knucklehead

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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November 1, 2011

Last Motorcycle Run at the Maxton Mile

A heavily modified Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster making a run at the Maxton Mile

A heavily modified Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster making a run at the Maxton Mile

When most people think of land speed racing, the salt flats of Utah come to mind.  Miles of smooth white terrain rolling out in seemingly all directions.  But for those who don’t want to travel to the other side of the country, there has been a track operating right here in North Carolina outside of a small town called Maxton.  The “Maxton Mile” as it is affectionally called by those who race there, is a converted runway that was originally built in 1942 for training WWII glider pilots.  The track is roughly 2 miles long, 1 mile from the starting line to the traps and slightly less than a mile for shutdown.  The return road parallels the track, with the pits about 1/4 mile from the starting line.  This track has been operated by the East Coast Timing Association and they have put years of hard work into making an old cracked and pitted concrete runway into a useable race track for vehicles reaching speeds well over 250 mph.

This past weekend (October 29th and 30th) marked not only the end of the season at the Maxton Mile, but also the end of an era.  For the upcoming 2012 season, the East Coast Timing Association will be moving it’s operations from Maxton to a new facility in Wilmington, OH.  Being that this would possibly be the last time I would be able to see land speed racing so close to home, I decided to make plans to attend the event on Saturday, spurred on by rumors of a free BBQ dinner after the races…

Arriving just after lunch, my first stop was the pits and the Twin Jugs Racing trailer.  I’ve ridden with the guys and gal from Twin Jugs for about 15 years and look forward to coming to events like this to catch up with them.  To make things even better, the Twin Jugs trailer was set up right next to the return road, where everyone lines up to race.  With only two days of racing left this year, teams were scrambling to get as many runs in as possible.  Starting just past the pits, the line of cars, bikes and support vehicles was literally a mile long, stretching out past the tower at the other end of the track.  Luckily everyone had to pass the Twin Jugs trailer on their way to the starting line and I was able to hang out at the trailer, watching the parade of vehicles move slowly past.  Whenever something caught my eye, I just had to walk 10 yards to check it out.

Vehicles lining up to race

Vehicles lining up to race

Of course I was on the lookout for Classic American Iron, but for the first hour or so I only spotted a variety of vintage European and Japanese bikes.  Some of them were actually really nice bikes and I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures of my favorites.  The first group was a pair of BMW singles.  Both were great looking bikes, but I liked the green one in particular.  Something about the color made the bike stand out much more than the classic black you usually see on old Beemers.  These bikes were looking for speeds in the upper 70’s, which is not bad for a vintage 250 single.

BMW singles

BMW single motorcycles

The next interensting bike to roll past was a Vincent.  Now I admit that I am not a huge Vincent fan, but I know a lot of people are, so I took a few shots of it.  While I was taking pictures and talking to the rider of the bike, I learned that he was the author of “Big Sid’s Vincati”.  The book chronicles the building of the famed Vincati, which is a Vincent motor mounted in a Ducati frame.

Big Sid's Vincent

Big Sid's Vincent racebike

While I was hanging out at the trailer, I had noticed an Indian Scout riding around the pits.  I took a lap around the pits, hoping to find it, but somehow I kept missing it.  So I walked back to the trailer, only to find it in line, right out front.  The bike was a 1937 Indian Scout set up as a bobber.  Mounted to the Linkert carb was a custom velocity stack, but otherwise there was no indication that this was a serious race bike. Piloted by Sea Eagle Racing, they were hoping to break the 100 mph barrier over the weekend.  Currently the bike holds a record in it’s class of 94.7 mph.  That is almost twice the top speed of a stock 1937 Scout and much faster than I would want to go on a bike without front brakes!   

1937 Indian Scout

1937 Indian Scout motorcycle racer

 

Custom velocity stack

Custom velocity stack on Indian V-twin

Bikes and cars continued to run until the sun started to sink behind the horizon.  As promised, a free BBQ dinner with all the fixin’s was provided for everyone in attendance.  The only downside of the day was in a 14 mph headwind, which had kept most racers from reaching their speed goals.  Luckily they were calling for less wind on Sunday and there were high hopes of better runs the following day. 

Twin Jugs Racing was selected to make the last bike run at  the Maxton Mile on Sunday Oct 30th, 2011.  They were running a heavily modified 1976 1000cc Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster.  Registered as number 1300, this bike has reached a top speed of 141.189 mph.  Quite an accomplishment for a stock bore and stroke streetbike motor.

Getting ready for the last pass at the Maxton Mile

Getting ready for the last pass at the Maxton Mile

While I was wandering around the pits on Saturday, I also came across another piece of Classic American Iron.  It was a 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, which I am sure a few of you will recognize…

1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead

1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead

 

 

Filed under Competition Motorcycles, Events, Panhead Jim's Blog by PanheadJim

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October 13, 2011

1936 Harley EL Knucklehead Clutch Issues & Motorcycle Kickstart Classic Ride

After months of anticipation we finally got to Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, NC a couple of days before the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic was scheduled to depart. I had my 1936 Knucklehead pretty well sorted, washed, fresh oils and ready for the road. My only two concerns were the marginal front brakes and the clutch that acted up occasionally. Dale Walksler assured me we could pull it into the Wheels Through Time  workshop and have it dialed in before the ride.

Buzz Kanter's 1936 Harley EL Knucklehead in Wheels Through Time workshop

We pulled in Tuesday night and Dale and Matt Walksler looked it over and both declared it was one sweet looking ride with all the right stuff. The next morning (Wednesday) they each took it out for a ride and complimented it on how quite the engine and exhaust note was as well as how well it rode and handled. Dale showed me how to adjust a centering bolt on the front brakes, which seemed to improve the stopping power a bit.

Later that afternoon I rode up the big mountain near the museum with some friends and felt the clutch slipping on the Knuck. This was the steepest road I had been on and was glad to discover before the 2-day ride the next day. I turned around and rode back to the museum and we adjusted the clutch and tried the mountain again. The clutch still  More on 1936 Harley EL Knucklehead Clutch Issues & Motorcycle Kickstart Classic Ride

Filed under Buzz Kanter Classic Motorcycle Blog, Classic Motorcycle Maintenance, Events by Buzz Kanter

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