A Sailors Story 2 – BIG DOG Motorcycles Forum

13 Mar 2015 | awtur: | Comments Off fuq A Sailors Story 2 – BIG DOG Motorcycles Forum
Big Bear Choppers Sled 100 Smooth Carb

A Sailors Story 2

So lets get on with pt 2 of A Sailors Story:

1987 came with the resurrection of my motorcycle. But I had a long ways to go yet and a lot of stuff to buy. I also had a full time job so all my spare time when into getting this thing on the road. Here are some of the things that were going on within our country at the time. As you can tell I used to like MTV.

Too bad it went to shit!

I was so anxious to get this bike back on the road. It was going to be totally different than what it was before. No more “electric start” I was throwing out the cast primary and putting on an old “tin” primary cover like all the old panheads had.

This was a kooler looking cover and ironically looks similar to what our current Big Dogs have with the DSSC Baker system.

Here is a pic of the two different primaries. The newer HD heavy aluminum primary inner and outer on the left and the simple lighter tin primary on the right:

I was now going to have to kick start that bike every time I got on it. Oh boy, if I knew then what I know now I would never have done it. But that’s life and looking back its pretty kool watching someone go out to some long chopped bike, get ready, put the key in and unlock the ignition switch then put the key back in their pocket. You might think the next part would be to twist the throttle a couple times to prime the carb!

Ha ha ha, SS back then didn’t include an accelerator pump on their carbs. What you did was turn the petcock on. Flip out the kick pedal and while either straddling the bike or standing to the right side of it with one knee on the seat (my preferred way) you roll the motor over with the pedal through to the compression stroke.

Remember how they used to start airplanes back in the early 20th century, remember seeing movies where they would roll the prop around before yelling “Contact”.

Some guys liked to prime the motor with a couple kicks. Depends on how long it had been since you last stopped I guess.

Anyway, once you had it primed then you would turn the ignition switch to run then rock the kill switch to start and then grab the bars, jump high in the air and come down hard on that kicker pedal with all your weight. If all went good then the motor would roll to life. A lot of times it would just be a puff out of the intake and you say “oh shit” gotta do it again.

Many times you would get kick back and the pedal would kick back up and slap the back of your calf as if you got bull whipped!

Sometimes when we were in a group we would be waiting for minutes while someone attempted to kick start his bike. Pretty soon someone would get pissed grab a couple guys and we would push start it.

In this You Tube vid you will see a guy prime a motor and then kick it over:

Here’s another one that took a few kicks. Sometimes you would kick all day meaning maybe 10 times then it was time for a break!

When was the last time you saw someone with a kicker bike? Pretty rare now a days but back in the 70’s and 80’s they were real common. I guess people were still reluctant to change from the starter equipped bikes. Lots of hard core HD guys refused to recognize the new Evo motor that HD came out with. They were wary of it for being designed and funded by AMF.

It didn’t leak or mark its spot like the old Knuckles, Pan or Shovels did. No soul or heart to that new Evo motor!

Do you know when the first HD model was to come standard with an electric starter? It was also the last of an era of one of the most famous motors HD ever made.

As I assembled parts I was laying them all out on my work bench then numbering my chalkboard on the proper assembly steps I need to do to get this thing on the road. I also had to separate things for paint or chrome. I had to wire this thing from scratch, I didn’t use any harness just a shitload of colored wire and lots of connectors.

I got good at soldering and crimping.

With a loss of almost the whole bike I had to order and fit almost everything together like the tanks, sedil, fenders and oil tank. Not like today when most things have some standard to them and you just bolt them up.

Here is a picture of the thing coming together:

I had to do a lot of research on the wheels and brakes. Of course I went with Performance Machine on both. They were the best back them as they are today. For the rear wheel I went with a solid wheel then spokes in the front with the Springer of course! On the rear I used a 4 puk PM caliper just like what we have today.

On the front I used the single puks PM make and I used them in a dual setup. Paughco’s Springer came with all the mounts and things needed for the brackets. I got most everything from Paughco for this re-build.

Here is a picture of it as a roller:

Here’s the big fat 140mm tire on the rear. Still have that SuperMax dual belt drive system on it too. I had to fit the sissy bar to the fender which has internal struts for a clean look.

In this picture you can see the old SS “B” carb up there. Notice the clean top of it? Also had a neat King and Queen seat:

Allura, do you think I got this thing ready for Sturgis this year of 1987? I will tell you I was there staying at my favorite place the Buffalo Chip! I even made it in 85 86. iżda 87 would be my last year to Sturgis till 1990 which was the 50th anniversary. That damn submarine I went to just had to spend the summers gone to a different part of the world where it wasn’t warm or sunny and there were no girls or MTV.

