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My Four Year Project

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ZoomingM3

Posts: 53

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:01 am

Location: Pennsylvania

Post Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:01 pm

My Four Year Project

As follow-up to my May 2006 Announcement “An Engine Build Worth Sharing” I’ve finally completed my attempt to recreate a 1936 EL. If you read my earlier post you know I ran into unforeseen problems with the original motor build, for details, please refer to the above mentioned Announcement. I have to admit, the time and effort it took to complete the bike was much more then I originally planned. In the process of constructing this bike I ran into many challenges, the biggest being an ill performing 92” motor purchased back in 2001. With the help of Doug at FHP I now have a new 82” motor that both looks and runs great. I’ve only ridden the bike a few times since I completed the reassembly but I’m pleased to say it started right up and ran strong. Doug thanks again for your support and standing behind your product(s). For those of you who are interested to see how the bike turned out, I’ve attached a few photos.

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Pa

Site Admin

Posts: 4677

Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2000 1:01 am

Location: Ohio USA

Post Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:26 pm

Now that bike is nice !!!! Awesome job Bro !!! Pa
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Plumber

Posts: 1536

Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 12:01 am

Location: S.Calif.

Post Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:23 pm

Nice motorcycle. Is this a "kit" build? I see the motor is an S&S crankcase, Cycle Electric generator, different coil, electronic distributor. 6 or 12V system? Are any other parts aftermarket? If so what? The frame? The tanks? The fenders? The forks? The hubs and rims? Who made the seat? What did you have the most problem with? Who painted it?
Now that you've built one, would you build another? How much money do you have invested in it? Would you recommend anyone else building a replica Knuckle? Do "regular" people look at it and think it's original? Looks good. Goes well with the house. Have you owned motorcycles before? Did you have mechanical help other than FHP? How many times did you have to disassemble it completely? Will you register it as "special construction", if there is such a thing in PA? You can answer any or none of these questions. Just curious about replication and registration in other states.
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JohnR

Posts: 146

Joined: Sat Nov 13, 1999 1:01 am

Location: Utah,USA

Post Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:19 pm

Neat and inspiring build. (Idea!) Bet a good tech book could be written about the experience?
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ZoomingM3

Posts: 53

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:01 am

Location: Pennsylvania

Post Sat Sep 30, 2006 9:10 pm

Plumber,

Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. Now to answer some of your questions:

All parts used to construct this bike were new. The build sheet I created ended up containing over 200 line items. A pre packaged “kit” was not used to construct this bike, each part was sourced separately. I did deviate somewhat from the original 1936 configuration by running a 12V system, oil filter, belt primary, electronic ignition, Cycle Electric Generator, 82” FHP/S&S motor and other small parts. Everything used to construct this bike can be purchased through various aftermarket dealers. The seat was manufactured by a company called Corbin-Gentry. All the paint work was done by a friend of the family.

As for the amount of money I’ve invested, let’s just say it’s less than what a fully restored original 1936 EL would have cost me.

Would I build another, absolutely. All in all it was a good experience but don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of times when I got so frustrated, I wouldn’t work on the bike for weeks even months. Would I recommend others build a bike like this, sure. If you like Knuckleheads and have the time and money, go for it.

The biggest challenge (problem) I faced had to be with the original motor. For details, please refer to my earlier post “An Engine Build Worth Sharing”.

I guess you can say the bike was assembled a disassembled three times. In the process of building the bike I had to modify quite a few parts. I also had to fabricate a couple parts that I couldn’t find.

I’ve owned many street and dirt bikes over the years. I recently sold my 1998 Fatboy along with my 2002 Honda VFR800. Selling both bikes enabled me to finish this bike without having to sacrifice on quality.

Other than the assistance I received from Doug at FHP, I constructed the bike on my own. I purchased a few books on subject of restoring Harley Davidson’s along with a Knucklehead service manual. The only things I farmed out were the motor build, paint and body work, powder coating, ceramic coating and wheel lacing. I’m no way a master mechanic nor am I a guy who makes a living building bikes, I’m just a guy who has some mechanical ability and likes to work on anything with two or four wheels.

