Harley Magazine American Iron Magazine http://www.aimag.com Harley magazine and Harley motorcycle news Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Harbor Freight Pittsburgh Motorcycle Lift http://www.aimag.com/2016/02/harbor-freight-pittsburgh-motorcycle-lift/ Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=18081 Pittsburgh-motorcycle-liftPRODUCT REVIEW by Matt Kopec
Tired of kneeling every time you perform routine maintenance, or have a bike project that’s sitting so low you’d rather put it off than spend another day lying on that cold cement floor? Lucky for us, Harbor Freight has an economical solution for the home do-it-yourselfer, the Pittsburgh 1,000-pound capacity motorcycle lift (#68892/$429).

This lift consists of a diamond plate steel platform and all-steel frame. It operates via a hydraulic foot pump, so no air compressor or power source is required. You can raise your ride to a max height of 29-1/2″ or use the integrated leg lock to safely adjust the height at various levels in between. Casters on all four corners allow you to move the lift easily even when your bike’s strapped onto it. Retract the front casters and the lift stays put. A removable diamond plate steel ramp provides easy access to the work platform. Just make sure the front casters are retracted before you roll your bike on.

A 7″-wide tire stop keeps your bike from rolling off the lift and an adjustable tire chock keeps the bike in place.

U-hooks on both sides of the work platform, front and back, allow straps (not included) to be attached. Use them!

Overall this Pittsburgh Motorcycle Lift works great. It’s a solid, economical way to get your bike projects off the garage floor. Unless, of course, you prefer to work harder not smarter. If so, I recommend a good pair of knee pads and some strong painkillers. AIM

Sources, Harbor Freight, HarborFreight.com

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2016 H-D Sportster Forty-Eight Ride Review http://www.aimag.com/2016/02/2016-h-d-sportster-forty-eight-ride-review/ Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:43:38 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=18049 2016-Harley-48-review-32016-Harley-48-review-7NEW BIKE REVIEWby Dain Gingerelli
Two things you should know about the 48 and all other Sportsters in Harley-Davidson’s 2016 lineup. First, Harley harbors no plans to relinquish rights to the XL model now or anytime soon. Despite focusing much of its energy and resources during the past three years  on Project RUSHMORE technology for Touring models, there’s still a need for the smaller, sportier XL bikes in dealer showrooms. Secondly – and as proof that Harley is serious about its XL models – the 2016 Sportsters sport some much welcomed updates. And so, to paraphrase Mark Twain: the reports of the Sportster’s death are greatly exaggerated.

2016-Harley-48-review-6 2016-Harley-48-review-5 2016-Harley-48-review-1
In fact, just the opposite holds true for the XL lineup, and to re-energize interest in this year’s models Harley engineers put new spring into the Sportster’s step. Literally, new spring, because this year’s Sportsters check in with new suspension front and rear, creating what amounts to a gentler, friendlier motorcycle to ride. Oh, all of the Sportsters still retain the rough, raw-bone edge that’s earmarked the model since its inception in 1957, but the fact remains that improved suspension has smoothed out the ride for 2016.

For this full ride review pick up American Iron issue 332.


Winter Motorcycle Repairs http://www.aimag.com/2016/02/winter-motorcycle-repairs/ Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:55:21 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=18046 TAKING AIM by Chris Maida, Editor

TAKING AIM by Chris Maida, Editor

TAKING AIM, by Chris Maida, Editor

Here in the northeast, wintertime is when you tackle big projects, or ones that take a lot of time to complete, since the weather is not exactly the best for a motorcycle ride. Things like paint jobs, chroming, powdercoating, engine builds, and major chassis modifications require many steps and outside shops to do various sections of the repair/upgrade. Delays are also due to an outside shop having a long turnaround time, like a chroming facility or paint shop. This is pretty much the standard pattern in our favorite pastime. So why am I telling you this?

Wintertime is also when you should take care of other projects, like replacing a slipping clutch or fixing a failing starter system. Unfortunately, a common problem is the guy who waits until that first nice day to call a shop to get his clutch fixed or bald rear tire changed, and he wants it done right away. Really? Those repairs were needed back when he put the bike up for the winter. Actually, the repairs were needed before then, but he was able to nurse the bike along to get the rest of the riding season in instead of losing those last few days to the shop. That part of the deal is fine; glad he was able to do it. The problem is that he didn’t get the bike fixed when the shop was slow during winter. Once the nice weather is back, he wants his bike fixed right away. Unfortunately, so do 20 other guys who also waited to get their bikes fixed.

