My Barn Twins

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by fxray, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    I know nothing about whiskey, but the Wikipedia article on Jameson Irish Whiskey says: Jameson is produced from a blend of grain whiskey, single malt whiskey and single pot still whiskey, which uses a mixture of malted and unmalted or "green" Irish barley, all sourced from within a fifty-mile radius around the distillery in Cork.

    I don't think it was the quality of the whiskey, but more the quantity that was the factor that day. :lol3
    ___________________________________

    I mentioned earlier that I got an Excel Throttle Control for my R90/6. Tom Dowell, the guy who invented, manufactures, and sells these, has got an explanatory YouTube video:



    I see that there is also an AdvRider thread that discusses this control. Click here for that thread if you like.

    Where possible, Tom prefers to install the control himself, in case there is something different about the bike that requires special attention. Although he has sold and installed bunches of these, my R90/6 was the first Airhead on which he had installed his control. We were pinched for time the other day when he put the unit on my bike, but he got it working O.K. I went back today for some fine tuning.

    Usually, the later bikes have bar-end weights, and the throttle control replaces the one on the RH side. My bike never had the bar-end weights, but I was interested in getting one on the left side to visually balance the throttle control, and to quell the tiny, tingly vibes that have been putting my hands to sleep. The control on the right side will act as a bar-end weight also.

    So, the fine tuning involved him making up new anchor plugs that lock inside the ends of the handlebars. He had put some in the other day that were close but not quite right, and he turned a couple more on his lathe that were an exact fit to my bars. Here's what it looks like now:

    The bar-end weight on the LH side:

    [​IMG]

    The Excel Throttle Control on the RH side:

    [​IMG]

    I like the way it looks. It works really well, and I think it has helped with the vibrations.

    I noticed in the current issue of Cycle World that a reader wrote in with a solution to bar vibes that involved adding a length of rubber tubing inside the handlebars. He said, "The idea is to use a size that will allow the tubing to bounce around inside there. Use a length that is just short of the length of the handlebar. This removed about 90% of the buzziness/vibration, even while not changing the thin stock rubber handgrips."

    This sounds like a cheap fix -- I may give it a try just to be sure. Meanwile, I can set the throttle and flex my hand if necessary. It's easier and feels better rolling down the road without using my wrist against the throttle return springs to hold steady speed.
  2. Jodon

    Jodon Been here awhile

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    May I ask what grips you are using?
    And are there plans to go into production of the throttle lock for Airheads, after you beta test with your unit?
  3. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Well, this will sound stupid, but I will have to find out. A friend of mine ordered those grips for me from his smart phone and had them shipped to my house. I paid him some cash for the sale amount. I don't think they were more than about $10. I'll ask him the source and then post it.

    {Edit} Here is the link for the grips.

    As far as the Excel Throttle Control, the one I have is not really a beta test unit. It is the normal product that he sells. He made slightly different wedge anchors to fit inside my handle bar ends, and there is a piece he made from Delrin plastic that was a bit different from normal because of the length of the throttle sleeve and hand grip on my bike.

    If you are interested in getting one, your best bet is to call and talk to him directly. There is a phone number (1-309-244-7405) shown on his Product List Page to call for ordering parts. He is a one-man shop, and he will be the guy who answers the phone. I am not affiliated with his business in any way, but have known him for years. He is a straight shooter, and an excellent machinist.

    Ray
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  4. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Long timer

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    So I guess I need one of these for my R80. One of my tires came in today and I found an owners manual over at motobins across the ocean. Project creep is starting.
  5. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^And so it begins! I'm looking forward to seeing that bike.

    Not quite in the same league, but doing the same function, I have a plastic Vista Cruise throttle control on my CL350. It is pretty much identical to one I had back about 45 yrs ago. They are on eBay for about $26.00:

    [​IMG]

    I considered putting one on my R90, but decided it would interfere with my /5 style turn signal switch. Besides, the Excel is a great piece of kit!

    Cheaper yet is this Klever Lever for my Harley FXRS, that sells for $6.99, except I got mine for free. A friend ordered one and couldn't make it work on his 1200 Sportster for some reason. He gave it to me and it snapped right into place on my bike. One thumb operation, and it works great!
  6. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

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    Is this a different throttle friction/lock than is standard on the /6? Mine has a knurled screw on the underside that I can reach under and turn for more/less friction. I keep hearing about using different throttle springs and all kinds of things, but I find that the simple screw works superbly!

    [​IMG]

    btw:
    Photo is definitely NOT from my bike.... WAY too new and perfect.
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  7. Pokie

    Pokie Just plain Pokie.

