February’s Chopper Trip to NorCal

In February one of those trips we generally just dream about came true. Uncle Charlie and his brother Eric Senior drove 7 bikes from Minneapolis to San Francisco where Chris, Charlie, John, Eric and myself flew out to meet them.

There were breakdowns, crashes, fights and some open-mouth kissing…. overall, the best trip I’ve been on and I can’t thank everyone enough. The photos chronicle some of the happenings.

Shovelhead Magneto Chopper

My favorite photo from the trip. Harley Dorius in Halfmoon Bay before we destroyed our guts with 3 Amigos' burritos.

My favorite photo from the trip. Harley Dorius in Halfmoon Bay before we destroyed our guts with 3 Amigos’ burritos.

Weeks of grinding and filing to window the neck paid off to get this photo of the setting sun through it.

Weeks of grinding and filing to window the neck paid off to get this photo of the setting sun through it.

John Laramy is close with the Man Downstairs...

John Laramy is close with the Man Downstairs…

My favorite and only photo of Eric's bike. Sadly his whip took about 13 shits before he called it quits and flew home. It sucks it happened, but he fought a valiant fight. There will be more good times to come.

My favorite and only photo of Eric’s bike. Sadly his whip took about 13 shits before he called it quits and flew home. It sucks it happened, but he fought a valiant fight. There will be more good times to come.

Lackluster from the Internet is close with the Man Upstairs

Lackluster from the Internet is close with the Man Upstairs

Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake

Chris exiting the birth canal with zeal...

Chris exiting the birth canal with zeal…

It was good business after we met up with Uncle Charlie and cruised to Jenner, but we're not likely welcome back to the civilized Treehouse Cottage we stayed in.

It was good business after we met up with Uncle Charlie and cruised to Jenner, but we’re not likely welcome back to the civilized Treehouse Cottage we stayed in.

Incredible riding and views on 1.

Incredible riding and views on 1.

Harley Dorius

Hwy 1 getting close to Mendocino

Hwy 1 getting close to Mendocino

Wishbone Chopper Jockey Shift

I can't caption this photo to save my life... Next time I go there that couch is coming home with me though.

I can’t caption this photo to save my life… Next time I go there that couch is coming home with me though.

Always a fan of the white womans, Uncle Charlie was a pretty big hit in SF.

Always a fan of the white womans, Uncle Charlie was a pretty big hit in SF.

Uncle Charlie would have a beer or two and then call it a night around 5am.... At 6am though he was waking us up and making tracks outta town. Definitely some crazy Marine shit.

Uncle Charlie would have a beer or two and then call it a night around 5am…. At 6am though, he was waking us up and making tracks outta town. Definitely some crazy Marine shit.

Springer Wishbone Chopper

John and Chris laying tracks in Sonoma

John and Chris laying tracks in Sonoma

John's broken thumb and bloods after our classy crash in Sonoma.

John’s broken thumb and bloods after our classy crash in Sonoma.

After John and I touched rubbers and wrecked we stopped every five miles for a smoke, beer and sanity check. This bike is going to be so much cooler in a few days when it's back together with new swag.

After John and I touched rubbers and wrecked we stopped every five miles for a smoke, beer and sanity check. This bike is going to be so much cooler in a few days when it’s back together with new swag.

Through the bars

Through the bars

Can you take the orange juices and mix them with the bubbly? ....or whatever's under my finger.

Can you take the orange juices and mix them with the bubbly? ….or whatever’s under my finger.

Holy Z Handlebar Prototypes

A year or so back I saw these groovy bars on Joe Mason’s Panhead and I learned from Chris that they’re Holy Z’s. A style that was built by Drag Specialties in MN back in the 70’s when Jim Preisler was doing their marketing. Today there are a few places that are making reproduction copies of the Holy Bananas, which have a radius on the rise, but there was little to nothing for straight line Holy Z’s – so I decided to make a set of my own.

Chris helped me size up the angles from photos and the little we knew before I picked up some stock steel. I used 3/8″ bar stock for the rise and laid the holes with a Bridgeport mill; the originals looked pretty clean and they probably used similar equipment, but I’ve seen bars on eBay where the builders probably freehand drilled them while blindfolded.

I torched the stock and twisted it slightly for some pullback before tacking the parts up. My friend Mike Norrie, who did some incredible welding on my frame’s neck, does all of my finishing welds for the stuff I make and he TIG’ed the package up before sending it to chrome.

If you’re interested, email info@mustaribrand.com because I’ll be building more of them and to any dimension.

