Cannonball! Coast to Coast on a '28 Indian

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by rtwdoug, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. ObiJohn

    ObiJohn Screaming Banshee

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    What a great story with a great ending / beginning of the second part!

    I wonder if the mechanical problems encountered by all of the riders was typical of the first few generations of motorcycles, instead of being an artifact of these bike's age. How reliable were those old bikes? I can't imagine what it must have been like for those riders a half-century ago. Makes me appreciate my brand-new FJR... but a retro repro with modern mechanicals would be pretty neat. Could that have been what the OCC guys were thinking as they watched at the start?
  2. charlie101

    charlie101 Adventurer

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    I was looking all over the forums for damage reports in order to learn something from the CB about the weakness in the engines, but very little was described in detail. I don't know if the guys where ashamed of mistakes they done in their restorations or if the parts where weak in construction. Some things a normal restorer can't have control of, coils, condensers and some is more difficult, generators, magnetos, metallurgy and such, but still I think there was little willingness to describe their obstacles and remedies.
    Retro repro is what most already do more or less in these rare machines, and there is many nearly complete repro bikes out rolling. A few even in both CB's. Some think it's wrong, but I'm of different opinion. My take is that it is the original constructers and technology of the time that is celebrated not the metal in it self. That's why damage reports are so interesting in my mind.
  3. eldomike

    eldomike Who Cares

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    Doesn't Mike from Kiwi's make a retro Indian with modern metals?
  4. charlie101

    charlie101 Adventurer

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    That's right, he's doing a top notch job on the later Chiefs.
  5. indianscout

    indianscout Dexter

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    Guys, you have to remember that when "new" these old bikes ran great but age had caught up to them that most parts are just plan tired and can't handle the punishment like they did when they were younger. Mags and coils go bad without much warning, leaving you high and dry on the side of the road. Not like you can just stop in at your local (insert your favorite brand here} and pick up a new one. Kiwi Mike is doing late model Chiefs, although some of his parts are interchangable with some of the early models, his retro bikes won't qualifie.
  6. DESERT SCORPION

    DESERT SCORPION SINGLE TRACK

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    GET YOUR KICKS... ON ROUTE 66! And page 66 of this epic ride report. Doug, hope you're havin' a good ride.

    The Scorpion
  7. Whitehorse2003

    Whitehorse2003 nose pickin GOB

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    Right on, and 80 year old metal is not the same as we have today, even when it was new. Kinda like the 80 year old codger sittin in his rocker on the porch.. Sittin there rockin might be ok, but runnin down the street after a short skirt,,,,
    Aint gonna ketch it, and somthins gonna break !!!!! :D
  8. ObiJohn

    ObiJohn Screaming Banshee

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    So, could you make effectively NOS parts that interchange, maybe at a component level, e.g., a magneto with modern sealed parts or a complete bottom end (crank, rods, crankcase, etc.) that looks retro but with improved materials and design, and still be 'legal' for these types of competition?
  9. pierce

    pierce Aven'Tourer

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    Darryl Richmann's blog details the problems he was having with head gaskets blowing on his 1928 BMW R52 (flathead boxer). the solution, implemented after a couple days of DNFs, was copper gaskets. Sadly, he crashed on the next to last day, I think the video of the bike retrieval was posted a few pages ago on this thread, with Doug helping keep the bike upright (tow truck driver would have dragged the r52 up the hill on its side, cylinder stuck into the dirt).
  10. charlie101

    charlie101 Adventurer

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    Yes I know, I think I read all that was written during the rally, and Darryl was good as was the Rinkers and a few others in reporting, there was just that there wasn't anyone that covered the really interesting stuff IMO. The Henderson people was really lousy in reporting.
  11. rtwdoug

    rtwdoug prominent underachiever

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    I noticed several weak points of the bikes, as I helped work on a bunch of them over 2 weeks. I cant leave a bike stranded along the road, I'll always try to get it running again :freaky

    harley JD's, valves and generators. about 1/2 the guys were running 6v lantern batteries, as the gennys must really suck on those bikes. almost no one semed to have a working charging system by the 1/2 way point. they'd carry a spare battery, when the bike stopped running, they'd swap in a new one.

    I think 47? valves were reworked in sturgis while I was at the shop working on my bike

    bmw's, they did really good, as I expected they would. Darryl was blowing head gaskets, even burned a hole in his pants from it. he told me he fixed it by stacking 2 gaskets

    Joe Gimple broke the valve lifter 2 or 3 times? then he replaced them with newer bolts, I think he was fine after that

    I dont know much about the 3rd bmw

    hendersons did good, altho I know of a couple motor swaps done, and a couple late night rebuilds along the way. the motor is worth about 20k, so a swap is not a cheap way to go
    I know one of em dropped out due to tranny failuer

    the 15 indian got alot of work done to it. the 13 Ex & 14 HD ran great, I think the HD had a mag issue along the way

    the brit bikes had problems. magnetos and top ends mostly, the JAP had head & clutch problems. it did alot better when he removed the sidecar
    I helped to tinker on a few of them.

    the indians were about 50/50, I know of 3 that had no real breakdowns, but they were worked on nightly

    one from uk lost the bottom end, one from poland, the top end, another guy swapped his motor, & still didnt finish

    and my top end, which Im thinking may have been caused by those alloy wrist pin buttons, & running it so hard & all day, that the heat got to them.

    did I leave anyone out?