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    When you hear about throttle springs, they usually mean the return springs on or in the carburetors. :-)

    There have been a few different folks that have made a replacement for that damper screw. It's pretty easy to lose that screw if you're not paying attention, that's why BMW indented the sides of the body, to hold the spring in place if you turn it too far. Any of the replacement damper screws I've seen, none utilize the spring. The spring not only acts as a locking devise (so it doesn't vibrate out), it also helps to lock the damper screw into whatever position you tighten to.
  8. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Yes, Bob, my bike still has that spring screw. For me, it was awkward to use and did not work very well at all. It is the same setup as on the typical Harley, where it is also awkward, but actually works quite well. The Klever Lever that I mentioned above makes the Harley friction screw/spring shoe much easier to use.

    I just got back from a 75 mile lunch ride on the R90, and I would say the bar end weights, along with the throttle control, have transformed my riding experience on this bike. My hands don't get buzzed to sleep anymore. The easy on/off throttle control works great. To me, it's a welcome change. If you are making good use of the stock throttle screw, I'm happy for you. It will save you some money!
  9. ME 109

    ME 109 Long timer Supporter

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    Yeah the stock throttle screw is fun (impossible) to use with numb fingers.
    Had my left carpel band released a couple of weeks ago, now my left hand stays awake and the right hand still goes to sleep. Right hand to be done soon.
  10. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ME 109 -- I hope that works out well for you, and that you get long lasting results from it. I asked my doctor about getting that done once. He is an Osteopath, and told me that the problem with my hands may originate in my neck. He did some sort of massage to relax the neck muscles and then cracked my neck in both directions. It seemed like voodoo, but my problem with hand numbing on the motorcycles actually went away. I was happy to not have the surgery.

    I really had no more problem with it till I got on this Airhead with the rigidly mounted engine and ditto for the handlebars. These bar-end weights seem to have helped considerably. I'm not sure how much of the effect is real and how much is wishful thinking. :hmmmmm

    Jodon -- you asked about the grips in my pictures above. I found out that those came from a seller on Amazon. Click HERE.

    Part of the custom fitting of the throttle control was due to the length of these grips. They are a bit longer (I don't recall how much) than the throttle sleeve. To accommodate this, I had slid the handlebar control assemblies (both left and right hand sides) slightly further up onto the handlebars. The other option, of course, would be to trim some length off the rubber grips, but I didn't want to if I didn't have to.

    So . . . that meant that the end of the throttle tube was inset from the end of the handlebar. Since the throttle control works by pressing against the end of the throttle tube, Tom used his lathe to custom-make that part of the control (made from Delrin plastic) to have a longer reach than normal. Hope this makes sense. I don't want to take it apart to take a picture.

    This is the fifth set of handgrips I have tried, for one reason or another. All of them were too long for the throttle sleeve on this bike, and all of them were hard to stick in place (7/8" versus 22mm). In the past, I have always had success with hairspray as adhesive. That didn't work here. These seem O.K. so far, with some Amazing Goop.
    Jodon likes this.
  11. Uke

    Uke visualist Super Supporter

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    On my R100R the friction screw has been replaced with a Flip-A-Lever which allows one set an initial friction just as with the screw and then reach under and flip a small lever which locks the throttle. Useful for long stretches of slab. Flip-a-Lever.jpg

    Image borrowed from the interweb, not my bike.

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  12. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    A bizarre coincidence -- and literally a matter of timing . . .

    With those new grips and the throttle control, I was really enjoying this old bike. It seemed to run smoother and better the more I rode it. I never said that out loud, but I was thinking it -- saying the words out loud is a sure jinx.

    I parked it overnight in the garage, and when it fired up the next morning, it just didn't quite feel right. I took it for a little cruise and was not sure I was going to make it back without walking. It was coughing and spitting and periodically acting like it was out of gas, except it wasn't.

    I checked the plugs and saw nothing much wrong, but put in some new ones. Second test ride; same as the first.

    I dropped the bowls off the Bings to check for water, but found nothing. The screens in the petcock looked brand new (which they basically are). While they were off, I reset the floats once again to go back to 24 mm fuel depth in the bowls. I had backed off on this, because I thought that was making the mix a little too rich, but the bike was starving out on the top end again.

    I pulled the air filter out for a look, because I wanted to see how that crankcase vent setup was doing. Everything was pristine inside there.

    I had just set valve lash.

