Archives for April 2010

Pinion Gear Socket & Lock

The pinion gear locking tool

Back in 1985, when I closed my custom bike shop to get into high-performance aircraft, I sold off most of my specialty H-D engine tools.
What the hell was I thinking?

Of course, I didn’t sell off my regular tools, but there are some procedures on a bike that require a special tool. And though that’s more so the case on a Twin Cam, there are also procedures on the older models that require a specifically designed implement. One such task is removing and installing the pinion gear nut on a 1954-92 Big Twin engine. Actually, this job requires two tools to do it right: one to keep the pinion gear/shaft from turning, the other to remove and install the special pinion nut. And, yes, you can use various homegrown methods of doing this job, but you run the risk of damaging parts and/or not getting the nut torqued to the proper spec.

This made-in-the-US, black-anodized steel pinion nut socket ($25) works on 1954-92 Big Twins and fits a 1/2″-drive ratchet or torque wrench. The pinion gear locking tool ($71.50), which fits 1954-99 single-cam H-D engines, is needed to lock the pinion gear in place so you can get the pinion gear nut off or on, as the case may be. I’ve used both of these tools on various engine projects, and they worked very well.

Of course, George also makes a pinion gear removal and installer tool, but that’s another review. AIM

–Chris Maida, as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.

George’s Garage

S&S Cycle Presents Today’s Top Harley Custom Motorcycle Builders

Fans of S&S Cycle and biker build-offs should make room on their coffee tables for the 224-page hardcover S&S Cycle Presents Today’s Top Custom Bike Builders. S&S enthusiasts will remember that the company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008 with a huge biker build-off. S&S chose 50 of the hottest builders to fab bikes using one of 50 available Anniversary Edition S&S engines. The company hosted a bash in June to display the bikes and choose the winner, who turned out to be Keiji Kawakita of Tokyo’s Hot Dock (featured on pages 106-109). The book dedicates a four-page chapter to each S&S theme bike and its creator. All the big guns are in here — Brian Klock, Arlen Ness, Skeeter Todd, G2, OCC, Chica, Redneck Engineering, and so many more. Each chapter includes eye-popping photos by Michael Lichter and info about the bike and builders written by Howard Kelly, S&S’ former communications manager. The text lacks any real meat about the builders, but it does give some insight into the bikes’ features and key components. Let’s face it, the book is all about the photos anyway, and they really deliver, casting the rides as the pieces of functional art they truly are.

If you can pull your eyes off the photos for a few minutes, you’ll be treated to a foreword by Jay Leno and a prologue that walks you through the history of S&S, which started back in 1958, when George Smith set out to “make all motorcycles go faster.” At $40, the book probably won’t fit into the budget of the casual biker, but it’s a cool gift idea for the dedicated. AIM

by Laura DeLallo as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.


Motorcycle News OCC Fallout Reaches New Depths

Paul Teutul Sr

The oldest son from “American Chopper” has escalated the war against his father by opening up a rival motorcycle business — and he’s making the whole thing incredibly personal.

Sources say that Paul Teutul Jr. is starting a competing shop to go head-to-head with his dad’s Orange County Choppers shop.

But here’s the catch — Junior has recruited a bunch of disgruntled employees who left his dad’s place … including his brother Mikey Teutul and friends Vinnie DiMartino, Robert “Nub” Collard and Joe Puliafico

Paul Teutul Sr., seen here in this photo, was last heard muttering “Boot up their ass, boot up their ass…….”

Harley Magazine Review Sabertooth V-8 Motorcycle

Like to blend in with the masses? Are you the type that shuns attention? Then don’t buy this bike!

As I told you in my coverage of the Virginia Beach Bike Classic and Myrtle Beach last year, I blasted down the East Coast to both events on this Ford V-8-powered beastie. I had so much fun on this bike, especially on the highway, that I racked up about 1,600 miles before I returned it. And the attention it got was astounding, but then it’s not every day you see someone blowing past you on the interstate with eight cylinders of Go Juice humming away. The way I was surrounded by guys in cars and pickups, you would have thought I was handing out free NASCAR hats! Forget about making a gas stop; there were cellphone cameras all over. Guys were leaving their wives to pump the gas while they talked with me about the massive, but sleek, machine before them. (I’m such a showoff!)

