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November 20th, 2012 by admin
No one understands America’s proud military tradition more than her veterans. Men and women who’ve suffered some of the greatest hardships humanity is capable of inflicting upon itself, all to guard our way of life. These people are as varied as those in the melting pot they protect; so too are the ways Americans thank them for the valuable service they render for the rest of us.
Tribute bikes and coffee table books aren’t new ways of commemorating the military. Far from it. Combining the two is pretty different, though, and exactly what Dana Harbaugh and Sandy Steiner did when creating their Pearl Harbor tribute motorcycle.
Veterans themselves, this was an opportunity to pay homage to their fellow servicemen and women. Dana was working on his coffee table book, Pearls of Honor: Their Duty to Remember, when he met Sandy. Sandy was at his booth at Las Vegas Bike fest when his engraving caught the author’s eye. Dana loved how Sandy’s shop, Chrome Fusion, mixed painting and chrome finishes-not on the same bike, but on the same part. Hence the name of his business.
You read it right. Chrome Fusion engraves parts, chromes the artwork, and has the unworked surface painted. Dana started talking to Sandy about the book and that lead to a tribute bike.
Talk lad to action. The two met again, this time at the shop, and started going over artwork. Tons and tons of artwork. If you’ve ever seen The History Channel, you may have gotten the idea that folks documented the tar out of World War II, and you’d be right. It took months just to get through it all! Still, they managed to narrow the field down to a mere 150 plus images, all of which found a home on the 2009 Harley-Davidson Cross Bones chosen for the project. The overall goal was to build a rolling history lesson commemorating the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941. For example, all the Pearl Harbor battleships made it onto the Harley, but the Arizona was captured in three stages—open water, bombed, and the current memorial. The dash panel also has the TCB emblem from Elvis Presley who did the concert to raise money for the memorial.
All of images were also done by hand. Detailed engraving on a motorcycle’s irregular surfaces is hard work, even for a machine. Sandy elaborated: “There’s some great engraving out there but we use unique practices. There are all kinds of angles to it. It’s not a straight line. Some have to angle out or fl air out or in; thick and thin again in one movement. If you were to take a single brush and do a tree where you had to vary the strokes in the same line, that’s what it’s like only we have to worry about fl air and depth. We do it all day every day.”
Sandy Steiner started engraving motorcycles 15-16 years ago, when he wanted detailed work for his own bike. “I’d seen rough ones from the `60s that weren’t very refined. It wasn’t being done to the detailed extent we were doing it. I wanted the same detail you’d put in a watch but in lines 3 feet long,” he recalled. Sandy had gobs of experience in leather craft and translated that to metal to get the level of detail he wanted. However, it was his son, Jason, who invented the process of adding chrome and paint into the mix. It’s a patented process; the Steiner’s guard it like a state secret or a barbecue sauce recipe. They’ve been at it many years, first in Nashville, Tennessee, now in Las Vegas.
With the artwork chosen it was time to put money to mouth and get the job done. Chrome Fusion makes a basic layout on paper, and then transforms it for the correct perspective. Just because a picture looks good on a nice, predictable piece of paper doesn’t mean it’ll look as cool on a curved tank. In this case, they traced on the paper outline, and then hand drew the details for the rest. Much like an artist making any drawing.
The actual surgery, though, is closer to painting or tattooing. You have all these lines that flair in and out, at various depths in the metal, all coming together as a distinct, very detailed form. It’s way more art than science.
Once the raw artwork was laid down, it was time for finishing. The worked surfaces received a healthy dose of shiny chrome, while the naked bits got an artistic take of their own, courtesy of the painter’s gun. This being a Pearl Harbor bike, what else would you use but a Pearl color scheme? Dana and Sandy chose pearl white but offset it somewhat with an extremely light blue metal flake. The idea was to evoke images of the ocean waters around the harbor.
Needless to say, that didn’t take nearly as long as the engraving. Dana’s finished bodywork went right back on as soon is it was cured. Then it was on to a date with destiny.
Fourteen Congressional Medals of Honor were handed out for the heroic actions committed during that day that lives in infamy. All of them are on this bike. One of them went to John W. Finn, who was the First World War II serviceman to receive that honor. He also happens to be the oldest, at 100 years of age. Dana and Sandy were honored beyond belief when Finn agreed to sign their Cross Bones. He put his name right next to his image.