    So, off with the horn and front cover and there we go -- the points gap was closed up. I know all about the tungsten coating (don't file it off and all of that), but I had no spare points. I did have a points file, and made use of it. I redid the static timing and the bike ran perfectly again. I only did a test ride, because I wanted to check with a strobe, but the test included a stretch at the ton plus, without starving out.

    This bike has 5,000 miles since I put it back on the road. The points and condenser were new. I did some looking on here to see how often y'all service your points, and read quite a range of stories. I guess I will order some Norris points.

    So yesterday, I borrowed my buddy's Snap-On light and checked it.

    [​IMG]

    All was right on. I was just about to take off and return the timing light when the phone rang.

    It was a guy from our local MOA club, "Hello, Ray? My '75 R75 is running like crap and I've done everything I can think of with no improvement. I just got a set of Norris points from Rick's, but I've never changed points before. Do you have one of those little points gapping tools?"

    I looked down at the old work bench:

    [​IMG]

    There is was, and I swear that -- before yesterday -- I had not touched this thing since sometime last winter! How strange is that?

    He said he had a friend who thought he could help with the job, but he had heard that the tool was helpful. I know that some on here disagree, but I find that tool essential for the job.

    So I told him that he may as well just hop on the bike and come on over. Literally every tool we would need was laid out there, and my bike had just come down off the lift from doing the exact same job.

    We did some other odds and ends to his bike, and he wound up leaving my house after dark. That made me nervous since I had laid hands on his bike, but . . . not to worry -- I got an email that he made it home O.K. and the bike is running great again.

    I guess I better go return that timing light. Maybe someday I'll actually buy one for myself. Meanwhile, I'm the only one who ever uses this one.

    By the way, this gentleman has had his bike almost since new. It has 73,000 miles. The points were last changed at 37,000 miles and he swore they had not been touched since then, nor had the front cover been off. That is more anecdotal evidence in favor of breaker points, or at least the good points they used to sell. His old points had nicely parallel faces, with no pitting (no mountain and valley). The phenolic block was worn down though. When the front cover came off, tan colored phenolic dust came drifting out. The points cavity was covered in that brown dust. I have a tiny tube of Mallory cam lube, and his felt pad is still intact (not sure how much good those things really do), so we gave the cam a light smear and put a dab into the felt pad. We'll see how that works out for him.
    globalt38 likes this.
  13. Arktasian

    Arktasian Lets call it Naturalized

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    Interesting, you best just rush out and buy a lottery ticket now.
  14. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Long timer

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    I still have a timing light Ray. Need it for the M and H and someday the R90.
  15. Disston

    Disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    The new rage in timing lights are the ones with only one wire that you don't have to hook up to the vehicles battery. I bought mine from Summit Racing I think. In reviews users say the light is not bright enough. Well it's not really too bright but I have used it on my bike and as long as the timing window was not pointed at the sun it worked OK. It has 2 large (are those C batteries? Or D?) batteries for power. Much more compact than other options. They are cheap. Less than $50. Some more expensive versions may have a brighter light but I don't know.

    I like mine. Haven't pulled out the Mac advance light since I bought it.
  16. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Having not bought a motorcycle since May, 2014 (other than the BSA 650 Lightning basket case which doesn't count), I broke the dry spell this weekend. I've spent a lot of time the last three years learning about airheads, buying tools to work on them, and redoing my '74 R90/6. That bike has been running great all summer, so why not drag home another lump?

    I'll throw this link in here for posterity -- craigslist-airhead-finds -- even though the bike was listed on Face-Book-For-Sale, and not on Craigslist. Thanks, OdyBandit and Lit67! Also, there were some good, witty comments in the linked thread that I want to remember.

    This morning, James.A and I took a little ride in the E350 and carried it home. I took along an assortment of tools and an inner tube for the flat front tire, but forgot to take my camera. James took this picture with his phone as we were doing a little work on the bike:

    [​IMG]

    As you can maybe tell, it's an airhead, it's an R90/6, and -- like the last one I bought -- it was sitting there with a flat tire. There are some differences though. This time the front tire was flat, not the back one. This is a '76 model, not a '74. It has a Luftmeister fairing, not a Vetter. It is Havana Gold, not Avus Black. So,with all those difference, you can see that I'm not really stuck in a rut. :lol3

    After we installed the tube in the front tire and removed the fairing, it rolled right into the van and we got it home just fine. Thanks, James for the help.

    Here are some pictures:

    This is the first bike I have ever owned that does not have wire spoked wheels. I know the Lester wheels are not supposed to be run tubeless, though many people do. That didn't work too well in this case, since the hardened and weather-split old Continental from 2004 was off the bead on one side and did not want to seat again. I figured that would be the case, so I brought a good used tube with me. I'm glad I also brought my Motion-Pro rim protectors and some Ruglyde Lube. The tire was awkward to say the least.

