Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New to me

I've wanted a 920RH for a long time, it's I think a truly exceptional starting point for a custom bike that you're not likely to run across regularly. The RH (chain drive) version of the XV920 Virago was sadly only sold in the states for a couple years. 
Pics ganked from the CL posting. A very nice 920rh now sits in my garage awaiting a turn on the build stand this winter. I stole this bike from the previous owner for a very good price. 
This is what I'm planning to build with it.....yum!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Willow: A lesson in Evolution

 I've been threatening some features for a while now and really have been working on them, the trouble is I'm a reactionary writer...meaning I need something to riff off of instead of being able to pull stuff out of the ether like truly talented pensmen can.
With that in mind I cried mercy and begged for outside assistance. Once again and without access to a computer Mike D. stepped up and ran with the ball.   
Thanks pal, the tail light is all you!

A bike called Willow
Words by Mike 'VonYinzer' D.
Pics and videos by Troy Helmick and Associates 
Formatting and editing by a talentless monkey that looks like me.

     Todays world is a one of consumerism and waste. It’s a place where throw away culture has overwhelmed and digested the ideals of the craftsman. There are still those amongst the Bluetooth wearing, plastic and happy, that cling to the ways and skills of the past. Most don’t do it for the (sometimes very little) money that can be made, or any sort of recognition. It’s a calling of sorts. A cross wired DNA strand maybe. It’s an obsession at worst. One of those so inflicted is Troy Helmick, of West Virginia.
     A photographer, farmer, motorcyclist, community leader, husband and father; Troy is a busy man. No matter how little time left in his day though, the draw to fashion a motorcycle that fit his image of machine meets art meets history was too strong. He has ridden his entire life, but none of those bikes fired up the synapses in the manner he longed for. In rolls a half wasted, long forgotten Honda Cb360. It was rescued from a grassy, shallow grave and dragged home to be reborn.

A few times actually.

     The first iteration was as a lean and minimal café racer. Troy handmade the rearsets, seat, and a fitted a 70s CB200 tank as well as other bits for the 60s era racer throwback before assembling the once tired Honda. Once finished, it was a study in function. Superbly done in blue and silver, the CB360 was the target of awe for all who saw it. All but Troy. Into the garage it went, again nearly forgotten and unused.

Light, agile, pretty and fun!

The motorcycle sat like that for a time, before Troy was struck with the need to create once more. The Honda was pulled from the cobwebs, the café parts sold off, and the skeleton prepped for a second rebirth. This time was as a stretched swinger, low and skinny bobber. The original tank was pulled off the shelf and painted a beautiful metallic brown with gold lace work panels. Brass accents were added tastefully. A couple different sets of custom handlebars were installed during this period.

Low bike.....big damn dog!

Again though, the end result hadn’t pushed the envelope enough for Troy. So, our intrepid builder tore the old bike down once again. 
FU baby......FU!

While the above is not a heavy rework, the visual effect is significant to say the least!

This time the modifications were a bit more severe. A bit more, as in the frame was cut to bits and welded back together as a classically styled chopper. Troy as always performed all of the work himself with help along the way from various friends and associates. The classic Hodaka tank was located and mounted. Another set of custom, high rise “FU” bars were fabbed up and bolted down. The wheels were further modified, and a simple yet effective sprung solo seat was created to keep ass from floor. Fenderless, loud and mean as a drunken billy goat, the once rusted commuter bike rolled back into the world. It wasn’t quite what Troy had envisioned, but dammit, it was getting closer.

The 'Hodaka Tank Period' when she was still called 'Beat the Clock' was one of my favorite iterations of this motorcycle. One off frame, unique collection of parts and those bars all added up to a good deal of style.
    After a season of abusing the 360 in this form, inspiration struck in the form of 1920s board-track racers. That was the Eureka moment. The light that shines from on high. Again, the saw-zall and tubing bender were warmed up and the Honda was rolled onto the work table. A long cold winter of late nights after long days later and what you see before you was created. Willow.