This band saw is a charm for cutting angles - you're looking at 5 degrees.

This band saw is a charm for cutting angles – you’re looking at 5 degrees.

Here they are after being tack welded - next was grinding and then finishing TIG welds.

Here they are after being tack welded – next was grinding and then finishing TIG welds.

All chromed up.

All chromed up.

Harley Davidson Chopper Open Road Harley Shovelhead Holy Z Bars

Wild Ride 2013 Film Photos – Choppers, FTW, etc…

I picked up some new lenses for an older Nikon film camera that I really like and brought that along on the Wild Ride instead of my DSLR – I put up some info on the trip on the previous post. It was fun to shoot but challenging to manually focus while riding. Camera photos, however, are really nothing more than glorified pencil drawings so it’s hard to tell one from another anyway.

I lost more photos than I wanted to because of mistakes, but it’s teaching me more about being a better photographer. There’s still a color roll from the trip and that will be up soon.

MSP Good Times Emporium

Gearing up to roll out from the shop

Harley Davidson Shovelhead Chopper

Brian’s shovel full of gas and probably out of oil

Harley Chopper

Jolly good fellows

Good Times Emporium

Eric’s beauty does best in color because of the paint, but it’s cool to see its stance.

FTW

How does Brian even drive this thing?

Dr. Lewis

Lackluster enjoying a gas station egg sandwich

Choppers

A shitty photo of a fun time

Chopper

We needed a new wheel bearing for Brian’s bike because the last one was stolen, I think

Charlie Dorius

Charlie explaining, to no avail, what the second cam in his motorcycle does

Brian Wild Ride Chopper

Brian kicking it down

Biker Strip Club

Phipps is a tavern, I guess… shortly after Eric got stuck trying to escape, but that’s in the previous post

Beardo Evo Harley

Beardo is a great guy and after I took this photo he said to me, “I’m excited to see it because I don’t have any photos of me riding!” And, unfortunately he still doesn’t because this photo sucks and I’m bummed, but it still makes me feel good.

 

The Wild Ride 2013 – Chopper Run to Hayward, WI

My friend, Brian from Speed Club, puts on a little annual chopper run called The Wild Ride through Wisconsin, which started last year. 2012’s was a pretty big turnout with a PBR sponsorship, a chase van, raffles and the like, but it sounded like it outgrew its vision by the end of that day. I wasn’t in on 2012, but this year we rolled out in a group of 11 and it was killer.

Everyone gathered at The Good Times Emporium shop in St. Paul and by late morning we were tearing down 36 headed east at about 75 mph. In a short period of time it was smooth sailing down country roads out to a beautiful campground near Hayward. Having only known a few people in the group I got the chance to meet some new friends, who I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of in the future. Great people and a great time. Minnesota Good Times Emporium

Chopper's in the rear view

Chopper’s in the rear view

Eric made a gnarly getaway from a dingy strip club in the woods, but got stuck in a ditch

Eric made a gnarly getaway from a dingy strip club in the woods, but got stuck in a ditch

SpeedClub Wild Ride 2013

Brian’s ’79 Shovelhead is a beautiful deathtrap. This bike drops a couple quarts a day and will run over 90mph no problem. Note his gangsta side line to offset it’s desire to drive into oncoming traffic.

 

Brian's bike blew out a front wheel bearing, but we managed to score one from The Napa and install it in the lot - pretty good being the only breakdown.

Brian’s bike blew out a front wheel bearing, but we managed to score one from The Napa and install it in the lot – pretty good being the only breakdown.

Wild Ride 2013

Despite being a hexagon the Cocktagon was a huge hit

Despite being a hexagon the Cocktagon was a huge hit

At the campground

At the campground

Breakfast Wild Ride 2013 Beardo's Beardo Biltwell Helmet

Minneapolis Messaround 2013

MPLS Messaround this year was A-Okay. A good turnout of cars complimented by a bounty of rockabilly and greaser kids. Some women looked like pinup centerfolds and other women looked like men.

Jordan from Union Speed and Style built an incredible Panhead for Born Free 5 this year and despite the fact that it didn’t make it to the People’s Champ judging, it’s turned a lot of heads. I think he’ll be getting some real estate in magazines like Cycle Source and Time. Regardless, he brought it to his booth and it was nice to see because the attention to detail and fabrication skills are absolutely incredible. He said that he stopped counting labor hours into it after 2,000.