My next challenge will be to register the bike. As I understand it, I’ll have to title it as a “Specially Constructed Vehicle”. I’m not looking forward to this process, since I’ve been told it can be a difficult.

I hope I’ve answered most of your questions.
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Plumber

Posts: 1536

Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 12:01 am

Location: S.Calif.

Post Sat Sep 30, 2006 9:30 pm

Thanks for the explanation. I use the word "kit" to mean a bike made of individual sourced pieces. Even if someone bought a V-Twin "kit" it would still be shipped in individual pieces, and you'd still have to "fit" them.
You said all the parts were "new". N.o.s new or aftermarket new?
Where did your frame come from? OEM or aftermarket, and if the latter, did you have problems with the frame? If so what did you do to correct it?
Thanks for giving everyone an inspired insight as JohnR said. It makes me want to go out and paint the rest of my parts and put mine back together.
As far as "special construction" registration, you'll find that people at the DMV will want to help you more than hinder you. Your's won't be the first. Let them know you want to follow procedure and what do they want to see as far as receipts? The inspectors probably don't get to see a replica '36 Knuckle roll through there very often. Use the visual "stoke" your machine will provide to your benefit. 8)
I’m no way a master mechanic nor am I a guy who makes a living building bikes, I’m just a guy who has some mechanical ability and likes to work on anything with two or four wheels.
That's the poster quote for the kit build industry.
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ZoomingM3

Posts: 53

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:01 am

Location: Pennsylvania

Post Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:05 am

Plumber,

Thanks for the complement. All the parts used to construct the bike were Aftermarket new. The frame came from V-Twin Mfg. (1941-46 Knucklehead). I didn’t have too many problems with the frame. There were few modifications needed but nothing a good die grinder and welder didn’t fix. Most of the modifications/rework needed had to do with mounting the later style coil, tool kit, steering stabilizer and a couple other small things. The DMV (Penndot) here works a little differently then DMV in CA. I’ve dealt with DMV in CA (I lived in CA for over 40 years) and if I remember correctly, you complete all the registration process at the local DMV office. Here you have to get all your paperwork from an independent agency approved by Penndot and then you take your bike to an approved independent service garage for inspection. Once all the documentation and inspection is complete the paperwork is mailed to the main Penndot office in Harrisburg for approval. I hope it goes smoothly.
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john HD

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Posts: 302

Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:26 pm

Location: madison wisconsin usa

Post Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:12 am

what a nice bike!

does it feel nimble on the 18" wheels? i'd bet you are going to suprize some folks with an 82" motor!

john
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Plumber

Posts: 1536

Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 12:01 am

Location: S.Calif.

Post Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:24 am

Your right about Calif. "speicals". Only now, since 2004 you can't build a "special construction" unless you use for example, an S&S motor, that has fuel injection and a non-tamperable exhaust system. And, if you did, you'd still have to camp out overnight in front of the DMV and try to be one of the first 500 in line to get a "building permit". If you don't obtain one of those "permits", you're out for another year. Basically, it all means no more Linkert carburetors out here, unless you have an old original title to build from, and then you don't need one of the special permits. (This is where the CHP steps in and will occasionally, out of m/c brotherhood and prevailing conditions, sign-off on a re-pop motor as long as it's in the frame an old titled machine you're trying to get registered.)
As first announced, the EPA rules seemed too extreme, with their one kit bike per lifetime provision. As it turned out, the Calif. Air Quality Board got more extreme than the EPA with intake and emissions. :lol: So now, the EPA rules seem more in line with freedom and reasoning, allowing a one-time, emissions-exempt "S.C.", although you can't bring one into the state and get Calif. plates unless the motor and exhaust meet the new C.A.R.B standards.
Happy trails. Sounds like you'll have no problem getting yours registered. Thanks for the update.
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ZoomingM3

Posts: 53

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:01 am

Location: Pennsylvania

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:23 am

John HD,

It's a little to early to say since I haven't ridden allot. At this point I'm still dialing in a few things (transmission (linkage), suspension, etc) so I haven't really taken it out for a long ride yet.

