Thursday, February 21, 2019

Harley FXR?

The current FXR fad is crazy! Love them or hate them, you cannot deny the fact that the FXR is arguably the best designed frame Harley every produced. The FXR saved Harley from AMF back in the 80’s and has been in a ton of movies; anyone remember Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man? Lately, an unusual amount of FXR’s have been making there way to the shop, I’ve had more in the last few months than I have in the last few years and oddly enough all were from 1992. One was a salmon color (although it looked pink haha!) it was pretty well stock with a chrome front end, 21” front wheel and 16” fatboy on the rear. The second was all-black with a fatboy front end of a 2000ish fatboy, the rear end had been widened so a 180 tire could be run, and it also had a Baker 6-speed. I thought it was pretty cool, looked like a hot rod to me, but the front had to go. We swapped out that fatboy front end for a narrow glide and a 21. I was going for that Marlboro Man look! It came out nice and looks fun to ride it has nice lines to it. Now the third FXR was truly something special. Shovelhead Joe and Josh made quite the drive for this one but it was well worth it! Not only was it 100% stock, its condition was simply immaculate. Original blue paint, mag wheels, Harley Davidson saddlebags and stock exhaust all in perfect condition made you believe this had just left the factory back in ’92! I wanted to move that bike fast; I had two other FXR’s we were playing with so a stock one could just go up for sale. I had Josh list it on Insta-gram, we thought putting the bike up for sale at 5500.00 was a fair price, little did we know, we were sitting on the holy grail of FXR’s. The amount of phone calls I received from that ad was insane, after about an hour Josh took the ad down but that didn’t stop the calls. It turned into a bidding war. I had calls from California, Mississippi, New York, you name it, they were coming from all over the US! After talking to some guys that called I found out the bike was worth 7500.00 and my price was just too low. The blue FXR was the most desirable bike out of the FXR’s I had bought. It was the right year, right paint, right wheels right everything and it was un-touched. Everyone wanted it; I wish I had ten more! The first guy that called was my buddy over at Clem’s Speed Shop here in Michigan, Danny D, he said he would pay asking price and wouldn’t haggle with me which is saying a lot for him. That guy knows how to haggle, paying asking price is just unheard of with him! This is not the first FXR I sold him, when he sees an FXR he wants he sure does find a way of getting it! We dickered for 2 hours over an FXR he bought from me months back. It was built by Tony Carlini and it was one of ten, a rare bike in the FXR world with a flamed-out paint job, it reminded me of the California Kid car. Tons of Ness parts, chrome swing arm, front end motor mounts; you name it, it was chrome. I have the original parts sheet with pricing on it; Carrlini was asking 39,500.00 bucks for it back in the early 90’s so you can imagine it was loaded with all high end parts! I guess it goes to show you how out of touch I am with the FXR world. I would have never thought that blue bike was worth 7500 bucks, it truly was a beautiful bike – a piece of history that’s just not made anymore. It’s funny I’m still learning at 54 years old but I think I will just stick to my shovels and pans! Although I’m not a big FXR guy do I think they are cool. It’s amazing what people are doing to them, the crazy wheelies and rolling burn outs. I think it’s great that guys are still working and fixing up old bikes. Are they perhaps the new Choppers?

Thursday, January 31, 2019

A knucklehead!