Union Speed Style Panhead Jordan Union Speed Panhead 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe Chopped Chopped Deuce Coupe Interior Chevy 3100 Truck Dash Shovelhead Chopper Open Primary

The Chopper on it’s Own 2 Legs

Brad’s in Milwaukee at Harley’s 110th, others are in Davenport rummaging through piles of priceless springers for Wassell tanks and I’m at the desk basking under the fluorescent lights – so it seemed like a fitting time to resurrect the internet personality.

Last entry was deraking this gnarly ’52 wishbone frame and something like 4 hours later I had a complete chopper. It’s been a straight riot to have on the road and I owe a ton to Brad, Justin and the bros at the Good Times Emporium in MSP.

I’ll continue to throw up build details into the future, but the ’79 motor is cradled in Eric’s old wishbone with a 4 over repop springer; I’m very into its aggressive stance. The sporty tank was off of my first Harley and the rear fender is one of Lowbrow’s English knock offs. The icing on the cake was Brad painting the gorgeous moss green in satin.

My ma’s friend gave me her old film camera and it still had a roll in it that’s probably 30 years old. I just got these photos back from it. Maybe next summer I’ll get some shots of the left side.

Mustari Shovelhead Wishbone Springer Chopper Shovelhead Chopper Sissybar

De-raking a Panhead Wishbone Frame

I recently acquired an early 50’s wishbone panhead frame from my friend Eric for my winter’s shovelhead build. He set me up with a solid deal on it as it needed some work to bring back to life. At some point in its colorful past a few passionate drinkers and drug users decided to make it cool with a 45 degree rake. They really put the neck and seat post through hell with torches and the likes, but nothing that isn’t beyond repair. Plus it gives me an opportunity to go my own direction without sweating the fact that I’d be hacking a pristine frame.

The TC Good Time’s Emporium is a community shop on the fringe between St. Paul and Minneapolis, housing bros like Brian from Speed Club, Eric and Charlie along with a couple others. They’re good builders and have sparks flying over beer cans most nights of the week.

Charlie de-raked his swingarm shovel last week and did a fantastic job on it so I coaxed him into helping me do mine. They’re just motorcycles and you can’t over-think the whole thing so we confidently went at it with the home-garage resources we had. Here’s a poorly photographed spread with details on how it went down:

Frame De-rake derake jig Harley

To begin, we setup a little jig off the floor to hold the frame in place. Charlie used this piece of steel on his own neck and I set my frame in it and bolted & welded it into place. Nuts were welded to the four corners of the table and bolts inserted through to level the frame off of the concrete floor. A standard Bosch laser did the job of ensuring that the rear axle was perpendicular to the seat post, which fortunately was the case. We adjusted the four corners until the laser ran perfectly up the frame so it was level.De-raking neck jig lazer

We brought the laser to the front end of the bike then and set it up square off of the seat post and frame before inserting the 1″ rod through the neck to leverage the upcoming de-rake. Here it was pretty obvious that the previous builders didn’t sweat the small stuff like checking angles and applying interest. With the forks kicked that far off center line and raked out Charlie mentioned that the front tire was for sure in another lane than the bike when running it down the road. Regardless though, stuff like this rocked through the ages and it doesn’t look like it ever crashed. de-rake harley wishbone frame neck

This is a brutal photo, but next came the pie cut. I used a protractor to copy the 45 degree line of the neck in the right cut and then my second line I hung for the 28 degrees that I wanted it to be at… everything in between was removed. This process sucked. I torched a lot of blades and wheels on the heat-hardened/annealed steel which was from the torching and welding that occurred in the previous raking process. I also notched the top of the neck to reduce fatigue during bending, which is less visible in the photo.

harley wishbone frame de-rake derake

After a couple of hours into the entire process we were ready to throw some heat on the neck. This is a job best suited for three human beings. One to hold the rear axle, one to torch and one to bend. I was executing more blurry photos here while manning the bending position. This was by far the most romantic part. The torch hissed softly on the steel, the lights were out and red lasers were everywhere. I felt like I was in a gay discotec after hours. We slowly heated it and I applied a smooth, continuous force when it was red-hot… the cuts worked out perfectly and it stopped at exactly 28 degrees.

Lookin' purdy with a straight laser line running down it... Charley's beauty is looking stoic in the background.

Lookin’ purdy with a straight laser line running down it… Charlie’s beauty is looking stoic in the background.

Here it sits with the tack welds on the bottom. The crowd that raked it originally removed the inner bracing all together and replaced it with plates welded on either side. That took a handful of hours to clean up before doing this process. Now I’m going to cut up a lower brace on the Bridgeport and leave a cavity in the center for the window pane look like Charlie’s above.