Okay, enough of that. Let me tell you a bit about this Sabertooth WildCat ($40,110). This bike sounds as bada$$ as it looks! The carburetor-equipped, 350″ Motorsports engine runs smooth as silk, with just the right amount of lumpy idle. (Due to EPA regs, all bikes will now have EFI.) Power output is great, and the sound from those short dual headers is outstanding. When in second gear (you only have two), it’s easy to keep things mellow but rumbling. That is, until you crank open the throttle. Cruising speeds are 2500 rpm at 70 mph and 3000 rpm at 85 per. First gear goes up to 90 mph. (I know because I hit that before I got out of a toll plaza!) Second, I’m told, goes up to 170, but I didn’t go that fast, though I got pretty close a number of times. As you would expect, a flick of the wrist sends you rocketing; to blast from 70 to over 100 takes only a couple of seconds or so.

In the handling department, it took me about 100 miles to become comfortable throwing the Sabertooth around a parking lot and into turns, which you must drop into for a good turning radius, as it is with any other long bike, be it chopper or V-8 monster. The Sabertooth is well-balanced for such a heavy bike (1,050 pounds). Hands-off operation on the highway required just a slight lean to the left, which is pretty standard for a machine with a 300 rear tire.

What about that two-speed tranny? Shifting was good and clean. To upshift, pull in the clutch, shift into neutral, then shift into second. But do not let out the clutch as you transition from first to neutral and then second (no speed shifts). I found that upshifting at about 35-40 mph gave me the smoothest transition. Of course, you can do it at a higher speed, but you have to wait a tad longer before getting into second. To downshift into first, you must be going 20 mph or less. As for the manual, cable-actuated clutch, which is one feature I really liked about the Sabertooth, it has about the same pull and feel as a V-twin performance clutch. On my bike, there was no reverse, so I had to be careful of where I nosed in, since a downgrade would have been impossible to get out of without mucho assistance.

As you can see, the chassis is remarkably sleek for such a big bike. When stopped behind me, many people didn’t know the Sabertooth was fitted with a V-8. The bike is basically as wide as the frame that’s around the 300mm rear tire. Even the engine is about the same width. However, when I’d make a turn, I could see jaws drop as people realized what was powering the bike that had been sitting in front of them.

The bike’s air suspension system worked well once I got used to it. Since I’m a short stack, I would drop it down when around town, so I could get a flat foot on the ground when stopped. Once I was on a stretch of road devoid of stop signs and lights, I’d just switch on the air compressor and count to 25 slowly. This put the suspension fully up, which gave me decent ground clearance for turns, sweepers, and going into gas stations. And since we’re on the subject of gas stations, the Sabertooth has an appetite like its namesake. You get 20 miles per gallon if you don’t play with the throttle, and that tank holds exactly 6 gallons (new bikes now have 8). You hit reserve after 100 miles/5 gallons. There’s no slack to be had here. Once you hit reserve, find gas within 20 miles, or you’re on the side of the road. And the Sabertooth is no picnic to push!

As good as my time on the Sabertooth was, the bike did have one flaw and a few minor glitches, which I chalk up to teething issues. The flaw only rears its ugly head when you crank open the throttle at a slow speed. Under hard but only half-throttle acceleration, the belt skips on the rear pulley. Personally, I’d prefer a 630 chain or two back there, but then again, I like to play. The crew at Sabertooth told me they went with the belt since that’s what most riders are comfortable with nowadays. Their fix was to go to a larger front pulley, which Sabertooth says has fixed the belt problem. That is, except for the WildCat X model, which doesn’t need it since it has a 360 rear tire and drive chain.

On my test bike, which was an early version, if you dropped the suspension all the way down, the top of the rear fender hit the seat support tube. The bumpers for the rear swingarm were not positioned properly, since they should protect chassis and rear fender should the air system ever fail. However, this glitch was corrected on my test bike and all newer machines so equipped.