No radio, phones or mail. Just long times under the ocean leaving in the spring and coming home in the fall!!

Answer: First year of the electric start was the 65 FL and it was also the last year of the great “Panhead” motor. One of our members here has one in his garage. Think you might know who it is?

What color would I pick for my new chopper? Would it be some more fancy graphics like it had before or maybe just a plain Jane color.

That old Shovelhead provided me with a lot of miles. I don’t remember what was on the odometer then, been too many years ago but I can tell you it was 10 of thousands of miles. My old shipmate Shag and I really put some miles on in the 3 yrs we lived together. I really miss that guy; I haven’t seen him since we rode to the 50th Sturgis Rally back in 1990. Just thinking back now reminds me of some great old times that in one instance seem just like yesterday and in another seem like long ago!

Do you have those thoughts also?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuYgdYc0Ie4]YouTubeI Can See for Miles (Live Smothers Brothers 1967

I grew up in a little town of Pingree, Idaho. My father was one of a large family of Mormon settlers from Utah back in the early twentieth century. My father was the oldest of 8 kids and was a twin to boot.

There were actually two sets of twins in my father’s family.

Big Bear Choppers Sled 100 Smooth Carb

My father is second from left front row:

They grew up in the Ogden, Utah area and then migrated to Blackfoot, Idaho and settled in Pingree, Idaho where my Grandfather had purchased thousands of acres of land. Each of the kids got a segment of property and my father’s was a 700 acre parcel in Pingree.

We grew sugar beets and potatoes as well as kept a bunch of milk cows and a 100 head of Herford cattle. Growing up on this farm/ranch was hard work. My brothers and I would be awakened at 0430 in the morning and we would have to go milk the cows and feed the horses before breakfast and then do it again after school.

Milking the cows was not to hard for us young kids as we used a vacuum milking machine so the hardest part was getting the cows in the stalls and carrying the buckets of cleaning solution that we dipped the vacuum nozzles in prior to milking the cows.

After our morning chores we would go back to the house and have breakfast. I distinctly remember having fresh milk. Our mother made it with cocoa powder and put the pitcher on the table and before we poured it into our glasses we had to skim off the fat from the top of the pitcher! We also raised up to 2000 chickens so we always had fresh eggs.

Life was very busy back then but it was a necessity that required your full participation 24 hours a day 7 days a week all year round.

It was this work ethic that contributed my success in the US Navy years later I believe.

My father had built the home we lived in. He was still single at the time. He and his brothers all helped in building his home on this property. My father worked with my grandfather to ensure all the siblings properties were doing good.

He put his personal life aside while the family was being looked after. My father had hundreds of acres of potatoes and sugar beets and during the harvest season migrant workers would come up from California and Texas to work the fields.

My father had a row of old railroad box cars on his property that were converted over to temporary housing. Each had a wood stove in them and that was about it. Outhouses were provided outside for sanitary needs.

The migrant workers would usually come up by families. They worked hard bagging potatoes and clearing future fields of rocks and stones.

This one particular family always came up from Brownsville, TX and my father always hired them. Back in 1957 this family had a daughter that was about 17 and her name was Bernarda. As the family passed the home that my father was building Bernarda would always state to her family that she would live in that home someday.

Well as you can imagine my father fell in love with this little Mexican girl whose family came to work his fields and they eventually got married and my mother got to move into that home she always said she would live in!

Years later I myself would meet a little Hispanic girl from El Salvador and marry her too. Ironically she would find a post card of a hotel in Waikiki named the Sheraton Moana Surf Rider from a previous visit to the island where she inscribed the back of it with the note of “someday I will get married in this hotel”. And it did happened several years later and she had forgotten about that postcard till several years later when she pulled it out and showed me!

Mysterious it all is!!


What’s not mysterious is my love of travel and motorcycles. I would travel where ever the road took me. No concern for any problems that may happen along the way. Even today I will load up my Big Dog Chopper and hit the road like there was no tomorrow. Even now I sit here at my keyboard and see the “white strips” from the road zinging past me on my left side.

I dream about those white lines.

Since my early days of riding across country I have always had some kind of music of sorts. Whether it was just some headphones or some fancy ear-plugs like I use today my miles are measured with the music I listen to. I have many miles left in me and if all goes the way I want it to this year I will add about another 20,000 to the old odometer but we’ll see.

Here is a couple of my favorite all time songs:

Big Bear Choppers Sled 100 Smooth Carb
Big Bear Choppers Sled 100 Smooth Carb
Big Bear Choppers Sled 100 Smooth Carb
Big Bear Choppers Sled 100 Smooth Carb
Big Bear Choppers Sled 100 Smooth Carb
Big Bear Choppers Sled 100 Smooth Carb

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