Ben’s Funeral Escort

Last summer got a request from Ben’s uncle seeing if I could get a few bikes to escort Ben to his final resting place – was hoping for 15 or 20 bikes. Hello ended up with just south of 300! Fox River HD in St Charles helped stage and Punishers LEMC held hosted riders afterwords.


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October Trip Summary

Well didn’t go as planned here is the planned route verses the actual route – as you can see didn’t make it past St Louis (nearly made it to Lake Ozark).

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Things to repair on bike and lessons learned

  • Rack broke at the welds on the way home (39.9 lbs of stuff) – think it was due to too tight of strapping
  • Left rear turn signal is out
  • Check engine light was coming on in the rain on Sunday – think it was water related, did I mention we got rain
  • Rain totally blew and am returning Nelson Rigg something or another – worst 50 bucks ever.
  • Under Armor Gloves were actually totally warm when totally wet
  • Oakley mites were warm wet but impossible to put back on and seemed to take forever to dry in hotel
  • Boots got way way wet but were warm
  • HJC flip down worked pretty well, but under some conditions the visibility was horrible – not from RAIN but dirty road mist – squeegee glove?
  • Shaving cream worked as anti fog
  • had enough warm clothes – but leathers got wet due to rain gear failure
  • GPS routing worked for me and the new holder and wiring was fine (need a rain/wet alternative)
  • Engine held up, nothing fell off or broke
  • Air Hawk seat is worth every penny it cost – was skeptical, but that thing is the bomb digity bomb
  • Getting stuff in and out of the hotel wasn’t too bad with the rack and two little saddle bags I had to empty
  • Didn’t ever dig into the spare fuel
  • Packed too much (because I wanted a back rest) – probably should have packed less because with the air hawk I didn’t need it. i.e., I took four pair of pants plus the ones I was wearing….I wore the same pants every day!!!! The four came home and didn’t even go in dirty laundry.

Route was shortened for me due to another group member laying bike down in St Louis area – spun rear wheel at stop light and laid the bike down and the wife came off the back – no serious injuries, but was time to call it quits for the day.

Running in the on and off rain for 4 days wasn’t optimal, but it was a good time and proved out some things that do and don’t work. If it was sunny and 60 I wouldn’t have been ready for the next time it rains.


Nelson-Rigg Stormrider Rain Suit (Black/High Visibility Yellow, XX-Large)

Despite the 318 amazon reviews this jacket is USELESS for multiple days in the rain – kept me bone dry on day two, not so much on day four. Would have been dryer if I’d saved the 50 dollars and simply taped them to my body!

I like the fit and the high visibility was nice and like I said I stayed dry one day, but it appears the ‘waterproofing’ is a layer on the inside that cracked in the wind/whipping. I ride a sportster with no fairing or lowers so I get a lot of wind – maybe that was the issue, but whatever it is it’s going back to Amazon in a box.


Progress Pictures Oct 6, 2014

So here are some more comparison pictures since I’ve made a few more changes

  • Built a rack for October trip
  • Removed stock saddle bags
  • Changed rear shocks and front springs
  • Cut the fender and changed rear taillight and turn signals (brake/run/turn combo).
  • Tons of dkcustom parks, they are quality and shipping is FAST


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Hammer Performance 1250 Conversion

  • Energy One Extra Plate Clutch Kit /15% stronger spring
  • Dyna DSPT-1 Ignition Module
  • 185 Main/45 Pilot
  • Drag Specialties Breather Kit
  • Hammer Performance Air Cleaner Back place K&N Filter
  • DK Customs 2.5″ tank lift (and a wire tuck)
  • DK Custom Coil Relocation
  • DK Custom Ignition Key Relocation
  • Cleaned 95% of the bike (still some work to be done, but I’m riding today)




For Itinerary and Contact purposes

Here is a map that has the itinerary for Oct 9 – 12th (click the link below the map)

Listed are the 3 hotels and then the route is broken across multiple pages because google maps doesn’t like to render it all on one map. Here are the to-from day by day.

Thur – Elburn –> Quincy IL
Fri – Quincy –> CapeGirardeau, MO
Sat – Cape Girardeau –> Franklin, KY
Sun – Franklin, KY –> Elburn, IL

View Trip In October in a larger map

  • Hampton Inn 225 S 4th St Quincy, IL
  • Hampton Inn 103 Cape West Pky Cape Girardeau
  • Hampton Inn 4010 Nashville Rd Franklin, KY

Here is an overview image of the route

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New Springs all around :)

In preparation for next week’s trip through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky I decided to change the springs all the way around (except the one on the side stand).

I’d done research since getting the bike and there are ‘better’ options out there, read more expensive. I’ve got a budget, I’m phat (245 lbs naked), it’s a sportster – so here is what I went with

Lets start with – I wasn’t as concerned with comfort or handling as much as BOTTOMING OUT. I’m a beefy guy on a ‘GIRLS BIKE‘. :)  It’s not that I didn’t care about either, but that’s not what started my quest. I’ve also ridden all kinds of bikes in the past (i.e., sport bikes with way nice suspension setups and HD baggers and other Metric stuff).  I’ve done 400 mile days on the stock suspension and though it wasn’t a BMW I enjoyed myself and was able to turn in the corners.

Changing the rear shocks takes about 20 minutes – just remember Blue Locktite and DO NOT torque above 50 Ft/lbs. I used spacer 1 and 4 in the package. Went from 13″ to 12.5″ because that’s what they had on hand at Dennis Kirk and I needed them fast (waited too long).