Don’t be that guy. Go into your garage with a cup of coffee, uncover the bike, and give it a good going over. How are the tires? Good to go with lots of tread, or almost bald? What about the brake pads? Doing the tires and pads at the same time can save you some labor cost, depending on the model. Check out the primary chain and rear drive chain/belt. How was the clutch working last season? Did the bike start easily or were there starter issues? Maybe a fresh set of spark plugs is needed? How are the bike’s electrics? Does the horn and all the lights work? Yeah, it might be a bad bulb, or it might be a short or broken wire. Change the bulb now and see if that does the trick. If a short has to be tracked down, it may take the mechanic awhile to find it.

The point is that it’s now the beginning of February. If your riding season hasn’t started yet, but soon will, get those repairs done now. This way, when those nice riding days show up, especially the ones that pop up unexpectedly on a weekend, you can just fire up the bike and go for a ride. That is, unless you like watching your buddies ride by as you load your bike onto a truck.

See you on the road.
Chris Maida

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Garage Season And Daytona Madness http://www.aimag.com/2016/02/garage-season-and-daytona-madness/ Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:51:23 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=18043 SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter


SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

Is it just me, or is february the most challenging month for most motorcycle riders? Daytona Bike Week is still a month away. By now most of us Northerners have parked our bikes for the winter, and we’re itching to get back on the road. I know I am. In the meantime, if we’re lucky enough to have a heated garage or shed, we can spin wrenches and dream about spring riding.

I consider myself fortunate to have a heated work space that can hold several motorcycles and projects. No matter how many hours I spend in the garage wrenching during the riding season, I never seem to get far enough down my “to-do” list.

I’m not complaining as this is my passion, but sometimes I need to stop what I’m doing, step back from the workbench, take a deep breath, and reprioritize my winter projects. Know what I mean?

Entry-Level Motorcycle Choices
Most riders probably didn’t start their riding days aboard Harleys or Indians. Many of us had our first motorcycle experiences on small-displacement imports. Perhaps on a Honda, Triumph, Cushman, Hodaka, or Ducati. Most likely those bikes had single-cylinder engines that we had to kickstart before we could ride.

Anyone interested in an American entry level or “learner’s bike” in the last decade or so has not had many choices other than the short-lived Buell Blast and a few others. So what do you do when your friend, kid, or neighbor tells you he wants to learn to ride? Few of us want to loan our pride and joy to someone who’s never ridden a motorcycle before. Too many things to go wrong, especially on a full-size bike.

It appears that the big American manufacturers recognized the need of entry-level models and have been hard at work expanding new-rider options. Harley started with the Sportster Low models a couple of years ago, before adding the 500 and 750 Street models. Indian came out with the Scout about a year ago, and recently unveiled the new 2016 Scout Sixty (see Dain’s ride review on page 72), and now rumors are stirring that Victory has a small-displacement entry-level bike in the works. Good news indeed!

Daytona Madness?
One of the most exciting and lethal forms of motorcycle racing was boardtrack racing, popular more than a century ago. Those daredevils would race around crudely built wooden boardtracks at speeds over 100 mph. OK, so that doesn’t sound so fast when compared to fast street bikes today. But consider that those early rigid-framed race bikes didn’t have brakes, clutches, transmissions, or more than an inch of fork travel. Basically, a boardtracker was little more than a fire-belching engine stuffed into a bicycle frame.

If this sounds like fun to you, plan to join a handful of moto-loonies at the new Sons of Speed event. Billy Lane, the mastermind behind this madness, is handcrafting less than a dozen similar boardtrack race bikes with various 1000cc antique motorcycle engines to be raced at the New Smyrna Speedway  just south of Daytona Beach. We (yes, I will be piloting a Harley-powered race bike) have practice scheduled on Friday, March 11, with racing on the docket the following day. Keep your fingers crossed and wish us all luck. I’m still trying to figure out how on earth I got wrangled into this madness. Maybe it has something to do with these long, cold winter months.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.


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Harley In The Snow – Heck Yes With A Sidecar http://www.aimag.com/2016/01/harley-in-the-snow-heck-yes-with-a-sidecar/ Sun, 31 Jan 2016 16:59:52 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=18029 So what’s a ride to do when the snow falls and sticks to the road? How about strapping a sidecar onto your Harley and bundle up for some winter fun.

That is what I did here in New England.

Classic Harley & Sidecar In The Snow

Classic Harley & Sidecar In The Snow

Granted, you have to be careful od slipping and sliding your Harley around on the packed snow and ice. And if salt is used on the roads, that can be a big problem too.  Up here in Vermont, where I have a vacation cabin in the woods, there is no salt.