Once I got stuck in stopped traffic on the highway for a long time. Before I shut the bike down, I noticed that at idle, the battery charging rate is too low, and the battery is at a slight discharge. If you find yourself stopped in traffic for an extended period of time, keep an eye on the voltage meter. In normal stop-and-go traffic this is not an issue, since as soon as you’re at any rpm above idle the charging rate is fine. I’ve been told all new bikes have a larger alternator pulley, so discharging at idle is no longer an issue.

When under power, there is a slight squeal from the rear wheel area at very slow speeds, which I think is just brake dust on the belt and pulley. The bike also has what I call good mechanical noise: tranny whine, etc. I don’t like my machines to be too sanitized, especially a bada$$ one. The sound of machinery at work is a good thing.

Since I’ve a pair of short sticks to walk on (29″ inseam), I would burn a leg once in awhile on the rear of the rocker covers (both sides), but this would only happen when I didn’t pay attention and let my knees pull in toward the engine. Guys with longer legs shouldn’t be concerned with this.

Another every-once-in-awhile glitch involved the starter system, but it has nothing to do with the actual electric motor. The wire that goes to the starter solenoid is located right by your right foot, so it’s easy to knock it loose from its clip. Once I figured out the problem, if the starter just clicked when I pushed the button, I slipped the wire back on and I was good to go. So you don’t have to mess with this, this connector has been changed to one that doesn’t pop off.

One look at that seat tells you it’s not for touring! In fact, it becomes a slab of wood after a few hundred miles. Of course, only an idiot goes touring on a V-8. However, since I may not be the only idiot out there, the seat has been given the gel insert treatment. That’s cool with me, since I’d like to try out Sabertooth’s new Pro-Street model, the StreetCat, on a trip later this year.

In closing I should thank the guy who let me put so many miles on his bike: Brian Montgomery of Tennessee! Brian, as I told you, I almost didn’t return your bike, since it was so much fun to ride, but being the upright guy I am, I just could not keep it any longer. Of course, the fact that you were going to send up a few good ol’ boys to help me see the error of my ways had nothing to do with it. AIM
–Chris Maida

Sabertooth Motorcycles
1oo Hurricane Creek Dr.
Dept. AIM
Piedmont, SC 29673

Harley-Davidson Premium Bike Cover, Super Shield

H-D’s premium cover keeps a bike safe and clean

I don’t know what your garage is like, but my Knuckle bobber, no matter how hard I try, always gets covered with dust. Maybe it’s because I’ve got three kids who are always in there moving stuff around. Maybe it’s because it’s an old house. Then again, it’s probably because my driveway is dirt and gravel, and my car always tracks dirt into the garage. Whatever the reason, my bike always get dirtier parked in the garage than when out on the road.

Thankfully, the fix was a simple one. I now cover my little Knuck with one of H-D’s Motorcycle Super Shields (#98744-09/$179.95) for Softails, Dynas, and V-Rods (Touring models #98743-09/$189.95). This heavy-duty cover is made of a strong two-layer fabric that protects the bike two ways. The inside layer is a soft tricot material that’s easy on the paint and other finishes. The outside layer is a fade-resistant, urethane-coated, polyester fabric that resists water, stains, and dirt (yes!). These two layers are double-stitched together and then heat-sealed with tapered seams. The result is a strong protective cover that is also breathable to keep moisture from forming on the bike and promoting rust. This cover has heat-resistant exhaust panels, securing strap/grommets, and takes only seconds to install since the bottom has an elastic edge. A deluxe storage bag is also included. And you can’t miss the cool Bar & Shield logo.

Now if only H-D would invent a cover that polished the bike while
covering it, I’d be set. AIM

PRODUCT REVIEW — by Chris Maida

Harley Dyna Wide Glide Magazine Test

2010 Harley Dyna Wide Glide Motorcycle

In his ballad Isle of Beauty, Fare Thee Well, Thomas Haynes Bayly wrote “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Throughout my life, I have experienced this phenomenon in a variety of different instances, mostly in regards to women — I mean motorcycles. That said, when the bean counters at Juneau Avenue dropped one of my all-time favorite Harleys, the Dyna Wide Glide, after the 2008 model year, I was heart broken. Well, I’m happy to say that the Wide Glide is absent no more. My girl is back in the lineup for 2010, looking hotter than ever and flaunting a fresh, old-school chopper/hot rod bod thanks to a complete makeover.

