Pete and Laz

Pete and Laz
Yeah, Pete it's rough...but it's a runner.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2016...ready or not... Happy New Year!!

Decided to launch this post I have a busy Holiday schedule ahead...and it would get lost in the shuffle, Happy New Year Bloggers!

Yep, it's been 16 years now....and I think I'm finally getting used to seeing a '20', instead of a '19' a century marker. Hanging out at one of the local coffee shops with free wifi the other day, I got into a discussion with Dennis about sidecars. Lately I've been missing having an operational outfit. I have a couple of sidecar frames that are missing their bodies...(for some reason in Sacramento, there are sidecar body thieves.) ...I have one that I bought for it's classic cigar shaped body. Yep, some one broke into a storage unit and stole the fiberglass body. Another frame I purchased from a fellow enthusiast that was relieved of his body.  

All the following pics were snagged from the web while doing a bit of research with Dennis. I'm thinking about attempting to build a body similar in design to the newer silvery Beemer below. Dennis is of the opinion that it would be just as easy to build a 'Zeppelin' style body, of course being a fabricator in sheet metal gives him the confidence I'm lacking in trying that out as a first body project.

Clever photoshop work? or just another farmer combining work and pleasure?

This ones been all over the web, do you think there is a factory somewhere in South America making VW van bodies for carnival rides....?

Another photoshop job, or a top secret Chinese Army project?

I like this one a lot, and think I could replicate a similar body style.

The Zeppelins are nice, but it would be more problematical for me to mount a body like this on a more conventional sidecar frame.

For those of you on the other side of the big pond, Sideburn Magazine has announced "Snow Quake" the Italian Alps...check it out at Sideblog.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays...

....out there in "Bloggerland".  Here in my neck of the woods in Northern California, Winter is setting in...cold and wet... leading into Christmas. Was hoping to get a trip into the snow country this weekend...but,  the rain and snow put the brakes on that idea. It's all good though...we desperately need the rain and snow to help out the drought situation.

Here is a pic I posted here four years ago, before the current drought set in...hopefully things are looking like this again. This is Chipmonk Ridge near Loon Lake. This is one of my favorite places to Backcountry ski in.

Hope this finds all in peaceful situations, or at least with time to get away from the daily grinds...picking this up a few days later...and the weather is really hitting now. The "Chains required" sign was up on the freeway into work...warning travelers heading up to the summit and beyond. Maybe after New Years will be a good time to go up and visit snow country.

One more, from Loon Lake area , back side of the other pic.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hashtag profundity/buzzwords/keepyoureyeontheball...

or, Fear and loathing on the E-bay...

borrowing from Hermit of the Hermit blog, and that other fellow famous for frantic forays into gonzo journalism....

Had to take a break from my spree of buying on E-bay... so far it's been good, no burns, parts as described, fair prices, no surprises. Been purchasing parts for my '71 CL 450 Scrambler....(an old school Scrambler, I like to think of it as...when 'Scramblers' had high level pipes....that set them apart from their 'Street brothers'....unlike what passes for a Scrambler these days...( Not that I'd poo-poo a new Ducati version...)

Yeah...started to look at what was available for Honda 350's...SL 350's in particular. There seems to be plenty of 350 stuff out in the world still...a lot more than 450 stuff it seems....and therein lies the problem...I believe. As I dug deeper into the morass of new, used and abused 350 seemed there was more flim and flam, double talk, mis-representation and mis-information, and down right stretching of the truth...or, is  it just naivety on the sellers part? Buyer beware! ( a voice in my subconscious bellowed )  Illegetimi non carborundum!! another shrill voice uttered... a half remembered memory of the only bike purchase I ever really got burned on....kept surfacing...a 1974 Honda CB 350 I purchased for $ 400.00 ( back when 400 bucks was a lot of money ) I paid about 375.00 too much...I used the frame and cases to build a bike from many other was that worn ran when I parked it, the seemingly friendly seller had said. Well, I'm certainly older now...and possibly a little, best to take a break on the buying spree.

I'll admit I'm pretty new to this on-line buying thing... some years ago I sold some stuff on a friends E-Bay account, and used to listen to the horror stories...

N.O.S....hmmm.... new...old...stock, O.K.... as long as it wasn't returned to the original point of purchase because it was defective and shoved back into the original wrapper and returned to stock....'shop worn'...'shelf wear'....both terms set off my buyer beware radar... 

