Spring Prep: Top 10 Checks to Get Your Bike Ready to Ride

American Iron Garage

At this point in our riding careers, we have a pretty good handle on the necessary precautions and checks and yet, every so often we’ll have one of those infamous “oh $#!#” moments. Sometimes it can happen in the garage or driveway, other times it can happen out on the road. Those moments suck, so we’ve compiled a list of ten basic, and some unusual, points to check before heading out for that very first ride of the season, or any ride for that matter. (Click on the page numbers below to check out the list!)

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Mark Potter’s Man Cave

Harley memorabilia offers a quaint and acceptable substitute to wallpaper.

This edition of My Garage appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of American Iron Garage. Back issues of  American Iron Magazine and American Iron Garage are available at Greaserag.com.

Mark’s 2007 Softail Deluxe combines retro and modern to keep his oasis grounded in the present day.

Kick back and relax, and please try not to drag your jaw on the floor. Welcome to Mark Potter’s home garage, something more of a gearhead haven and the initial induction to a new segment here in AIG. And what a way to kick it off. Mark’s garage is a polished collection of wow and more wow, and it’s a delectable collection of eye candy for all. From the decadent, handmade Harley-Davidson-imprinted floor plate, cut to look exactly like the Bar & Shield, to the stroll through history lining the walls in the form of posters, newspaper clippings, photographs, and artifacts, any motorcycle enthusiast would find a warm, fuzzy welcome in Mark’s garage.

This micro-Harley utopia orbits the centerpiece of the garage, the nucleus of Mark’s universe: his 1942 WLA. We would be content enough hanging around in the garage, lighting a stogie, taking in a ballgame on Mark’s surround sound television, and lapping on for hours about Harleys and all of the memorabilia strewn around the room. But talking points would begin and end with what Mark attributes to fully tying the room together, the mint ’42 WLA in all its historic glory. WLAs were introduced in 1942 as production of

Here’s that ’42 WLA, the bruising cruiser that helped win the war. Now, ain’t that nice?

civilian motorcycles was almost stopped entirely when America entered World War II. The WLA, also known as The Liberator, primarily operated as a military vehicle, though many soldiers who rode them during the war were inspired to purchase Harleys when they returned home. Mark’s WLA dons an all-black paint job (as opposed to a military green), but it’s still an incredible piece of history flashing its style in the middle of his garage.
Mark did most of the work, along with some help from his riding buddies. He tells us that it’s an ever-evolving process, but it has been heaps of fun to build and, of course, enjoy. The Harley bistro table was handmade, and the barstools feature leather seats with the Harley-Davidson logo. Not lost in the luster is his 2007 Softail Deluxe, sporting some sweet sharktail exhaust tips, and fitting into his blast-from-the-past theme with some whitewalls and a windshield.

Everywhere you turn, you’re met face-to-face with Harley-Davidson history.

We’re thoroughly impressed with Mark’s motorcycle Valhalla, and we appreciate his letting us take a look around. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a friend who puts in this kind of legwork for his “man cave,” but we’d certainly take an invite from Mark any night of the week. It’s Miller time! AIG

WIN THIS HARLEY! Dennis Kirk Sweepstakes Update IV

This 2009 Fat Boy came to us relatively bone stock and ready to revamp. Now, it leaves our hands a new bike, ready to be ridden by it's a new owner, who can be you!

This 2009 Fat Boy came to us relatively bone stock and ready to revamp. Now, it leaves our hands a new bike, ready to be ridden by it’s a new owner, which can be you!

Centuries of poets, bards, and musicians have long serenaded the masses with the wonders of the world shaking the cold of winter and embracing a rebirth in spring and summer. So, too, are we excited for the changing weather, albeit with less pretty wordification. As we move into the riding season for much of the country, our American Iron Garage Spring issue is in still circulating the newsstands, and Summer will be hitting the shelves at the end of May. There’s still much to be seen on our Dennis Kirk/American Iron Magazine giveaway Fat Boy, with the upcoming issues of AIG rife with installs and how-to guides, and there’s plenty of time for you to enter to win. Head over to Greaserag.com to order any and all back issues of AIG, and keep your eyes peeled for these Fat Boy installs, as well as many others, in the our Summer issue.

We got our hands around some Love Jugs Cool Masters, a pair of external cooling fans that promote efficient air flow over those hot twins while crawling through traffic. It was a fairly straightforward install, and we were even able to complete a Klock Werks project from Spring that required an ignition relocation. The exhaust system also received some TLC in the form of blacked-out 2-into-1 Freedom Exhaust Outlaws, and we noted some tips and tricks to get through this install properly. Lastly, we cleaned up the stock coil and hanging wires with an ACCEL Stealth SuperCoil install, a project that might sound daunting but was actually finished with relative ease. The winner of this sweepstakes will surely be a happy new owner.