    I didnt see what all went on every night, as when I wasnt workin on my bike, I was usually helping someone else out with theirs.

    I had alot of fun & learned alot, just my helping on other bikes.

    I wanna get a JD now, as I learned to like them, and I know a bit about keeping them running

    so if anyone out there hears of one for sale....... :evil
  12. Tar snakes

    Tar snakes Been here awhile

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    Great footage of the bikes on the road on stage 4 and Doug talking about his day's riding HERE
  13. Packer

    Packer Been here awhile

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    According to The Vintagent the '14 Harley has a lot of modern internals and modifications using modern materials. From what I can find Brad Wilmarth's '13 X is blueprinted but standard. Astounding!
  14. Patrick46

    Patrick46 visionary

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    hey Doug, I meant to ask you if that's a later model car alternator you've got on yer Indian??
  15. Center-stand

    Center-stand Been here awhile

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    In 2010 I asked a similar question to some riders at the stop at Wheels through Time in Magee Valley. As they pulled apart top ends, carbs, welded together two pcs of intake to make one good one, put new bearings in wheels, etc, they explained it this way;

    The fact that so few bikes from this era remain suggests that by WW II, most were ready for the the scrap heap and were gathered up to support the war effort. In general they didn't last very long. When they were new, they required maintenence on a regular basis, but very few, if any, were making 250 or 300 miles a day running full bore. The roads were much less improved in the teen's, and twenty's, everything moved at a slower pace and the bikes vibrated apart from the road wear not the engine wear.

    A bike like RTW Doug's served time as a police bike, probably stayed near town on better roads, and might have spent more than a few years in municiple storage at some point, thus it's survival.

    I'm amazed when I see those "pickers" on TV pulling out rusted scrap and paying big prices for cycles made in the teen's, but I guess if you really want one from that period that is what you start with.
  16. rtwdoug

    rtwdoug prominent underachiever

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    WW2 is probably one of the biggest factors for the scarcity of pre 1930 bikes.
    during the scrap metal drives, I'm sure many guys got talked into giving up that old bike under the scornful looks of their wives and being scolded into being 'patriotic' when the wives probably were just using it as an excuse to get that old junk out of the garage.

    and now, here I am, riding a jap bike across the US

    the shame....the shame.....

    :lol3

    oh, and the alternator on the 101 is off a geo. a jap/GM product.

    Doug
  17. rtwdoug

    rtwdoug prominent underachiever

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    after the 1st day on the kz, I have to say, its really a nice bike.
    I need to find a set of 1" risers to bring the bars up a bit, but it rides alot better without the rib stickers that were on it before.

    It goes twice as far on a tank of gas, and goes twice as fast also.

    Im not too worried about the cops, as the bike isnt in my name, so unless they actually catch me, they wont know Im riding it :evil

    altho its not gonna outrun a motorola, even a Hiyabooska cant do that

    Oddly enough I get alot of compliments on it, which surprises me.

    I wish I had a place to cut the windshield down a few inches, but, oh well.

    its so quiet, I put a stereo on it. It seems that a cop bike blasting Slayer isnt a real common thing around here, judging by some of the looks I get

    Now I have to decide which route to take today......
  18. rgiroux

    rgiroux Invisible Man

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    The horror! hope this doesnt mean you are getting old on us :eek1 A nice cushy ride, good brakes, protected from the wind.

    what's next: round the world in a range rover, or something? probably going to start sitting home, watching Wheel of Fortune.

    you may have started down a dark alley you wont be able to escape. and, we will all mourn our hero..................

    :cry





















    :lol3
  19. DUNDERHEAD

    DUNDERHEAD Been here awhile

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    Next thing you know he'll be stopping for raw fish and drinking sake.
  20. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    In 1925, when he was sixteen, my Dad bought a brand new Harley with the money he'd saved up from years of doing odd jobs. When I was growing up he told me about many of his adventures on it. He said that it would easily do 60-70 mph for extended periods but that you had to remember to give the manual oil pump a squirt once in a while. He forgot that once and almost seized the motor. He had buddies with bikes and they would meet up at a cafe and then decide they would ride up to, for a real example, Rutland, Vermont (from Bristol, Connecticut) for a cup of coffee and then come right back the same day. No breakdowns reported. I've plotted his likely route on Google maps and it works out to about a 325 mile round trip. He and his pals did trips like this regularly as day trips, and there don't seem to have been many problems other than cars and aggressive dogs. They were not likely to have been riding flat out the whole way, though. I would imagine that, given the roads as I know them, they were probably averaging around 35 mph. As for the roads, the ones he rode seemed to be fairly well paved, although he said he deliberately sought out sandy, gravelly country roads in order to practice riding in such conditions. All in all, the bikes seem to have run well, when new, although extra care had to be taken if run at high speeds for very long (the manual oil pump, tires). Dad always said that it was youthful ego that led him to buy the Harley, as he knew in his heart that the Indian was a better choice, because he would have gotten one with a smaller, more fuel efficient engine than the Harley's (even though gas was cheap, hourly pay was awful low). He lusted after a Henderson or an Excelsior but couldn't afford one. I think somewhere I have some photos he took of the bike. If I can find them I'll post them in the bike porn forum.