November 20th, 2012 by admin
When it comes to exhaust, the typical Harley owner is interested in sound, followed by looks, with performance being the third criteria. But the XR1200 is anything but a typical Harley and neither are the owners. XR owners seem most concerned with performance, which makes sense since the bike is an all around performance oriented bike, and while sound is important the XR owner seems to be more focused on quality of sound. Additionally there are concerns that you don’t normally hear from Harley owners like weight and lean angle. A quick look on XR1200Ownersgroup.com uncovered pictures of stock head pipes that have been scraping the ground and discussions of weight versus power. We decided to round up as many complete exhaust systems that we could find and put together a comparison. Unlike most comparisons this is not just a power shootout as we also intend to address the factors discussed above. In our quest for XR systems we found that many manufacturers of sport bike exhaust systems that aren’t known for Harley pipes have entered the market, names that aren’t familiar to most Harley riders like Termignoni, Tsukigi, and Remus. We ended up with those three brands plus SuperTrapp, D&D, Vance & Hines, and BUB/Storz.
The stock Harley pipes come in at a heavy 36 pounds and the lightest in the test weighed in at just under 12 pounds, a substantial drop. Don’t forget weight wastes power. We also measured lean angle to look for cornering improvements and measured the sound output with our decibel meter at both idle and 4,000 rpm. Lastly we looked at the fit and finish as well as the subjective appearance of the pipes on the bike.
To prepare our test bike and make sure we were getting optimum performance we added a couple of other items to the bike that we believe the average XR owner will do as well. As with most new bikes, the XR comes fairly lean from the factory and a more efficient exhaust will only add to that problem. To address that our fuel injection system needed an upgrade that would allow us to adjust the air/fuel mixture appropriately. There are many different “fuelers” on the market and they range from around $200 to over $1,000. Both Vance & Hines and Remus market fuel injection modules that are designed to work with their pipes but we selected the Patriot Top Fueler from PerTronix Performance to make a level playing field. PerTronix has been in the Electronic Ignition and Performance Exhaust business for over 40 years and their Top Fueler is a plug and play type unit that takes readings from the O2 sensors and the load on the injectors to modify the fuel curve. What we liked about this unit was ease of installation and the ability to adjust it without having to be connected to a computer like many other brands. It is very user friendly and made our job of testing so many different pipes a breeze. The Top Fueler is available in a California legal version to keep your bike emissions compliant or in a race only unit. We also decided to add a little more airfl ow in the form of an air filter upgrade. The standard Harley filter is a paper unit that does an OK job of filtering but does not flow all that well and must be replaced when it gets dirty. Piper cross is another sport bike company that has entered the XR market with their twin foam element for the XR. Calsportbike is the US importer and they supplied us with a direct fit element that went in just like stock. These filters carry a lifetime warranty and are easily cleaned and reused.
In a marathon session, we installed seven different pipes with 11 different confi gurations and strapped the XR to the Super Flow CycleDyn at Dyno Dave’s in Orange, California, and ran back-to-back tests making a minimum of two runs per exhaust system. The Super Flow Dyno is considered by many to be state of the art with its Eddy Current Absorber module that offers the most reliable power measurements. We also tested the decibel readings with a decibel tester. The dB ratings we took were done at 2 feet from the exhaust tip using the ‘C’ scale inside the shop which pushed the numbers higher than had we tested outside. Finally, we checked the lean angle after each exhaust system was installed by marking the centerline of where the tires meet the road and then measuring up to the lowest portion of each pipe in inches from the ground, which was then converted to degrees with CAD program software. But before we installed any of the aftermarket pipes, we baseline the XR in its stock configuration.
November 20th, 2012 by admin
Viper’s back, and its here to stay, declares new Dodge chief Ralph Gilles. “2009 was a bad year for owners and a bad year for the car,” says Gilles of the persistent stories the Viper franchise was to be sold off. “But it woke the whole Viper nation. Everyone realized how special it is.” While the Cerberus regime failed to understand the Viper’s potential as a halo car for the company, it needed no explaining to Sergio Marchionne and his team, continues Gilles. Marchionne has committed to building 500 Vipers between now and mid-July 2010. Among those 500 cars will be a mildly tweaked ACR, and the new CR X, intended as a track-only spec racer for Viper fanatics.