The Love Jugs assembly mounted right onto the left side of the Fat Boy, where the horn used to be. Who needs that thing, anyway? (To be relocated!)

The Love Jugs assembly mounted right onto the left side of the Fat Boy, where the horn used to be. Who needs that thing, anyway? (To be relocated!)

Love Jugs Cool Masters will keep the future owner's skivvies a little drier this summer.

Love Jugs Cool Masters will keep the future owner’s skivvies a little drier this summer. Notice the Klock Werks ignition relocation mount, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And how can that new owner be you? Be sure to check out our Summer (On sale 5/31) issue to get a peep into the American Iron ossuaries where all the handiwork gets did, 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) and you are automatically entered to win. So subscribe today. Or, you can enter with no purchase necessary at denniskirk.com.

Dangling wires be gone, this stock coil setup hits the bricks.

Dangling wires be gone, this stock coil setup hits the bricks.

Off comes the incumbent exhausts! Impeach!

Off comes the incumbent exhausts! Impeach!

Notice anything different? ACCEL Stealth SuperCoils clean up the left side reaaal nice.

Notice anything different? ACCEL Stealth SuperCoils clean up the left side reaaal nice.

On goes the Outlaws. Draw!

On goes the Outlaws. Draw!

WIN THIS HARLEY! Dennis Kirk Sweepstakes Update III

Sweeps-Bike-Before-right

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

The Dennis Kirk Sweepstakes is still underway, as we continue to modify this beauty of a Fat Boy throughout the rest of this year’s issues. We will continue to tease the modifications and installs we do to the bike on the site, and the full install stories are available for your viewing pleasures in our Winter issue of American Iron Garage, on newsstands until 3/8, and in our Spring issue set to hit newsstands that very same day. As always, all back issues are available for purchase online at GreaseRag.com.

See that stock oval air cleaner up there? You can kiss it goodbye, tell it to suck wind, as we’re cleaning that look right up with a brand new Crusher air cleaner. Crusher, the performance division of Kuryakyn, has parts available in the Dennis Kirk catalog and 12 parts to fit a number of different models. We whole-heartedly approve of the new look, and we’re sure the Fat Boy’s newest owner will, too. And that basic taillight out back? Hit the bricks. We swapped out both the taillight and the standing license plate bracket for a much more pristine look.

Air Cleaner 2So how can that new owner be you? Be sure to check out our Spring (On sale 3/8) issue to witness a visually pleasing upgrade and a sweet mount 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) and you are automatically entered to win. So subscribe today. Or, you can enter with no purchase necessary at denniskirk.com.

 

 

 

Air CleanerTaillightTaillight2

 

 

 

 

 

WIN THIS HARLEY! Dennis Kirk Sweepstakes Update II

Sweeps-Bike-Before-right

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

Back in January, we published the first in a series of post to keep you updated with the Dennis Kirk/American Iron Garage Fat Boy sweepstakes. We revealed a few pictures, spoke briefly about the bike, and gave you instructions on how you could be entered for a chance to win. To see the comprehensive install stories in relation to that post, pick up the Winter issue of American Iron Garage.

The game continues. We’re still going to tease you with suggestive glances at our Dennis Kirk/American Iron 2009 Fat Boy, inviting you in for more. We’ll hike the skirt up a little bit, in a risqué move to show off where the aforementioned Fat Boy started out. We’ve already spoken to the fact that making modifications to this bike felt bittersweet, as it came to us used and almost the perfect bike. So as to give you lot something to oogle, we teamed up with Dennis Kirk to give this bike away. But you may want to know a bit of its past before getting into anything serious. Here’s the chart from its run on the dynamometer, before anything came on or off.

Click the photo to enlarge.

Fat Boy Before Dyno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check out our Spring (On sale 3/8) issue to witness a visually pleasing upgrade and a sweet mount 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.

Kiss the old floorboards goodbye.

Kiss the old floorboards goodbye.

JayBrake forward controls give the Fat Boy a clean, modernized look.

JayBrake forward controls give the Fat Boy a clean, modernized look.

The Fat Boy ditches these old digs for a serious upgrade.

The Fat Boy ditches these old digs for a serious upgrade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh dash for the Fat Boy. Very fresh.

Fresh Klock Werks dash for the Fat Boy. Very fresh.

WIN THIS HARLEY! Dennis Kirk Sweepstakes Update

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

Steve Lita, Editor, American Iron Garage

EDITOR’S COLUMN by Steve Lita

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.

 

American Iron Wants To Publish Your Harley Photos

We at American Iron Magazine and our all-tech American Iron Garage want our readers to share your bikes, photos and stories with us and in our pages.

We love to get and share your letters in our magazines, especially when you include good photos of you and your bike.

