Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,

If you wait long enough and buy enough bikes, you eventually will see bikes you have owned, or ones you had a chance to buy. I like to think when I can buy an old bike back; it’s like its coming home. Like an old friend that has long left the home town. One that has come to stay for a while, making a new life for them self, it’s always good to see an old bike again. I got a call to buy an Ultra Classic off an old customer named Mike. I had sold this guy a cool shovelhead a few years back, and remember the bike. I bought it from a guy named Terry who loves to read the mag (The Horse BC). Terry built the shovel from swap meet parts. The frame was a swing arm pan frame that was molded and racked out, the front end was a 33mm about 4 over. It was a kick only bike and an 80 inch shovel! It was a beautiful shovelhead at the shop, I told Mike I didn’t really want to buy the ultra but I would love that shovel! Mike quickly said “Nope! Not for sale!!” So I lied a bit and told him I’d come look at the ultra. In the back of my head I was going to buy that shovel back! Mike lived way out in the country down a long dirt road. He lived in a house with a horse pasture, and one horse running around named Boots. The bikes where in the basement of the house, you could enter from the garage in the back of house down in the horse pasture; I should mention that mike had 5 bikes total. To get to the gate that let you into the pasture, we had to drive the truck down a hill that, without 4x4 we would not of made it back up (well with 4x4 and a tractor.) Once we made it down the hill and though the gate, and fought off the horse. I made it into the basement only to see Josh chasing boots though the pasture. Josh drove a plow truck out there to tow the trailer, his plow truck had little flags on the end of the plow, Boots had bit one and ripped it off the mount, Boots was chewing it as Josh chased him around the yard. Josh eventually got it back and came inside. Mikes basement is a maze, while wondering around Josh came across the Shovelhead. He called out for us, trying to find Mike and me that was all I need to change the conversation. The bike was in horrible shape, Mike had towed it home on an open trailer, on a wet day and there was salt still on the road (In Michigan we use salt to melt the snow off the road). All the chrome was rusted; all the polished parts were oxidized. Not to mention all the dust the bike collocated from just sitting for two years. Mike was in shock, he knew the bike would be dusty but all the rust and oxidation. After that he was happy to sell the bike back to me, in hopes I’d get her back to her former glory. We loaded the trailer, and hooked the truck in 4x4 but it wasn’t enough to get out of the pasture. Mike had to hook up his tractor to us and pull the truck and trailer out of the pasture, though the gate and up the hill. (I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures, Josh was the one in the mud hooking up the truck, sorry buddy.) The shovelhead now sits in my shop on display, not as a bike gone bad but as a cool barn find. Customers always come in and check it out; I never thought dirt would make a bike look cool. If you read Turn and Burn a lot, a few issues back you remember a Shovelhead Drag bike I found on one of our parts scores. Chris was the guy who owed it, it was his and his dad’s bike, and they raced together. Chris at the time didn’t want to sell the bike. But time goes on, people want different things in life, Chris wanted to move north and need money for a cabin. I was happy to help; truth is I never stop thinking about the drag bike. I love drag racing and I can remember going to the Harley Drags over the years it was always a blast. To have the honor of owning a real drag bike was awesome! Chris walked me though the startup, how much air to put in the air shifter, and the safety shut offs. The bike had no charging system on it so the battery on the bike is just for the ignition, a car battery is carted up to the line, then hooked up to the bike though a connector on the side of the bike, and this is how you start it. It has a Barnett clutch it in, after you lunch the bike you just hit a button and with the air shifter it without pulling in the clutch. It is an amazing machine, the best part….. It’s a shovelhead!!