A knucklehead! I’ve bought and sold bikes for years all over Michigan but I’ve never bought a knucklehead. Josh and I were working on a new bar I bought, Josh had the van full of tools, I should point out that I got the call in the morning from a buddy who owns a motorcycle dealer ship in the next town over from me. He called and said I got a knucklehead for sale, it’s a customer of mines bike and he owns me some cash for some work we did on another one of his bikes. The dealer ship sells new Kawasaki’s, so I kind of blew it off thinking “come on, there is no way this guys has a knuckleheads its most likely an iron head for sale.” My day went on I was running around taking care of things while Josh was fixing things at the new bar, I had asked my buddy to send me a picture of the bike. It was late in the afternoon and I had just gotten back to the new bar to talk with Josh when the text finally came though. I looked at my phone and almost dropped it, Josh looked at me and said “whats wrong did you just get a nudy pic?” I just turned my phone to show the picture and there sitting in the back of a dimly lite back room in a shop was a Knuckle head! I said “we got to go, bring the van!” Josh said “It’s full with all my tools, but I’ll make that fit!” It wasn’t but 6 miles from the new bar to the shop where the knuckle sat. I ran inside I didn’t even wait for Josh; I didn’t want to lose the deal! I was looking the bike all over when Josh walked in with a flashlight and man i could tell he was trying to keep his excitement down. The motor was blown up and it looked like it had stoker plates on the bottom of the cylinders and the cylinders had let lose. The cases needed repair but they were not bad, it had an S&S oil pump on it and a later carb mounted on it but the heads and trans were good. The motor and trans were in a wishbone frame with an extended hydro front end off an Panhead. The gas tank was an old mustang tank and the rear fender looked like it was done over a Finch’s shop. It was an old chopper at its best. Everything was there just a bad cylinder. And I was happy to buy it. As we were checking it out I found out I that the title wasn’t signed off yet, I got a little up tight after all the title was a big part of the deal. A knucklehead is great but a knuckle with a title is even better. I had to leave but Josh stayed and waited for the guy to show up and sign off on the bike. He got to talk with the guy for a while when he got there, he told Josh how he had the bike since the 60’s and how he had rebuilt it with the frame it was in now. He said that bike was like a member of his family and it was hard to sell her but he was very happy we were buying it and it was helping him out of a jam. Josh got the bike loaded it in the back of the van, tools and all. The next day we unloaded the bike at the shop and talked what to do with the thing. Knuckles are cool but I’m a Shovel man, I didn’t want to put the time into rebuilding the whole engine. So we decided to just sit on it for a bit until we got a good plan together. I was texting some friends of my mine trying to figure out what was the bike worth. Brain a guy I met from instagram said he would give me 7500 sight un-seen for that motor! Another buddy Junior told me he would take it if brain didn’t. Knuckles are hard to find up in the Midwest, not a lot of guys are die hard knuckle guys, and you tend to see them more out in California. So to find one less than 10 miles from my shop was insane. The best part was that the dealership had advertised the bike for sale on Facebook and no one even called about it, now you might think it was the price that scared guys away from calling on the bike but I’m here to tell you I paid asking price and I could of bought a Sportster for what I paid for this bike! I was sad to see the knuckle go so quick but it is coming into winter and the shop does slow down this time of year. I would of love to have had it hang around awhile, who doesn’t like an Old knuckle hanging around? Maybe I just got lucky one this one or maybe it just goes to show you that you always need to be looking to see what’s out there, you never know what is hiding in your neighbor’s garage or just 6 miles down the road!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

amca swap meet!

