Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dyno Test Night

Tonight has been the first night for testing a customer's bike on the Dyno. The guinea pig was a 1970 Honda CL175, owned by a guy named Ian, hereby referred to as Ian #2. ("Two Ians don't make an Isaac," an anonymous person said.)

The guys got the Dyno set up while Ben from Hellbillie pinstriped the KO 360, Isaac worked on the bike he's going to race this weekend, and Ty took apart and put back together a petcock, which is the thing that turns fuel on and off. (I didn't name it.)

As I write this, they're taking the guinea pig through its third run. Damn, it's loud, even from the office.

The first run on the guinea pig resulted in Ian #1, Ian #2, Jesse the Bystander, and me clustered around the monitor, reviewing the graphs. Ian #1 declared it a good baseline.

Things went awry with the second run. I noticed something sparking as Ian kicked it into high RPMs, but who was I to say it wasn't supposed to do that? Anyway, nobody could have heard me had I spoken up, is my excuse.

Isaac wandered by, noticed the sparks, and signaled Ian to cut it.

So the sparks were bad.

For the next hour, the bike has been dismantled and remantled to fix the problem. Gas got all over everything when they removed the fuel tank.

"That's gonna make for a really good fire the next time there are sparks," I commented evilly.

When they got it going again just now, Isaac said, "It sounds better than last time."

Well, that's good.

As I hung out on the work table, I noticed that one or two of the guys had beers. Where'd they get them? I searched both refrigerators, to no avail. To my delight, when I returned to my perch, I heard the lovely crack/fizz sound of a beer can opening. The beer belonged to Ben, who kindly gave me his second-to-last one--and then, as he was leaving, his last one! I can never praise Hellbillie's work enough.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The KO is moving along rapidly. It has a buyer already.

"He's stoked to be getting this bike," Ian said. "He has some vision along with us, and we're finishing it off kind of how we saw fit.

"It's painted a nice, flat black. We Bondo-ed in all the little dents, dings, and others. We pounded in the scallops--the side cut-outs for the knees--a little bit more, and we finished off the wiring so it all works perfectly. We got the pipes back and new tires. We're rebuilding the brakes and waiting for new stainless-steel brake lines.

"Then, on Saturday, we're gonna get the pinstriping done. This bike is just gonna be frickin' hot-looking when it's complete."

Monday, March 10, 2008


I'm getting into this interviewing thing. It reminds me of my college journalism class, except it's funner. The catch is, I've been working with a borrowed tape recorder that's at least a decade old. I also have an electronics disruption field, which means that an improbable number of electronic devices go fritzy around me.

So it's not my fault that the tape recorder randomly edited out about half of my interview with Ty, a Twinline intern since October. At least, I think he said he started in October. The recorder edited out that part.

"Does it pick up 'mumble' all right?" Ty asked, eyeing said device.

"Yes," I said, "but only if I set it much closer to you than to my loud mouth."

Ty started at Twinline only a couple of months after he learned how to ride, which makes him a newbier newby at motorcycle mechanics than I am. (He did have an idea or two about why my bike has started surging and jerking, though. I think I'm gonna try a new air filter, spark plugs, and an oil change.)

"Riding is something I always wanted to do," Ty said. "I just never got around to it. My girlfriend got both of us riding lessons for my birthday, and that led to us buying a bike."

Okay, so he's a new rider. I knew what that meant for me: dumping the bike . . . a couple of times.

"I haven't dumped it," Ty said. "I guess the first time I do it is the last time."

I laughed.

Already, Ty plans to make motorcycles his career. It gets into your blood fast, it does.

"I just want to be around bikes," he said. "I haven't done much, but I want to do more. I like the creative aspect."

He started work at the Eastside Harley-Davidson the day I interviewed him.

"The first day there went good," he said, "but it was a little nerve-wracking. Those guys do things way different than they do here. The guys here just give me shit--call me 'HD Boy' and tell me to have fun pushing the big bikes around. They're great for learning."

"What would you get if you could have any bike?" I asked.

"If I had a garage and the money, I'd have a number of different bikes. There are aspects of different bikes that I like."

"Like what?"

The tape recorder deemed the answer unsuitable for publication.