, along with the usual trip preparations like changing the oil, transimission lube, etc.  I planned to have everything completed by April, but before I knew it, April had turned into May and the trip was a week away.  With no time to spare, I worked passed midnight for a solid week to get the bike finished just in time for the ride.

Day 1

On the first day of the trip, I awoke to the sound of heavy rain.  Fearing the worst, I checked the weather and was relieved to see that the storm was moving quickly across North Carolina.  By 9:00 the rain had cleared and I had my panhead sitting in the driveway, packed and ready.  Soon after, my buddy Tim arrived to pilot my 1972 BMW R75/5 and by 10:00 we were heading down the highway, destination Maggie Valley and Wheels Through Time.

The ride to Maggie Valley was thankfully uneventful, especially considering the ordeal I went through during last year’s rally.  The bikes ran great the entire trip and we cruised down I-40 at a comfortable 65-70 mph.  I did suffer a loose screw on my windshield bag, but otherwise there were no issues during the 250 mile ride.  It felt great to pull into Wheels Through Time and be able to relax instead of having to immediately start troubleshooting problems with the bike.

By 4:00, the parking lot at Wheels Through Time was already filled with Classic American Iron.

Knucklehead, Panhead and a BMW

Nice knucklehead parked next to my panhead and BMW /5

Panheads and a Shovelhead

A couple of panheads and a shovelhead

Knucklehead and Triumph

A knucklehead parked in front of a Triumph Bonneville

Panhead and a Flathead

A pair of red bikes, one panhead and one flathead

There were quite a few familiar faces from last years rally, was as a few new ones.  Members representing multiple motorcycle clubs were in attendance, including the exclusive International Pansters Club.

Pansters Motorcycle Club

Pansters club member bike

Dale and Matt Walksler had the museum open to all the participants and everyone got to enjoy strolling through the classic bike exhibits.  Dinner was provided by the Holiday Diner and included Italian sausages, burgers, hot dogs and fresh fruit.

The museum remained open after dinner, but by dark, most of the riders had retreated to their hotels.  We stayed at the Holiday Motel and I took advantage of their well lit parking lot to make a couple final adjustments to my clutch.  I’m using a mousetrap set up and have never felt that I was getting the proper disengagement from my clutch.  For the first time I was able to compare the set up on several other Panheads and realized that my bike had the wrong clutch lever installed.  Turns out the shape of my incorrect clutch lever was limiting the amount of pull on the clutch cable.

Day 2

After a hearty breakfast at the Holiday Diner of eggs, grits, toast and ham, it was back to Wheels Through Time to prepare for the ride.  About 60 classic bikes were staging in the parking lot when we arrived.  Among the riders were Bert Baker from Baker Drivetrain, famed drag racer Pete Hill, and Buzz Kanter from American Iron Magazine.  After a 9:30 riders meeting, everyone cranked up their bikes and we rolled out at 10:00.

Dale Walksler, Buzz Kanter and Bert Baker's bikes

Lined up for a photo, bikes belonging to Dale Walksler, Buzz Kanter and Bert Baker

Matt Walksler chose a route which took us over the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The Parkway has a maximum speed limit of 45 mph, which made for a nice comfortable ride for a group of vintage bikes.  Averaging about 30 miles between stops, the riders leisurely made their way over the mountains.

Matt Walksler's Flathead

Matt Walksler's flathead

Our first rest stop was at the highest point on the Parkway.  At 6053 feet above sea level, it was no surprise that more than a couple of bikes were starting to run too rich.

Highest Point on the Parkway

First rest stop of the day

We continued north on the Parkway for over 170 miles, finally turning east to head for North Wilkesboro.  Once off the Parkway, we were met with a police escort which led us to Crossroads Harley-Davidson.

Crossroads Harley-Davidson was ready for us when we arrived, providing dinner and music.  After everyone had their fill, Burt Baker was handed the mic and began announcing special riders awards, including the “dirty underpants award” which was given to two riders who did some unexpected offroad riding, but managed to bring their bikes back under control and back onto the road.

Party At Crossroads HD

Parking lot party at Crossroads HD

The awards were followed up by a round of transmission trivia, but soon everyone was cranking up and heading for their respective hotels.

Day 3

The route for the final day of the rally was an easy 90 miles down to the Southern AMCA meet in Denton, NC.  Even with a couple stops for pictures and fuel, we made it down to Denton in a couple of hours.  Arriving at the Denton Farm Park, we proceded around the outside of the park grounds, ending at our special parking area in the center of the park.  Once the bikes were parked, everyone headed off for food and to look for parts at the swap meet.

Reserved parking at Denton

Reserved parking at the Denton Farm Park

I had a fairly short list of needed parts and managed to find most of what I was looking for and for prices I was happy with.  I picked up a correct rear bumper, a saddlebag bracket and an original 1964 NC license plate.  Unfortunately the original clutch lever was no where to be found, but I’m sure one will turn up sooner or later.

By late afternoon it was time to load up my purchases and head for home.  Once again the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic was a great event with a bunch of great riders and bikes in attendance.  Can’t wait until the next ride is announced.



Filed under Events, Panhead Jim's Blog, Random Ideas by PanheadJim

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