Nothing like knocking it right outta the park!

     The rolling representation of one mans will and vision. Its beautiful frame, with the art deco lines was hand formed and welded. The flowing and organic fuel tank was shaped from high tech materials, in the most low tech way; with a persons hands. Just as the frame and tank were created in a manner not unlike those days of long ago, so was every other possible part. The handle bar clamps were machined by Lee of Homage Moto Works in Oregon. The seat pan was covered in an aged leather by Jim at Alchemy Upholstery in Pittsburgh and mounted to a heavily modified leaf-spring and then to the frame. The copper velocity stacks were made by the “Canuck Plumber” from (you guessed it) Canada. Everything else came from the small unheated garage Troy called home every night for months, upon months.
           In the end, the rolling vision in these photos truly speaks for itself. The combination of one hundred year old design, modern materials, an abandoned Japanese commuter bike, and one mans several year exercise in persistence to build what he saw in his own soul. Awards have been won, and jaws have been dropped by Willow but to hear Troy talk of the feeling he gets simply turning the throttle on HIS motorbike I think he’s found the center of his soul. That place that all of the members of the oddball group of humans out there who still know how to use a tape measure properly, or that change their own oil all aspire to find. Ride on Troy.

Looks like art to me......

Not much more Mike or I could add at this point so I'll just let these last few shots speak for themselves. 

I would like to thank Mike Dock for taking the time to write the words and Troy Helmick not only for his patience with my slow pace on this but also for creating a true gem of a motorcycle from what others would just wander past without a second look. Fools all......

Ok how about some videos?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Skynet can't be far off.....

I like technology as much as the next guy, in fact I built prototype electronics in a research lab for 6 of the longest years of my life. Well, ok so THAT 6 years kinda killed it for me but I still dig all the new whizzy gadgets that pop up. But.....

This cute little guy is just happily doing his thing here, but I can't help but worry a little. How far away are we from autonomous, MOTILE robots? Ones that grandma can send out to the market for a loaf of bread or that will fill your gas tank or patrol the streets and enforce our over abundant laws? How long till some Douche-nozzle hacker figures out how to control them and make them do bad things....like steal motorcycles!

Ok that was fun, but in truth this is just neat. The little guy stops, starts, steers and balances this little bicycle without external assistance.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vendor Shoutout

I know I said I was done for the day but....
I've decided to create a 'shout out' feature here for good vendors and other sellers who do the right thing. Now, I know there are lots of good online shops out there but this is more for the individual who in my opinion is going the extra mile. I am not affiliated with any featured vendor other than as a customer.

First up is The Cycle Barn

Seems a small thing, I just needed a servicable CB360 rear axle assembly for a project here in the shop....oddly enough NOT a CB360 haha. I did a quick search on ebay and came up with these guys. I noted that all his photos are really clear and the parts are clean. I rolled the dice and hit 'buy it now' on the 7th and kinda forgot about the piece for the time being. 
It came in via the mailbox, and being a used part...I was astounded by what was in the box. The pic showed a clean used axle assembly, what I got was a clean used axle assembly and by clean I mean nearly spotless. Compared with the item in hand, the pic on ebay looks dingy and cruddy. These parts really are very nice, and unmolested. Not rounded wrench flats, no...NONE at all....surface rust to speak of. Even the chain adjusters and hardware they included are all as close to perfect as possible. 
Add to that, it came packed with real care. I'm pretty careful about packing stuff to ship and this guy is right up there. not only was the axle assembly carefully wrapped in newspaper but that was then nestled into a box very firmly packed with the edible soy packing peanuts. I don't recommend chowing on them, they taste kinda yucky but they won't kill you......

All in all, I'm very pleased with The Cycle Barn and will definitely check with them for used parts when I need them! You should check'm out too!

Yay Monday......

