Friday, December 11, 2015
Summer has finally arrived in Michigan and it couldn’t have come soon enough! I had just gotten home from Milwaukee when I got a call from a good friend of mine. His name is Don Tubbs III. His dad, Don Tubbs Jr., better known as Weasel, had two bikes he wanted to sell. I had stopped by Weasel’s house years before and looked at the bikes. He had two very old, hard ridden Shovelheads. Weasel lives about two hours away from the shop so I couldn’t just “stop by.” It had been so long since I had seen the bikes, I couldn’t remember much about them other than that they were Shovels. Don III was going to go see his dad over that next weekend. I figured that made it a good time to shoot up there. Besides, the truck was still all packed! It was a beautiful Michigan morning. Josh and I left just as the sun was rising. To my surprise, the more north we drove, the more snow was still on the ground. That’s Michigan for you! Drive a little ways and it can be a whole new season. Winter was trying to hang on a little longer up there. When I got to Weasel’s house, Don III was waiting there with his son, Don IV! The bikes were hiding in the barn out back. We walked around back past more take-off parts than a dealer ship would have. Weasel had worked at a Harley dealer for over 20 years as a mechanic. He had collected his share of parts over the years. He had parts coming out of every corner of this barn! We even found a cool, old FRX cop bike from 1985. I had come to buy the Shovels, but I couldn’t help setting my sights on all those parts! Weasel had been in the business for a long time and knows his stuff. Twenty years of swap meets and wrenching on Harleys had made him a very smart man about old parts. He knew what every part was and where every part was at in his barn. After haggling a bit, I was only able to score the Shovels, but it was okay, I was happy to just to get the bikes. All of the Tubbs love motorcycles and riding. Little Don was riding a snowmobile around the yard while we talked. We hung out for a while talking bikes and watching Little Don play in the snow. It was really cool standing there with three generations of Don Tubbs. As fun as it was watching Little Don riding Josh around on his little snowmobile, we had to head for home. I got a good line on some vintage Triumph race bikes on the way back; but for now the van is full and Josh already has a lot of work ahead of him! He has to clean and get those Shovels ready for the internet. ~Boomer Check us out on FaceBook: Boomers Bike Shop Follow us on Instagram: Boomers_Bike_Shop
Friday, November 20, 2015
We had our tickets and our vacation planned thanks to Scott Johnson from Fuel Cafe. I had never been to Milwaukee and my sight was set on it. What could make a better family vacation than a motorcycle show? Josh and I worked all night while Sandy and Heidi packed up. The morning that we left was cold with a chill in the air; a real brisk Michigan morning. We set off for the open road! Three hours into the trip it dawned on me… Milwaukee is far. We made the best of it and I was in a good mood, but right as I was about to leave town someone tried to get shovelhead out from under me! Whom, you ask? The one and only Fab Kevin; and he was all too happy to send us pictures of the score. I wasn’t going to let it get me down. I was bound and determined to have a good time. When we hit Milwaukee, it was unreal! There are tons of cool old buildings and the streets looked clean. That is something we are not used to in the Detroit area. When we found our hotel, Josh and the girls took everything up to the room while I parked the car. I found a cool little steak house for dinner right next to the hotel. We went in for a good meal, but got much more. Walking in was just like going into a Speakeasy back in the roaring 20’s. The steaks were great and dinner was awesome. Most of our friends had tickets to the pre-party, but we did not. Instead, we had drinks at the little bar in the hotel. The whiskey flowed. Around 11 pm Sandy and I headed for the room. Josh and Heidi stayed at the bar because people were returning from the pre-party. I knew things had to have gotten wild. When we entered the elevator the next day, a man asked if we were part of “that Detroit crew.” Our first stop that morning was the Harley museum. I was so excited! It has been on my bucket list for a while. If you have never been, you need to get there. They have so much to see. The engine room was my favorite. They have motors I didn’t even know Harley had ever made. Josh was stuck in the “beginning of Harley” room. He is a sucker for antique bikes. They had a bunch of cool things, from Evil Knievel’s bike to bikes people had put together in their garages. After we spent a few hours at the museum, Josh, Heidi, Sandy and I headed for Mama Tried. The show was not far from the HD museum in a cool, old building right in downtown Milwaukee. It was crazy! There was no parking anywhere around the show and people were everywhere. Mama Tried took up two floors in this building. Josh took off and tried to shoot all the bikes at the show. I was walking around when an older man stopped me and said he knew me. I was pretty sure I had never seen this guy, but who knows? Maybe he did know me. We started talking and he said his name was Paul Smith. Paul is an artist. He has done work for Harley in the past. His gallery was not far from the show, so the next morning we stopped by to see it. Paul had paintings of bikers from 60’s and 70’s all over the room. We talked for hours and he showed Sandy, Heidi, Josh and I art work he had created over the years. Paul showed me pictures of his old Flathead chop he had back in the 70’s. What was really special was finding out that Paul was the guy that created the Harley Davidson Eagle on the Bar-and-Shield. It was created from a project he was commissioned by Harley Davidson back in 1974 to create decals for the 1976 Bicentennial Liberty Edition motorcycle. The entire collection of decals and a poster of the Liberty Edition painting that he created in 1975 are on display at his galley. By the time I left, I felt as if I had known Paul for years. He was like a new, old friend. I could have spent the rest of day talking with him, but we had to hit the road. I would have loved to have spent some more time in Milwaukee, but I needed to get back home and get back to work. Summer is on the horizon and I have bikes to sell and parts to find. It shouldn’t surprise you to know, I ended up swiping that Shovel from Kevin. I know it’s going to cost me, but NO ONE GETS A SHOVEL PAST BOOMER!!