Thanks
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ZoomingM3

Posts: 53

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:01 am

Location: Pennsylvania

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:29 am

JohnR,

Thanks for the kind words. I don’t know how exciting it would be but there were more then a few good and bad experiences along the way.
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Kurt

User avatar

Posts: 422

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 1:01 am

Location: Tucson Arizona

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:37 am

Beautiful Bike!!!!!!! Very very well done.

I'm going to play Devil's advocate here.

I personally wouldn't let H-D see it because you could end up with a nasty letter in the mail or worse. If my memory serves me right, Krugger Motorcycle Company in Belgium, who makes some pretty neat customs and uses mostly H-D stuff in his builds, was sent a letter to remove the H-D logo's from his builds. Lawsuits would follow without compliance.

I was sent letters about a couple of my bikes that I used as display models for verification of the frame being original H-D.

Maybe it's none of my business, but I do know this site is watched by more than just the registered members.

I think Panic has a story about a guy who was taken to court for modifying his bike.......or I may be imagining that one.....

Still a beautiful bike though!!!!

Kurt
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ZoomingM3

Posts: 53

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:01 am

Location: Pennsylvania

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:40 am

With respect to my Oct. 1st post I realized I failed to acknowledge the assistance I received from fellow FHP Tech Talk members. I can’t remember all your usernames but I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for responding to some or all of my technical questions.

Thanks again.
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ZoomingM3

Posts: 53

Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:01 am

Location: Pennsylvania

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:27 am

Kurt,

Thanks for the complement. As for your words of caution, I understand what you’re saying. It would be most unfortunate if HD took that type of action. The purpose for building this bike wasn’t to try and pass it off as an original Harley Davidson, it was built for my personal enjoyment/use and not for marketing purposes. It could be said that I built this bike as a tribute to Harley Davison more then anything else. I haven’t had the bike out much so I haven’t come across allot of people asking questions but when asked I have or will be forth front in letting them know this is not an original Harley Davidson but a reproduction.

Thanks
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Curt!

Posts: 903

Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2000 1:01 am

Location: Hill City, Ks. USA

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:20 am

Zoom
I think the problem HD would have is with the tank decals that say "Harley Davidson" on them. They would also be looking for patent stickers and anything that had the Harley davidson label on it. They have really fired up their terrorist tactics in "protecting" trademarks and patents. S&S was required to change the names of their engines recently because of litigation. They can no longer use the words Shovelhead, Evo, Evolution, or Twin Cam. I think they can use something like "Shovelhead Style" HD has over 100 words trademarked that aftermarket suppliers have used to describe the parts they sell. I've been told by a couple of my vendors that the 07 catalogs will not have descriptions like FLH,FX, XL, Sportster, Superglide, Ultra, Electra Glide, and on and on. I'm really curious how they are going to get around this hurdle in letting customers know what fits what. It seems Harley is trying to crush the aftermarket industry. IMO the aftermarket is what made Harleys so popular over the years. The fact that you could count on parts being available long after HD obsoleted your bike. The ability to customize your bike using innovations and technology not available from the factory. With their own Screaming Eagle Aftermarket parts, HD believes there is no longer any purpose in allowing businesses they do not own to make a living from their name. IMO this is a huge mistake on their part. The public backlash will give HD a black eye and push people that have been loyal to the marquee for 30-40 years to become BMW, Goldwing and Victory riders.
My .02
Curt!
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MarkBranst

Posts: 344

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 12:01 am

Location: Champaign-Urbana, IL

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:35 am

Curt,

I don't quite understand your concern ... This is clearly a one-off bike, not a commercial product. Unless he goes into production, I can't imagine that HD or anybody else would care ... or have a legal leg to stand on, for that matter.