According to Willie G. and his design team, the whole Dyna family has its roots in the factory-custom revolution of the 1970s, which Willie was a big part of. He says the new bike is a nod to the original Wide Glide-like choppers that were, in essence, wildly modified old police bikes. It’s sort of a modern production version of blue-collar choppers from back in the day.

In the process of transforming the senior FXDWG into the new one you see here, the Motor Company has changed the bike’s dimensions. The 2010 model is 3-1/2″ shorter than its predecessor, which is probably a result of replacing the old bobtail rear fender with a chopped one. A LED stop/turn/taillight combo and a side-mounted license plate keep the new chopped rear fender clean and make the whole back end of this bike look like it was lifted off a Nightster. The addition of the plate has increased the Dyna’s width by 1.2″ to 37.2″.

Harley Dyna Glide

Another change is that she’s now 1-1/2″ lower than she was in 2008. The reasons? First, the miniapes of yore have been replaced by internally wired drag bars that are braced by black 4″ risers. Second, the suspension has been lowered by 1″ and now has 3.1″ of travel in the rear. A direct result of the latter is almost 1″ in lost ground clearance and a new, low-slung, unladen seat height of 26.7″. All this is good news for the inseam-challenged crowd, lending them a 2″ lower seat height than the older model. However, for someone my size, this means that the bike now scrapes easily in turns and makes me feel cramped when sitting in the saddle for long periods.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I like the look of a lowered, slammed cruiser as much as the next yahoo, but doing that never fails to be detrimental in terms of handling for big-boned riders like myself.
To emphasize the chopper look and offset the lowering that took place, the styling department successfully used the little trick of tilting the front of the fuel tank up 3/4″. I would think that’s why the fuel capacity of the 2010 is 4.7 gallons versus the 5 gallons previously held. Some overall good news is that in complete running order, my girl is now 13 pounds lighter. It almost makes me want to shed a few myself.

Like its predecessor, this year’s Wide Glide is powered by a rubber-mounted Twin Cam 96 V-twin that’s finished in black powdercoat with machined highlights on the cylinder fins, chrome-plated rocker boxes, and derby cover. It also comes with a six-speed cruise drive transmission that now features a new helical-cut fifth gear that provides much quieter operation. Other tranny changes specific to this bike are slightly tweaked gear ratios for third, fourth, and fifth gears.

I have to admit that this new version of the Wide Glide looks cool and I like that. Part of the attraction simply comes from the fact that it rolls on 40-spoke laced wheels that feature black steel rims. But most of all, I dig that the changes now give the rider a look and feel of sitting in the bike as opposed to on top of it.

You can get yourself a 2010 Wide Glide in Vivid Black for $14,499 or pony up $14,874 for one in Red Hot Sunglo. My favorite is the optional, limited-production Vivid Black base with flames seen here. It’s available for $15,194. To achieve the orange-to-yellow-fade flames a new, labor-intensive, direct-graphic-transfer paint process is used. The result is some smooth-looking flames. In fact, you can’t even feel the flames underneath the clear coat when running your hand over them. Really cool.

No matter how you slice it, the 2010 Wide Glide is a great value ($3,000 less than it cost in ’08, give or take). It might not be as comfortable or capable in the performance department, but she does have more curb appeal and attitude than before, if you like the low, dark look.
The whole experience reminds me of that frumpy little girl I had a crush on in middle school, going into summer break. Even though she was a hot teenager when we came back to school, the crush was gone. Don’t worry, that didn’t stop me from dating her anyway.

I guess absence really does make the heart grow fonder, but after reuniting, things are never really the same, are they? My feeling for the new 2010 Dyna Wide Glide just supports this theory. AIM

Joe Knezevic as published in American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.

