Harley JDH

August 11, 2012

Motorcycle Cannonball 2012 Less Than 4 Weeks Away

The start of the Motorcycle Cannonball 2012 is less than four weeks away as I type this post. While four weeks might sound like a long time to get the final preparations done before setting off on a nearly 4,000 miles cross country ride, it isn’t.

Buzz Kanter's 1929 Harley JDH Motorcycle Cannonball Motorcycle

My motorcycle, a rare 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH, is pretty well dialed in and ready, I dropped it off with my good friend Pete Minardi at Precision Custom Cycles in Whippany, NJ to give it the once over. I asked him to fabricate a better mounting bracket for the route holder and anything else he might notice.

Pete is a world class custom motorcycle builder and, like me, he is deeply passionate about older motorcycles. But he is a much more talented mechanic that I could ever hope to be. I am curious what else Pete does to improve the function and look of my Harley in the next week or so in his shop.

I still have the soft cast on my left leg and ankle due to the partial tear of my Achilles tendon. I have been wearing it 24 hours a day and night for almost 4 weeks now and I start physical therapy on Monday. The cast stays on for another 2 weeks, but the good news is that my surgeon thinks I will be healed up enough to ride the Motorcycle Cannonball if I am careful. Hope so.  I feel fortunate that the damage was not worse.  

So, less than four weeks, my bike is in the shop for a last minute look over by a new set of eyes, I can’t ride for at least two more weeks, and I have a nearly 4,000 mile ride to prepare for. I am running through lists of what I need to do, to get, and to pack. This week I will start pulling together all the spare parts, tools and riding gear I will need. Wish me luck.

On a slightly different note, a number of friends have asked when would the best time be to arrive at Newburgh to see the Motorcycle Cannonball action. My reply is the ride out on Friday will be pretty amazing, but it will be over rather quickly as I suspect all the riders will be nervous and anxious to get on the road. I am recommending interested spectators arrive on Wednesday or Thursday to see the bikes, chat with the riders and get some great photo opportunities. I expect most of the bikes and riders will be there Wednesday or perhaps even Tuesday before we leave. Hope to see you there.

And I can’t end this post without thanking my various sponsors and supporters on this very complex and expensive project. First and foremost. I want to than everyone who purchased a Team American Iron Support Staff T-shirt.

Team American Iron Magazine Motorcycle Cannonball Support Staff T-shirt

 These limited editon T-shirts have been selling very well and we still have some available for sale ($20 plsu s&h on www.greaserag.com). Once we sell out we do not plan on printing any more. Click here for details or to buy.

I’d also like to thank our whole team at American Iron Magazine for supporting me on this (and covering the build and ride in print). Also Dale Walksler and the amazing team at Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, NC, Amsoil oils, Heathers Leathers (seat), Nolan Helmets, Vanson Leathers (jacket), and Coker Tires.

If you are interested in seeing the bikes and riders along the route and are curious when and where we will be each day of the two weeks on the road, check out www.motorcyclecannonball.com.

Filed under Buzz Kanter Classic Motorcycle Blog, Cannonball Motorcycle Diaries, 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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July 15, 2012

Motorcycle Cannonball Update: 1929 Harley JDH Testing Oils & Calibrating Corbin Speedometer

After a lot of  work, I have the bike starting idling and running well now, so it’s time to fine tune and experiment with various ideas on my 1929 Harley JDH. I still have almost a month and a half before we leave from Newburgh, NY for San Francisco on the second Motorcycle Cannonball endurance ride. This year the machines must have been built in 1929 or earlier, so mine will be one of the newest machines on the cross country ride.

A breakfast stop while riding my 1929 Harley JDH today

Last week I installed a 100 mph Corbin speedometer on the bike and took it out for a ride. The speedometer worked well – once I figured out how to a) install the ring gear properly and centered to the hub, and b) mounted the bracket so the ring gear and drive gear aligned properly.

Today I temporarily taped a portable GPS unit on my handlebars and figured it would be a good way to check the Corbin speedometer’s accuracy.

Comparing indicated speeds on my antique Harley with GPS vs Corbin

I found the Corbin was about 10 mph optimistic at speeds over about 20 mph and hard to tell below those speeds. I am hoping the solution is simply to swap out the fiber drive gear at the end of the peedometer cable.

Two weeks ago I drained all the motor oil from the oil tank and from the sump. I replaced it with Amsoil synthetic oil (thanks Amsoil). I was cautious about running synthetic oil in an antique motorcycle but Dale Walksler assured me it would be a good thing to do. I have less than 100 miles of riding in with the synthetic and so far, no issues.  

Modeling the Team American Iron Support Staff Motorcycle Cannonball shirt. Notice the oil puddle under the bike?

Before my ride today I checked and the transmission fluid was quit low so I figured I’d try the synthetic oil Amsoil was kind enough to send me. I topped it off and rode it to our usual breakfast spot. By the time I finished breakfast there was a sizable oil puddle under the transmission (as you can see in the photo above). I guess synthetic is fine for the engine, but not the transmission.

I am modeling the Team American Iron Support Staff Motorcycle Cannonball T-shirt in the photo. If you’d like to support our efforts and buy a cool shirt ($1=20 on www.greaserag.com) click here.



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

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