Well it’s the end of July so that means the Wauseon Swap meet is going on! It one of my favorite shows that I go to, it’s a working vacation for Josh and me. The week before was the normal; stuffing the trailer full of old parts and loading my 26ft trailer with bikes. One last thing to check is our hotel rooms, if you remember Josh and I would stay at bed and breakfast in the honeymoon suite. Josh call two days before the show only to find out the bed and breakfast had been sold and was now just a house. Now this is a big deal for me, I hate the heat and camping out side, I’m sorry I’ve gotten to a point in my life when I like ac when I sleep not to mention a shower. Lucky we found a hotel about 30 minutes away and scored the last room they had! So this year we thought it would be cool to take some bikes down to ride, Josh brought his EVO chop and I took my old shovel “Super Fake” along with 3 Harleys for sale and 4 old dirt bikes. A kid that works for my named Kyle begged me to go down and help, offering to work for free. Now I love free help as much as the next guy but Kyle’s nick name is half pint around the shop and that’s not because he drinks. Kyle’s got a lot of heart but he can get distracted very easily but his a young kid in his early 20’s. So being as I couldn’t fit 4 dirt bikes in my trailer, I let him drive a truck down and camp at the event ( I did offer to let him sleep at the hotel with us but he didn’t want to). We left early Thursday morning, we had a convoy driving down, there were 4 trucks loaded with motorcycles and parts for the swap meet, it was a smooth ride down and drove almost straight thought, only stopping at a great little breakfast joint on highway 20. The roads are smoother down in Ohio, Michigan roads can break your back riding down them. Highway 20 is a long country road that is just north of the fairgrounds where the swap is at. After eating and stopping for gas it was around noon when we got to the meet. Venders were already set up and selling. They looked as though they had been there a few days before us. It didn’t matter, we got the trailers where we wanted them and started to unpack. It takes all day to set the parts booth and the bike booth. Customers were digging thought boxes as Josh unloaded them. Sales were off to a good start. I had just sat down to have a beer when two guys walked past my bike booth, one looked over and said “hey look at that wide glide!” he asked the year and I told him 85. He looked the paint set over and said “these tanks are off a 86” I replied “yes but there are in good shape.” The man asked how much? I said “5500 takes it,” he looked at his friend and said “pay him”. I was stunned; I asked do you want to hear it run? He said “it just needs to run long enough to make it to my booth.” Josh came down and helped me get it running; the guy was on his phone taking; so I asked his buddy (who was paying me) who is this guy? He just laughed and said “he is a collector he has a nice 86 but needs a paint set, he’s only buying it for the paint”. Now I couldn’t believe it and was thinking man I was at the right place at the right time, it normally doesn’t go that easy! The rest of the day was quit at the bike booth, just a lot of friends stopping by, drinking a beer or two and sharing stories from the past year. That’s one of my favorite parts is just seeing old friends I only get to see at Wauseon. A lot of them come a lot further than we do, some as far away as California. Josh was at the parts booth he was selling parts left and right, making deals with guys; he was in his element. At the end of day we jumped on the bikes and headed for the hotel. It was getting dark and we hadn’t had dinner yet, but the ride there was made up for it, the roads were amazing, it was all farm land around us and the weather was perfect for riding. As we got to the hotel I seen Ron Finch pull in, turns out him and his daughter, Karen, were staying there too. Josh and I jumped in the Finch mobile and we all headed out looking for a place to eat. Country roads and farm land is cool but after dark there is nowhere to eat, we ended up back in Wauseon in a Wendy’s parking lot eating cheese burgers at midnight. The food sucked but it was a lot of laughs. The next day wasn’t much better as we sat down to have the complimentary breakfast we watch the rain start to come down. It was 10 miles riding down the smoothest wet roads, but hey we looked cool! The swap was in full swing when we arrived, Kyle was doing his best to sell parts, luckily terry was there to give him a hand. It rained off and on the rest of the day but that didn’t stop people from coming out. Bikes sale were slow that day but Josh was having a great day in the parts department. We left a little early that day to have a good dinner; it made for a good night. On the way in the next day Kyle called and had a guy wanted to buy all the dirt bikes, so I haggled with the guy on the phone and it paid for breakfast. It continued to rain most of the day, I had to get back home, Sunday morning we had a bike run leaving the shop. I was lying in my trailer, while Josh and Kyle loaded up what little parts we had left (Josh sold most everything), when I heard someone say “is this bike for sale?” I looked up to see a man and his wife in the back of my trailer. “I yelled back yeah it is” and the dickering began. Now the shovelhead ran great when we left the shop but Saturday morning, as I am showing the guy the starter clutch gear went out. After a while of kicking and trying the electric start, the bike finally came to life. The man took it but at a cheaper price than I wanted but hey what the hell it’s not like it ran perfect. I wanted it to be a perfect trip I.E. I sell all the bikes. Talking with this guy I found out he sells bikes over in Europe, I asked if a 1975 FLH would be of any use. The FL started and ran perfect and he had to have it. Only thing was I had to drive an hour south to deliver it to him. With Kyle and Josh following we drove all the way to Grand Rapids Ohio, a cool little town next to a river. It didn’t take long to get the bike unloaded and get paid. We stopped in a little bar and had burgers and beers before heading back home. It was a late night but it was fun and I think this was our best year in Wauseon. We sold a ton of parts and bikes. We headed for home with a pocket full of cash ready to buy the next score.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

It’s a Panhead man!