If you are curious about this rig, it is a 1930 Harley V and Harley sidecar. I found it a few years ago sitting in a basement, where it had been for several years. We pulled it out and brough it to Retrocycle in Boonton, NJ. We removed the sidecar and put it aside as we focused on the antique Harley. We went through it top to bottom and followed the progress in the pages of our all-tech American Iron Garage magazine last year.

It did not take much to get it sorted out and runnign well. Then we re-installed the sidecar and got it registered. Now I can ride this rig pretty much year round. There are a few issues with sidecars, 1. They take up a lot more storage space. 2. The do not lean into turns, so you have to steer them with the handlebars. 3. You need to keep in mind how far the sidecar spreads to the right – especially when parking and riding close the the curb or trees.

Indian Motorcycle and Jack Daniel’s Partner on Iconic Collector’s Chief Vintage http://www.aimag.com/2016/01/indian-motorcycle-and-jack-daniels-partner-on-iconic-collectors-chief-vintage/ Fri, 29 Jan 2016 15:48:29 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=18015 Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-1Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-9SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (January 27, 2016) Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, today announced it has joined forces with the Jack Daniel Distillery to create a limited-run, collector’s-edition Jack Daniel’s-branded 2016 Indian® Chief® Vintage motorcycle. The partnership brings together two of America’s most iconic brands who share a mutual commitment to independence, originality and American craftsmanship that dates back more than a century. The collaboration commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Jack Daniel Distillery, which was registered in 1866.

The 2016 Collector’s Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chief Vintage will be on display January 23-31 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Collector Car Auction. It will also make an appearance at a series of events throughout 2016, including Daytona Bike Week, taking place March 4-13. Ultimately, this first-in-the-series display bike will be auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Las Vegas, which takes place October 6-8. All monies raised from the charity auction will be donated to support “Operation Ride Home,” a partnership between the Jack Daniel Distillery and the Armed Services YMCA that provides funding and travel assistance to help junior-enlisted military personnel spend time with their families during the holiday season.

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“This one-of-a-kind motorcycle is the perfect pairing of these two classic American brands, and while they look great together, we’ve inscribed this unique collector’s edition masterpiece with our ‘Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix’ mantra to remind all our friends that drinking and riding are meant to be enjoyed separately,” said Dave Stang, Director of Events & Sponsorships for Jack Daniel’s. “We’d like to thank our friends at Indian Motorcycle for their help on this project and their support for Operation Ride Home.”

The Collector’s Edition Jack Daniel’s Vintage will be produced in very limited quantities, taking the iconic Indian Chief Vintage platform to a whole new level with an array of genuine Indian Motorcycle accessories and custom accessories, as well as Jack Daniel’s-inspired custom paint and logos, badging, leather saddle and saddlebags. The bike’s fender is also inscribed with the names of the seven Master Distillers who have overseen the Jack Daniel’s distilling process over its 150-year history. Final customization work was designed and completed by Brian Klock and his inspired team at Klock Werks in Mitchell, S.D. Additional details on the production schedule and ordering process will be released during Daytona Bike Week.

“It’s a pleasure to partner again with our friends at Jack Daniel’s on this project as a tribute to originality and American craftsmanship, and to do so for the benefit of our military personnel and their families,” said Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries. “Jack Daniel’s and Indian Motorcycle proudly support our troops, military families and our veterans and we are honored to join forces again in 2016.”

For more information about Operation Ride Home, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit: http:// www.jdoperationridehome.com

Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-9 Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-8 Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-7 Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-6 Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-5 Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-4 Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-2 Jack-Daniels-Indian-AIM-1 ]]>
American Iron Magazine 5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Harley, Indian or Victory Today http://www.aimag.com/2016/01/5-simple-diy-things-to-do-to-your-harley-indian-or-victory-today/ Sat, 23 Jan 2016 16:27:30 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=15250 Yes, it is winter season and many of us can’t ride our Harley, Indian or Victory motorcycle until the weather improves. But that doesn’t mean we can’t spend some time with our motorcycles to make them better for now and for those spring rides.

Here are 5 simple things from the team at American Iron Magazine you can do today to your Harley, Indian or Victory motorcycle to make it better.

