Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Getting the chopper back on the road, part two...

The Rising Star received a helping hand from uncle Fester a while back, and now it's time to do some more.
I've been pestering the poor guy about this for ages, I think he's happy it's done just so I will shut up already!

Only kidding, as always uncle Fester is like the big brother I never had, and he was truly happy to help.

We got some round stock of 14mm in diameter and he expertly shaped it into a very classic and very classy sissy bar. I had seen him do this before, once for example when he made one for his dope Shovelhead chopper, so I knew the look I wanted for mine.

Here are some "work in progress" shots from the man himself:

Look at the countersunk bungs in the next two photos: this is the sort of detail that tells you someone is paying attention to what they're doing:
Now for a closer look at some of the details:
I think you'll agree that this thing is well made.
This poor bike had laid dormant for a very long time and, understandably, the battery was dead. I had a Motobatt, as I do on most of my bikes as they are very high quality, but knowing that I won't be using this bike all that much (realistically, for the foreseeable future) I have to say that the idea of forking out a pretty penny for a new one kinda bothered me. Instead, I was able to find a sealed Magneti Marelli for €29. Done.
Sure, it's not as high-spec as a Motobatt of the same size, but it's still an absorbed glass mat (AGM) type, and plenty good for a summer trip.
I also gave the carburetter a bit of a clean and found that the main jet particularly was all gunked up and almost totally blocked. Still, after a little while it started right up and settled into its familiar droning boom (I'm gonna need some earplugs).
For those of you who don't speak chopper, I get that the sissy bar as an object can be puzzling, and "the point of it" very hard to fathom.
To keep the language analogy going, it is one of those words that come up extremely frequently in the chopper vocabulary. And while you don't have to have one in order to call a bike a chopper (and the opposite is equally true by the way: bolting on a sissy bar to a motorcycle does not make it a chopper!) it can certainly be more than just a nice touch.

There are countless variations on the sissy bar theme: every height, bend, shape, finish (painted? chromed? raw?), if you can think of it, someone's already done it.
Some are padded and give the impression that this is really just an elaborate backrest for a pillion.
But besides from the dubious feasibility of carrying a pillion on a chopper (bad idea) let me cut this short and tell you what it is: the sissy bar is a luggage rack, simple as that. It is one of the best and safest ways to carry a surprising amount of luggage on a chopper, and it offers unsuspected versatility.
So yes, think of a sissy bar as a vertical luggage rack.

Allow me to demonstrate by showing you how all this stuff can fit on this tiny bike:

This and a few assorted sundries can all get rolled up relying on the same ancient technique that's been used in south-east Asia for a long time to make delicious "spring rolls":

In principle, nothing can fall out when it's all rolled up this way and strapped down tight, and things can stay dry, provided the outer sheet is waterproof. It can now be strapped down onto the sissy bar, and you're good to go:

Having the bike at his underground lair workshop, uncle Fester took another look at the gas tank mount and decided he didn't like it, so he went at it again, hard!
The original attachment point was finally chopped off, and a proper flat mounting point created a little further back so the tank can sit right. A very neat job overall, see for yourselves:

Once again, thank you so much my friend, this is great, really.

Finally, there is another detail that is very important: no chopper would be complete without a blanket, and this one is its own. A friend of mine brought it back from Nepal:

p.s. this modification is approved and endorsed by the German:


2 comments:

Thomasdunstall said...

Well done guys...Artie its seems you've start counting the days to the next trip :):):) ...nice blanket ;)

Artie said...

Ferri Vecchi / Old Irons a fine luglio! Ci vediamo lì ;-)

p.s. portatevi un buon sacco a pelo e tanti picchetti e tiranti per la tenda che lì non si scherza...

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