    [​IMG]

    I've decided I like the Lesters, and I like the Havana Gold paint. It is original and will stay on there, even though the gold pin striping is faded in places.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Were eleven ribs correct for 1976? Seems like bmwrench said that once, but I will need to look. My '74 has the thirteen rib gaiters, and they are clamped further down on the lower sliders:

    [​IMG]

    One thing I don't have is a set of keys, though they may turn up yet. Meanwhile, I have read about all the typical spare key hiding places on an airhead, and will be looking in all of them. Beyond that, it's a long story. If I can come up with an ignition key, it should also work the fork lock and the seat lock, but then there is the locking gas cap too. Fortunately it is unlocked at present:

    [​IMG]

    I already looked inside the main frame tube ahead of the seat. There was no key in there, but there was a cable device to lock up the bike -- missing its key, of course!

    The whole exhaust system is solid and nice:

    [​IMG]

    I now own two of these Reynolds back rests, but this bike came with the grab rail too. The seat is dirty, but in very nice condition otherwise, even including the non-rusted pan.

    [​IMG]

    There are Koni's on the back. They may be O.K., but why the orange paint?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sitting since 2008, this engine is way cleaner than the '74 was when I got it:

    [​IMG]

    Both engine badges are still firmly glued in place, and the choke cables are hooked up and functional. Although I don't like the right angle petcocks, I may keep these. I want to take a more minimalist approach to this bike.

    [​IMG]

    The shelf isn't exactly oil free, but there's no big puddle there either:

    [​IMG]

    There's a ride-off center stand, which James tells me is from Reynolds. It's nicely chrome plated:

    [​IMG]

    All the tins are in place and wearing the original paint except the side cover on the other side:

    [​IMG]

    I know the RH cover is the one that always blows off in the wind, but I am still hoping the PO will find the other missing cover (more of the long story). There is an intact, but dangling, bungee cord still hooked to the LH cover, so I'm thinking the other one may have been removed and set someplace:

    [​IMG]

    There are mismatched hand grips, but the RH one is the same as what was on my '74. It's got a hole worn in the same place too.

    [​IMG]

    Both bikes were serviced at Underwoods in St. Joseph, Illinois, or so it would seem from this little roundel:

    [​IMG]

    Maybe those wrist saver hand grips for the throttle were a period piece sold by Underwood back in the day? I can't find new ones like them, and they really would be comfortable.

    There's a deep oil pan, but it was found on the floor beside the bike, absent the bolts. (More of the long story.) Can somebody explain to me the reason for the two drain plugs? One has a magnet and is located up the sidewall of the pan where it would not give a complete oil drain. The other is like the OEM, and is in the bottom of the pan.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Luftmeister is currently holding my table saw down to the ground. I think I will be putting this back on and using it. The paint has minor crazing, but it matches the bike quite well. Patina!

    [​IMG]

    The '74 is my naked airhead, I want to give this fairing a try. I see this as being more of a "rainy day" bike, one where I won' t be quite so fussy about bad weather or gravel road dust. We'll see.

    As James reminded me, one good thing about the Luftmeister is that it uses the original headlight. If I don't use the fairing, at least I won't need to chase down a headlight like I did for the '74 (which had a Vetter). The mounting bracket, however, is from Vetter.

    I may use the fairing, but probably not this little Ford automotive radio that was stuck in one pocket of the Luftmeister. It had no wires hooked to it, and no speaker. More of the mystery?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This bike may have been a work in progress. I understand that the PO passed away seven years ago. The family sold the bike to the man I bought it from. There are not a lot of solid answers or history available. The title is good though, and all the numbers match. I'll do what I can with it and post here about it from time to time.

    Ray
    dmftoy1, OLD GREEN, Uke and 4 others like this.
  17. Fr8dog61

    Fr8dog61 Been here awhile

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    Awesome find! I am looking forward to following this bike as you work your magic.
    :lurk
  18. David4

    David4 Been here awhile

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    Nice find Ray. Make her run to see what she needs?
  19. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Long timer Supporter

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    Well done, Ray. I also like the Lesters, and the Cuban cigar color scheme. Glad you are keeping both. :thumb
  20. Interstatement

    Interstatement Been here awhile

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    Nice find, Ray!
    I'll be the first to offer a hypothesis on the 2nd plug in the oil pan: possible aftermarket oil cooler return fitting?