Mark
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Pa

Site Admin

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Location: Ohio USA

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:25 am

I understand Curt's concern but the way I see it.......he bought the tank emblems so he can place them anywhere he wishes. There are no laws, that I'm aware of, stating a part you purchase must be placed where another same part originally was. Example....I go into my local HD dealer and ask for a pair of spark plug wires used on a current HD model. Is the parts counter person going to ask me to sign a document stating that I will use these wires only on that current HD model ? Ain't gonna happen ! I may have just wanted that type of plug wire set for use on my own build or project. Maybe I figured my twin cylinder Kohler powered lawn mower would run more efficiently on them ? Just make sure the receipts are kept safe and sound. Once HD sells a part........it is no longer theirs !! Patents protect profits from being made from illegal duplication. They don't protect HD from customers who use what they purchased for personal use. Maybe HD didn't sell those emblems directly to him, but, HD did sell them to someone, somewhere along the way.

As far as the terms Knucklehead, Flathead, Shovelhead, ect., goes...HD didn't invent those terms. They used terms such as WL, EL, UL, FX, XL, etc., instead. It was the customers, wrenches, and builders who came up with the named terms. My 2 cents. Pa
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Plumber

Posts: 1536

Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 12:01 am

Location: S.Calif.

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:12 pm

Here's a for instance:
HD has the chrome '54 script for gas tanks made in Taiwan to HD specifications. Kit # 91784-92T. HD licensed, clearly printed on the bubble-pack packaging as "official", with no designation as to where you can attach it. When you buy the script, you are buying their name. If you went into replica production of motorcycles, you'd have legal problems attaching the script to the gas tanks and calling the replicas Harley-Davidsons. But, HD would have a hard time convincing a court, that the tank emblems they sold on the open market, could not be used anywhere you wanted to put them. Their copyrights are diligently enforced, so that they can choose who to chase. If your not trying to rip Harley and their stockholders off, then HD doesn't care what you do, but they keep their "legal stick" to hammer you with if they feel they need to.
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amklyde

Posts: 624

Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2003 1:01 am

Location: Wisconsin, USA

Post Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:06 pm

Beautifull Motorcycle with a modern twist. I would love to ride this bike.
Last edited by amklyde on Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Curt!

Posts: 903

Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2000 1:01 am

Location: Hill City, Ks. USA

Post Tue Oct 03, 2006 12:17 am

First off... It is a beautiful bike and is very well done. My post was my thoughts in expanding on Kurt's post above mine. The bike is not a Harley Davidson, but the gas tanks clearly label it as a Harley Davidson. That is the point I was making. The Harley fleet of attorneys are doing more than ever in coming down hard on the aftermarket manufacturers. Take a close look at any official Harley manual. In the small print there is usually a list of the trademarked names owned by HDI. They do include Panhead, Knucklehead, Sportster, and a whole bunch of other names even if they weren't invented by Harley. They are commonly used to describe the company's motorcycles, so HD trademarked the names. I have heard a lot of horror stories from people that have been served cease and desist orders. Zoom may never have to deal with any notice from HDI, and I hope he never has to. He should be aware that it is a possibility, and should think about a plan of action if it ever does. Sanding off the decals and repainting the tanks would probably appease HDI. He hasn't said whether he will have the bike featured in any magazines (it's certainly worthy) or entered in any shows, but I would be concerned about calling any great amount of attention to the fact that the bike has no Harley parts on it except the tank decals.
This is just my opinion. I'm not trying to dis the bike. It's a great job and something to be very proud of.
pa.
if you are putting Harley decals on a motorcycle's gas tank aren't you labeling the whole bike as a Harley Davidson? You are copying the script and location of the labeling system that HD uses. Whether it is tribute, or whatever, it copies the process Harley Davidson uses to label it's product. I don't think they care if it's for personal use, or resale. Bottom line is that you are labeling a motorcycle as a Harley Davidson when there are no HD parts on it.
Curt!
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