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Yesterday Got to take a Mustang down to the dyno at Walsh Motorsports. Boomer has been working on this car all summer and now its time to see what to do with the motor. It was completely stock when he found it. he was looking for something he could drive for work all day but still have some fun with it. over the summer he made it look like it dose today. He was pretty happy with the power it had but like most peoplenow he wants more! and Donnie Walsh is happy to him out! Next summer well hold some big changes for this car!! stay turned!
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
What is a bike shop with no bikes?! We can’t have that! We are selling as quickly as we’re buying and fixing right now. Once it was ready, I posted the Ice Bike online. A man from Milwaukee bought it and came to get it. When he showed up at the shop, it was Scott Johnson of Fuel Café and the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show. He loved the bike! He said he was looking forward to racing the bike at Mama Tried. He was really cool, and even gave us some tickets to check out the show! Josh was able to get that ‘77 FLH running. Now, when the starter button is hit, it fires right up. He got it running great. We try and keep a little black book of bike buyers. I had Josh email a few of them. One guy named Arne, who likes to buy Harleys from us, wanted it. Just one photo of that bike and it sold for $7500. I hated to sell the bike, but winter is cold here in Michigan and selling keeps the heat on! With the ‘77 off the lift and heading over the pond, we got Freight Train up on the lift. I told the guys to just clean it up and get it running. I didn’t think it would be a big deal or take too long, but after they got into the bike, they found a few issues that we needed to fix. First was the starter; it smoked when Josh tried to start it. Luckily, we not only buy bikes, but parts as well. I had one or two starters hanging around for just such an occasion. Once we got a good used starter on it, we had to make a new bracket to hold the starter to the 5 speed transmission. Then, we noticed that the inner primary was a little chewed up from the drive chain. We pulled the primary apart and installed a primary saver. While we were in there, I opted to put a pro-clutch instead of the stock clutch. Since this was a hot rod Shovel, those drag pipes wouldn’t do, but a Thunder header would! Lastly, a little bit of wiring made the bike run better than ever. I wanted to keep Freight Train so I had to find something to sell. As fate would have it, a guy walked into our shop with a running Shovel for sale. Terry had read about us in one of the greatest magazine on the market today! Yep, you guessed it, The Horse BC. He read that we buy and sell bikes. Terry was looking to possibly trade his Shovel for a bike with electric start because he couldn’t kick the bike any more. I had one bike left out of the nine Harleys I bought a few weeks earlier. It was a 1986 Softail custom. It was mostly stock, but it was fast. Terry loved the Softail and wanted to make a deal. His Shovel was cool, but it didn’t have a true Harley title which affects the value. It makes it harder to sell, because there is a smaller window of willing buyers. Then, Terry offered to throw in a parts bike he had too. Now when Terry said “parts bike,” I assumed it was a roller or some bike that wasn’t running. Nope. The “parts bike” was 4 boxes and a frame! That’s great. Like I said, we buy parts as well as bikes. I got Zeke started on selling the parts online. Meanwhile, Josh and I started cleaning up the old black Shovel. This bike consisted of pieces from many different years, but it had some really cool parts on it. The frame was a “drop link,” which would have had a pan in it. The front end was a true super glide with extended tubes. All that, combined with the chopper oil tank and the old pan stuff, made it a really cool bike. We decided to clean up parts like the saddlebag supports and an old horn. I thought a cool, king queen seat would look good on there. My friend, Dustin Themm had a Harley super glide swing arm seat lying around and it looks great on there. As we were working on the bike, an old customer, Mike came in. Josh started talking about all the cool parts on it. Mike called me the very next day to make a deal on it. I love buying old parts as much as I love buying motorcycles. I find that someone needs to uncover parts to put them back into the world of the chopper. I’m always telling Josh to save one or two parts from every bike or lot of parts we get. I was going through a shed out back, and little did I know, the guys have started to build a bike out of some of the parts we have saved over the last year. They had a pretty good start on a roller! I really like what they have going on. It really got me thinking, so coming soon: a buildup of a bike with all used parts from here at Boomers Bike Shop. I’m still thinking of a name for it so send us some ideas at BoomersBikeShop@yahoo.com!!
