You may have noticed that the latest craze in custom bike building is Baggers, or the FL Touring bikes all made to look like "big Wheels" those toy trikes we had as kids. Personally I can't stand the fad. I'm not particularly fond of the CA "low rider" scene and if that hurts your feelings T.F.B.
I'm old school, when I started out riding Harley's (I only ever rode Harley's, a fact I'm proud of) the likes of late great Indian Larry and Arlen Ness were just starting to create some beautiful works of original art in H-D Steel. Their bikes were the ones bikers would kill for, figuratively speaking of course to get their oily mitts on, me included.
A bit of a history lesson of the bike scene back in the day. Some of ya may think this is bigoted and nasty but it's the way it was for the most part. Women for example were mostly looked at as the bike washers and the pee pad occupants and beer fetchers. I know what you ladies are thinking, what a bunch of cavemen (probably allot worse I'm betting though?) That's the way it was though for the most part, women just didn't ride around by themselves or on their own scoots very much except for the unusual ladies the ones that really didn't take shit from any one, I rode with a few. One of the famous ones was the late Marla Garber and her dog Scooter. She rode her Decker every where I don't think there was a guy that had as many miles on their bike as she did, including me. My hats off to her R. I. P. Marla.
Another common "attitude" of the day was "Jap Scrap", bikers do not ride Jap! Or so it was. The Japanese bikes were called everything from rice rockets, crotch rockets, ying-a-dingers, singer sewing machines, Jap crap and some others. I even had an old saying in those days, "I'd rather my sister in a whore house than my brother on a Honda" That's how much displeasure there was for the Japanese models in my circles. I remember once I was at an Outlaw M/C run in London, Ontario, Canada when a guy pulled in on a "Chicken Wing" (Goldwing) He was profiling and acting cool and telling a lot of very large bearded individuals that his bike was cooler than any of their HOGS. Well in the morning when Mr. Wing got up and went to get something out of his saddle bags on the Chicken wing he was horrified to see it was gone, NO NOT GONE! WORSE! apparently his several hundred pound Japanese bicycle had a knack for climbing TALL Trees (like 50' up in the air trees) on a rope. Anyhow I couldn't help but piss myself laughing and they finally gave him a hand lowering his adventurous bike and he left promptly.
But all the sarcasm wasn't only directed at women and Jap riders, it was also directed at men who rode small Harley's. By the small Harley I mean in particular the Sportster or XL model line from 57' all the way up. Now don't get me wrong, you didn't get a full ribbing for riding one after all it still was American made and it bore the Harley-Davidson name so that made it better than the rest but so far as the rest of the HOG stable went this was the little brother, the piglet in the HOG pen. Well just so happens my first HOG was this particular piglet. So I heard all of the rub it in your face lines like "ah your riding your sisters bike where's yours?", "half a Harley", "Girl's bike" And a bunch of others. You just eventually got used to it, I mean from my point of view, it was all I could afford and it was a Harley.
So my first one was a 1987 XLH 883 Sportster. Not a big bike for a 6', 195 lb. dude back in those days. I was married to the first wife back then (She was a bitch though and I kept the bike when we divorced) , my idea was eventually I'd move up to an FLH and she'd get the XLH so there was method behind the madness. Anyhow soon as I got that Sporty home I got busy ripping it apart and changing it. First thing I did was loose the stock exhaust for straight slash cut drag pipes and an E-Shorty Carb from S&S. Then I put on 3.5 gal split gas tanks and an old style dash, lost the turn signals, and put on some highway pegs so I could stretch out my legs and I nice Corbin Gunslinger seat for my ass to sit on. I rode like this for a time. In fact the bike and I and the X (yuck) went clear across Canada from Ontario to B.C. down to Montana and all the way across the U.S. to Michigan and back into Canada. Rode to Pennsylvania and the mountains, did Daytona Beach, FL. Rode to Maine, Connecticut, Vermont. Back and forth in Ontario to hundreds of bike events and parties. Shangri-la Park owned by the Satan's Choice M/C in Ontario. I saw Steppenwolf there at least 3-4 times alone even drinking with John Kay, good times from what I remember.
In that time I also went to The only Harley-Davidson Factory endorsed Canadian school for technicians and got certified (1993). I was in Alberta during the coldest winter in a long time, like 35 below 0, only thing that kept ya thawed enough to walk was the booze. Anyhow I gained enormous knowledge, the schools boast was you will build a 200k shovelhead engine and we did. This thing was so accurately built it would last 200k miles no problem. Anyhow, to get back to the Sporty, when I got home I had the bike builder bug again and proceeded to once again transform the Sporty. I bored 1/2" out of each cylinder and added S&S rods, 3.5" pistons, S&S adjustable Pushrods, High performance coil and ignition module, Tripoli Wishbone Softail Frame, Mid apes, and J-Brake Billet forward controls, and a wide glide conversion kit. Also ported and polished the heads.
1987 XLH S&S 1200 Softail rubber mount Wide Glide or as I called it the XLHSTRW.
That's the bike in it's last configuration. I rode it like this for awhile and then was thinking of even more engine mods plus I had a slack rear rod that I needed to re-bushed so I ripped it apart again LOL. Only this time I never got to put her back together. I split with the X ole' lady (devil incarnate) and the XLH found it's home in boxes, lots of boxes.
So now has come the time, I'm 53 now soon to be 54. I am re-married to a God given Southern angel. Honestly dudes she is the BEST hands down guaranteed, and she can cook too. I got 7 grand kids and the Step daughter is knocked up again. She needs to find another hobby. 4 of the future bikers belong to my Step-son, who's newly a single father his wife ran off :( ah well ya know the old saying right? Ya can't live with em but ya can't kill em either. Wife and I are going to retire to our FL home in a year or so and I am starting to line up some activities to keep me amused in a life of retirement. This is where Project Bobber comes in. Those boxes in the garage next to my 2006 FLHRCI are calling to me one last time. They beckon me to build the ultimate street fighter out of that XLH engine and now it will be a bobber.
If your not a biker and your reading this (you must be bored?) a Bobber is a bike style that originated in the 30's, 40's and 50's among Harley riders mostly but there were those that rode Indians before they went tits up in the 50's that also bobbed their bikes. So what is a Bobber? It's a stock motorcycle in those days mostly built on the rigid type frame, which has no suspension, hence the term rigid. The old bikes also didn't have the luxury of hydraulic front forks either and used what is called the Springer (a mostly rigid front fork that had a few pivot points and some large springs between those to help dampen the bumps a bit. But over all the old Harley's let you feel not only the vibration from the engine but all the nooks and crannies in the road as well.
The biker of yesterday took their brand new HOG and did some things to it. They tore off the front fender, they removed the rear fender and cut it way back so it came up high on the rear wheel, they stripped off everything that in their minds was useless and bare boned that sucker. That's the origins of a Bobber. Later they even did more custom things to clean them up as time progressed. Now here in the year 2014, low and behold the Bobber craze has struck again. Well not only Bobbers, the late Indian Larry style builds are real popular right now as well. So I decided to jump on the Bobber band wagon myself.
This Blog will follow my conception design through the mechanical process I will do until the bike is fully complete. Every nut and bolt, every piece of chrome steel and Flat black painted part will come together to make my new street Daemon. So kick up your feet, get the ole lady to grab ya a cold one (old habits die hard) and let's do this ride together, cool? Right on!