“This will be a bridge to the new car,” adds Gilles. “I can develop that in peace.” The new Viper will likely appear [in] 2012. While refusing to divulge details, Gilles says the next Viper will definitely be V-10- powered, and the engine will be a version of the current Chrysler-developed 8.4-liter unit. It will not, as has been speculated on the Internet, be powered by a V-10 version of a new modular power plant under development by Ferrari. Gilles says remarks he made about potentially leveraging Ferrari’s expertise were misunderstood: “Ferrari is a great resource for expertise on advanced technologies, materials, and chassis development. But there will be no sharing of parts or components.” Gilles also discounts rumors the next Viper may switch to a V-8: “The Viper will always be V-10,” he insists, though he doesn’t rule out building a V-8 sports car using some of the new Viper’s hardware. “If it had a different engine, it would have a different nameplate. Maybe one with a snake theme.” Remember the Copperhead concept?
Gilles notes that the next Viper will have a much more stylish interior and use some advanced materials to further reduce weight though not too many, as he does not want to push the car’s price point too high. “My biggest conundrum: What is enough power?” The popular perception is the 600-horse V-10 is big and heavy. It’s long, but it actually weighs less than a Hemi V-8. The current Viper’s front-to-rear weight distribution is 49/51, and the engine is offset 15 mm to the passenger side, so the left/ right balance is pretty good too. The current V-10 is also good through 2013 in terms of emissions.
Gilles wants to look at what can be done with the power train to improve performance and efficiency. A dual-clutch transmission may be on the agenda (again, another Ferrari connection in expertise). SRT engineers say it would probably be worth 0.6 second around Laguna Seca, say, and therefore probably three seconds or more a lap at the Nordschleife. But the feeling is there would always be a conventional stick available too.
November 19th, 2012 by admin
No matter when we ride in Texas, the summer heat is always on our mind. While The Motor Company assures us that our air/oil cooled Twin Cam engine can take the high temperatures, our roasted rear end and smoldering legs tell us it’s too hot. One of the best devices to reduce engine fever is an oil cooler. However, many bike owners dislike the look of a big radiator in front of the engine. Then consider The Oil Bud because it’s a steal the oil cooler. Yeah, how cool is that?
The Oil Bud Touring Model ($595.00) is an aircraft quality, extruded aluminum cooler plate that mounts under the motorcycle between the frame rails. It’s virtually undetectable. The Oil Bud cooler plate differs from conventional radiator style oil coolers in that air passes over the plate and not through thin fins. The cooler is equipped with a temperature regulator that begins to open at 185 degrees Fahrenheit and is fully open at 205 degrees. Our kit came with everything needed for the installation including a Dakota Digital Round Oil Temperature Gauge.
We installed the Oil Bud and gauge on a 2006 Ultra Classic. We replaced the air temperature gauge in the instrument panel with the Dakota Digital oil temperature gauge. The install was easy with no fitment issues or special tools required. Our bike owner, Rich, performed the install in a couple of hours in the garage with the Ultra on the side stand.
While we didn’t have stock operating temperatures to compare to after the installation was complete, on several rides afterwards, Rich’s engine temperatures never got above 220 degrees, even at stops, and he can definitely feel the difference in cooler engine temps.
August 2nd, 2012 by admin
I want to do a lot of things, and I am sure that many people have the same goal. However, the question is “how will you going to do that?” The answer is very simple, and that is you have to do it one by one. Technically speaking, you must consider making schedules. Well, you can do it simultaneously if you can, of course. However, making the tasks fall into one single line makes does the job efficient. This makes things a lot easier and convenient. Multi-tasking is good, and again, if you can do it.
March 28th, 2010 by admin
We all have a tendency to lean on other people’s opinions. I know, because I regularly ask my contacts in the City to enlighten me on what is happening on the financial scene. In fact, we rely very much (perhaps too much) on people who know more than us in the world of finance. But it’s not impossible to become pretty clued-up yourself. Try to find out as much as possible about the subject and take into consideration the wider scheme of things. It is important to question things, and I believe that asking the experts the right questions is half the battle. Do not get me wrong, there are many people in the financial world who are good at what they do. However, there are some who do not necessarily know a lot more than you do. Remember that investment opinions are, by their very nature, subjective. Financial expertise is mainly born of experience, which teaches us that stock market crashes are never the same each time, economic cycles never cosily repeat themselves, and heaven only knows where interest rates will be in 18 months from now. We all have an opinion on the subject and so do the experts.
One fact that we can be certain of is that the future is devilishly difficult to predict. Be aware that even the greatest experts are fallible. So by all means, listen to what the experts are saying, and digest and process that information carefully. Then use your own counsel. Provided you exercise healthy caution and ask the right questions, then diversify your investments sensibly, any mistake as a result of following the advice of an expert or even just a friend won’t be fatal to your financial health.