It’s amazing to me when someone will call with a bike for sale but they are not ready to show it. When you want to sell something shouldn’t you be ready to show it? Especially when you call a buyer out to take a look at it? I got a call like that over a year ago, the man said he had a panhead he wanted to sell but he had to get it up to his house from the shed, I told him no problem I’ll wait for your call. Now you can be polite and say you will wait but you can never really wait, something like that will get sold from out underneath you. I called the man back a few days later and asked if he was ready, a big fat no was his reply. A few more days and still no, I asked if he needed some help; saying how Josh and I would be happy to come down to lend a hand. But he didn’t want any help. I can dig that, but this went on for months eventually I gave up on the guy and thought “I most of lost that one.” It was one year later on my first bike night at my Bar, which if you read the article for awhile, you know it’s a big party! Josh and I were getting everything together for the big night, when I got a message on my phone from a guy about a panhead for sale. Wasting no time I called the man back I didn’t want to lose out on another panhead! To my surprise it was the same guy from last year! He told me he finally got that panhead up to the garage. I looked at Josh and said “I got to go!” I grabbed a kid that works for me named Kyle and we jumped in the van to head for Taylor Michigan. The panhead was in his garage, it was crusty but it was a panhead! You could tell it had sat on a dirt floor for years the rim was so rusted you could see the inner tube! It had an old narrow jammer springer front end on it with a spool type hub and the smallest brakes rotors I’ve ever seen. It had an old Hurst air hart master cylinder. The seat was a small custom seat that almost looks like a camel back seat. The whole frame and tins were all rusty but you could see the cool old paint on it with moons and stars. The man said I have the original tank, he ran back inside the house and pulled out this beautiful painted tank that looked like an old Procter & Gamble logo that was drop from the brand back in the 1980’s because people started saying the company was in Satan worship and there logo had “signs of the Devil in it”. Before I could even get the question out he said “yeah I got the idea form Procter and Gamble, I thought the logo was cool and I design the whole bike around it!” I thought that was pretty cool! Now looking at this bike it was ruff, but it’s still a panhead, the man was stuck on his price for the bike; no matter how many problems I pointed out he would not budge on the price. He just said “look the motor was rebuild it doesn’t even have 50 miles on it!” looking though the paper work, we found the receipt for the rebuild at a Harley dealer…..in 73’. Well, I thought what the heck it’s still a cool old Chopper, Josh can get it running! Once we got it back to the shop, I couldn’t wait to show Josh the new bike. Funny he just walked out back and started cursing. A few days later he had that old bike turning over freely. It had a stuck valve and the trans had a bunch of water in it, at the fear of finding much more wrong with it we just parted it out. I think Shovelhead Joe already sold the trans! As for the roller I’m going to keep it around I have an old generator shovelhead I’ve been saving to build something cool, and I think this would be the perfect chassis for it! Although that old devil logo does give me the creeps! It’s cool how times less this chopper this bike, it’s been 45 years since it was built and it’s still cool, This is another bike I picked up this week, and I wonder if something like this is going to look cool in 45 years? It’s a Fatboy twin cam motorcycle with a ton of motor work done to it, ported Screaming eagle heads, cams, and a Thunderheader. But I can’t understand all the speakers you can’t hear them at sixty over that exhaust pipe. And why the apes; the bike was built to go fast but I’ve never seen a drag bike with apes. Will the matching flames bags be cool to? Time will tell.