In today’s landscape of custom bikes and bike builders, where it seems like everybody is giving bike building a try, it’s becoming harder to see any sort of originality in the marketplace. All you see are cookie-cutter “choppers” (I use that term loosely) where a builder’s idea of ingenuity is a big back tire and a long front end. And when you do find work done by the real talent in the industry, it’s incredible machine or sheet metal work, but it’s in no way applicable to your bike.
June 21, 2010 | By: Anthony Todd
Frame geometry, rake and trail are important components in how your motorcycle rides, but that doesn’t make them any less complicated or frustrating to understand. So today we’re going to simplify it for you and show you how rake and trail work hand-in-hand to enhance your motorcycle’s performance.
Let’s start by defining rake and trail:
- Rake is the angle of the steering head — measured in degrees — from a line 90 degrees to the ground.
- Trail — measured in inches — is the distance between an imaginary line drawn through the steering head to the ground and a line straight down from the axle (See figure
Just when you think you’ve covered every square inch of your bagger in chrome and created a piece of motorcycle art, you notice your Plain Jane front end, sticking out there like an ugly date at a high school dance.
Too often, when we’re in the midst of customization with all the custom paint, billet wheels, booming stereos and chrome dipped covers, we overlook the front end. We often have the erroneous opinion that the front end is pretty much un-customizable. So we ignore it. And that’s our best thinking.
Sometimes I get a little distracted while scouring the earth for new bling for your bagger or maybe some hot rod shovelhead parts. I forget to take the time to recognize that we at J&P Cycles are a complete one-stop shop for all of your biker needs.
We aren’t just here for you dirty bikers, we’re also here to help the ladies, and I’ll be the first to admit that over the past few months I have neglected members of our fairer sex here on Two for Tuesday. Women enjoy bike parts as much as the guys, but with men, bike parts is just about as far as we go. … Continue Reading
Like any other sport or activity, motorcycle riders have a language of their own, including terms that leave the “civilian” population scratching its head in confusion. One such phrase I often hear bandied about at J&P Cycles is the term “old school.” Another oft-used word is “bobber.” Where do these phrases come from? What do they mean? What’s the actual definition of a “chopper?” And what’s with all these motorcycle motor monikers? Today’s blog post deals with the origins of the slang used in the world of big bikes.
Let’s start with the term “chopper.” These days this word has come to mean any custom motorcycle. However, in its origins, … Continue Reading
We’ve all been there — a beautiful day, gorgeous countryside, the wind in your face. Cruising along in absolute admiration of the day and, splat, the first drop hits the face shield of your helmet. This leads to immediate denial — no, it can’t be — but it is, and all of a sudden the downpour begins.
Rain — the dreaded enemy of bikers. This necessary act of God always seems to happen at an inopportune time in the lives of all motorcyclists. And nothing is more miserable than soaking in your seat in the pouring rain.
Baggers are definitely the latest craze in the Harley-Davidson corner of the motorcycling world. Gone are the days of the 280 tires on 9-foot choppers (and good riddance if you ask me), but that’s another story. Nowadays everyone seems to have a big FL of some sort with all the amenities — stereos, GPS and endless communication devices. Not to mention tons of chrome dripping from these monsters. That sentiment alone has sparked many a debate on what motorcycling is or “should be.” But like it or not, the bagger era is in full swing and continues to gain momentum.
So just when you think you have maxed out the … Continue Reading
Baggers have always been known for their comfort, while choppers have always been about style. As the average age of motorcycle riders increased, people began looking for some style with their comfort, and the “Custom Bagger” trend was born. No longer was there a need to have two motorcycles in your garage, when a custom bagger could do it all. You could build yourself a cool custom bagger and ride in style, whether on a cross-country trip or a short blast out to your favorite watering hole.
There are many different companies producing parts that can take your late-model bagger from mild to full custom — and anywhere in between. … Continue Reading
Seems like all I see nowadays are chromed-out baggers and stretched-out customs with tires so big it takes a parking lot and a 40-point turn to get them turned around. But the old school isn’t dead just yet. Let’s face it, Shovelheads are cool, and sometimes there just aren’t enough good parts available for the old school bikes. I know you hard-core guys are out there riding the wheels off these badass old bikes, and we here at J&P are doing our best to keep parts available for all those Knuckles, Pans and Shovels that are still out there on the road today.
One thing I hear consistently on my … Continue Reading
They tell us that a picture is worth a thousand words, which means a video must be like reading War and Peace. Problem is, if you don’t have a camera or video when you head off for an adventure on your motorcycle, you’re pretty much restricted to describing the trip in words. You might illustrate your tale with a few pitiful gestures, but that also pales in comparison with a video of your trip.
There have been many rides in the past when I wasn’t able to share with my family and friends the places and adventures my bike has taken me. I’m sure we’ve all been there, talking … Continue Reading