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Busy, busy, busy! The shop has been busy! I’m so thrilled about it! Josh has been selling bikes as fast as I can find them. The nine Harleys I picked up are all gone! So once again, I hit the internet looking for more deals to please Josh and my missis. During some Thanksgiving Day internet cruising, I found an old FLH Shovelhead, but it was way up north about 4 hours away from us. I called the guy anyway, thinking maybe I would take a road trip. It turned out the owner, Rex, was willing to drive it to me. To top it off, he had a bunch of panhead parts he would throw in on the deal too! The very next day, after we got that shovel; another guy was coming into the shop to buy two bikes we had in stock. With some quick thinking, I had Josh roll the Shovelhead out front so the guy would have to walk right by it. That was it! He had to have that bike too. It’s a hard business I’ve put myself in. I love motorcycles. Harley Shovelheads and EVO’s are two of my favorite motors every made. My problem is not the trouble of finding them, or trying to get them bought; it’s that I want to keep every one of them! If it’s not Josh wanting to keep one, or my wife, it’s me. I have seen a lot in the last 18 years in the business. I’ve seen almost every old bike come and go. I recently ran into an old friend, Gerrit. He rode an old hot rod Shovel that we called “The Freight Train” back in the rally running days. I’ve wanted his bike for a long time now. Of course, now of all times, when I’m looking for bikes to sell (not keep), he wants to sell The Freight Train. This Shovel is one of the lowest bikes I’ve ever seen. The rear fender was changed to a Fatboy rear fender and the way it was mounted made it look even lower. The motor has dual fire heads, Crane Hi-4 ignition, and a Jims 5 speed trans to back it all up. It is all black with a chrome front end. Man, it looks mean. So, late one night I sent Josh out in his new shop van we are calling “The Beast” to pick up this bike that I’ve chased for so many years. I didn’t tell Josh about my true motives. I had no real plan to sell that bike any time soon. Another bike we picked up recently was a ‘77 FLH that was in pieces. It was almost together, but still needed a few days worth of work to get it shining again. The bike had only 17k original miles on it. The guy I got it from, Murph, is a classic biker. He has run with clubs for years and lived the life. Unfortunately, he had fallen on some hard times and had to sell his bike. He had the bike painted and was half way through rebuilding it before he couldn’t finish it. The tanks were half-way mounted on the bike so he could start it to show that it did run. It was just a roller with a rear fender on; at least the drive line was all together. After dickering for a while, we reached an agreement. After Josh and Zeke took the bike and loaded it in The Beast, we hit the road headed for the shop. At first I thought that maybe I would just part out the bike. After all, it was mostly in pieces as it was, but Josh being the purist that he is, wouldn’t let it happen. He has a thing for old stock bikes. I don’t get it at times, but he wanted to get it back together, so I let him go for it. He first laid out what he had; the fun part was figuring where everything went and trying not to scratch all that fresh paint. After two days of work Josh had it all bolted back together. He went to fire it up and the starter clutch gear went out. No problem, we are a bike shop, Josh can fix that. He went ahead and changed the clutch gear. After that was fixed, he went to start it again, only to find out the switch in the handle bars went out. I have heard for years of the “AMF curse” and this bike seemed to have it. After Josh fixed the handlebar switch, the starter relay went out. It was at that point, I think I heard a wrench hit the back door. Josh will get it fixed or I’ll call my old friend T.G. Speed to help us out. Either way, the bike looks amazing and I’m starting to see what Josh sees in an old stock bike. I still haven’t told Josh about my plans to keep The Freight Train, but I think if I keep talking about it, he will start to really like the bike. I know the shop is really busy, but I’m not in a big rush to sell these bikes. I think I need to hold on to a few. After all, what’s a bike shop with no bikes??