The fronts took a tad longer – I didn’t use a 1 3/8″ socket I used a farmers wrench (crescent wrench). Just make sure to HOLD those caps when you loosen them because the springs WILL and DO pop once the caps are removed. I measured the fork oil and was good so I didn’t need to take any out with this Fork Oil Level Tool. I cut the spacers to a fuzz less than 2.25″ (remember to put the washers between springs and spacers and the washers need to be sitting flat on the tops of the springs). I believe my service manual says to torque to 22 – 55 Ft/lbs which seems like a big range to me, but I didn’t put the torque wrench on them because I used a farmers wrench.

Rode it after doing just the rear and was happy, then did about 70 miles after finishing the front (picked some curves and rough roads). Was only able to force it to bottom out in the rear once and I was really trying. Sits lower with me off and higher with me on it.  Now I’m not dragging knees but I also don’t have 3″ chicken strips – I can turn the bike and didn’t have any issues (though I can tell the back might need to be preset one lower – currently two from the top). If you’re lighter than me DO NOT DO the Heavy Duty rear shocks unless you ride two up A LOT.  The front is where I’m really happy – REALLY REALLY happy. The rears are better than stock, but I’m not going to lie and say they are awesome, but for the money they were well worth the investment. I wasn’t trying to turn it into a track bike with frame sliders.

That’s my .02 and will know more after 2K miles next week fingers crossed

Homemade Bike Jack

So I’ve been toying with this idea for quite awhile because I don’t own a motorcycle jack, but have one I can barrow whenever I need it (but it’s 14 miles away). Let me start by saying – when I did the Hammer Performance 1250 conversion I used an actual motorcycle jack (this setup probably would have worked, but the jack was far easier to work around). I’ll be doing rear shocks and front springs when the brown truck shows up tomorrow and wasn’t sure I’d have time to barrow the ‘real’ motorcycle jack.

Here were my requirements:

  1. Needed to be safe! Don’t want to drop the bike to just save $120 #PERIOD or a 14 mile round trip drive
  2. Need to be able to get both wheels off the ground
  3. Needed to be able to do it without help
  4. Needed to be STABLE so I could wrench on stuff
  5. Needed to be safe! Don’t want to drop the bike to just save $120 #PERIOD or a 14 mile round trip drive pointed me to these two sources


I’ll also state the entire time I did the engine conversion on the motorcycle jack I never once strapped the bike down, just let it sit on the jack (probably not the wisest thing I’ve ever done).

So I had the following in the garage (so my cost was $0)

  • 4×6 solid cedar
  • 2×4 precut studs
  • Garden weasel thing (just using the handle)
  • Tie downs
  • Screws (to hold it all together)
  • Floor jack

To get both wheels off the ground I had to use the 4×6 and two 2x4s (one 2×4) just barely got the rear off the ground.

From the ceiling I strap the handle bars as a precaution when lifting the bike on my home made jack – can do it without, probably won’t support bike in a catastrophic fall, and I can get it off the ground without them, but they provide a layer of security and assist in balancing everything during the lift process.

Also I didn’t cut the top 2×4 short because it doesn’t seem to be an issue with the muffler interconnect, and when I use the actual motorcycle lift it goes out past the muffler interconnect too and I’ve never had an issue.

So during lifting it’s strapped at the bars and then once lifted it’s strapped from frame (at seat/tank) and to the ends of the 4×6). There is a bar through the 4×6 prevention it from front to back motion.

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First I strap the handle bars to the ceiling – probably over the actual load limit of the rafters, but it’s a layer of security i.e., would lift the front wheel off the ground with this, but when I lean the bike on it it holds it up.

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I then put these piece of webbing around the frame at the seat (one on each side)

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Here is a side view with the bike lifted – I run the garden weasel bar through once it’s lifted so the entire contraception can’t roll forward or backward while woking on the bike. i.e I sat on the bike with feet on pegs and rocked forward and backwards fairly aggressively to test it.

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Just a view of how it looks lifted – I try to miss the rubber drain hose for the oil, but there is a ridge in the bottom of the frame more forward I need to be behind

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Here is a view of how the muffler interconnect is effected (some instruction have you cut the top 2×4 back so you are just short of that)

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I use a floor jack to get the front wheel off the ground (rather than lift from handle bars). Doesn’t take much i.e., can do it with one hand on the rear fender

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Just another view

2014 Autism Speaks Ride

So we (Chad/Amy, Justin/Heidi, Chris) rode 70 miles with a couple thousand other bikes for the 2014 Autism Speaks ride, ended safely. We departed Fox River Harley Davidson and landed at Iron Horse Saloon in Lockport, IL. The weather was spotty, but held out. Below the break are my cynical smart ass comments.

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Was more of a shakeout ride for the bike before the trip in Oct – issues discovered

  • New taillight isn’t bright enough (adding two other brake/turn lights)
  • 15% clutch pack isn’t too much fun on rides like this – just don’t get sloppy (couple unplanned tire chirps)
  • Heel on primary cover to stretch kicked key, and turn the bike off – that’s awesome on o group ride with 2000 plus bikes. Only one who noticed was Justin – he took the lead after that as he realized I was getting bored and getting a little tweaky
  • Rack didn’t cause comfort issues – no issues
  • Was able to carry all my essentials with two little bags and a stuff-sack
  • Ass/Back fine – knees sore even on highway pegs – cold or because I sat on a 5 gallon bucket for days chopping the rear fender.


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Fender Cut Part Two

So I couldn’t live with the squared off fender, put a little curve in the sides, could it use more? Probably! But it’s definitely an improvement. Issue is what little curve I added started to burn the paint a tad.

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Harley Davidson