Riding Impressions
I wasn’t sure I was going to like this “long and low custom,” as the Motor Company is dubbing the new Wide Glide, because I’m a big fan of the old one with its miniapes and upswept rear fender. But when I plopped into the saddle and stretched out my arms and legs for their respective forward-mounted controls, I fell in love. One of the big differences between the Wide Glide of yesterday and 2010 is that the new one sits much lower, and women, and most men, can appreciate that confidence-inspiring feature. My 5′ 6-1/2″ with 30″ inseam frame fit comfortably on this narrow, nimble machine with my derrière filling up the entire saddle. No need to scoot forward. While the styling is right on for the tastes of today’s motorcycle consumer, those drag bars are not doing it for me. I’ll order a set of apes, please!

Sturgis Accomodations at the Buffalo Chip

Legendary Buffalo Chip

Legendary Buffalo Chip, SD (April 6, 2010) – The Legendary Buffalo Chip has been offering guests the true Sturgis experience for nearly 30 years and has quickly become the authority regarding Rally Week accommodations and hospitality. Every year thousands of bikers from across the country converge on the Chip to camp on over 500 acres of campground and enjoy the best facilities, entertainment, food and vendors that Sturgis has to offer.  After a lengthy journey to Sturgis Rally Week festivities, bikers truly appreciate being able to dust off the miles at an array of comfortable accommodations at the Buffalo Chip including cabin rentals, trailer rentals or a variety of camping areas.

Between the bikes, races, stunts, live music and soaking up the biker atmosphere guests can stay at any one of the Chip’s premier camping areas such as the Sturgis Road Campground, Fenske Park Campground, or RV camping area. Weekly passes include all activities sponsored by the Chip including their enormous and impressive selection of live music performances.

In addition to traditional camping accommodations, the Chip also offers bikers an EZ Camp option that boasts a complete campsite waiting for your arrival. Imagine cruising into your personal campground to a pitched tent complete with air mattress, sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight and candles. Visitors will also have use of a cooler, lawn chair and toiletries. All EZ Camp packages also include set-up and tear down.
Visitors may also choose to reside in a selection of cozy travel trailers. These trailers are complete with all the conveniences you’ll need for a comfortable stay including stove, air conditioning, heater, microwave, beds, bathroom and more. However, guests will need to supply their own bedding, towels, dishes and utensils. Trailers sleep as many as 4 adults comfortably. Your biker gal will be thrilled to know that she’ll have access to her own bed, shower and private toilet.

If you’re looking for even more luxurious accommodations during your stay you may want to consider the Chip’s cabin rentals. Having recently added 5 additional cabins on the southern boundary of the campground, the Chip now boasts 17 cabins that visitors can reserve during Rally Week. Cabin rentals include a security deposit which is refundable upon satisfactory inspection at the time of departure. However, rental costs do not include campground admission. Cabins may be rented with basic set-up or deluxe set-up, which includes a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker and air mattresses.

The Buffalo Chip offers daily admission passes as well as package rates including the per person rally pass ($255) August 9-15, the per person extended rally pass ($300) August 7-15 or the per person early bird pass ($335) August 2-15. EZ Camp passes range from $100 to $640, RV rentals range from $2145 to $2445 and RV sites range from $100 to $550.

Regardless of what level of accommodations you choose, every biker that stays at the Buffalo Chip will have all of their needs taken care of and are guaranteed a memorable Sturgis experience. Bikers from around the world have come to appreciate the ease and convenience of the accommodations and amenities found at the Chip. To get a taste of the true Sturgis experience you’ll want to stay at the Buffalo Chip- there really is no reason to go anywhere else. Visit for more information or to make your reservations for Sturgis 2010.

New LED’s for Street & Road Glides

Custom Dynamics announces its new complete plug and play DOT Approved LED Turn Signal Conversion kit for the 2010 Harley Davidson Street Glides and Road Glides. Many of the new 2010 Harley Davidson models including the popular Road Glides and Street Glides do not have the standard squareback center taillight that customers are familiar with. With just two bullet turn signals acting as running, brake, and turn, customers are asking for more rear end visibility.  The Custom Dynamics LED conversion kit includes four high power Genesis 48 LED clusters for maximum
visibility and a plug and play no load, no heat Signal Stabilizer.