  1. CLEAN MACHINE Take an hour or two to carefully wash and wax your bike top to bottom and front to back. This includes all painted, plated and chrome surfaces.  Besides making the bike look better, you are removing baked on dirt and crud that holds moisture that could lead to rust.
  2. SAFETY CHECK Now that your motorcycle is clean, give it a safety check. Look for worn or loose items like tires, wiring and connections, suspension, final belt drive (or chain) and hardware. Now is a good time to fix or replace what is needed for a safe, dependable and fun ride.
  3. ERGONOMICS Put your bike on a stand or lift and sit on it as you would when riding. How are the ergonomics and feel of the bike when stationary? Do you like where your handlebars are or would you be more comfortable sliding them forward or backward a few inches? How about the clutch and brake levers – would they feel better up or down a little? How about your shifter – up or down for a better feel. Most of these adjustments are simple and can be done in a few minutes. Just be sure everything is tight and proper when finished.
  4. LEVELS Check your tire pressure and oil levels. If they are low now is a good time to top them off to factory spec. Sounds simple enough, and it is.
  5. BATTERY Maintain and charge your battery. If you have not ridden your motorcycle in a while, it’s a good idea to check it out. Check the acid level of the cells and top off with fresh distilled water if needed (Not necessary with a newer sealed battery) check and clean the terminals. Then hook up a smart battery charger to top off the charge. You’ll be glad you did in the spring.

This free advice is brought to you by American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling American V-twin magazine.

Published 13 times a year (a new issue every 4 weeks), you can subscribe to American Iron Magazine in PRINT or in DIGITAL by clicking on the links.




WIN THIS HARLEY! Dennis Kirk Sweepstakes Update http://www.aimag.com/2016/01/win-this-bike/ Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:38:25 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=15169 Sweeps-Bike-Before-right

This 2009 Fat Boy came to us used, but will leave a very different bike, possibly in your hands!


American Iron Garage and Dennis Kirk have teamed up to give away this Fat Boy.

There’s a reason all of these pawn shop, storage container, and barn picker shows are flooding the television airwaves. People love other people’s stuff. Antiques Roadshow has been doing this schtick for years. We are not free of such covetousness, as we purchased this 2009 Fat Boy used and unseen, and, as Editor Steve Lita noted in his column in the American Iron Garage Winter issue (Winter 2015), “one man’s loss is another man’s gain.” He also noted that it was almost a shame to remove perfectly good parts from this well-maintained, finely built motorcycle. Alas, the cruiser parts have to come off, and the Fat Boy will be treated to a more aggressive, blacked-out look. And best of all: This bike can be yours.

Be sure to check out our Winter issue to see an “enlightening” install on the Fat Boy, and purchase the coming issues to follow along with in-depth articles and close-up photos of the modifications. And how can this Fat Boy be yours? Subscribe to American Iron Magazine (877.693.3572) or Motorcycle Rides & Culture (877.693.3577) and you are automatically entered to win. So subscribe today. Or you can enter with no purchase necessary at denniskirk.com.

Check out just some of parts we added to the Fat Boy, and follow along with this year’s issues of AIG to witness entire installs from start to finish.

Brand-new taillight installed.

Brand-new taillight installed.

The Fat Boy gets an air cleaner upgrade.

Clean air. Fresh, clean air.

Say goodbye to the brick-wall bracket of old.

A new license plate bracket cleans things up.

Sit back and relax.

Some new leather to park yourself on.


Help Wanted http://www.aimag.com/2016/01/help-wanted-2/ Tue, 05 Jan 2016 20:36:55 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=14991

Steve Lita, Editor, American Iron Garage


I’ve been fortunate enough to meet lots of great folks who work in the magazine industry. And not just the motorcycle magazine arena; my various paths have crossed with those of travel magazine pros, automotive and truck enthusiast mag writers, digital and webzine geeks, and even music biz journos. I like doing what we call around here seeing how the other guys do it. Sometimes I’ve been enlightened to new publishing techniques and processes and other times I end up scratching my head and wondering “How do they make a living?” But much like picking up tips for wrenching on your own bike, it’s a learning process.

Recently, a well-established, mainstream digital and print traveljournalist shared a tabulated report with me showing the results of data gathered from reader feedback and Internet hits. Lots of numbers and information on the page, some of which missed me completely. Over a drink at the bar, we discussed the meaning of all this confusing data. If you know what to look at, there is lots of valuable info on the page, and based on reader interest, future issues of that editor’s mag will feature more of the same items that rose to the top. It’s a high-tech version of combining the clichés: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and give the people what they want.

Well, with American Iron Garage (AIG) being so new to the newsstand and limited to three issues a year, it’s a little harder to cultivate lots of feedback for us to study. Sure, we can do all the spreadsheet manipulation the other guys do, but more time passes between each issue, so being the impatient lot we are, we need to take a more direct approach. We’ve added a new e-mail address to our list of contacts here at Garage@AmericanIronMag.com. And that will be our point of contact for your feedback and questions.