So this last Friday was my birthday and that made this weekend pretty busy, good....but busy. As such I'm dragging ass today. This week I have three sets of clip-ons, a pair of billet triple clamps to hack out and maybe a little time on one of my projects too. Not a heavy week by any means but enough to make planning my time a worthy exercise, first order of the business then is to get off the damned intertoobs and make something. 

With that in mind I'd better get my Monday post lined up for y'all!
Tidy comes to mind......oh, and 'Woof'!
 No upholstery, no lights, no fucking cup holders....Yup, gimme!

Conspicuous Abundance

We need more of this in America. Too much spent on worthless farkles and not nearly enough good sweaty fun.

Add your own caption......'cuz I can't think of anything good enough to follow this pic

Lastly and still quite important:
Members and followers otherwise known as 'The Barbarian Horde' please please get me your particulars via email so I can get you some swag! I have a sticker design that's about ready to go to production and you of the Horde will be receiving a unique version so get to it you slackers!

Real name:
Nickname used online (if you do):
Where you post most often:
Mailing address:

To make this all official: your personal information will not be sold, rented loaned or otherwise displayed for any other online douche-nozzle to fuck with. I'm Douche-Nozzle enough for everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cleaning off the shelves.......

So I'm gonna need to free up some monies in the next few weeks, between buying another project bike (should have my head examined), rebuilding this stinking computer and my urge to drink expensive whiskey....I'm short a few $.

That being said, here's a fun bit that I made for a project that never came to pass.
What to do with an old S90 piston and tail light and the LED portion of a broken but fiendishly bright tactical flashlight? Make a piston tail light!
Start with one gooched '65 SS90 piston, add turned and pressed in brass plugs tapped M6. These were pressed in with around 2000psi so they ain't falling out anytime soon.
You can see the LED driver installed in the aluminum ring. I used the flashlights' chromed reflector though I doubt it's needed, this light was vicious on 4.5v.....even with the current limiting resistors, on 12v it should be brutal to anyone tail-gaiting.

What!?! A crack in the lens!? Yup. I took the very center of the SS90 tail light for this piece with it's equally authentic crack. Kinda weird though, the crack appears to be completely internal to the plastic lens. Can't feel it on the outside or inside.
Here's a shot for scale....except I have big hands. It's a 50mm/1.985" piston though so you get the idea.
Anyone want this piece? Drop me an email and we'll work it out. I can also help with a mounting bracket should you need......

Other things immediately available:

 Cerani style cast aluminum headlight 'ears' for 35mm forks. They have some shelf wear but nice overall. $35 shipped in the US 

CB450/500t idiot lights, everything works but could use fresh screws $20 shipped in the US.
08 EX250 top clamp, excess bits milled off and a fresh coat of black epoxy $25 shipped in the US
CB450/500t ignition switch and key. $50 shipped in the US.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

He fell down officer.....no...really.....

Yep, that's just how it happened. First person that 'Snopes' me on this gets a bag of flaming dog poo in the mail...haha
Yes. Yes it is.....

I'm not one of the 'Occupy Wallstreet' guys but I do think we need to institute 'Punch a Banker day' and move our funds to Non-profit credit unions. End of the month for mine you fat bitches!

Crude, dangerous, unrefined and unrepentant, loud, obnoxious, completely uncivilized.......fucking perfect!

Well lookee there!
Stacy Dash, forty-something and so devastatingly beautiful as to be unfair to women half her age. Thank you dear for nothing more than existing.

Ok you lot, I count 30 of you and that's cool!  
Followers, you lot otherwise affectionately known as my Barbarian Horde, please hit me up at the shop email address: HomageMotoWorks-at-gmail-dot-com with the following:
1) Real name
2) Screen nick you most often post under
3) Where you most often post online
4) A shipping address where you can receive mail

I'm about to get my first run of Stickers done and would like to gift you all with one or two. Just 'cuz you all rawk!