Right now, our focus is on “before” and “after” photos of your bike. We need in focus, well lit photos of the entire bike as you bought it, and then good photos of your Harley, Indian or Victory after you modified or customized it. We also would like a little info on what you did, why and how, and your name and address.

Please send the “before and after” photos to Garage@AmericanIronMag.com. And you can always send your letters to Letters@AmericanIronMag.com.

American Iron Garage The All-Tech Harley Magazine New Issue

Following the terrific popularity of past issues of our American Iron Garage newsstand speiclas, we at American Iron Magazine are publishing 3 issues of our all-tech Harley magazine in 2015. These are newsstand specials and are not included with subscriptions. The first issue of 2015 is now on sale.

All-tech Harley magazine.

All-tech Harley magazine.

THE ALL TECH HARLEY DO-IT-YOURSELF MAGAZINE FOR REAL WORLD RIDERS AND WRENCHES.

We offer plenty of new products and services for Harleys ranging from stock, baggers, chopers, bobbers and more.

Lots of great do it yourself tech, installs, maintenance and home built customs.

This issue features a bargain basement build by Steve Hatcher of an old Ironhead Sportster as a sweet street tracker. Including buying the basketcase Harley, the entire cost was less than $2,000.

If you can’t find this issue of American Iron Garage (it might sell out quickly) you can buy a digital copy at DIGITAL or a print copy from Greaserag.com

American Iron Garage: Quiz

Garage-winter-14Back Page

Class In Session

intro by Steven Wyman-Blackburn
questions by Staff

After reading this mag and obtaining a wealth of information on how to get your hands dirty with oil and grime, what’s the next logical step in the learning process? That’s right. Answer the DIY questions shown below. We created this quiz  as multiple choice questions whose answers will define you as a mechanic and, in turn, determine whether or not you possess the exclusively innate ability of capably wrenching your bike. Each question you see below is the result of hours, even days, of relentless study sessions, crafted from a vast array of ideas that have been consolidated into what is now a cluster of loaded, multifaceted questions of accumulated knowledge that we feel properly exemplify the art of the do-it-yourself project.
This completely legit grading system is based on a numerical scale of 10 possible points:

0-3 points: Put down the tools and step away from the bike!
4-6 points: Take this issue, flip back to page one and start reading. Heck, read through the first issue for good measure. Once you reach this page, take the test again. If you get a better score, great. Now get back in that garage and wrench!
7-9 points: Pat yourself on the back and go back in the garage. But you were already there anyway, right?
10 points: You scored better than our assistant editor. But that’s not saying much.

1. Your toolbox consists of

A. A 200-peice Craftsman mechanic’s toolset.
B. A couple of screwdrivers, wrenches, and a handful of leftover nuts and bolts from motorcycle projects.
C. What toolbox? I keep the hammer in a kitchen drawer.

2. The nickname “batwing” refers to

A. A popular fairing style, known for its use on the Street Glide.
B. My least favorite option. Long live the shark!
C. A DC comic book hero.

3. If your bike breaks down, you

A. Unwrap the toolkit from your saddlebag and start diagnosing the issue.
B. Start pushing to the nearest gas station.
C. Call roadside assistance.

4. Where is the motorcycle oil filter located?

A. On the engine somewhere.
B. On my workbench because I bought the wrong one.
C. On the shelf at the dealership because I’ve never changed the oil on my bike.

5. What is a “bored” engine?

A. An engine with larger than stock pistons.
B. An inattentive, listless engine that has no ambition.
C. An engine with longer-than-stock connecting rods.

6. A “snap ring” is

A. A wedding band that emasculates you when you wear it.
B. A small fastener that flies across the shop and disappears when you try to install it.
C. A metal ring that slips into a groove on a circular surface.

7. A “nut driver” is

A. What I encounter on my morning commute every day.
B. A hand tool that tightens or loosens hex fasteners.
C. A machine that harvests acorns.

8. Where is the kickstarter located?

A. On the right handlebar switch.
B. On the transmission.
C. On the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run Coast to Coast ride.

9. Your garage is

A. Clean and organized with tools hanging on a pegboard: everything is in a specific place.
B. A “collection” of sorts. Rags, scraps of metal, wood blocks, screws, nails, and anything that might one day be useful.
C. The dealership across town. I have the phone number on speed dial #3.

10. A “magneto” is

A. A fancy word for engine; an alternative to power plant or powertrain.
B. An electrical generator that uses permanent magnets to produce periodic pulses of alternating current.
C. One of the most powerful and deadliest mutants from the Marvel universe.

For the answers, click here.

 

Taken from American Iron Garage Winter issue, purchase by clicking here.

The current issue of American Iron Garage is available on newsstands and digital delivery via Zinio.