The kit is 100% plug and play and can be installed in minutes and in most cases without even removing the seat. You can select Amber or White LEDs for the front turn signals while Red are provided for the rear. The LEDs have a lifetime warranty against LED failure and the Signal Stabilizer comes with a 5 year warranty.  For more information, please contact Custom Dynamics at 1-800-382-1388 or

EVERYTHING To Light Up Your Ride!®
Custom Dynamics®
12335-203 Wake Union Church Rd
Wake Forest, NC 27587
Phone: 800-382-1388
Phone: 919-554-0949
Fax: 919-882-9611

Circus Una and Arlen Ness at J&P Cycles 2010 Open House

Around the Midwest, J&P Cycles® is known for the spectacular Open House event that began as a simple Customer Appreciation Day. The event grew to a two-day event in 2009, drawing more than 22,000 people to the cornfields of Iowa. This year the event is being held June 26 and 27, and the stakes are even higher as J&P® tries to beat last year’s attendance numbers.

Some of the exciting entertainment scheduled for the Open House includes Circus Una, a new act. Circus Una is a high-flying entertainment act featuring two women. The motorcycle, dancer and rider balance themselves on a thin wire. Additionally, the ILL Conduct Motorcycle Stunt Show will perform. As the National Motorcycle Museum wraps up their expansion to a new facility, the Open House will serve as a preview for the new location and debut the AwesomeNess exhibit, all about famed motorcycle legend Arlen Ness. Ness will join in the festivities during the Open House.

A silent auction will be held to benefit the National Motorcycle Museum. True motorcycling enthusiasts will enjoy the shopping! J&P Cycles®’ enormous inventory of parts and accessories will be available for viewing. Most products in the showroom will be 10 percent off (15 percent for Gold Club members) and a portion of the one-acre warehouse will be devoted to drastically reduced clearance items (up to 50 percent off).

The fun does not stop there!?The Teresi Dyno Drag will be on hand as will the J&P Cycles® Showroom Semi, where some of the coolest products on the market will be displayed! Sign-up to win over $5,000 in door prizes and a chance to win the 2010 J&P Cycles®/Easyriders Build-A-Bike Sweepstakes Bike. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to visit with representatives from more than 75 manufacturers and view their latest products.

J&P Cycles® is the World’s largest catalog retailer of aftermarket parts and accessories for Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. In business for more than 31 years, we also carry a full line of V-Twin Metric Cruiser, Honda Gold Wing and Sport Bike parts and accessories. Featuring tens of thousands of items in stock, in print and online, J&P Cycles® delivers the best customer service and return policy in the industry. Order toll-free in the U.S. and Canada at 800-397-4844 or online at WWW.JPCYCLES.COM.

Harley Motorcycle Rain Gear

No one can say I didn’t give this rain gear a long-term test! I’ve been wearing H-D’s Paclite rain jacket and pants combo for almost three years. Heck, I still have short hair in the product shot, which we always do as soon as we get the gear. This Gore-Tex suit, which includes a jacket with hood (#98306-05VX/000L, $215-$225) and pants (#98307-05VX/000S, $185-$195) can be purchased separately, which is a good thing since I needed a large jacket and short pants.

This suit has served me well on many a road trip. The jacket truly is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. The Gore-Tex material is the reason why this gear works so well, since it keeps water out, but doesn’t make you sweat. There’s a full-zipper front closure that’s covered by a watertight seam seal. The cuffs are elastic and the hood, which is removable, fits under a full helmet and helps keep you dry and warm. There are two zippered pockets, but they’re not watertight, so choose wisely what you put in them.

As for the pants, all the above Gore-Tex stuff applies here, too. The zipper down the side of each leg is also covered by a watertight seam seal. Inside both legs is a heat-resistant shield, which has held up well to whatever I’ve put it through. My favorite feature is that when the butt is wet it doesn’t slide around on the seat easily. These pants also come with removable suspenders, but I never used them.

Hopefully, I won’t hit rain on this year’s Dallas-to-Daytona trip for Bike Week. But if I do, I’ll have this gear with me, since stopping is not an option. If I choose to ride to an event, I have to be there on time, no matter what the weather does. AIM

–Chris Maida

Harley-Davidson Motor Company
See your local H-D dealer