We need to explore directions for stories to publish in future issues of American Iron Garage, and I’m putting out the call for your input. So if you saw the headline of this column and feverishly started looking for the latest version of your résumé so you could apply for that dream-job magazine writer gig you always wanted, you can calm down and put it away. There won’t be any paychecks going out. But the return for your input will be future issues of AIG containing more of what you like and want. Bottom line: we can’t do it all ourselves. We’d like to hear from the riders of real-world garage builds and find out what your wrenches are turning.

Recently, some letters have come in via e-mail at Garage@AmericanIronMag.com requesting air ride suspension how-to stories. So we’re checking into the hows, whys, and wheres of making that happen. Our staffers’ bikes are pretty blinged out, but luckily, there are trick new parts hitting the market all the time, so we’re keeping the UPS driver busy with incoming packages. And we’ve been circling the wagons of employee buddies who own, ride, and wrench on Harleys (and even a Victory or Indian or two) to aid us with compiling the tech installs we publish.

Show us some things you did to your bike. Show us your whole bike. Show us what you’re building. Show us what you started with. Show us works in progress, or show us the finished product. We’re interested in the interesting.

Here are some tips. Use a real camera, which these days mean anything bigger than a 5-megapixel digital handheld. No cell phone shots. I don’t care what Samsung tells you, they are not good enough. Use a tripod. Ain’t got a tripod? Brace the camera against a stationary object, because, no, Photoshop cannot correct a blurry/out-of-focus image. Watch your background because we don’t want to see your neighbor’s Prius. (Don’t laugh, you should see what we get sometimes.) Can’t take a picture worth a darn? Drop me an e-mail and I’ll e-mail you a PDF of a great story we ran on How To Shoot Your Bike.

No matter what, tell us how you feel about American Iron Garage and help us put together the best do-it-yourself, real-world motorcycle tech mag on the newsstand.


This column appeared in our Spring 2015 issue of American Iron Garage, our all-tech/DIY publication, which will see four issues in 2016. While AIG is not available via subscription, you can find it on newsstands wherever American Iron Magazine and our sister mag, Motorcycle Rides & Culture, are sold, and also online, along with back issues, at Greaserag.com.


Tech Shoots and Road Time http://www.aimag.com/2015/12/tech-shoots-and-road-time/ Thu, 31 Dec 2015 20:42:52 +0000 http://www.aimag.com/?p=14979 TAKING AIM by Chris Maida, Editor

TAKING AIM by Chris Maida, Editor

TAKING AIM, by Chris Maida, Editor

I enjoy visiting various shops around the country. It gives me the opportunity to talk with many different mechanics

I’m writing this just a few days before Thanksgiving, and about 10 days late. The rest of the issue has already been shipped, working its way through the process that will eventually result in the magazine that ends up in your mailbox and on the newsstands. It’s also the first day I’m back in the office after a three-day tech shoot at Rob’s Dyno in Gardner, Massachusetts. In fact, most of the last few months I’ve been on the road shooting tech for American Iron. While it’s well known I’m the editor of American Iron, few readers know I’m also the tech editor.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about being on the road often. I enjoy visiting various shops around the country. It gives me the opportunity to talk with many different mechanics, in both H-D dealerships and independent shops, and find out what’s going on with our beloved Harley-Davidsons, as well as Indians, Victorys, and custom builds. I don’t have a shop anymore, so this is the best way for me to get info from the trenches.

It also gives me a chance to meet some of our readers. Of course, I can’t hang out when the mechanic is ready to do the installation. With me stopping him at every step to shoot photos of what he’s doing, the time it’ll take him to do the job is doubled. And, as odd as this may sound, it’s hard on the mechanic to do a shoot with me. These guys are used to rolling through the job quickly and methodically. Having to constantly stop for me to take five to eight photos per step is, for lack of a better word, aggravating. I know because sometimes I’m the one spinning the wrenches! That’s when my daughter Chelsea is doing the photography, as she did for the 2015 Fat Boy upgrade series we finished in issue #331.

But all my travel is not only for tech. I usually go to two main bike events each year: Daytona Bike Week, which is about two months away by the time you read this, and Sturgis. Unlike when I’m traveling for tech, my main focus during these events is to cover the festivities and meet our readers. So if you ever see a short guy with a ponytail in a black American Iron shirt walking around, it’ll probably be me, so come over and say “Hey!”

See you on the road.

Chris Maida

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