Fuzzy out of focus pictures, with wear surfaces conveniently obscured or out of the frame...beep! beep! keep scrolling.

As a former bike mechanic....on E-Bay, as it was when you used to be able to get parts at a bike shop...I'm thinking I'm probably a tad more knowledgeable than the sellers...and am particularly disgusted, with compatibility with various models claims, that seems to happen a lot...but, to be fair there are some sellers who seem to have done their homework and don't mis-represent their wares.

done here and there...

Some Scramblers I remember them...

The new Ducati Scrambler

And the bike that inspired it...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Parts is parts....Vern...

Feeling like a kid at Christmas, as parts from around the world are arriving at my door step for the Honda CL 450 project. A good crankshaft, new cam chain, two sets of rings, gaskets and seals. Various cam chain rollers and tensioner parts are on their way. From Japan, Canada, and several states of the US.

Sadly, something I learned while trying to source parts for my little Honda SL-100 project a couple years that Honda shops are more interested in selling new bikes and accessories . Gone are the days when your local Honda shop was the place to go for parts when restoring an old bike. So far I've found most of what I need on E-Bay. There are a couple of good motorcycle wrecking yards in town....that have some older bike stuff. In the summer time there is a big Japanese bike show and swap up in the foothill town of Auburn, California, that can yield good results at times. Last summer the attendance of vendors was down from previous years...but I did find some good stuff.

And I have my rathole of parts acquired over the years..

A low mileage crankshaft from was the cam chain. The rings came from Japan.

Just got in from a trip to Monterey find more E-Bay items had arrived. This time an NOS top tensioner sprocket, good used front and rear tensioner assemblies, and a genuine Honda cam chain "smash link". 

The NOS sprocket from Arizona, the other sprocket and roller assemblies from Florida, believe they are from the same motor that the crankshaft came from. The NOS sprocket from San Francisco. Waiting for some parts from Canada as well.

Need to find a good used or new.. bottom Cam chain roller now. I'm ending up with two different sets of standard rings. One is an NOS factory set with the original one piece oil ring design. the second set are new replacements that come with a three piece oil ring. Will have to think about which type to run. I do have another 450 twin, a four speed "'Black Bomber". That bike is a runner, but is stuck in gear...possibly just a shift mechanism part that has loosened up and jammed...but that's a whole 'nother project.
Black Bomber ad...from the web.

An action shot of a CL 450 from the web.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

" Cold rain and snow...."

Been dipping into the 20's, Fahrenheit...a few nights recently below the freezing mark of 32 degrees...tonight will be in the 30's...about 52 degrees at the present ...with cold rain falling in the valley, and snow in the mountains. Winter is settling in with a vengeance it seems...small groups of homeless Sacramentens huddle under eaves of closed shops...having been run out of the 'McCafe'...after pushing the limits of the no-loitering signs... Having finished my burger and salad, I nurse my coffee and bury my head in my computer...hoping not to be noticed when my 'time-limit' expires...

In a foul mood to match the weather...another day of work ...then will head South to my mother's to do some needed work'll be a bit warmer near Monterey Bay...though lately not too much...seems some cold Artic air has found it's way down to Northern Californy...

There is a lot to do at her place...the important stuff like getting the furnace working correctly, and fixing or replacing all the plumbing that required attention, and chasing down some minor roof done. Now it's the cosmetic stuff...painting, weed control, trimming of shrubbery, one cracked window pane to replace...and the ants...( life would be a picnic, if it wasn't for the ants...some one once said...was it the punch line for a vaguely remembered R.Crumb cartoon? probably not...)...maybe it went, It wouldn't be a picnic...without the ants....  a bit of clear silicone here and there to seal off the ants entry points....seems to be working at any rate...

Been buying on E-Bay....a lot of Honda CB 450 parts. It started when I spotted a 450 crankshaft that appeared to be in good shape, at a good price. Decided to buy it and begin again on a long stalled 1971 Honda CL 450 project of mine. I took the bike apart years ago, when the pistons started hitting the head...due to extremely worn out connecting rod big ends...more about that some other time...

I might even put it back to it's original configuration...always loved the sound of the Scrambler pipes. When last I rode it, it was in a CB configuration and for awhile it had a sidecar be continued...