Team American Iron Motorcycle Cannonball 1929 Harley Update

I have been working on my 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH every week to get better prepared for the up-coming Motorcycle Cannonball in September. I have been so busy working on the bike and my job at American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger and RoadBike that I have not posted anything on this blog in a while. So here is a quick update on my Motorcycle Cannonball Harley Two Cam.

Motorcycle Cannonball Ready 1929 Harley JDH 2 Cam

The bike is running well, starting easily and making great power. The brakes are marginal at best but I am learning better how to cope with that. We added an era-correct luggage rack and a set of cheap saddlebags I found on ebay. I have two mirrors and the mounting bracket for the route holder, and installed a fork brace and a rare vintage Hanson roll up windshield.

I have the bike legally registered and insured and I am running a rear 1929 Connecticut license plate. In addition I added one of the two official Motorcycle Cannonball plates and need to figure out how to mount the other on securely.

I took the bike up to the AMCA Rhinebeck NY meet last week and enjoyed riding it around up there until the gas line split and began running raw gas onto the generator. I replaced the steel Y pipe with long rubber gas lines and a plastic T fitting I bought at in the plumbing section of Home Depot for a couple of bucks.

The bike usually starts on the first hot kick and runs well. I replaced the fossil oil in the sump and oil tank with Amsoil synthetic (thanks Amsoil for sponsoring Team American Iron’s Motorcycle Cannonball ride) and feel I might have only some fine tuning to do before the 3,800 mile ride from New York to San Fransisco in September.

Team American Iron Support Staff Motorcycle Cannonball 2012

If you would like to support Team American Iron we are selling our Support Staff T-shirts for $20.

The art on the front shows my 1929 Harley riding across the US.

The art on the back has my #15 and Team American Iron Support Staff.

To order your shirt(s) please visit

New Year With Lots of Motorcycle Events

We are proud to be presenting the all-new Ultimate Dealer Bike Show at the American V-Twin Dealer Show.

Every February, motorcycle dealers, parts manufacturers, and distributors take a few days off work to meet in the heartland of America. We brave the winter cold and snow to gather at Advanstar’s annual Dealer Expo in downtown Indianapolis. This is where many of the newest products and services are revealed to the industry and the motorcycle press. And 2012 should have even greater significance to our readers as Advanstar is launching the American V-Twin Dealer Show inside its long-running powersports event.

The bad news is that, unless you work in the powersports industry, you can’t get into the show, which is closed to the general public. The good news is that our team will be there, covering the event and showcasing the most exciting news and products in print, on our Facebook page, and on

We are proud to be presenting the all new Ultimate Dealer Bike Show at the American V-Twin Dealer Show. In addition to sharing many of the best new products, we will photograph and feature some of the more interesting motorcycles. The bikes in this show are dealer-built customs from around the world, so we are curious to see what cool rides will show up.

If you are a motorcycle dealer or work for one — franchise or independent — this custom bike show is a great chance to showcase your work. Call my pal Bob Kay at 919/886-5075 for more details or to enter. And, remember that our editors will be picking several bikes from this dealer-only show to feature in this magazine.

Motorcycle Events for 2012
While the new year is just that, a new year, we are already making plans for the 2012 motorcycle events we will be attending. We can’t attend all the events we’d like to, or we’d never be able to produce American Iron Magazine every month or to increase our Motorcycle Bagger from six to nine issues in 2012. Here’s a brief list of some of the events we’ll be part of:

American V-Twin Dealer Show: The motorcycle trade show in Indianapolis in February.

Daytona Beach Bike Week: A must-attend event for us every year. It marks the start of another year for riding. Plus, we are usually suffering from cabin fever and need to leave the snow of New England for some sunshine.

Motorcycle Kickstart Classic: Our first one in October was so popular that we’re going to do it again and perhaps add a second ride in another part of the country so others can join us on this two-day ride for vintage motor­cycles.

Sturgis Bike Rally: Another must-attend deal for our crew. We love the craziness in Sturgis and riding the amazing Black Hills.

Motorcycle Cannonball: After the first one, I figured I was done with cross-country rides on antique motorcycles. But I’ve signed up again, this time for pre-1930 motorcycles. The two-week ride from Newburgh, New York to San Francisco starts Friday, September 7. Info at

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

Buzz Kanter  
American Iron Magazine

Spare Engine for Buzz’s 1926 Motorcycle Cannonball Harley

One of the things I learned in last year’s cross country Motorcycle Cannonball ride was that it is a very good idea to have as many spares as possible. As I shared in the pages of American Iron Magazine riding a 1915 Harley across the US meant trying to track down parts not easy or cheap to find. Next year I am planning on riding a much newer (and easier to find parts for) 1926 Harley. So I have already begun to think about building the motorcycle I plan to ride AND to start stockpiling spares.

A spare 1920s Harley engine for the Motorcycle Cannonball

 Last year I purchased this engine, which is obviously made up from parts of various year Harley engine, and another much older one. My plan is to take this one apart and rebuild it as a back up engine for my 1926 Harley I will be riding on the Motorcycle Cannonball. Everything on this engine is pretty rusted, so much so I can’t even get out the sparkplugs yet. I’ve been soaking and spraying everything with Marvel Mystery Oil and Aerocroil for a couple of months and nothing yet.  

As crude as this old Harley generator looks, it sure beats the magneto ignition I used in the first Motorcycle Cannonball ride.

Someone suggested soaking the entire engine in a big bucket of diesel fuel for a week to loosen it up. Not sure if that would help, but might try it if nothing else works.

Once I have it all apart I will better know what I am dealing with. The good news is that parts are easier to find for a mid to late 1920s Harley than my last Motorcycle Cannonball project – Selma, my 1915 Harley.

Harley Magazine Editor To Ride 1926 Harley In Cross Country Motorcycle Cannonball

It is the dream of a motorcycle editor to ride a vintage Harley cross country and share it with his audience. As the Editor-in-Chief of the world’s best selling Harley magazine I was fortunate enough to buy, rebuild and ride Selma, my 1915 Harley motorcycle on the first ever Motorcycle Cannonball. This event was a coast to coast ride for pre-1916 motorcycles. No, that’s no typo – a cross country ride on pre-1916 motorcycles.

Buzz Kanter and local policeman with Selma on the road before the first Motorcycle Cannonball

Nothing like this had ever been tried before and none of the 45 riders really knew what to expect before we rolled out of Kitty Hawk, NC for the Santa Monica pier in California. I was committed to ride my 1915 Harley twin as hard and far as [Read more…]

Motorcycle Cannonball – Riders Gather in Kitty Hawk, NC

The area around Kitty Hawk, NC should be home to a lot more classic motorcycles this week than is usual. Today is the first official day for the Motorcycle Cannonball riders to begin assembling before the 17 day cross country ride begins on Friday.

The official action begins tomorrow from the Motorcycle Cannonball riders and their pre-1916 motorcycles. Michael Lichter, the official photographer of the event, is scheduled to shoot formal studio photos of as many of the roughly 70 pre-1916 motorcycles as he can fit in. Official registration and inspection starts tomorrow and runs through Thursday afternoon.

Then there is a rider meeting on Thursday, September 9 at 6 pm. Following the riders meeting is a kick-off dinner. There is then an official Motorcycle Cannonball group panoramic photo at 9 Friday morning and then the first motorcycles (Class I – single cylinder, single speed motorcycles) pedal away into history.