This month we’re going to talk about early brake systems, but before we do that, let’s think about what a brake actually does for a living. Simply put, a brake converts mechanical energy into thermal energy by applying friction from the pad or the shoe to the disc or the drum.
Now we’ve got that out of the way, time for some history. Early in what we call the modern era of motorcycles — from 1942 to 1971 — Mother Harley used drum brakes to slow things down. From 1936 to 1957, rear brakes were of the mechanical variety. A brake pedal linked to a crossover shaft, rear linkage and … Continue Reading
I have been very blessed to be the moderator of the J&P Cycles Forum since December of 2000. If you’re not familiar with forums, they are online “bulletin boards” where you can post questions and receive answers to tech questions, shoot the breeze and even find out about upcoming events.
Since it’s inception in 2000, we have had a whopping 255,216 posts! Moderating the forum has always been one of the favorite parts of my job. Before I forget, a special thanks to my associate Steve Franta is in order. For many years, Steve and I were the only ones around to answer your questions.
The J&P Forum offers a … Continue Reading
Here’s a basic fact about the internal combustion engine: Every single one of them is just a variation of an air pump. As the piston goes down with the valve open, air — mixed with fuel — rushes into the cylinder. As the piston goes up, it’s compressed, spark occurs, power is made, and the spent gases are sent merrily down the pipe. To make more power, we need to get more air in and out of the motor.
“More air means more power” is the mantra for this blog post and the easiest place to show this is with the motorcycle air cleaner assembly. Mother Harley is handcuffed by … Continue Reading
A few years ago I was doing design work on some clothing with the guys at Icon. They have a facility in Portland, Ore., where they work on clothing designs. When they start to feel a little burned out, they head out to the attached garage and work on their bikes. This, of course, gets their “creative juices” flowing again and they march back inside, ready to, well, create. I’ve got several good memories from that trip, but one of the things that stuck in my head was the 1976 XS650 bobber that one of those guys built.
He had taken a bike that he’d only paid a few … Continue Reading
I get a fair amount of questions from J&P customers regarding component combinations when it comes to Twin Cam engine components. Most of the questions revolve around the best combination for the everyday rider when it comes to cams, pushrods, lifters and such. And, to tell the truth, there’s really no one answer that is undeniably the right one.
There are a number of combinations that will do the job, but one in particular comes immediately to mind. Feuling Motor Co. has a complete Camchest kit that includes the famous Feuling oil pump and cam plate, cams, lifters, pushrods, bearings, gaskets, O-rings, and even ARP hardware.
If you’ve ever … Continue Reading
So there I sat, staring at my bike in the garage and allowing myself to slip into a bit of wintertime depression. The fact that the outside temps were in the single digits and there were five inches of snow on the ground didn’t help a bit. Add to that the fact that I haven’t taken my bike out for a spin in weeks, and what you have is a major pity party.
Adding to my misery is the fact that winter hasn’t even officially begun yet and Daytona Bike Week is still two and a half months away! Just before I started banging my head on my gas tank, … Continue Reading
As I was eating lunch this afternoon, I happened to catch tomorrow’s weather forecast on the tube. The 30-mile morning commute promises to be a brisk 37 degrees! Some of us are fortunate enough to not be forced into winter hibernation, and some of us simply refuse to comply with the edicts of winter.
Since Scott Holton recently went over — in fine detail, I might add — how to prepare your bike for winter lockup, I figured it was time to give you a heads up on a few ways to resist Old Man Winter and keep riding year-round.
I personally don’t go to great pains to prepare for … Continue Reading
Have you ever actually taken the time to read your spark plugs? I’m not talking about the gibberish scribbled on the side of the plugs. I’m saying you can read the plug by inspecting the business end. Identifying the condition of the plug will help you to troubleshoot and cure your ailing motorcycle.
Here’s what to look for when checking out the bottom of your plugs:
A grayish-tan color tells you that your spark plug is operating in the normal heat range. It also lets you know that your air-fuel mixture is correct. Check it out. This is what you want your plugs to look like.
Let’s say you pull … Continue Reading
We all love making our motorcycles go faster. Today, our topic is just the opposite——-Brakes. When we hit the brakes on our bikes, the force we apply to each master cylindergets transferred to each caliper via hydraulics. This applies friction to our brake rotors that the tires transmit to the ground, thus slowing us down. The point that we get the absolute maximum braking action is just before the wheel locks up. This seems kind of basic, but once that tire breaks traction our slowing action gets thrown out the window.
Let’s look at what actually stops us. As I mentioned above, the horse doing the heavy … Continue Reading
When I was asked to write a blog post about my impressions of going from the dirt bike world to that shared by the Harley and cruiser market, I was pretty hesitant. I mean, look around. There are a lot of rather large and aggressive Harley riders out there who take the brand side of things very seriously. So believe me when I say I’m putting down my experiences for all to see with an arm twisted behind my back.
For the last dozen years, I’ve been immersed in the world of dirt bikes. I was a senior manager for KTM for 10 years and during that time I was … Continue Reading